This is the time of the last minute holiday preparations. For far away friends and family, it may be too late to mail them a card. However, it’s not too late to email them your season’s greetings. In fact, it’s never too late for email. That’s its best quality.

You don’t need to get too fancy. The recipient will appreciate the thought. So let’s get started.

First you will need a festive or festively-suggestive image. What do I mean by that? Perhaps a shot of a snowy landscape or your kids building a snowman. Heck, even a close up on the bough of a fir tree (or potentially any evergreen tree) will do. For us, we’re using a close up of the decorated tree.

Open your image in Edit mode. If you want to make a large number of cards on a variety of images, you could press Record in the Actions palette at this time to save yourself work later on.

card_original

I’m opting to crop the image just a little bit so there’s no wasted space. This can be done in the Crop tool of the Geometry group. Simply drag your cursor over the area you wish to keep. Everything outside of the selected area will be removed.

crop

I then press Done.

From here, there’s a lot of different directions I could take this. I could add a lens blur to emphasize the bokeh effect that’s already happening. I could add a special effect. I particularly like using the Oil Paint effect, but turning down all of the settings so low that it almost tricks the eye — is that a photo or a painting? The subtlety is nice, and the Edit Brush, Gradients, and Pixel Targeting come in handy in such cases. All will depend on your image. You may want to boost the saturation to make a cold winter photo into a warm, cheery one. I didn’t bother on this one, as the golds are pretty warm already, and I kind of like the warm and cold contrasts in the incandescence of the ornaments, but that’s just me.

You could add a vignette, which, incidentally can be done in any color.

vignette

In the end, I chose something more classic to emphasize the center subject. This can also be done by adding a border, and so I’ll open the Border tool in the Add group. You can select a color for your border by choosing one from the color box, or by selecting a color on the image.

colour_picker_border

You can adjust the width of the border by moving the Size slider. To create some visual interest, choose the Irregular radio button in the Edge section, and then press the arrow button to see the edge options available. (You can also use the lower arrows to flip through the options.)

irregular_edge

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Press OK to choose an irregular shape. Press Done to finish with your border.

Now for the message. How in depth that becomes will be decided by a number of factors, such as:

a) How much space do you have?

b) How customized do you want it to be?

c) Would you rather treat your email as the inside of the card, and the image as the outside?

d) Does the image look silly with a lot of text on it?

Open the Text tool in the Add group. I covered adding text in detail in this tutorial so I won’t carry on about it too much. What’s most important to me with a situation like this is positioning, but also the look and feel. Once again, you can match the text to colors in the image by clicking the color box, then choosing the Eye Dropper in the Colors dialog by pressing the Select button.

choose_text_colour

Once you have selected your color, I recommend playing around with the blend mode, available from the Blend Mode drop-down menu.

blend_modes

Once satisfied, I’m going to click Done. Since I don’t want to get carried away, and there’s a million other things on my holiday to-do list, I’m going to call it quits on the editing and move on to sending my message out to loved ones. I save my image and exit out of Edit mode.

final_product

If you have included layers in your card and then saved it as a .acdc file, it may be too large to send via email. You can quickly convert the image to a file format of your choice by selecting the image in Manage mode and choosing Batch | Convert File Format. Select your desired file format and follow the prompts in the Batch Convert File Format wizard.

Now you can email your image by selecting it in Manage mode and choosing Send | Email Images…

email_image

For assistance, press the Help button in the Send Email Wizard. From here you can inscribe your personalized greeting to loved ones far away. There you go — one task down! Now on to getting those gifts wrapped. :)

Let’s talk about lens distortion. It happens to us all, even if we don’t realize it. It’s not complicated to fix, but it is a bit complicated to describe, so I will do my best to make it clear for you.

In barrel distortion the photo appears to bulge outwards from the center. In pincushion distortion the photo appears to shrink inwards towards the center. Barrel and pincushion distortion are common in photos that were taken with wide angle or zoom lenses. Can’t visualize it?

Here is your image distortion-free:

grid

Now here’s an example of what a barrel distortion would do to that:

barrel

And pincushion:

pincushion

But fear not — you can correct barrel and pincushion distortion. In ACDSee Pro 9 or Ultimate 9, you have the option of manual correction, or lens correction based on your lens profile. This time, I’m going to talk about automatic correction, which is based on your lens profile. What’s a lens profile? It means you can select the make, model, and lens of the camera used and receive a correction that is lens-specific. It corrects the distortion inherent to the lens used. The Lens Correction tool contains a database of camera makes, models, and their possible lenses. The possible lenses for the selected camera will be available for you to choose from the Lens drop-down menu, unless there is only one possible lens, in which case, that lens will be pre-selected.

You can also map the correction specific to your lens, (the lens profile), to your camera make, model, and lens combination. Mapping the lens profile will enable you to apply the correction to all images with the same camera-lens combination that you open in the Develop mode Lens Correction tool, should you choose.

To Automatically Correct Lens Distortion:

1. Open your image in Develop mode, and click the Geometry tab.

2. Open the Lens Correction group.

3. Select the Enable Lens Profile checkbox.

enable_lens_profile

4. Often, ACDSee detects the correct camera make and model. However, if it does not pre-populate, use the Make and Model drop-down menus to select the make and model of the camera used to take this particular photo.

5. Next, select the lens model from the Lens drop-down menu. If you’re not sure what the lens model is, you can refer to your EXIF information in the bottom right corner.

select_lens

It’s probably worth mentioning that the lens value displayed in the EXIF information may not be reliable in the case of third party lenses, as the camera itself may only recognize the third party lens as an ID number. If possible, recover the correct lens value and select it from the Lens drop-down menu.

The correction will occur instantly. Tip: To observe the difference, toggle the Show Original button in the bottom left corner.

show_original

Some results are fairly apparent, depending on the amount of distortion:

output_2ldvzE

Others, less so:

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(Don’t ask me what that is a photo of. Sea creatures? Confectionery?)

Now you have the option of saving this lens profile as a default for future use on other images with this camera make/model and lens combination. This will save you a ton of time if you’ve got a bazillion photos with the same camera/lens combo. As this function relies on EXIF data, this can mainly be performed with JPEG, DNG, RAW, and TIFF images.

To Save Your Lens Profile as a Default:

1. With your desired camera and lens combination selected, press the Map Default button.

2. Optional: Select the Auto-apply this mapped profile when entering Develop mode checkbox to apply the mapped default to future images upon entering Develop mode.

3. Press OK.

map_default

You can also manage your saved defaults, should you decide later on that you don’t want certain lens profiles anymore.

1. Press the Manage Defaults button in the Lens Correction group.

2. In the Manage Mapped Defaults dialog, you can select any profile from the list and delete it by pressing the Delete Mapped Default button.

3. Press OK.

And that’s that! Happy perfecting your images!

 

Sometimes, you take a photo that ends up having a haze in it. What do I mean, “haze”? A haze can occur when dust, smoke, or other particles obscure the clarity of the image, particularly the sky. Some parts of the world, I suspect, will have more of an issue than others. And yet sometimes, as I discovered, it has nothing to do with the air quality. Sometimes there’s just too much mist.

Luckily, one of ACDSee Pro 9 and Ultimate 9’s new features is a Dehaze tool. So let’s get started.

Open said image in Edit mode. If you have a number of images to adjust, you may decide you want to get the Actions window involved.

haze_edit

Under the Exposure/Lighting group, select Dehaze. All you need to do next is adjust the Amount slider according to your individual image.

dehaze

Click Done, then save your work.

Here’s the before and after:

before_after

 

And that’s all there is to it! There you go. You can now take the vagary out of your photos, be it due to pollution, fog, mist, dust, etc. etc.

another_example