Welcome screen

Painter 2016 adds the subtle variations in brushwork

I wasn’t aware it was that time of the year again: a new version of Painter. This venerable creative app is now officially called Painter 2016. If you thought after experiencing the last version it would be hard to come up with some new and exciting stuff… well, you were wrong. Painter 2016 has received some much needed interface improvements, but also new brushes and capabilities that once again will enable artists to have more fun and get closer to the analogue experience.

Welcome screen

Painter 2016 adds the subtle variations in brushwork

I wasn’t aware it was that time of the year again: a new version of Painter. This venerable creative app is now officially called Painter 2016. If you thought after experiencing the last version it would be hard to come up with some new and exciting stuff… well, you were wrong. Painter 2016 has received some much needed interface improvements, but also new brushes and capabilities that once again will enable artists to have more fun and get closer to the analogue experience.

drone

To keep out drone trolls, legal regulations are necessary

In August 2015, the pilot of an airplane in the midst of its landing procedure at Ben Gurion near Tel Aviv in Israel, suddenly saw a quadcopter flying right of the plane at a dangerously close distance of about 100m (33ft). In compliance with aviation rules, he reported the incident to airport authorities. They started an investigation. Certainly in Israel, drones could be used for anything from plane spotting to terrorism. Drones are increasingly becoming a problem and they should not be unleashed to the broader public without establishing ground rules for their usage.

Koji Advance

Koji Advance film grading vs. FilmConvert

There are two film emulator plug-ins for Final Cut Pro X, Premiere Pro and After Effects that are competing for your attention. Both are developed with care and lots of features to please users. Why then would you prefer one over the other? Is it just personal preference, or is there more to it? FilmConvert has been available for some time now. Koji Advance has the advantage of a big name behind it (Dale Grahn, a famous colour timer), some unique features and speed.

WhiBal

In-camera white balance with WhiBal

If you take photography seriously, even if you’re a camera RAW shooter out of principle, you won’t leave the house without a white balancing tool. Over the past ten years or so, I have reviewed a complete collection. I kept most of these contraptions, even the weirdest ones. Michael Tapes Design’s WhiBal white balance reference cards are amongst the most simple ones to work with. They don’t look weird either.

solarmonkey adventurer 2015

The Solarmonkey Adventurer 2015 powers anything from action cams to iPads

It’s always a good idea to carry extra battery capacity with you when you’re going out to shoot pictures or video. An extra battery pack may make the difference between bringing home that one unique shot, or running out of juice moments before it unfolds in front of your eyes. While they may not look elegant and won’t match luxury handbags, Solarmonkeys are excellent for the job. These solar panels have a 3500mAh battery built-in and come with daisy-chaining power capabilities: while you charge your camera, you can have the sun simultaneously charge the battery.

LensAlign and FocusTune 4

Check and correct Auto-Focus errors with LensAlign and FocusTune 4

Are you one hundred percent sure the Auto-Focus of your expensive lens/body is accurate? No improvement possible? I was surprised to find the opposite. Heck, I was surprised to see my expensive Zeiss Variogon 24-70 deviate from 100% sharpness even when I’m manually focussing. I wouldn’t have known without the tools I’m reviewing today: LensAlign and FocusTune 4 from Michael Tapes Design. The combination of these tools allows you to check and correct for all types of focus errors. To benefit from it, you’ll need a camera that at the very least has a lens you can focus. This includes dSLRs, system cameras, and video cameras capable of still images even.