Chapter in this post:
A while ago, version 1 of Photolemur made a few waves because it was able to convince with surprisingly good results. Now the developers have me (and a few other beta testers) before the sales start (April 18.4.2017, XNUMX) of Photolemur 2 a preliminary version made available so that I or we can put it through its paces. And that's exactly what I've been doing in the last few hours with the Mac version of Photolemur and a good swing in my photo library. My test result is very positive, but I would like to bring you closer to the app using individual examples and a few more information.
As part of the major update to the new version 3.0, there is currently a pre-order discount at Skylum. If you want to buy it, you will find it here the offer page. Otherwise I can still meet you my test of the current 3 version I recommend it, in which you can also see many sample photos with a before-and-after effect. This post is a bit older, but it also shows quite well how the software works. So you can also read both posts, as they have different information ready for you.
► Buy Photolemur 3: here at the developer Skylum ◄
The Photolemur 2 software is an app that runs on Windows and macOS. Photolemur's slogan:
Make any picture as vivid as your memories with the help of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence in one click.
The function of the software is to improve the image of photos WITHOUT having to deal with contrast, tonal value correction, white balancing and sharpening yourself. It is basically the automatic function to improve a bunch of photos without the user having to worry about it. And the whole thing with the help of "computer science and artificial intelligence".
One might think that Photolemur would take a few standard steps to "improve" a photo. For example, more contrast, more saturation, more dynamics and then another round of sharpening, but in practice it does a lot more, because it also analyzes photos according to their content and specifically optimizes certain areas with certain actions. So it by no means only does things that always affect the entire photo or that would happen without taking the existing content and color values into account.
I am very enthusiastic about the operating concept, because the Mac app offers a window into which you can either drag a photo or a whole bundle of photos. Photolemur then starts optimizing the photos and shows funny vector graphics in motion during this time, which should sweeten the waiting time.
If you drag several photos onto Photolemur, they will be shown unprocessed in a small overview. You can then click on any photo and use the space bar to start optimizing the photo in order to edit individual photos. If you want to have all of them optimized in one fell swoop, click on "EXPORT PHOTOS" at the bottom right and you will then have various social media portals, email and disk available. "Disk" is of course the option you should choose if you want to save the photos to the hard drive. ;)
In the menu you can only find the item "Install plugins", which had no function in my preliminary version. In the final version, however, it enables the installation of Photolemur under "Adobe Lightroom" and "Apple Photos" so that you can use the 1-click improvement of Photolemur directly in these programs.
I'm still pondering whether you shouldn't also be given the option of making a few settings, for example to change the intensity of Photolemur in some photos, but that would of course somehow contradict the concept of the software that you can use drag and Dropping hundreds of photos in one fell swoop can optimize.
I had this question first in my head, because with the Adobe CC subscription I have professional software at my disposal that offers an extremely wide range of options for improving my photos. And yes: I can do all of the optimizations with Lightroom, but I definitely won't get it done that quickly. For this reason I would rather assign Photolemur to the private sector.
If you work with photos professionally, you usually take the time to get the most out of every single photo. It is questionable whether Photolemur can "compete" against its own taste. Photolemur offers an all-round improvement without setting options. So if you want to get a certain style, you still have to resort to Photoshop and Lightroom.
This is what Photolemur shows after 20 seconds of analyzing and editing the DNG file:
The photo was taken as a RAW file with a DJI Phantom 4 drone and shows Hohenaschau Castle. Here is another photo that was also available as DNG:
Even if I don't believe that a portrait photographer will use Photolemur, I generally see potential for the software in professional photographers. The reason: You can also have RAW files revised in the app and with the software you get a good revision of a large number of photos of different types relatively quickly.
In Lightroom you can copy optimization steps from one photo to other photos, but then you have copied exactly the same changes to all photos. For example, if you have photographed the same motif 20 times, then that can make sense, but with a folder with many vacation photos you usually have a lot of different motifs, which also require very different processing steps. And this is exactly where Photolemur scores from my point of view: You can have a lot of photos individually improved reasonably quickly. These can then be sent to the customer for viewing and they may then choose the photos that can be improved more specifically with Lightroom.
In my opinion, another target group for Photolemur are bloggers who do not have the time and muse to edit every single photo for a blog post by hand. If you do a product test and have taken 10 to 20 photos, you can throw them in Photolemur and after 15-20 minutes at the latest you have nicely processed photos that you only have to crop and perhaps save optimized for the Internet. A time saver that I like to pay for with money.
The Photolemur software makes it easy for you to make a before-and-after comparison. If you only open one photo, the image is displayed in a window immediately after the revision, in which you can switch between the original photo and the revised photo with the help of a movable slider. In this way you can see very clearly what the differences are. Incidentally, such sliders can also be found on the Photolemur website to view the results.
You could now believe the photos on the website photolemur.com are embellished references that "worked" particularly well, but the fact is that the software delivered a better picture in all of my tests than my original was. Only in the HDR photographs, and especially in the green tones of grass, is the color saturation a little unnaturally high after being processed by Photolemur. But check out my examples in detail below. On the whole, I think the improvements have turned out well.
Here I just show you a few photos that I find particularly remarkable. Sometimes it is also enlargements of certain details that I find worth mentioning. But overall you get a better impression if you go tried the software for yourself and then move the slider back and forth to see the before and after effect. Sometimes it doesn't come out that well in my screenshots.
If you look at the programmer's website, you will find a graphic that lists the individual points that Photolemur checks and corrects.
In detail, these are the following points, which I have translated more or less well:
Maybe a few more details. The improvement in foliage can be clearly seen. The software recognizes forests and meadows and gives them crisp green tones. Clouds in the sky also become much more exciting through the optimization. Obviously, the haze removal cannot extract anything that is not there, but overall you can see much more details, better colors and less haze, even in distant areas of the image.
I tested the facial enhancement with a few photos of people and could see that on the one hand the skin color is improved (less gray) and sometimes the areas to the right and left of the corners of the mouth are made slightly smaller to make the face appear narrower at the bottom. But this happens to such an extent that you can only recognize it when it is directly overlaid with the original photo.
Otherwise you can see an improvement in the colors, the sharpness and the detail of the photos. The examples here show what I mean.
By the way: The EXIF data of the photos are adopted 1: 1 and are not deleted or changed. So you can throw the photos again in Lightroom or Apple Photos and still have the display with the map where the photos were taken.
If you read my report on the test of Photolemur, you probably wonder whether the software has any disadvantages, as I have so much praise for it. And yes, it also has three points that are not so good, but that didn't stop me from buying the software now.
My first "point of criticism" is the computing time that is necessary to optimize photos with Photolemur. My test with 100 randomly selected photos lasted exactly 1 hour and 2 minutes. This was done on my MacBook Pro Retina 2012 - a MacBook Pro model that is now a bit old and certainly not the fastest. The photos were between 1,8 MB and 6 MB in file size and were taken with the iPhone 6 or iPhone 7 Plus. One hour of computing time for 100 photos is of course not without it and often you take more photos on vacation. However, it should be noted that the calculation can be carried out overnight without any problems, as you do not have to sit at your Mac. After all, Photolemur makes everything autonomous.
If you drag a single photo (from the iPhone 7 Plus with 6,1 MB file size) onto Photolemur as a test, the software needs approx. 30 seconds for the analysis and improvement. From my point of view, a time that is quite manageable. If I want to quickly revise a photo in Photoshop, I probably need more than 5 minutes. So actually "complaining at a high level" ... but maybe something will work with the next updates. ;)
My second point of criticism is the high color saturation, which sometimes makes the photos look a bit artificial. Especially green tones of forests and meadows pop a little too much. I would then like to have a global settings panel in which you can adjust certain variables a little bit personally. Not everyone is a fan of such strong colors, but perhaps one would like to have the other - quite useful improvements - that Photolemur is making.
The third point of criticism is the payment, because the software is paid for with an annual license, which is usually $ 5,99. Personally, I am always a bit put off by software that wants to be paid for on a monthly or yearly basis. I prefer to dig deeper into my pockets and then have rest for 2-3 years until the next major update justifies an investment again. But for programs that I use frequently, I also accept monthly or annual subscription payments. As in the case with Photolemur. Anyone who strikes quickly now (which I would recommend) can still do one Take advantage of the early starter offer, with which I got a 75% discount. But personally, I'd take the software myself for $ 5,99 a month because the results are really convincing. And the computing time can of course also get significantly better with future versions. But even so, it is a great helper to pimp a series of photos. There is also a 30-day money-back guarantee if you want to test the tool without any risk. I've seen enough and I know that I don't want any money back. :)
Update 06.09.2018/XNUMX/XNUMX: There is no longer a subscription model
The new version 3.0 of Photolemur is currently being advertised. This no longer relies on a subscription model. So this point of criticism does not apply to me. Unfortunately, the price is not cheap, but when I think about how much time Photolemur has already saved, I am happy to pay this "penalty fee".
There will never be software that optimizes photos to suit everyone. Photolemur is already quite good with its improvements and will surely meet the tastes of many people. I think the software definitely has potential and especially for people who want to revise a lot of photos, but who don't really have time to pimp them all in Photoshop or Lightroom, Photolemur should be an interesting software.
I bought it straight away and found the results to be quite convincing. I can accept the sometimes somewhat strong colors - especially because the remaining optimizations are also very good and make more details of the image recognizable.
In my opinion, the software is definitely a recommendation for everyone who finds the "auto-optimize button" in Apple's photos to be practical but not extensive. Maybe Apple will buy the Photolemur team one day and we will find the optimizations integrated into "Photos" for free. I personally think it makes more sense than buying beats ... ;-)
► Buy Photolemur 3: here at the developer Skylum ◄
I hope you found my test exciting. It has become much more extensive than I planned, but more and more things came to my mind that I wanted to show and explain. Sorry if it got boring. ;)
I would be interested in how you feel about automatic photo optimization in general and what experiences you have had with Photolemur. The comments are open. : D
Jens has been running the blog since 2012. He appears as Sir Apfelot for his readers and helps them with problems of a technical nature. In his free time he drives electric unicycles, takes photos (preferably with his iPhone, of course), climbs around in the Hessian mountains or hikes with the family. His articles deal with Apple products, news from the world of drones or solutions for current bugs.