The snow continues to fall in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere, but despite outward appearances, we’re not in hibernation – The past few months have been extremely productive for Photosmith. Winter (especially this season!) is a great time to stay indoors and continue work on refining what has become the daily go-to mobile photography workflow and organization solution for many thousands of amateur and professional photographers. Not a day goes by that we don’t receive very encouraging emails, Tweets and Facebook messages from enthusiastic users – We love discussing photography and workflow, and feel fortunate every day to have such a wonderful user community behind us.
Our most recent development efforts are focused on making the next version of our iPad app and Lightroom plugin really special – refining existing functionality and carefully adding new features that will continue to set us apart from other mobile organization solutions, both today and in the future. Of course, pouring on this extra work behind the scenes put us a little behind with blog posts, we plan to make up for lost time.
Over the next few weeks, we will become much more chatty here on our blog, and over on Twitter (@photosmithapp) and Facebook (facebook.com/photosmith) as we discuss the long list of new and refined features in Photosmith for iPad and the Photosmith plugin for Lightroom, and the myriad of bugs addressed in version 3.1. We’ll also begin posting weekly Photosmith and Lightroom tips and tricks. We’re just as passionate about photography as you are! We will also address recent industry rumors, and talk about why we’re just as excited as everyone else is to have some major players validate the iPad as a photography workflow tool for the professional and advanced amateur.
Final testing of Photosmith 3.1 wrapped up late last week, and we’re really excited to share the results of our many late nights and long weekends with everyone. For those keeping score at home, this puts us on track for release this week!
New and improved in Photosmith 3.1:
In-app Camera Raw Rendering
As we previously mentioned, photographers will be able to render over 25 different camera raw formats from hundreds of different cameras, right on your iPad in Photosmith! This is a big deal for folks with cameras that use raw formats which can’t be viewed directly on iPad using Apple’s Photos.app (Hello, DNG? And many FujiFilm RAF files, for example), and for raw formats that don’t contain a full-resolution JPG preview, like Sony ARW. Leica users will be thrilled to finally have the ability to see full-resolution DNG files right on their iPad!
We’re still conducting comprehensive speed and compatibility testing against other iOS camera raw processing, but it appears Photosmith is best in class for speed: With an iPad Mini Retina (A7 processor), massive 38 megapixel Nikon D800 NEF files render in under 15 seconds! Canon 5D Mark III CR2′s render in under 10 seconds. On the iPad Air, camera raw rendering is is even faster.
For many photographers, camera raw rendering right on iPad will be a real game-changer, as this will be the first time they can view full-resolution raw photos on iPad, without first converting to JPG in camera or computer. And to render raw files in batch, automatically creating sized thumbnails for rapid Grid View and full-screen viewing… this is a huge step for not just Photosmith, but mobile digital photography.
Of course, Photosmith is smart enough to know if a camera raw file contains a full-resolution JPG preview, and will optionally use that if you prefer to speed things along. This means D800, 5D Mark III and other camera raw formats that contain full-res previews will import into Photosmith’s catalog in under 2 seconds each – import speeds that rival even Lightroom!
This is just the start of our adventures in image processing – We’re incredibly excited about what our camera raw rendering engine will mean for the future of Photosmith.
Smarter Lightroom Sync
New in Photosmith 3.1 is a dashboard-like Lightroom sync overview, right in the iPad app. At glance, see the sync status of all your User Collections in one place – and optionally choose one (or more) User Collections to sync by tapping a single button. Yup, more than one User Collection can be synced at once, and all right from your iPad, including metadata conflict resolution. For photographers managing many User Collections and wishing to manage Lightroom syncs while not sitting in front of their Lightroom computer, this will be a real timesaver.
We are also performing a quick audit of metadata changes in both Photosmith and Lightroom, and you can choose, prior to starting the sync, if you want to use Photosmith’s or Lightroom’s metadata in the event of a metadata conflict. This will be a big win for folks that prefer to start a long before going to bed, so that Photosmith is ready to use during the morning commute on the train.
We logged over 300 “items of improvement” over the past three months – and confirmed that those issues have been fixed. Have we mentioned lately that Photosmith is a nights and weekend project undertaken by a very small team of guys spread over three timezones?
With stability comes a couple of hurdles, which we will talk about later today on our blog. The update for Photosmith’s Lightroom plugin will need to be updated in a certain way, and Publish Services will need to be re-saved. This is a one-time thing, and will take less than 20 seconds, but it’s important that this update happens so that you will see our increased sync stability and new features (and bug fixes).
Finally, a heart-felt thank you to our incredibly supportive user community! We view your purchase as not only an investment in the future of the Photosmith app, but in independant app development. Over the coming months, we’ll talk about lessons we’ve learned over the past three years of iOS app development, as well as stories from our users: How and where they use Photosmith, unique workflow solutions, and tips and tricks. Again, it’s the user interaction and engagement which helps to validate our strong belief that iPad is a wonderful organizational tool in the arsenal of the mobile digital photographer.
We also want to thank Claudio Emmrich for helping us to identify some sync-related issues that have been plaguing us the past few versions.
2014 is already shaping up to be a great year for Photosmith… and we’re just getting started!
November 9, 2013
Great news for anyone that was hit with the “Incorrect photos are displayed after switching away from a Publish Collection” bug in Lightroom. Last night, Adobe announced the availability of Lightroom 5.3 Release Candidate – it includes a fix for this super annoying Publish Service issue, which made working in Lightroom especially difficult when browsing away from Photosmith User Collections. For example, when attempting to browse a folder after looking at a Photosmith User Collection in our Lightroom Publish Service, no photos will be displayed in the Library’s grid view. The only fix was to restart Lightroom. Lightroom 5.3RC fixes all that.
We’ve have been testing Lr 5.3RC for a few hours this morning, and everything appears to work very well with Photosmith sync. We suggest that all Photosmith users affected by the Publish Service bug upgrade as soon as possible.
As with any update (and especially Release Candidates), make sure you backup your Lightroom catalog before upgrading.
Let us (and other users) know how the update works for you over on our User Forums: forums.photosmithapp.com.
Below is a list of all bugfixes which were included in this release, emphasis ours:
- Issues when upgrading catalog from previous versions of Lightroom.
- Incorrect photos are displayed after switching away from a Publish Collection.
- Catalog optimization did not finish, and was not optimizing the catalog
- Feather of clone spots is set to 0 after upgrading catalog to Lightroom 5.
- Auto White Balance settings are not saved to Snapshots.
- Sony 18-55mm lens is detected as the Hasselblad 18-55mm lens for lens correction.
- Increased Update Spot Removal history steps when in Before and After view.
- Slideshows start playing automatically even when the Manual Slideshow option is enabled.
- Video playback stops when dragging on the scrubber.
- Errors when publishing photos to Flickr through the Publish Service.
- Option + drag on Edit Pin behavior is functioning incorrectly.
- Black border appears around the exported slideshow video.
- Catalog containing images processed with PV2003 were adding a post-crop vignette when catalog upgraded to Lightroom 5.
- Pressing the “Reset” button while holding down the Shift key caused Lightroom to exit abruptly.
- Output Sharpening and Noise Reduction were not applied to exported images that were resized to less than 1/3 of the original image size.
- The Esc key did not exit the slideshow after right clicking screen with mouse during slideshow playing.
- Import dialog remained blank for folders that contain PNG files with XMP sidecars.
- Metadata panel displayed incorrect information after modifying published photo. Please note that this only occurred when metadata was changed after the photo was published.
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October 9, 2013
We are very happy to announce the release of Photosmith for iPad version 3.0.2. This is a maintenance release only, and fixes the crashing many users experienced after upgrading to iOS 7, especially when swiping through photos in Loupe and Fulllscreen Views.
Photosmith uses caching to help increase performance. We cache a number of things, but in particular, we keep photos in memory so scrolling and movement between large images is more responsive. For example, if you just viewed a photo, then swiped to look at another photo, there shouldn’t be any reason to wait for the previous photo to load again if you swipe back to it – simply pull it out of the already-rendered cache if needed. It only makes sense, right?
To do this, we made use of iOS’s built-in NSCache for some of our photo caching needs. NSCache is handy because iOS manages what is kept in cache automatically, discarding anything that it doesn’t have room for anymore. This is especially handy when writing code that isn’t dependent upon a particular piece of hardware – available RAM varies from around 35MB on an iPad 1 to several hundred megabytes on the iPad 4; we can simply cache as many photos as necessary, and if iOS decides there isn’t enough memory, it will handily remove it from the cache for us.
Except… that’s not what happens in iOS 7. For reasons we can’t quite explain, this appears to no longer be the behavior. There were no announcements in the iOS 7 pre-release notes (or even in the released SDK documentation) and we didn’t run into the issue while testing beta versions of iOS 7. And this is why things will work for a while and then crash unexpectedly – NSCache is getting filled up, and iOS 7 is no longer removing photos as it did in the past when cache memory got full.
In Photosmith for iPad version 3.0.2, we still use NSCache, but added some code so that for users running iOS 7, the total number of entries was limited, thereby having a somewhat similar (though not quite as optimal) effect.
Users with iOS 6 (or earlier) will see no difference, as our method of handling this caching issue only applies to iOS 7. Also, there are no updates to our Lightroom plugin at this time.
We are very interested in hearing your thoughts on Photosmith performance in iOS 7 – please drop us a note over on our User Forums at http://forums.photosmithapp.com.
Photosmith 3.0.2 will be become available today as a free update in the App Store for your country – standard delays may apply as the update propagates through Apple’s servers worldwide.
September 24, 2013
One of the more challenging aspects of Photosmith is the level of integration necessary with other products; most notably Apple iOS and Adobe Lightroom. So, when both Apple pushes a new major updates to iOS and Adobe releases an incremental (but significant) update to Lightroom within a day of each other, it means some extra work for us.
But the betas, what about the betas?
To be sure, both Apple and Adobe are very good about getting early pre-release versions of their software to developers, called beta releases. That said, we have found that testing anything except ship-ready public releases (nicknamed RTM or GM in tech lingo) to be an effort in futility. Apple frequently releases four or more beta versions of iOS to developers prior to the official “GM” release. Things can and do change during the beta period and the final GM release, and we have found ourselves chasing beta ghost bugs – bugs that only appear in beta, but are ironed out in time for the GM. We are now avoiding this unnecessary timesuck by only validating (and coding changes for if necessary) GM releases.
Apple pushed the GM of iOS 7 to developers about a week prior to its public release on September 18. This gave us roughly 168 hours to kick the tires, and to check in with our usual group of users who live on the bleeding edge of technology. Version 5.2 of Lightroom was released by Adobe without a pre-released GM version; 5.2 lived as a public beta version, but many bugs, especially with Publish Collections, were fixed in the final 5.2.
OK, cut to the chase!
Here’s where we are at: The current public version of Photosmith for iPad, v3.0.1, plays very well with Lightroom 5.2. As mentioned previously, there were a number of bug fixes in 5.2 public which were not part of the 5.2 beta, so any countermeasures we might have tried to work around the Publish Service bugs would have been wasted effort. And if we may say, the Adobe engineers did a really great job of addressing the Publish Service bugs; we can’t find any trace!
As for iOS 7, Photosmith plays well, with one caveat: Swiping between photos in Loupe and Fullscreen Views can cause the app to crash in certain situations. No metadata or other information is ever lost, and when you restart Photosmith, your viewing position should be retained. It’s just a (really annoying) 5-7 second hiccup.
The cause of the swipe crash bug actually has its roots quite a ways back, but iOS 6 masked it fairly well. Unless swiping between photos very rapidly (3-5 per second for many seconds), the bug only manifested itself for a handful (four that we know of) users in “normal” use. It’s a memory management thing, and we’re working towards a fix. The crash actually occurs when a background process begins; think fetching mail or some other system-level event; this is why it’s a bug for everyone.
This and a few other more significant bugs, along with native camera raw photo processing, will be front-and-center in the forthcoming Photosmith for iPad version 3.1.
Apologies for the lateness of this blog post; each member of the Photosmith Team is busy with many independent projects at the moment. Since Photoshop World a couple of weeks ago, we have been in divide and conquer mode.
You can always get the most recent news, musings and occassional rant from us via Twitter @photosmithapp and facebook.com/photosmith . Our User Forums are also highly trafficked and a really useful resource for finding new and interesting workflows in which to leverage Photosmith: forums.photosmithapp.com.
Finally, thank you for your continued support. The users are what keeps us going!
September 6, 2013
Greetings from Photoshop World in Las Vegas! We’re well into day three of “the big show” and have met an amazing number incredibly enthusiastic new and existing users of Photosmith for iPad.
We’re really excited to take the wraps off of what we’ve been working on over the past few months: Native camera raw processing right in Photosmith! This will mean full resolution support for camera raw formats previously unsupported in Apple’s iOS, and will be the stepping stone for the next phase of Photosmith development.
Don’t worry, we’re still committed to refining and enhancing existing features, and are continuing to streamline existing digital photography workflows – announcements outlining our efforts to make Lightroom sync even more robust are forthcoming.
We will be at our booth, #434, for another hour – please stop by and say hello if you haven’t already.
Below is our press release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Photoshop World – Las Vegas, NV – Friday, September 6, 2013 – C Squared Enterprises, developer of Photosmith for iPad, announced today that it will include native camera raw processing in its photography app for Apple’s iPad.
Native camera raw rendering, which unlocks full-resolution viewing of photos in Photosmith for iPad, is being demonstrated in booth #434, at Photoshop World in Las Vegas September 6, 2013.
“Although Apple’s iOS offers compatibility for viewing certain more-popular camera raw files on iPad, there are some pretty significant gaps, especially when working with older and narrowly-supported digital cameras like Leica,” said Chris Horne, Co-Developer of C Squared. “By creating our own camera raw rendering engine, we are able to support rendering of far more cameras, and offer never-before seen compatibility on iPad for both old and brand new cameras.”
“This is really exciting! We’re adding support for over ten previously unsupported camera raw file types covering hundreds of camera models, all of which can now be viewed in full resolution on iPad,” said Mike Wren, C Squared spokesman and Chief User Advocate. “iPad users will no longer need to rely on, and wait for Apple to push an iOS update to unlock support for brand new cameras. This also opens up a tremendous number of possibilities for photo processing in future versions of Photosmith, right on the iPad.”
Native camera raw rendering is currently undergoing final testing and will be be available in the next version as a free update for all current users. A complete compatibility list of supported cameras will be posted on Photosmith’s website at www.photosmithapp.com.
C Squared released Photosmith version 3 in April, 2013 to universally positive reviews, both in Apple’s App Store and in the tech media. Charlie Sorrel of the popular blog Cult of Mac said in a recent review, “The interface actually makes [adding keyword tags] easier to do in Photosmith than in Lightroom. You can quickly create new tags, make trees or hierarchical tags (People>The Lady) and apply tags to multiple photos at once.”
Photosmith 3 is a free update for all existing users, and is available for a one-time cost of $19.99, or the equivalent local currency.