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Bibble 5 Preview, an overview

Well, we've all been waiting for this since Photokina 2006 and finally Bibble Labs has released a public beta, or preview version, of Bibble 5, their spankin' new Raw workflow tool.

For those curious to try, you can go to the Bibble Labs forum and download the preview there. There's no info on the top website, so you have to sign up in the forums.

Anyway, I thought I'd give a quick overview of the nifty new things that Bibble 5 has in store for us.

Let's start with the UI. As you can see, dark is the rage, and the B5 UI clearly shows there has been some thought in that respect.

Bibble Labs decided to stick with their "edit everywhere" approach, so it doesn't matter if you're in library, filesystem or output tab on the left, you can always edit your image. I personally really like the vertical tabbing. Each tool, be it on the left panels or right panels can be "pinned", so they're always visible. That way you can have your most used tools available all the time. To save space, the panels can be "folded" away, and they'll pop out from the sides whenever you move your mouse pointer to the sides. A great feature if you are working on smaller monitors. I own an Aspire One netbook and B5 runs super on that little machine. With the UI space saving options, it is very usable on a small screen like the AAO has.

A new feature compared to the previous Bibble versions is the option to have a library. Yes, an OPTION, since you're still free to just use the filesystem (as you can see in the screenshot above). Also, B5 is not just limited to one catalog, but you can have multiple catalogues, and each catalogue can reside where ever you want it to reside. For instance you can have one main catalogue on a network drive, another locally and another one on an external harddisk. You can search and browse across those catalogues, so your "library view" is not limited to just one catalogue. Files can be offline (on a DVD for instance) and B5 will detect that. You will be able to view offline files without the actual physical media being attached. Of course editing isn't really possible without the originals, but culling and rating is no problem.

Just like previous Bibble versions, you can have your own layout. I prefer a portrait orientated thumbnail view, so my layout is like the above screenshot. For culling you may want to only have the thumbnails visible, or use the new multi-view to select the best image.

In multi-view you can have the zoom locked, so you can pan around images simultaneously. A border around an image means that image is active.

In the above images I was working in filesystem view, but it is of course more advanced to use the library, since that will offer a lot of extra functionality, like keywording, metadata browsing and searching, multiple versions and stacks.
The screenshot below shows a small overview of the browsing options for your library.

But the great part is that you can do an (almost) live search on your assets. As you can see in the metadata browser I have one image that I've converted to black&white and added a corresponding keyword to it. I can now just enter "Black &White" (without quotes) in the top search bar of the catalogs panel and voila:

I mentioned versions and stacks before. Well, that's pretty easy:

You can see 3 identical images, but each has a different treatment applied. It's really as simple as selecting an image and choosing that you want to create a new version from that image. You can select any image in the stack and opt to create a new version from the master file, current selected file or imported file. This gives you an almost endless palet to choose from. You can stack a selected number of photos. Master (identified by the little page with arrow symbol in the bottom right of the thumbnail frame) files and versions are automatically stacked, so if you create a new version from a file, that version will be added to the stack. You can toggle the stack view. In the screenshot the stack is unfolded, but you can also fold the stack to a single thumbnail view.

Combined all the above features offer great DAM possibilities. But the really, REALLY cool part is the local editing. And not just simple highlights, but any tool that can be done on a whole image can be done at a selection. A quick sample.

I shot this portrait of Zerlina a year ago, and while I love the look (she's beautiful), I'm not too fond of the green leaves. They're a bit too green for my taste.

So, I want to make the background a little darker and possibly also slightly less saturated.
So I select the model:

The selection is a bit rough, but for this purpose it's pretty ok. Now I selected the model, but I want to select the background, so I invert my selection. The color of the selection border changes and shows that now you've inverted the selection.

Now all I need to do is reduce exposure and saturation:

I think the model needs a bit of sharpening and slight desaturation too, so with two clicks I duplicate the layer and invert it back again so the new layer only has the model selected. Then I desaturate a bit and add some sharpening. The final result:

Of course, possibilities are endless, and the above shows that for a lot of tasks you can now leave Photoshop in the closet.
The layers in Bibble 5 can overlap as well, the regions can be simple round circles, polygons or curves (my preferred selection). There's even a brush option with selective size and strength! And each selection also has a feather region of which the size can be easily changed either by right clicking and sliding the size selector or just hovering over the feather and using your scrollwheel. With the scrollwheel you can also resize the actual selection. Moving of regions is a matter of click&drag. Adding points in a polygon or curve selection is just shift-clicking on the spot where you want to add a point. 

So far the quick intro of Bibble 5. Say tuned for more advanced samples. And be sure to check out the bibble labs forums and tutorial videos on B5!