The program formerly known as "Project Wukong" has been released a few days ago as Essential HDR. I've no idea why they would drop an awesome code name like Wukong, maybe the guys from Imaging Luminary aren't real Ninjas after all... But they are certainly nice people: You can download the demo version for free (called community version), which is essentially a demo with a bottom frame watermark and 1 megapixel size restriction. Even better, the first 1000 copies are on sale for 30% off ($48.99 instead of $69.99). Essential HDR is an HDR generator and tonemapper. It has a global and a local tonemapping operator. The local TMO (Detail Revealer) is the big selling point. According to the developers it is a new algorithm that produces less artifacts (halos, over-saturation) and runs at a decent speed (multicore support). I can wholeheartedly agree: this is indeed a very powerful tonemapper. Without much fuzz I got a very natural images, the preview is pretty accurate, and it is super-easy to use. For control freaks there might be too few sliders, but I find it very intuitive. Update: Due to a bad misunderstanding, I've used Christian Bloch's review on Essential HDR. I did actually use the software, and I did enjoy it. These are my comparisons. Side-by-side comparison. The overall interface is kept simple and it blends right in with other Windows Vista applications. There is no Mac version, but it runs fine on Boot Camp or VMWare Fusion. My test image #1. My test image #2. My test image #3. We have 2 copies to give away, so just leave a comment and we will announce the winner next week.
It's been more than a year that I write tutorials almost every week. Even though I got used to the process of capturing screenshots and then organize and save them with the right names for the right steps, it was still very time consuming task. Now, I've found a software that really helps the process of writing tutorials. Screensteps is as the documentation tool for people who don't want to do documentation. Basically Screensteps allows you to capture the screens directly to a document. Then you can add title, description, and export it in many different ways: PDF, HTML, straight to your blog, or even to Screensteps live blog system. But it's not just that. You can edit steps, replace and resize images, add sequences of numbers, graphic elements such as rectangles, ellipses, and arrows. Also you can format the text with bold, italic, and different text colors. However the coolest thing is that you can create templates and export your tutorial the way you want. In my case, I write tutorials for 2 blogs, Abduzeedo and PSDTUTS, so I have 2 templates and just choose the one I will export it. That simple. Screensteps really helps the process of creating tutorials, although, I think, there are some features missing that would be very important, like add more than one image per a step for example I highly recommend you to download the demo and check it out. Besides that we have a copy of Screensteps to giveaway, so just leave a comment and next Tuesday we will announce the lucky winner. Quick Intro Video More Screenshots
This week I had the chance to test the new Flashloaded component, called 3D Wall. It’s a really cool component that allows us to create 3D walls with pictures and you can navigate through the photos in a 3D space, very Apple TV style. 3D Wall displays images on an engaging interactive 3D wall using the Papervision3D engine. The wall can be flat or set at any curvature to create a truly unique look. The viewer can also scroll, tilt and zoom the wall freely. Includes a built-in preloader for seemless transitions between thumbs and large images. Over 60 parameters to customize your wall ensures unlimited number of looks and an enticing viewer experience. Available for ActionScript 3.0 (Flash CS3) only. I’ve done some experiments here with the component and I have to say, it’s awesome. There are a lot of parameters but it’s easy to understand, and if you want to create a simple and stunning portfolio site, this is a good option. Give it a try. Some Features: Flat or curved wall Double sided thumbnails Interactive wall tilting Adjustable number of rows and spacing Customizable animation settings Mouse and keyboard interactivity Swivel camera External XML file Glow & reflection XML or Component Inspector Depth of field Mouse events Built-in skinnable scrollbar and preloader We have two copies of 3D Wall to give away, so just leave a comment and next week, May 1st we will announce the winners. For more information visit Flashloaded.com UPDATE: The winners are: Anjana Giackop