Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bibble Survival Guide

Earlier this year, two long-time Bibble experts published the first really detailed ebook focused on optimizing your digital workflow with Bibble 5. Andreas F. X. Siegert and Marco Frissen have been using Bibble for years and years, and are both quite accomplished photographers, authors and educators. You can see a sample of Andreas' work here, and Marco's here, but here are a coupe of my favorites:

"Gas station at dusk" by Andreas F.X. Siegert

"At the Bar" by Marco Frisen

But, enough about that, let's take a look inside the Bibble Survival Guide.

The BSG, as it's called, starts out with a brief history of Bibble Labs and an intro into RAW processing and non-destructive editing. From there, Marco and Andreas quickly jump into their Setup Workflow. This is their recommendation on how to get Bibble downloaded, installed, running, and how to familiarize yourself with the Bibble 5 interface.

Each of the various sections in the Setup process contains links to other sections in the BSG that discuss, in detail, the bits mentioned in the Setup. That's one of the great things about this book - it's a PDF and is simply full of links to other related content in the BSG. So you don't have to read it front-to-back, just click around through the bits that are relevant to your level of knowledge of Bibble 5. Also, since it's a PDF, you can search the BSG for specific items of interest - a whole lot easier that flipping through a printed book. But, of course, you can print it yourself if you do want a paper copy (it's over 200 pages, though).

The section on Color Management deserves a special mention here. It not only provides a great introduction to what Color Management actually means, detailing how camera profiles, working spaces, and output profile conversions all work together to ensure your images look great and that the color is accurately reproduced on the web, in prints, and anywhere else you use your images. It also provides recommendations on working spaces and how to setup Bibble 5 for optimal color quality.  Color management can be pretty complicated stuff, but Andreas and Marco break it down into practical, real-world terms that any any photographer can quickly grasp. And, since this guide is all about Bibble 5, they provide step-by-step help for ensuring your settings in Bibble 5 are spot on.

Chapter 4 is all about the image adjustment tools built into Bibble 5. It's a little over 40 pages long, and walks your through each of the various tools in Bibble, what they do, and how to use them. But, this isn't just the simple list of tools that you'll find in the Bibble 5 Users Guide; rather, Andreas and Marco group the various controls into groups and discuss them together. Starting with White Balance, Exposure and tonality controls, and continuing through color correction, compositional changes using cropping and rotation, noise control and sharpening, etc. In this section, they also walk you through, step-by-step, Bibble 5's selective editing tools, including heal & cloning. They provide lots of real-world examples and guide you through Bibble 5's interface with their own images, so you can see exactly how they go from the original images to print-ready photos.

Chapter 8 and Chapter 9 might be the most valuable sections for those that already are somewhat familiar with Bibble 5, but really want to get the most from it. Chapter 8 is all about plugins - where to find them, what they do, how to use them, including, of course, lots of sample images with before/after comparisons. It goes through 12 of the most popular plugins for Bibble 5 in detail.

Chapter 9 - titled "How To" - does just that: it shows you How To put all you've learned in the first chapters of the book to use, on real-world images. It shows you not only how to correct lots of common photographic problems (bottom left is the "Hazy Day" example) but also how to use Bibble's tools for creative interpretation of your photos, including 5 pages on black & white conversions using several different methods and plugins. There's another section on skin tones and retouching, shown bottom right, using selective adjustments to selectively soften skin.


There's obviously a lot more to this ebook that I can discuss here. You can get a sample of the ebook here, see the complete table of contents, and learn more about Marco and Andreas.