Portafolio for iPad – simple and clean portfolio editor (App Review)

I had been looking for a great app that would allow me to create portfolios on the go and be able to edit and add elements without much fuss. I recently stumbled upon just that app. Portafolio for iPad is a simple, minimal app that covers most of my portfolio making needs. Dive in to the review for an in depth look.

The first thing you will notice when opening the app is how easy on the eyes the interface is. Not too many toggles and buttons to overwhelm you.

Home Screen

Home Screen shows all the projects in your portfolio

The great thing about Portafolio is that all your projects are neatly displayed in a clean and elegant interface every time you open the app. This is quite important if you want to show potential clients your different work. Also, projects load quickly because they are saved to your device and all images are saved in their original resolution. No need to look for network connections to show your work.

GIF Portafolio

A quick look at Portafolio in action

Portafolio allows you to layout projects using the many different templates included in the app.

templates

Some of the templates in Portafolio

Each template allows you to either import an image in the picture frame or an interactive gallery. I wish there were more options like changing background colour of the page (dark grey would have been a great option) and also setting to position and resize the default frames to customize the look of each page but even without those advanced options, there are plenty of templates to choose from and will be sufficient for most users needs.

Edit Scren

Edit panel

When browsing the project, the viewer can tap the images to see a full size photo. This makes for a very interactive experience.

All projects can be exported as a PDF file and easily shared to clients via email. There are some third party apps like Notability that can also accept the PDF projects. I have reached out to the developer to request an option to send PDF directly to other apps like PDF Expert by Readdle. The team is currently looking into integrating with other apps so hopefully a future update can add this functionality.

In this quick video, you can see an example of a complete project I have created using Portafolio and how the interactive experience comes into play on the iPad. (you will recognize the photos from my earlier shoot at BanQ Vieux Montréal)

 

Overall recommendation:

After using this app for a few days, I can honestly say that it made creating a portfolio on iPad a breeze. Some advanced customization options would be welcome but the current iteration has more than enough templates to choose from.

The developer team is always willing to listen to feedback and that to me is a huge asset for any app!

Speaking of which, I recently got news from the developer team that an iPhone app is also in the works. The app will be called “Unfold: Stories” and is slated to release on June 12th, 2017. It will have the same functionality of Portafolio but scaled to fit the iPhone’s screen. I do not have more detail on the app for now but rest assured that I will conduct a full review once released so stay tuned for that.

All in all, I feel very comfortable in recommending this app to any artist or photographer out there who uses an iPad to showcase their work. Portafolio for iPad will make your experience that much more simple and clean.

 

Picktorial for macOS (RAW photo editor) – Review

picktorial-artwork-facebook-feed

In the ever-growing list of photography apps available on macOS, there are only few that can be worthy of remaining in a photographer’s toolkit.

Among the fray is a relatively new software called Picktorial which brings its proprietary RAW development engine and clean interface exclusively to the macOS platform.

Picktorial is one of those keeper apps. It caters to the enthusiast and pro photography crowd while bringing some great and robust adjustment options and features to any photographer’s app arsenal.

Feature set:

Here is the bullet list of features found within Picktorial (as seen on their official website)

picktorial-featurespicktorial-features-2

Also of note is the ability to use Picktorial as a full featured Photos app extension. This provides all the editing tools found in the standalone app to be used directly inside Photos for macOS.

Aperture Library support: 

picktorial-sidebar

Picktorial brings with it a whole slew of features that will please many photo editing enthusiasts. One feature that stood out for me and that can be of great value to any former or current Apple Aperture user is the ability to view any Aperture Library directly in app without any need for migrating or merging. All you have to do is open up Picktorial and it will automatically detect any Aperture Library you may have in your default Pictures folder.

In Picktorial’s sidebar, you can now see all your projects as created in Aperture. All ratings and keywords are retained.

This allows you to keep the organization from Aperture yet unlock awesome editing capabilities that Aperture can sadly no longer provide.

Camera Profiles with a twist:

The developer of Picktorial mentioned in a video Interview with TWIP Apps that Picktorial’s RAW decode engine has already support for over 500 cameras. If there is a new camera that has been released, and Picktorial has not yet been updated for it, the software can intelligently switch to using Apple’s RAW camera engine transparent to the end user.

I find this quite interesting and a feature I have not yet seen in other apps of this kind.

I would have loved a way for users to be able to manually select which decode engine they want to use for a given photo. It could provide more flexibility if you want to see what result a given decode engine is giving compared to the other. Hopefully this can be added in a future update.

The interface: 

picktorial-ui

Picktorial’s interface design is quite clean and presents its diverse options in a well structured way.

A visual histogram is one commonly used interface option that is not currently present in Picktorial. The developer informs me that it is a planned feature for an upcoming update but I do not have an ETA as of yet.

The folowing screenshots will show different tools within their respective categories:

picktorial-lightpicktorial-colorpicktorial-curvespicktorial-info

Local Adjustments:

picktorial-retouch

Picktorial has tools to allow for localised edits using a brushing system and even gradient tools.

The developer mentions that in the background, Picktorial is essentially using its own layering system so all edits done locally are totally non destructive.

Retouching tools:

picktorial-denoise

The patch tools are great in Picktorial. You can sport heal and clone stamp with ease and have been using this tool more and more. I find it more granular and precise compared to  the in-paint patching engine found in other tools.

I plan on doing a separate article comparing the Patch tool in Picktorial with Pixelmator’s Retouching brush in the near future. Stay tuned for that.

My only gripe in the retouch section is the de-noise option. I does a great job in itself but  I feel it should have been moved to another category. Also, to allow de-noise of full image, you must make sure to select “fill” option in the toolbar in bottom right of the interface (see screenshot in local adjustment section of review). I personally feel that this should be streamlined and more intuitive.

Watermarking:

picktorial-watermark

 

As expected, watermarking tools are also present in the app but only in the form of image file watermark. This entails that if you want to create a text based watermark, you must do so in another pixel editor and then export it as a PNG file to then import into Picktorial.

I would have liked to be able to have the ability to directly create text based watermarks.

 

Export options:

picktorial-export

Once editing is completed, Picktorial allows for 2 file formats to export as (JPEG or TIFF)

My go-to export option is TIFF (uncompressed) which provides a 16bit TIFF file that retains all the quality of the image and can be easily imported in another photo editing app to further manipulate the photo without fear of losing quality. something JPEG option can not provide. The only downside to TIFF is that it generates a large file (sometimes it can be 3 times as large as the original RAW file). This might be fill up you internal drive quite fast. As such, I recommend an external drive solution to store those exported TIFFs in order to archive them and leave some room on your Mac’s drive.

Final Thoughts:

I plan to use Picktorial extensively in more and more shoots as it provides a quick way to edit photos in a powerful way. The option of seeing all my photos from my Aperture Library and also photos from my macOS Finder is a great addition.

There are some kinks I wish were resolved like a histogram view and text watermarking options but these do not keep me from recommending this great RAW editor to all photographers who edit on macOS.

Picktorial can be purchased at a special introductory price of US$24.99 (50% off the regular price). In a world of subscription based photo editing solutions, this is a standout price for the features Picktorial is packing.

To learn more about Picktorial visit the official website.

There is an unofficial support forum on the Photoapps.expert website where users can send feedback and requests along with question regarding the app. The developer is quick to respond and is always willing to listen to feedback.

You can also Follow Picktorial on Facebook and Twitter.

I look forward to seeing what 2017 has in store for Picktorial and will keep you posted on all the latest updates when they are released. Be sure to follow my blog to be notified!

iPad Pro with pressure sensitive screen… a possibility.

Apple held its Apple Watch keynote event today. Though it was mostly about the watch, Apple also unveiled a new Macbook model. One innovation in particular caught my attention.

A new trackpad was mentioned to be included in this new Macbook as well as the latest MacBook Pro Retina (13 inch). This Trackpad will use a Technology called Force Touch. Here is a description found on Apple’s website: “The new Force Touch trackpad on the 13-inch model takes all the capabilities of Multi-Touch and adds force sensors that detect subtle differences in the amount of downward pressure you apply.”

image on Apple’s website

Apple also writes in a section called Pressure-Sensitive Drawing: “Press lightly for a thin stroke or harder for a thick one — just as you would with a pen or stylus — when marking up a Mail attachment or signing your name on a form with your fingertip.”

After reading that, one can’t help but imagine what this new Apple tech could be if applied to a larger surface (12.9 inch maybe?). If Apple would unveil a larger iPad Pro, I would hope that they leverage this tech and implement it to good use on that creative focused device. If it works well, it could really make apps like Procreate allow pressure sensitivity with any stylus or even your finger.

The possibilities of this new technology makes me hopeful for the next iPad product. Apple has a history of using tech on a bigger prototype device but commercialize it in a smaller scale (iPhone multitouch screen technology came from a prototype iPad made before the iPhone).

Do you think Apple should implement Force Touch technology in the next iPad?.. sound off in the comments section.

‘Ello’ A new social platform (Facebook/Twitter Alternative)! – My Quick Review

I just discovered this new social networking site called ‘Ello’ which is stated by the creators as being “a simple, beautiful, and ad-free social network created by a small group of artists and designers.”

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The minimalism of this platform is jarring at first when you are used to the Facebook environment but in a few minutes, you can see that it’s exactly what a social network should be; a place where you can post your thoughts without being bombarded with colourful popups in the sidebar and stuffed with ads that track and sell your every movement on the network to third parties.

Because it is a new venture, I am viewing Ello with a lot of scepticism but it feels to be going in the right direction.. I remember when Tumblr (another platform) used to be Ad-Free; but recently, it changed it’s policy and Ads are now embedded in your timeline. Hopefully Ello can keep it’s promise for the long run.

Here is my profile page on Ello : https://ello.co/skrimaging

The platform is invite-only for now but in the future, the network’s floodgates will be open to the public. I have 3 invitation codes available so if you are curious and would like to join this new online agora, just leave your email in the comments section of this article and I shall provide a code to the first 3 commenters. (joining now will allow you early access to choose a unique username before the public release).

For more information on this new platform visit:  https://ello.co/wtf/post/about

new iPad (3rd Generation) & Using iPad to create rather than consume

When the iPad was first released back in April of 2010, it was primarily a device of consumption. You could read ebooks, watch movies, surf the web, listen to music and play games on it. That was all good and well but for artists and photographers, it was mostly used to showcase their work as a portfolio.
 
After the release of the second iteration of the iPad in March of 2011, app developers started to grasp the true nature of this great device and were introducing more and more apps that allowed users to create projects of different nature right on their devices; be it making music using Garageband, create stunning art using Procreate and even organize and edit RAW format photos using Filterstorm Pro 2.
I saw this walkthrough of Filterstorm 4.5, made by Tai Shimizu, and was amazed at what could be achieved on the iPad.
 
 
I had been on the fence about getting an iPad for some time but once I saw this demo, I was sold. I just preorederd my new Third Generation iPad last week when it was announced by Apple on March 7th.
Here is a video from Apple showcasing the new iPad and it’s features: 
With a great screen resolution of 2048 x 1536 (that’s more resolution than an HDTV) and a quad core Graphics processor, this will be a great device to compliment any creative mind. 
 
Photo editing will be amazing on this as-well as drawing and painting using Procreate and other apps (more on Procreate in a future post).
 
I can’t wait to get my hands on the new iPad. I will post an unboxing as-well as a review of the device and different creative apps that made me decide to purchase the iPad instead of another tablet.
 
Stay Tuned!

 

Photivo (Mac version) review (open source alternative to Adobe Lightroom)

I had been searching for a free alternative to the much beloved Adobe Lightroom software for a while now. I had tried the Lightroom 3 Demo and instantly got hooked to all it had to offer in terms of organizing,editing and developing RAW image files.

One thing that made me cringe was the price: at 300$ for the full version, it was not too inviting for someone who just wants to showcase images online. I can understand the research and development has a lot to do behind the price but it was just not for me.

I decided to look to open source applications on MAC that would allow me to output RAW images as close as possible to Lightroom without much fuss.I stumbled across this great software a few weeks ago and was relly surprised at what it could accomplish.

That software was Photivo. It is available for Windows, Mac and Linux (although Windows version gets more updates). The latest Mac version is from September 2011. The Windows version, as of writing, was updated on November 28 2011.

In the beginning, I felt a little lost with the user interface provided. it was a completely different beast compared to Lightroom.

The left side of the screen is where all of the main develop tools are located (exposure, contrast,saturation..etc).

The right side displays your RAW image once opened. there is even a histogram to help you just like most RAW editors.

At first, it is easy to get overwhelmed with this new interface but once you learn to use it, it makes a lot of sense. Personally, I find the interface to be quite clean and simple.

There is a search bar on the top of the develop section. Here, you can type anything pertaining to image editing and without even having to navigate countless menus, you will be provided with the  tool you requested.

For example, if I want to convert the city skyline image to black and white, I start typing “black” in the search bar and right away it will give me the tool i need. All I have to do is turn up the opacity value from 0 to 1 using the slider.

There are many more actions that can be accessed either from the navigation menu or the search bar but I suggest you explore them once you have installed this great software. (for more in-depth information on different features, please read the online manual).

In conclusion, I recommend this software to all photographers who do not have the budget to purchase the full Lightroom license and who do not want to sacrifice quality because even though this software is open source, it has the potential of outputting final images worthy of top image editors.

All the pictures found on this blog are edited using this great Software.

Here is a link to the official Flickr group for Photivo where you can find many different images edited using this software.

If you have any questions regarding Photivo, please leave a comment below and I will be happy to respond.

Enjoy this software and looking forward to seeing different pictures from you guys. You can post the link to an image you edited using Photivo in the comments section below.