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March 2017    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 43, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Vivid-Pix JPEG Picture-Fix

from the March, 2017 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Original image
Raw Conversion image
Vivid-Pix image

Anyone who has a digital camera that can be taken underwater will be aware of the RAW file option as opposed to a JPEG converted by software in the camera. Most keen underwater photographers shoot RAW files so they may make a huge range of adjustments to their photos when editing. But my wife refuses to do that. She wants to get JPEGs directly from her camera, without any work to do later. She's not alone.

A problem can arise if she gets the camera setting wrong. I often get it wrong, but it's got to be very wrong indeed for me to be unable to transfer a RAW file to my laptop computer before I save it to a final JPEG.

I nag my wife to shoot in RAW format, but she is steadfast in her refusal. So what to do with those JPEG pictures she takes that are almost the right color? Underwater colors can be very wrong at times.

Vivid-Pix has come up with stand-alone software called Picture-Fix, and I loaded the Land & Sea+ version onto my laptop to see how easy it was to use.

You select the image you want to modify from your computer's memory, and you can choose from nine alternative treatments. You can then tweak the colors by adjusting red, blue and green values, change the contrast and brightness, and alter what they call "depth removal" that seems to be the equivalent of vividness or color saturation.

I gave Vivid-Pix a tough test by loading an underwater picture I had shot by natural light without any in-camera white-balancing. Picture-Fix didn't do a bad job of correcting the color and getting rid of the awful blue cast, but I'm afraid it didn't stand the test of comparison with the subtlety of the JPEG that I transferred from the RAW file that I had corrected in the Photoshop RAW converter.

However, you get what you pay for, and this software is certainly a lot more attainable at $79. And, there's a version for every computer operating system. (You can't buy Adobe Lightroom; you subscribe to it for about $120 per year.)

You can easily download a trial version of Picture-Fix to find out if it suits you. It will certainly improve the look of the JPEGs from your camera, though it falls short of professional standards that can be achieved by starting with raw files.

- John Bantin

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