So your Lytro Illum has finally arrived – now what? In many respects, light field photography is fundamentally different from traditional photography, and the switch from one to the other may not be an easy one for everybody.
Josh Anon, nature photographer and former Senior Product Manager at Lytro, recently published a new ebook titled “Using Lytro Illum – a Guide to Creating Great Living Pictures“.
Using LYTRO ILLUM provides a comprehensive overview of the Lytro ecosystem. Endorsed by Lytro, Inc., this book covers everything from what the light field is to how to take advantage of the Lytro button while shooting to how to edit your pictures outside of Lytro Desktop. It’s the one guide that will take you from novice to living picture expert!
We had a closer look at whether the book delivers what the title promises, and in this article, we’ll tell you what we think.
“Using Lytro Illum” starts out with a brief introduction into the world of plenoptic – or light field – imaging and shows what is so special about the technology. The author then introduces Lytro’s flagship camera, the Illum, from the very ground up and explains what hardware and software controls are where and how to set up the camera the first time you use it. Coming from a former Lytro Product Manager, it really feels like this description explains how the camera was intended to be used.
The reader is then led on to a chapter about what makes a great Living Picture (Lytro’s name for light field pictures), how to influence depth of field, and how to use it to create the scene’s perfect refocus range – all in a practical, easy to understand way while avoiding too much dry, technical detail.
Now that the basics are covered, the Anon goes on to provide some real-world examples of great Living Pictures and how to reproduce them.
In computational photography, the saying that the act of photography doesn’t just end at the shutter button is more true than ever. Thus, the book also contains detailed chapters about Lytro Desktop, Lytro Web (the online albums and viewer) and Lytro Mobile for iOS. Going more into detail, the author ends the book with advanced tips and tricks like manual editing of depth maps, compositing Living Pictures, and the right way of sharing RAW/XRAW files.
“Using Lytro Illum” is a great resource for beginners and more experienced, enthusiast light field photographers. The book is written in a very fluent, talkative way and contains lots of practical examples, screenshots, and even some exercises to help you get a better feeling of depth and refocus range.