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piccure+

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by minibokeh, Oct 3, 2014.

  1. minibokeh

    minibokeh Guest

    piccure+ is a new version of a tool for deconvolution sharpening (... a la Focus Magic, PhotoShop CC, ...), general "lens corrections" and denoising.

    Preliminary findings:

    Excellent: Best quality for any "resolution recovery" tool of its kind (I have tried most). I don't understand the rhetoric on the vendor's web site about lens profiles - they have a built-in lens reporting function, I suspect they're collecting some data to figure out some of the corrections e.g. a DxO would apply.

    Bad: Slow as molasses (I have a Dual Xeon 2687v2, 2x8x2 cores at 3.4Ghz -- the plug-in clearly doesn't take advantage of all those cores), noise reduction too aggressive for low ISO for my taste.
    Bad: Preview is next to useless as it doesn't work selectively on parts of the image (bug?) and takes as long as a full "process".
    Possible workaround for slowness: Very few parameters (the most important one is a "sharpness slider", so you can run it as action and/or in batch mode over night and produce alternate versions and/or figure out typical values per scene type).

    Results are impressive (comparison piccure+, Focus Magic 4, Focus Fixer 3, PS CC 2014 shake reduction). Flickr has the full size pictures (left to right: piccure+, Focus Magic, Focus Fixer, PS CC 2014):
    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/101667287@N08/15422296161" title="sshot-2 by Moritz Berger, on Flickr">"320" height="215" alt="sshot-2"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/101667287@N08/15238885958" title="sshot-3 by Moritz Berger, on Flickr">"320" height="215" alt="sshot-3"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/101667287@N08/15238933257" title="sshot-4 by Moritz Berger, on Flickr">"320" height="216" alt="sshot-4"></a>
    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/101667287@N08/15402429586" title="sshot-5 by Moritz Berger, on Flickr">"320" height="216" alt="sshot-5"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/101667287@N08/15425481735" title="sshot-6 by Moritz Berger, on Flickr">"320" height="215" alt="sshot-6"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/101667287@N08/15422303331" title="sshot-7 by Moritz Berger, on Flickr">"320" height="216" alt="sshot-7"></a>
    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/101667287@N08/15238725239" title="sshot-8 by Moritz Berger, on Flickr">"320" height="215" alt="sshot-8"></a>

    Many of us will buy a plug-in like this to use it to recover some of those precious pictures that we all have that cannot easily be reshot, but would benefit from a technical fix.
    Therefore: Promising and Recommended.
     
  2. minibokeh

    minibokeh Guest

    Here's another great example: Taken with Zeiss Otus 55mm on D800e. Look at original (left) vs. enhanced (right) picture:
    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/101667287@N08/15402646116" title="sshot-9 by Moritz Berger, on Flickr">"640" height="393" alt="sshot-9"></a>
    Shortcut to full size, click here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/101667287@N08/15402646116/sizes/o/
     
  3. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I tried it earlier today on an up-rezzed photo and it didn't perform very well at all, as it introduced lots of artifacts. As you said, it's also glacially slow, it makes Olympus Viewer 3 seem fast.
     
  4. minibokeh

    minibokeh Guest

    They have some caveats in their manual (which is hidden in the application's menu on the top right hand side of the screen):
    While piccure+ allows you to rescue many of your blurry images, it won’t do the trick in the following cases:
     Image is out of focus (similar to the way things look without your glasses).
     Objects are moving within the image, but camera was steady.
     Night shots where only lights are visible
     Noisy images (ISO >400/800—depending on the camera).

    Not sure if any of those apply in your case - e.g. they strongly advise not to even try on cell phone pictures. This sounds to me like the algorithm is tuned to work on high quality images straight out of the camera (preferably RAW)? Under those circumstances (even violating the high ISO clause in most of my sample images considerably), I haven't seen artifacts after moving the sharpness slider a bit to the left (less aggressive). Sharpness was still better than the other methods.
    FYI the D800e picture is shot at ISO 1250. Interesting e.g. how much detail in the tiled floor is recovered. For artifacts, I would look at the flowers - looks all natural to me (just sharper)?

    Another example: E-M1, Pana Leica 25mm 1.4 at f3.2, 1.6" (hand held!) in the Seattle Underground:
    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/101667287@N08/15426276052" title="sshot-11 by Moritz Berger, on Flickr">"640" height="393" alt="sshot-11"></a>
    full res shortcut: https://www.flickr.com/photos/101667287@N08/15426276052/sizes/o/
     
  5. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    The photo I tried it on was almost ideal. I was interested after reading the blurb as to how it would 'improve' the image after I'd increased it's size in OV3. Unfortunately, the image broke up badly, so I guess it's not designed for these sorts of things. The way I read the blurb, after the comparisons shown, was that it wasn't so much a rescue program, but one that could enhance good images and make them significantly better.

    I removed piccure, by doing a system restore and then I've come across a somewhat odd error message saying that 'CORE_RL_Magick++_.dll cannot be found reinstall program every time I open Photoshop. I've found this reference relates to a open source program called ImageMagick, which is an image manipulation program, so I suspect that piccure uses this as it's basis and when I did a system restore, it left some sort of corrupt registery entry. Photoshop still opens and works fine, but I get this message every time I open Photoshop.

    Now I'm going to have to figure out how to stop this annoying message.
     
  6. minibokeh

    minibokeh Guest

    Your experience is certainly very annoying. You should contact their support and let them know, perhaps they can come up with a "cleanup" tool to help you fix the issue. Manual steps: You should look in your PS plug-in folder to see if there are any residual files?
    I did a little experiment to confirm dependency on "pure" pixel-level data straight from camera and without sharpening etc. (i.e. ideally not JPEG): Against the vendor's advice, I used an iPhone picture (which is sharpened by default). Voila - artifacts occur:
    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/101667287@N08/15240107160" title="sshot-12 by Moritz Berger, on Flickr">https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3932/15240107160_99ec8c6d3d_o.png" width="847" height="613" alt="sshot-12"></a>

    I have found a number of pictures that benefit from using the plug-in, so I'll probably not uninstall after the 14 day trial is over.
     
  7. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Yes, further research indicates that piccure could have installed some files into PS and that could be the cause of the problem.

    Piccure may be great for some files, but I don't think it's the answer to any wide ranging image issues. I'm trying to download and install ImageMagick to see what it does, but it's being a bit of a pain at the moment. I suspect even more now that piccure uses ImageMagick as the basis for it's image manipulation, which is why I want to see what ImageMagick does.
     
  8. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Well, piccure caused the problem I was having. I reinstalled piccure and then uninstalled it the normal way and now PS works normally, without the error message coming up. I really don't like programs that do these sorts of things to one's system, as they indicate that they aren't fully sorted out.
     
  9. minibokeh

    minibokeh Guest

    Lessons learned so far:
    1. Reduce default sharpening settings for typical m43 files (even at low ISO, e.g. 200). In the example below, I moved the slider to the left between letters A and R in "SHARPNESS" (would be great if piccure+ was showing numerical equivalents with the ability to type in settings)
    2. Don't use any denoise filter (camera raw, Lightroom, ...) prior to applying piccure+
    3. Don't use any sharpening before piccure+ (e.g. JPEGs from smart phones)

    Example taken with Panasonic GM1, 8mm f3.5 Panasonic fish eye lens (f4, 1/800", ISO 200, hand held):
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/101667287@N08/15255396908/sizes/o/

    On this example, I converted the RAW file with DXO (disabling sharpening and denoise). piccure+ doesn't have the correct color profile for GM1 raw and creates weird color distortions on those raw files, you have to use another converter. Capture One is not recommended as it seems it does too much processing (probably as part of its demosaicing filter), which piccure+ doesn't seem to like. YMMV.
     
  10. PuterPro

    PuterPro New to Mu-43

    2
    Oct 6, 2014
    Just a heads-up on uninstall & System Restore ...

    Hi !
    Glad to hear you got this resolved, but just as a BTW... using System Restore to remove a program is not proper, as you found out!

    Many people reach for System Restore as a quick cure all, but it can bite you you know where! LOL!!

    System Restore is meant to restore missing or corrupted system files and Registry entries, but by design doesn't touch YOUR files.
    What it decides are yours can vary a lot. It's supposed to be safe, and undo-able, but it can get corrupted without notice, and I've see it eat a machines lunch and totally trash it to unrepairable without a full reinstall of Windows!! Just sayin'...

    What happened is that you removed SOME of the files and SOME of the Registry items, but it considered the plugins folder "yours" so didn't remove all of the program... Takeaway : Always use the Windows Uninstall or a program like Revo Uninstaller (use with care and READ what it's removing, as it can get over zealous, but works quite well) to properly remove a program.

    Reserve System Restore for emergencies only, misuse can REALLY trash you machine. :dash2:
    Been there, own the T Shirt. :biggrin:

    I'm NOT criticizing at all, just giving you and others a heads up... If I can save one person that "Oh my GOD" moment...
    :smile:

    All the Best, PuterPro
     
  11. PuterPro

    PuterPro New to Mu-43

    2
    Oct 6, 2014
    Piccure+ Speedup tip & general comments

    Hi all !!
    Haven't got my profile up yet, I'll fix that soon.
    Really glad to have run across this Forum as I own Pana DMC-G3 system and am pondering a GX7.

    RE: Piccure+ ; I've been playing with it for a couple hours, and have been Emailing Lui in support on some issues (Excellent support response, I'm quite impressed so far.)

    If you are finding the processing time long (and it can be for big images), put the magnification to 400% and do the Preview or Process, then put it to the zoom you like to review!

    I was using a very detailed image from Red Rocks, CO in it and at 100% it took 63 secs to preview. Set it to 400% and it went to 16 seconds!! Well worth the 3 or 4 clicks to change zoom level.

    I just started with it so I haven't gotten a good feel for it yet, but I'll report back and try to post some images.

    I have an old image that was a scan from negative that I cleaned up for a Client last year (can't post, not mine...). She's a birder and had this very rare bird that she was way long on and she shook. I got it better in Focus Magic, but a couple seconds in Piccure+ absolutely blew me away. It made Focus Magics efforts look like kid's play. My Wife looked at it and said Holy ... :wink:

    The couple others I've briefly tried have been a mixed bag. But it's great to have another tool in the bag, even if it only works on some stuff!

    I've got CS6 and Lightroom 4, so I haven't access to the PS shake removal in CC, and so far have refused to join Adobe's money grab plan, so I'm not likely to ever have it ...

    I'm going to be trying Piccure+ over the next few days and will report back. Really excited to have found this Forum!!

    PuterPro
     
  12. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Yes, in some cases it can create issues, but I use system restore often when testing software, as it ensures that there is nothing left behind in the Registry that could cause problems. What you describe is true, but sometimes the reverse can happen (deliberate or not, I don't know). The classic cases are Norton AV and Apple Quicktime, but I've experienced others as well.
     
  13. GBarrington

    GBarrington Mu-43 Veteran

    I don't know, at $109 US, that list of things it can't do seems kind of long to me.
     
  14. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    It's a pity that I can't get ImageMagick to install, other than the viewer, as I'd like to see what it can actually do (as it's the basis for piccure).
     
  15. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    The viewer is the only gui app in imagemagick.
    Everything else is command-line only.

    Use the force.

    The main programs are CONVERT & MOGRIFY.
    Be careful as MOGRIFY will modify the jpegs directly instead of making copies.

    Barry
     
  16. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Urk! No way will I play with commend line stuff ever again. That kind of explains piccure, they have obviously created a GUI using ImageMagick as the underlying code.
     
  17. minibokeh

    minibokeh Guest

    piccureplus are offering a 30% competitive upgrade discount for Topaz and DxO users - I just bought my license.
    In the end, it comes down to the question: Which would you rather print (left vs. right image example below, ZF.2 Macro Planar 100mm f2 with SpeedBooster):
    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/101667287@N08/15477621681" title="sshot-14 by Moritz Berger, on Flickr">[​IMG]
     
  18. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I copied and opened your image in PS and just did a simple sharpen with Focus Magic and the left side looked much the same as the right side. Of course, using a reduced image isn't always going to tell the story, as especially when you do reduce an image, sharpening is usually required anyway.
     
  19. kwalsh

    kwalsh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    775
    Mar 3, 2012
    Baltimore, MD
    So I've read up on their site about the product and it is doing something I've been very interested in for awhile - adaptive deconvolution. From what I've seen of these techniques over the years I suspect that with a nice lens (say 12-40/2.8 at F/4 or F/5.6) they aren't going to offer significant improvement over a lot of other "smart sharpening" products out there (e.g. Focus Magic).

    Where things will get interesting is improving lower quality optics, like say a kit zoom in the corners. Or just really hard optical problems, like UWA corners such as the 7-14 or 9-18. In theory piccure+ may have an advantage in those cases - especially zooms I suspect.

    The other interesting application is their micro motion correction for things like shutter shock.

    Thanks for the heads up, I'm definitely going to experiment with this tool and see what it can do. The key point I think is going to be does it do anything better than other solutions out there. I suspect those differences will show up only in certain cases.
     
  20. minibokeh

    minibokeh Guest

    Adaptive deconvolution and other tools: See beginning of this thread - I did a comparison with some of the other tools (I ended up accumulating most of them over time). piccure+ definitely has some shared and some unique characteristics. My benchmark comes down to preference, I'm seeing some interesting results that I can't achieve with the other tools, including specifically the corner sharpening for wide angle and fish eye.
    One outlier (needs more work to confirm): So far pictures taken with my Voigtlander 17.5mm f0.95 wide open have not worked well with piccure. Somehow the characteristic rendition produced by that lens doesn't benefit from this treatment, and I would go as far as saying that it can back fire (I prefer the image without piccure).