Scuba Picture-Fix - low price photo software for divers
Have you ever looked at the incredible photography displayed in the pages of DIVE and wondered why they appear so vibrant and colourful in comparison to your own flat and single-hued attempts?
Having some of the world's best underwater lensmen and women as contributors certainly helps, as does expensive professional equipment, but there are also a few simple tricks of the trade that can be used by anyone to improve their results.
Shooting close to cut the distance between lens and subject is one example, using a camera's white balance setting is another, while an external strobe or filter may well bring to life the amazing colours of the spectrum that are lost metre-by-metre during descent.
There are also a number of excellent computer editing programs that allow a degree of apres-dive manipulation and correction. Lightroom and Photoshop are favoured by many professionals and while they offer a mind-boggling variety of functions this inevitably comes with a price-tag that for the beginner or occasional photographer isn't a particularly viable proposition.
An interesting alternative to these expensive pro image-editing suites is a simple and easy-to-use program from Vivid-Pix.
Created by business partners Randy Fredlund and Rick Voight, Scuba Picture-Fix is available for Mac and PC operating systems and dispenses with any complicated or unnecessary functions to provide a bespoke program specifically for underwater photographers.
With a user-friendly interface that can make a stunning difference to suitable images in just a few mouse clicks combined with a price tag in the tens rather than in the hundreds, this is an affordable option for the amateur who'd like to improve the look of their work.
Whether you're a computer whizz-kid or something of a technophobe, there are just a few simple steps to follow in order to witness an almost instant improvement in the appearance of your images.
But just remember that while the application can crop, restore lost colour, beef up the contrast and levels of your imagery it can't improve either your chosen subject matter or composition – that part is solely down to you!
Step 1 Simply open the programme to begin the process and click on 'select image' (1) at the top left of the window. Choose the photograph you'd like to edit from the relevant folder and then double-click (2) on its file name.
Step 2 A tiled window featuring nine duplicate images, each offering variations of lightness and contrast will now appear on-screen. Double-click to select your preferred exposure (3) and both the original image and the automatically adjusted version become viewable side-by-side.
Step 3 If you're happy with the result, click on the Save Vivid-Pix button at the bottom right of the window (4) and the new, improved image will be saved alongside the previous version with its original file name appended as '_vivid.'
Step 4 Should you wish to override the automatic setting to fine-tune the selected image, a series of sliding adjustments for lightness and contrast (5) plus red, blue and green saturation (6) are available. Additional sliders marked 'Depth removal' and 'MAX/MIN Vividness' (7) control the amount of red in the image and overall saturation respectively. Left-clicking your mouse, or by holding ctrl while dragging also allows creative cropping before saving the final image (8).
That's all there is to it, however for those that want a little more creative control, it's also possible to adjust sharpening, jpeg quality and other settings to your own individual taste via the preferences tab.
Another useful time-saving feature is the ability to create your own user-defined settings. This allows similarly exposed images to be batch processed and to set up this function is a matter of adjusting the colour and contrast as required then giving the action its own name (9) before saving (10).
Clicking on the defined settings button (11) will ensure any subsequent images that may benefit from similar adjustments are processed accordingly while still retaining the option to fine-tune if required.
DIVE readers can try Vivid-Pix for free and then enjoy a 20% discount! Just click on the banner below.