Steve's Digicams - Breaking News - Nik Multimedia 09/25/02 Press Release




Nik Multimedia

Press Release - September 25, 2002




nik multimedia, Inc. Announces Dfine™ : Noise Reduction & Detail Optimization Software for Digital Photography




Photokina: Cologne, Germany – September 25, 2002: nik multimedia, Inc., a leading developer of professional digital photography tools, today announced its latest software product for digital photography. Dfine™ from nik multimedia, simplifies the image editing process for digital photos and provides new tools for noise reduction and detail optimization. Dfine™ reduces noise and unwanted imperfections that may be a part of the digital image and allows the user to control and redefine image details.

Dfine™ uses a proprietary system to reduce noise based on the characteristics, colors, and type of detail in the image, using a system that considers the varying structures of the image and ability of the eye to perceive details. Dfine™ provides a unique system for reducing noise in a dynamic fashion across the entire image for a more natural effect. Dfine™ is designed to be the first step in the workflow when editing digital photos and provides users with an array of detail and photographic related features, including noise reduction, jpg artifact reduction, as well as color and light enhancements to create better photographic prints.

Based on extensive research, Dfine™ was created to provide photographers and photo enthusiasts with a noise reduction solution with specific focus on maintaining the natural appearance of images in the noise reduction process. Dfine™ from nik multimedia continues the tradition of nik multimedia software, offering powerful professional software applications that are easy to use, regardless of the user’s experience in digital photography.

A summary version of nik multimedia’s white paper on effective noise reduction and the system used by Dfine™ is available at www.nikmultimedia.com/dfine/whitepaper/. The complete white paper will be available in the fourth quarter of 2002 with the release of Dfine™.

"We have listened intently to our customers and a broad range of photo enthusiasts in developing the features of Dfine™," says Michael Slater, President and CEO of nik multimedia.

"By incorporating camera-specific profiles and selective noise reduction capabilities, Dfine™ offers both power and ease-of-use for one of the most important aspects of digital photography".

Reducing Noise Using Camera-Specific Profiles: Dfine™ offers a system that provides camera-specific noise reduction using proprietary camera profiles specifically designed for Dfine™ and the associated digital camera. Dfine™ camera profiles are created using a process that considers the specific camera and the manner in which it captures and processes digital images in order to optimize adjustments for each specific camera. With information from the camera profile, Dfine™ offers even greater flexibility and more options for precise noise reduction.


Defining Details Based On Color: Dfine™ combines camera-specific profiles with a system that optimizes noise reduction based on the ‘detail-to-color relationship’ in the image, generating an optical relationship between image detail and color in the noise reduction process. Using this detail-to-color optimization process, users may select or sample specific colors from the image to adjust for the appearance of noise within these colors. Dfine™ automatically draws a relationship among these colors and the noise that exists among the details in order to optimize the noise reduction process for that specific image. A series of calculations considers the colors selected and their relationship to noise in the image. For additional power and flexibility, users can selectively apply noise reduction based on these settings with pressure sensitive support from compatible graphics tablets.

Reducing Noise Selectively Using Pressure Sensitivity: When used with Adobe Photoshop® or Photoshop® Elements for Windows® and Mac OS X systems, Dfine™ enables users to selectively apply noise reduction and associated color and light changes. Any mouse or pointing device can be used to selectively apply Dfine™ noise reduction and image enhancements. Additional control and flexibility is provided via full pressure sensitive support from graphics tablets such as the Wacom® Cintiq®, Intuos®, and Graphire® tablets which allows the user to apply Dfine™ with up to 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity.

Reducing Jpg Artifacts for Better Print Quality: Dfine™ includes the option to reduce artifacts that occur in jpg-compressed files. The jpg reprocessing option in Dfine™ analyzes the jpg image and its details to reduce the typical ‘blocking’ artifacts that occur in jpg compression. Dfine™ uses a proprietary process that considers the details as they appear prior to jpg compression in order to reduce the typical blocking artifacts from jpg’s and improve the appearance of the image in print.

Dfine™ Feature Overview

Custom Camera Profiles

Dfine™ includes a system that enables users to fine tune the noise reduction process by utilizing additional custom camera profile modules for Dfine™. As digital cameras capture and process images differently, camera profiles from Dfine™ target noise based on the individual camera and the manner in which it processes the image. Additional power and features are provided, including the detail-to-color optimization process (described below).

Dfine™ Selective Module

The detail-specific tools in Dfine™ allow the user to reduce noise that is located against a specific detail type selectively, in areas such as sky or skin, to provide a more natural effect. By clicking on the associated tool on the Dfine™ Selective palette, the user can brush away noise from the associated area. When pressure sensitive graphics tablets are used, Dfine™ Selective tools can be applied to varying degrees in the image for added control.

Dfine™ Selective: Using Camera Profiles

Users can combine the Dfine™ Selective tool with the Dfine™ camera profile and selectively apply optimized noise reduction anywhere in the image, taking advantage of up to 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity when using pressure sensitive graphics tablets.

Detail to Color Optimization

Dfine™ provides a new and proprietary feature for noise reduction that enables the user to reduce noise based on the color against which the noise may appear. The user can review the image for noise and select or sample multiple colors from the image and identify the strength of noise reduction that is desired. Green colors in high-detailed foliage may need less noise reduction, gray colors and shadows may require a different level, and white clouds in the sky may need to be treated differently for example. Custom color combinations can be set, and Dfine™ optimizes noise reduction using the color values set, while considering the camera profile.

Quick Fix

A Quick Fix method is provided for users who want a quick global fix for noise and related color and light adjustments. To use the quick fix method, users compare their image to a graphical list of intensities of noise and color via a pull-down menu and then select the settings that most represent their image. Dfine™ then applies the associated level of noise reduction and light corrections. When accessed through the Dfine™ Selective tool, the quick fix can be applied selectively for even more control. (See Dfine™ Selective tool description)

Single-Click Presets

Dfine™ offers 8 single-click presets that enable users to save and access frequently used settings for the lighting conditions or types of images captured. Presets could be created, for example, for indoor or outdoor photos, for portraits that are captured with studio lights, for night-time photos, or for any custom setting that the user wants to access again quickly.

Counter-Light Correction

Dfine™ provides a variety of tools for adjusting light and contrast. The counter-light correction tool enables users to compensate for back light conditions. The counter-light correction provides adjustments for Horizontal Counter- Light, providing control over horizontal directional light and a Global Counter-Light adjustment for balancing overall sources for back light.

Multi-Preview Options: The multiple preview mode in Dfine™ allows users to view multiple preview windows. View a single, large preview window or use up to five smaller previews at the same time to review various image details and characteristics. All preview windows contain multiple zoom levels for reviewing image details. The user can toggle between multiple preview configurations, allowing the user to view various side by side before and after image previews.

Reveal Analysis Mode: The Reveal Analysis mode provides users with an added tool for reviewing and analyzing an image for noise and light. Similar to inking a microscope slide, the Reveal Analysis mode analyzes the image and reveals noise and color irregularities (or changes) that may be addressed by the user.

In the analysis mode, dark areas are inked red to enable the monitoring of shadows and darker details, while highlights and high contrast areas are inked blue for users to observe when editing the image. The Reveal Analysis mode enables users to observe important aspects of the digital photo easily in order to improve its appearance and maintain a natural looking image.

Grab and Drop: The Grab and Drop preview feature facilitates an efficient image analysis system, allowing the user to grab a detail from any preview window and drag it to an adjacent window. Grab and Inspect enables users to compare sensitive detail in either the normal or analysis mode, and allows the before and after image to be compared in the noise removal process.

Image Histograms: The histogram features in Dfine™ illustrate the changes in digital information that occur in the image with regard to color and image contrast. The Dfine™ histograms illustrate both color and contrast changes in a single histogram to provide the user with a combined view of the changes to the image.

16 Bit Compatibility: Dfine™ supports both 8 bit and 16 bit digital images, with the software utilizing full 16 bit image capabilities. When 8 bit images are processed, Dfine™ internally uses a conversion procedure that allows Dfine™ to process the image with all the advantages of a 16 bit image, alleviating the histogram "gapping" that occurs when image information is adjusted in the image editing process.

Compatibility

Dfine™ is an Adobe Photoshop® compatible plug-in, compatible with Adobe® Photoshop®, Photoshop® Elements, Jasc® Paintshop Pro®, Ulead PhotoImpact, and other compatible plug-in hosts. Dfine™ is developed for Windows 98/NT/2000/XP and Mac OS 9 & Mac OS X systems, and includes a pressure sensitive, selective application module, compatible with Adobe® Photoshop® and Photoshop® Elements for Windows 98/ME/NT/2000/XP and for Mac OS X.

Pricing and Availability

Dfine™ will be offered with a suggested retail price of .95 USD, with individual Dfine™ camera profiles available starting at .95 for electronic purchases. Dfine™ will be available in the United States and Canada in the fourth quarter of 2002, with localized versions for German and French available by the end of 2002.

About nik multimedia, Inc.

nik multimedia, Inc. is a privately-held company providing innovative software solutions for the emerging digital imaging, photographic, and graphic design markets. nik multimedia produces the award-winning nik Color Efex Pro™, nik Sharpener Pro™, and penPalette™ software, which have become the leading software plug-in products for digital photography and imaging professionals. nik multimedia, Inc. focuses on the development of a variety of applications for the photography, graphic design, pre-press/publishing, scientific imaging, and web publishing markets. The company’s products use a range of innovative, patent pending technologies that make digital imaging and photography easier and more powerful.

nik Sharpener Pro, nik Color Efex Pro, penPalette, and Dfine are trademarks of nik multimedia, Inc. All other trademarks and service names are the trademarks of their respective owners.







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