PatchUp! Ai for Luminar

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With the North Wind, called in Arabic simply as "The North", "Shammal", starting to blow and bringing relief from the oppressive heat of summer here and with confirmed sightings of seasonal migratory visitors, tourists off cruise ships (Yep, they actually do exist), it is time to wrap up summer projects, and start to give an autumn cleaning to camera gear in advance of that glorious time of year, winter! Incidentally, the North Wind, called in Hebrew simply as "The North", "Mezareh", is oft mentioned in the Old Testament as a bringer of relief. Go figure.

My Summer Project was not the table top stuff I had initially planned in an attempt to topple @Mike Buckley off his perch, but learning a new programing language and developing a piece of software.

In a nod to the current obsession with "Ai", especially by Skylum, Developers of Luminar, I have called it "PatchUp! Ai for Luminar". "Ai" in this case meaning "Augmented Interface" of course and not the other Ai.

So being an NX2 Refugee, I had picked up on an interesting piece of software from a company called "Macphun" which they called "Luminar" back in 2016 (We now know that was Luminar 1.0).
It had a few issues but looked very promising. They soon released "Luminar Pluto" (We now know that was Luminar 1.1) and later, "Luminar Neptune" (We now know that was Luminar 1.2).

They seemed to be working their way in from the edge of the solar system and next planet was Uranus. I was eagerly waiting to see if they would actually go there.

Alas! they didn't. They released Luminar 2018 instead (We now know that was Luminar 2.0). They changed a lot of things and didn't fix many of the issues but despite a slightly botched release, they sort of pulled it together later and we had something to look forward to in future iterations. But instead of building on Luminar 2018, Macphun, by now called "Skylum", threw out everything and decided on a total rewrite culminating in a steaming pile of doodah released as "Luminar 3". Cue a withering barrage of criticism on their forums to which they responded by doubling down on advertising and getting talking heads on YouTube to sing its praises ... although to be fair, they did sort of stabilise the software (the bar was low), at the cost of several items pending from "Luminar 1".

Now, "Luminar 4" is due soon. Once again, Skylum has decided to change direction and focus on "Ai".

In three years, they have changed direction three times. It is frustrating but the basic promise is still there. I haven't signed up for Luminar 4 as deeply suspicious of the "nirvana" of the one slider / button solution promised.

Anyway, I spent the summer rooting through the Luminar 3 library setup, learnt Xojo / Realbasic programming and put PatchUp! together.
It is good to go for Mac but while the Windows code logic is there, several features are disabled on Windows pending tests. If you wanna volunteer to beta test on Windows, please PM me.
It is donationware but some features are locked. Windows Volunteer will of course get full unlock.

It does two basic things:
  1. Recovers inefficient space use by Lunimar as it creates resources in support of edits
  2. Fixes gaps in metadata in the library
This is all on a Mac.

"Level 3" Optimisation is disabled on Windows which requires a 3rd party external dependency, ImageMagick, to do the Tiff Compression.
All Macs since OS X Panther, come with a little known utility, SIPS (Scriptable Image Processing System), which allows this task to be done natively.

Both Windows and Macs require a 3rd party external dependency, ExifTool, to do the Library Metadata Fixes.
Library Metadata Fixes are also currently disabled on Windows pending verification.

I don't seem to be able to upload images for some reason so links to some screen shots:

#01 About Screen
#02 Selecting "Level 1" Optimisation
#03 Selecting "Level 3" Optimisation
#04 After Evaluating for "Level 3" Optimisation
#05 After Clicking "Optimise" Button with "Skip Backup" Selected
#06 After Clicking "Optimise" Button with "Create Backup" Selected
#07 After Optimisation
#08 After Reverting

Any Volunteers?
 
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Hmmm. Could have sworn I posted a caustic riposte to Mike ... Must have been a multi pint day.

Anyway, PatchUp! is basically done and while not a massive project, at a few thousand lines of code in a new language, it was a big undertaking for me.

Doesn't yet have Windows parity but will be rolling it out!
 
I've been pretty satisfied with Luminar 3, having eventually moved from Luminar 2018 to it a few months after its debut. I'll do the same with Luminar 4 when it arrives on the horizon: watch for a while, see what others have to say about it and its functionality, etc., and then decide whether or not to go with it.

Personally, I think MacPhun/Skylum would have been better off to have simply concentrated on making the best product possible for the Mac instead of also trying to bring Windows users into the fold, too. That only adds extra complications and headaches for the developers and for some users.

Dayo, best of luck with your project -- wow, it sounds like a lot of time and energy went into this!
 
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Dayo, best of luck with your project
Thanks.

Luminar is cool but the problem with all of the LR competitors is that each one is good in one or two aspects aspect and fairly mediocre in one or two key aspects.
LR might not be great in every aspect but has a good balance ... I just can't stand it.

Skylum is obseesed with features and going all in on Ai with L4 but many workflow issues are probably not going to be addressed as this is, and has always been, a blind side for them.
Exposure is really great on the Workflow side but lacks a few features. I actually think is might be the best long term bet as they have the basics locked down and can add features over time.
ON1 is good all round but integrating with other stuff is a big blind side. They want to offer it all themselves in the end and I think this is probably not going to work out.
DxO is great with the NR and its modules but you always leave with the feeling it should be offering a lot more than it does.

Skylum funnily, is very good at integrating. You round trip to DxO Viewpoint, Nik Collection, Topaz etc seamlessly and that is a big factor for me.
They did manage to stabilise L3 in the end after a terrible release although a quite few gremlins still lurk within and it never worked out for some users.
They did need to try to broaden their user base but it was a bit too much for them to manage and should have held off branching off to Windows and built up a solid base before overreaching a bit. Happens all the time.

I think the earlier iterations of L3 was rock bottom and hope that they can actually now put in a few iterations of improvements in.
Basically L4 is the fourth time they have basically reset everything in their four years of producing an editor.

PatchUp! fixes some backroom issues and has been an interesting undertaking.
It has a play on the "Ai" word in a dig at Skylum and consistent with them, does not offer Windows parity!
 
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I admire your ambition and hard work on this project but I have to ask, "is it really worth it?".

When I decided to transition away fro LR I tried several alternatives including Macphun. I don't remember the specific reasons, but I was just not tempted by it as a long-term solution.

I eventually settled on DxO PhotoLab and I've been very pleased with it. I can do almost anything I want to with it at my level of photo processing. Thus...

DxO is great with the NR and its modules but you always leave with the feeling it should be offering a lot more than it does.
Can you list specific omissions? Maybe I'm missing something. Or probably my level of photo processing is just not very demanding.
 
I don't do a lot of complex editing and don't get into layers and substituting backgrounds, that kind of thing, so I just want to keep things simple. that said, though, I DON'T want everything to be so "simple" that it is automatically done with AI, as in my opinion, that all too often that can miss the mark and/or be too over=sharp, too oversaturated, or present some other issue..... I know how I want my images to look, especially if they are presenting a scene. I don't want that scene to be artificially reproduced with AI because, well, that is not at all how I saw it the day I was standing there with the camera. I feel about AI the same way I do about HDR -- too much is too much -- usually WAY too much -- and this is not what I want in my images. So far I've been able to work with my images in Luminar 3 and pretty much ignore the AI stuff or use it very moderately. If they have changed things significantly with Luminar 4 where AI predominates and it is hard to work with one's images to achieve a more natural effect, then I will be out of there, as that whole AI thing is not my idea of photography.
 
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"is it really worth it?"
There are issues in the Luminar library that I could fix so I wrote something to do this is a personal project. Now, writing something for my own use is simple and only takes a few weekends as I know exactly what the issues are and what the limits of what I wrote are and exactly where the pitfalls to avoid are.

But then, I decided to make it available to others and this is where it gets complex as it needs to determine whether those issues exist in a library I have not seen and if they do, what exactly they are and not to mess up that library etc etc etc and of course, a lot of gold plating going on as it is a hobby thing.

As to whether it is worth it, this depends on how one assigns value. For instance, I have written open source stuff in PHP over the years that have been cumulatively downloaded over 10 thousand times since I started tracking the number of downloads without a cent back. So in terms of value in cash terms, definitely not worth it. In terms of doing something I gained some satisfaction from and learning PHP and web stuff in the process however, yes, it has been worth it.

That is not counting things like making my wife happy when she needed a website for her business or being able to knock out utilities to solve problems work which have helped me get ahead professionally.

Can you list specific omissions?
No tool is perfect but the important thing is to be happy with one or two and since you are with DxO, don't worry about another's perceived shortcomings. I loved Capture NX2 and still miss it for instance (Thanks Mike!). Yet for many, it was considered severely limited.
 
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I don't do a lot of complex editing and don't get into layers and substituting backgrounds, that kind of thing, so I just want to keep things simple.
Same here.

If they have changed things significantly with Luminar 4 where AI predominates and it is hard to work with one's images to achieve a more natural effect, then I will be out of there, as that whole AI thing is not my idea of photography.
I suppose it can help as long as it is part of a toolkit that still allows the old fashioned stuff to go on. Hopefully they don't screw it up with the Ai obsession. With Skylum though, chances that they will indeed do so are on the higher side. Fingers crossed but I haven't pre-ordered L4 though. It's wait and see for me despite the low price they offered.

Everyone is on the Ai bandwagon now and feel compelled to add it everywhere. ON1's new tool to match stuff to the camera settings which could have a normal name just had to be called "Ai Match". In a few years time, one will be able to date stuff to this period by the appearance of "Ai" in names of programs and functions.
 
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Interesting.

Could it be though that despite this rarity, the cheap Ai versions end up being good enough for most with only a discerning few prepared to pay a premium for this creativity and tech know how?
 
Could it be though that despite this rarity, the cheap Ai versions end up being good enough for most with only a discerning few prepared to pay a premium for this creativity and tech know how?
Yes.

I actually disagree with the statement in the article that I provided in my previous post. My thinking is that with more and more use of AI, there won't be fewer and fewer people with the creativity and technical know-how; instead, there will be the same number of people with those skills while the number of people using AI will grow.
 
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