eXtensions - Wednesday 28 February 2018
eXtensions: The Wednesday File (46) - The Decline of News; Image Editing; and TouchRetouch for the Mac
By Graham K. Rogers
It is available for download if you confirm that it is to be used for (or to help) those with vision problems. As the Faculty does some work to develop assistive devices for the visually impaired I think I can justify that. Installing was easy enough, but the Italic font had a problem reported by Font Book. I ignored that and it seems to work as well as Regular and Bold.
He has made some slip-ups in the past, for example in 2012, Michael Rosenwald (CJR) points out, he bought 28 newspapers for $344 million and fully expected success from the investment. Despite his support for local news, he may have been wrong here as newspapers (and other media) continue to decline. In the article Rosenwald discusses the decline and the problems of monetization, which worries me, even as I write fewer articles.
I am fortunate that I can (almost) treat my output as a pastime: the costs of the site are low (I had a bill this week); but I can nowadays only examine products I want for myself, although comments on photography and software are relatively cheap to produce. It is as well I have a day job.
It ws inevitable with the way the internet now works, that news delivery would change and new media forms are replacing those older (traditional) sources that cannot adapt. The Nation, in Thailand, tried a couple of things, then veered left and has finally veered right: into the arms of a new owner.
With the way the paper version has become thinner and thinner, and its web version fails to attract, the Bangkok Post has a limited future. That is not to say News is dead: as well as Buffet's purchases, Jeff Bezos (Amazon) bought the Washington Post. As the master of not making a profit, maybe he has a better plan.
I had one picture left over: of a child in a street market in Ban Tak and I realised that this had been taken not with the Nikon DSLR, but with the iPhone X as I had misunderstood where we were going and did not take any other devices.
That the current iPhones take such good images is no longer in doubt (Soderbergh's Unsane for example), although some will insist that the best results come from high end DSLR devices (I would love the Hasselblad H6D-400C MS); and for the best editing results we must all use Adobe Photoshop.
I edited most of those images on the Mac, with some work done on the iPhone images in iOS Photos. With some of the photos I took with the iPhone, I waited until they appeared on the Mac (via iCloud) as there were some effects I wanted to add using Selective Color or extensions, like Tonality Pro. I also used this extensively when I was editing the scanned negatives.
I downloaded it but did not open the app immediately. When I saw the extension, I looked on the iPhone Photos "More" list and found it was shown there too. I activated the app in More and can now also use it in Photos on iOS.
I find its simple approach to removing unwanted artefacts like power lines (and more) useful for iOS users, although a belittling comment on Twitter did point out that this can all be done easily in Photoshop. Of course it can, but many of the users of smartphones do not want (or need) the massive overhead of such software when all they require is mild enhancement of an image.
TouchRetouch in Photos on iPhone X
On that aspect of convenience, although I have some good photo apps (645 Pro, Halide, DSLR Camera) that will produce RAW files, I most often use the iPhone camera. I was relieved to see that I am not alone when Marco Arment was asked about recommending an app (such as Halide) and he replied that he "never used a third-party camera app for more than a day", adding "The built-in one is so convenient that nothing else ever sticks."
In Photos (and the standalone) the tools are every bit as effective as on the iPhone, although there are similar limitations, particularly when a mass of phone lines (as in Bangkok's streets) is edited. This was the same for Affinity Photo so does not indicate any weakness. A student project with wires all over the place was nicely tidied up with the Line tool, although in some parts it was easier to switch to the Object Removal option.
A difference between the extension and the standalone version on the Mac was that within Photos the image was changed, while the standalone provided a Save As option in Export (and the File menu). This also allows Mail, Twitter, Facebook, Notes and Messages as destinations. Likewise on iOS, the standalone exports an edited image, while the use of More changes the original. This hardly matters much now with the ability to duplicate and Revert to Original - user choice.
TouchRetouch on the Mac
Unlike the iOS version, TouchRetouch on the Mac had a number of basic editing tools controlled by sliders: White balance (Temperature/Tint), Tone (Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows), Color (Vibrance, Saturation, Clarity). A crop tool option included rotate, straighten, mirror and reverse options. These were not available in the Photos extension and would have been redundant. As well as the expected repair tools, the additional basic editing options make it possible to do a simple image clean-up from within this application.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. After 3 years writing a column in the Life supplement, he is now no longer associated with the Bangkok Post. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)
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