Vivid-Pix Scuba image correction software
On a recent Wetpixel trip, I was surprised to discover that one of the trip participants (who was shooting an expensive and complex SLR) did not do any form of image editing to his images. This was partly due to a lack of familiarity with the tools required to do so and also due to a lack of time. He also enjoyed the process of capturing the images and was less concerned about seeing or sharing them afterwards.
However, he had adopted the conventional wisdom and was shooting in RAW. RAW image files typically require some correction in order to look good, particularly when we are shooting underwater. The loss of the red end of the spectrum and the way that water absorbs light means that RAW files rarely look their best until they are developed or processed in some way.
The common sense approach therefore would be to shoot high resolution JPG images and allow the camera to correct the color as a part of its image processing. This would also allow the user to view images on nearly any machine or to share them directly via the internet .
However, again the light conditions underwater normally confuse this process somewhat, giving sub-optimum colors. The loss of the red end of the spectrum is not something that most cameras can effectively compensate for, and this causes washed out colors.
For many photographers, editing using tools like Adobe’s Lightroom and Photoshop is a part of the creative process. However, for those who do not wish to or simply do not have the time to, Vivid-Pix offers an app called Scuba Picture Fix.
Vivid-Pix Scuba Picture Fix
The app works in a straightforward, visual and simple way. The user selects the JPG files from wherever they are stored on the machine. Single files can be selected, or multiple ones.
The app will display the image with 9 variations of lightness and contrast. By clicking on the preferred variation, this is then loaded into the fine tuning window. Of course, if te user prefers, they can simply save the result at this point.
In the fine tuning window, the selected image can be adjusted for “depth”, lightness, contrast and color tint. There is also a slider that allows the amount of any effect by using the “vividness” slider.
Once the image has been tuned, it can be saved. The app often the option of choosing a suffix to denote the its status in the Preferences tab. The default is ‘Vivid”.
In addition, the user can save a series of settings that have previously worked and then by clicking the “Image correction with user defined settings” button can simply apply these to another series of images.
Scuba Picture Fix is a part of a series of apps from Vivid-Pix. The umbrella app is called Land and Sea, with the Scuba option being a paid add on to this. There are also apps available for iOS (and shortly for Android). In fact, the iOS app currently has an option for color correction in green water which will be incorporated into the desktop app soon.
Scuba Picture Fix does a fairly good job of semi automatically correcting common underwater issues. The “depth” slider is not dissimilar to a white balance control and the color sliders allow the correction of color casts.
This is important, as in images that have a large amount of surface light, it tends to add a red cast.
The ability to visually preview images for lightness and contrast is a rapid and effective way of choosing a pleasing tonal range.
Setting up presets is problematic for me as the degree of adjustment varies widely depending on the camera settings, camera shooting angle, ambient light and all the other factors that influence exposure. If you find that you tend to shoot in a very consistent way, presets may be effective, but it does not suit my shooting style.
Who does it suit?
I would characterise the key user groups for this app as: Firstly those who do not have the inclination to use Lightroom or other tools. This could be due to a lack of knowledge about how to use these apps (or computers in general), or simply a lack of interest in spending the considerable amount of time sat in front of a computer editing images.
Secondly, people who are simply too busy to spend the time. Often, an underwater photography trip accounts for a significant proportion of available free time. Scuba Picture Fix is time efficient. I can also see this being a real bonus when working to very sensitive time or deadlines.
Thirdly and lastly, individuals that chose to shoot in RAW + JPG mode, can use the app to sort images effectively. By loading the JPG files into the app, this will give a pretty rapid idea of which ones are worthy of devoting more time too.
I think it is important to stress that the app does not give options that are available in Lightroom or Photoshop. If you have an acceptable workflow in those apps (or similar), the primary application for Vivid Pix Scuba Picture Fix would be to use it ti help in sorting images.
Vivid-Pix Scuba Picture Fix app Mac and Windows versions is available to download from Vivid Pix priced at $24.99. There is a free trial version available.
The iOS versions are available via the App store priced at $4.99, with the Scuba depth add on available as an in app purchase at ¢19.99. As mentioned above, there will be an Android version soon.
The Vivid Pix Scuba picture fix was supplied to the reviewer free of charge for the review.