Questions about PercepTool

1. What does PercepTool do?

The camera image and the image on the human retina of the eye see a luminance

image that lacks depth. The visual cortex of the brain takes that luminance

image and processes it so that the edges and contrast are optimized for a 3D

image. PercepTool mimics that process. The great masters of painting and

photography were able to do this because of great practice, expertise, and

genius. It can also be accomplished in Photoshop with much effort, skill,

experience and…genius. Why do you think that there are so few masters?

2. Why wasn’t PercepTool included with the book, B&W Printing?

The answer is simple – the publisher would not publish a CD with the book, so I

had no choice and had to market it separately. The price has been reviewed as

just right, too much, and not enough. The typo that shows the PercepTool price

as $19.95 in the book as compared with $89.95 on the website is a pure and simple

copy editor error that no one caught. It will be changed in subsequent editions

of the book. If you think you were upset when you saw it, you should have seen

me!

3. Why was the workflow done in Lightroom and Photoshop?

I explain, thoroughly, that the workflow in the book is a guide and make a point

of it. I use both Photoshop and Lightroom in my workflow, but anyone with the

least bit of expertise could work out a workflow for Photoshop and Camera Raw

alone, Aperture and Photoshop, NIkon Capture NX, or any other photo processing

software. I even have a chapter on how to think about making a workflow. The

workflow I suggest is simple, which is the way most real masters work. None of

the ones I’ve known and worked with were complicated. I’ve even included workflow

examples at the end of each chapter to show other masters who work entirely different

from me to show that greatness in workflow is the power of end masterpiece, be it

simple or complex. If you don’t like my workflow, don’t complain about it, just make

your own, for crying out loud.

4. PercepTool availability.

Perceptool is now available for both Windows XP and Vista and Macintosh Intel.

For those of you who have Photoshop Standard, the script works in 8 and 16 bits

per channel and in Photoshop Extended in 32, 16, and 8 bits per channel. The

main reason for this discrepancy is that layers are not totally supported in

Standard in 32 bits per channel, required by the scripts. The noUI Filter plugin

works always at 100% and works in 32 bits per channel on all versions. The is no

64 bit version for Vista 64. The speed in version 1.5.5 is around 8x faster than

the original. We had a breakthrough just after the software was introduced and

is the reason for the quick availability. In addition, I should point out that

the interface sliders in the script UI show “real-time” image adjustment, not a

proxy in a window like so many other Photoshop plugins. I believe this is a

first for this. PercepTool 2 will have an improved interface that combines many aspects

of the previous workflow. It will also have a new and excellent HDR capability for

combining and Tone Mapping.

5. Installation.

Actually, the largest problem we’ve had is installation. Most of the emails I

get are about how to install PercepTool. Short of making an installer, we have

made it as simple as we can, and the instructions are clear. Eventually we do

plan to add an installer, but the initial cost was expensive. Please, please,

please, read the installation instructions and follow them precisely. We’ve had

people, for instance, that only installed the 3 plugin because they thought it

was for PS3. You need to install both 3 and 4 plugins.

6. The reason for the book.

The book was written to revive the idea of photographic masterpiece and how to

create one in the simplest way possible. Most people have missed this point.

Many want to talk about Lightroom and Photoshop and Tips and Tricks, but the

book is NOT about those things. It’s about masterpiece and how to think about

making one and how great painters and photographers think and work it through.

Most people who look for the latest trick are what I call “lick players.” In

Bluegrass Music there are people who play songs and people who play licks

connected together on the banjo. People who play songs use licks, but they have

a sense of the whole as well. Lick players have no sense of the whole. A

masterpiece demands that you have a feeling and technical expertise for the

whole. If you haven’t seen the whole, you’re a lick player.

7. Printing.

Some have complained about my lack of coverage of printers and color management.

Printing and color management are, in reality, a simple matter. All you need for B&W

printing is a high quality monitor that is calibrated, printer environment (printer, ink,

paper) profiles that are very accurate and linearized in the L channel, and, of course, a

high quality printer and paper. The most important aspect of printing and photography is

the “Artist’s Eye.” The Artist’s Eye is what my book B&W Printing and PercepTool are

all about.

George DeWolfe

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