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View Full Version : What editing software do you use?


jonesy
28th July 2009, 08:25 PM
I'm really only just getting into any sort of photo editing, having "got by" on picasa (dont laugh), but have more recently started using the Olympus software and seen a difference in my photos.

I'm due to start my OU course, and we are given a copy of Elements to work with, but someone has told me its an old version, so it may not have the latest "bells and whistles"

What other software is out there at a reasonable cost and functionality. Is there something that is not too difficult for a newbie to learn, but also has the functionality to be able to grow with me as I'm learning this new "trade"

Thanks in advance

theMusicMan
28th July 2009, 08:29 PM
Lightroom2.4 - it's an awesome software app. I rarely venture into CS3 any more... LR does the job for 99.9% of my processing now.

RogerMac
28th July 2009, 08:33 PM
I expect that the OU course will have a recommended editor - and probably a student version at a deep discount. I would expect that it it would be difficult to follow the course on any other editor so perhaps they sould give the guidance

Roger

Jonesgj
28th July 2009, 08:37 PM
I started with Elements 6, and then got a copy of Photoshop CS2. I collected all the tutorials from various magazines and have a basic workflow using these.

I have also purchased neat image for Noise reduction.

I have also purchased Lightzone to see what this budget program can do.

Any specific questions just ask

Kind regards


Graydon

jonesy
28th July 2009, 08:42 PM
I expect that the OU course will have a recommended editor - and probably a student version at a deep discount. I would expect that it it would be difficult to follow the course on any other editor so perhaps they sould give the guidance

Roger

OU supply Elements as part of the course... but I was wondering whether that software would "grow" with me as I gained more experience/confidence. I fully intend using the correct course software while I'm working on the course, but its mainly for furthering my skills that I'd like to learn something that probably goes "deeper" than Elements

PaulE
28th July 2009, 09:00 PM
OU supply Elements as part of the course... but I was wondering whether that software would "grow" with me as I gained more experience/confidence. I fully intend using the correct course software while I'm working on the course, but its mainly for furthering my skills that I'd like to learn something that probably goes "deeper" than Elements

The only mainstream programs that really go any further than Elements would either be Photoshop CS/2/3/4 etc or the free Alternative - Gimp (http://www.gimp.org/). I personally use CS4 as I had the opportunity of getting it but I would not in the least be worried about being stuck with GIMP it does 95% of what PS is capable of (99% by the time you add all the plugins) and it won't cost a penny. The only real problem with it is that it's different to PS and that causes problems / fustration when you / nearly everyone else are used to doing things the PS way, some of the modified gimp frontends like GimpShop (http://www.gimpshop.com/) go some way to help with that problem but there's still a bit of a difference. Lightzone is worth trying - I find it infinitely better in terms of colour than ACR for Olympus Raws - despite spending ages trying and playing with existing ACR profiles I can't get one to get anywhere close to OOC jpegs / Studio / Master output, which is a pitty as it would be so useful to have all the adjustments that it offers. Lightzone IMO does a better job but still isn't quite perfect and it's pretty limited once you get outside levels adjustment etc - offers much less than elements does in that regard.

Nick Temple-Fry
28th July 2009, 09:05 PM
For the course I'd recommend you stick to the supplied software - as that represents a common denominator across all the students and will be the tool the instructor(s) are teaching to.

For general use then it's worth looking at The GIMP (if only to learn why it is called that). It has a number of advantages

1) It is shareware under the GNU - so it's free for private use
2) Has a long history in the graphics/animation/commercial sectors
3) Is regularly updated/improved

As a product it is fully featured for photographic post processing (layers etc), plus there is a host of plug-ins to provide additional features (also free). It has all the basic functionality of photoshop (though without some aspects of the intelligence/automation - so it's less bloated). Most articles that provide photoshop advice can be readily followed, though of course the menus are different.

Personally having tried Photoshop I find The GIMP easier to use/understand - mainly because it just does what it says, it doesn't try to be clever.

By default it works from tif/jpeg etc - not RAW, but you can get a raw plug-in that supports orf (DCRAW/UFRAW).

RAW development I do in Olympus Master - or if I've got a file that needs special processing then I use RAWTherapee (also shareware) that provides a neat interface for DCRAW.

http://www.gimp.org/

http://www.rawtherapee.com/

Nick

Chillimonster
28th July 2009, 09:20 PM
Lightroom for 99.999999999999999999999999999999% of the shots, and GIMP for the remaining 0.000000000000000000000000000001% :D

Graham_of_Rainham
28th July 2009, 10:11 PM
I use Picassa3 a lot, it's really good for B&W filtered conversions and all the simple stuff (crops & resize for the web) Other than that it gets done using PSE4

I try to keep in mind that which is attributed to David Bailey: "Photoshop makes a poor photographer, avarage and a good photographer, avarage"

*chr

Dick Bowman
29th July 2009, 06:28 AM
I'd go with the general advice that to follow the course, use the recommended software.

But be alert to the not-very-subtle marketing line of "get them using our products on a course and they'll carry on for the rest of their life".

There are plenty of alternatives out there - most offer a free trial period. To be honest, there's very much an element of "seen one , seen them all" in many respects - one of the things this course had better teach you is fundamental principles rather than "do this by clicking on this button". Try various, you'll probably find one or more that suits you.

Personally I avoid Adobe products like the plague, and not just because of their avaricious UK pricing policy.

theMusicMan
29th July 2009, 06:36 AM
Personally I avoid Adobe products like the plague, and not just because of their avaricious UK pricing policy.
Curious that if not for the pricing, Dick, why do you avoid Adobe...?

OlyPaul
29th July 2009, 07:19 AM
Tracey you will find that Elements will do everything you need to do on that course and will then proberly last you quite a while before you out grow it. Also there are lots of actions and plugins for it that will extend its power to nearly that of the full photoshop as well and it is a reasonable price.

What do I have... Lightroom 2.4, CS3 and I have had every version of Elements up to Version 6 simply because I used to be a Elements beta tester for Adobe.

OlyPaul
29th July 2009, 07:33 AM
I try to keep in mind that which is attributed to David Bailey: "Photoshop makes a poor photographer, avarage and a good photographer, avarage"

*chr

I guess Mr Baily never thought that when he handed his 120films straight out of his Rolli to the darkroom guys and retouchers when he started.

And in later years most of his personel work was printed for him by master printers, though in his 50's i think he did start printing his own B&W.

I'm a great fan of Davids work and had most of his coffee table books, the last one I brought was The Lady Is a Tramp.

But I do think that with some of these old pro's it a case of sour grapes now the playing field as been leveled by the digital darkroom and is not just the preserve of the few now.:)

DerekW
29th July 2009, 08:40 AM
If you are fortunate to be on a Mac then Aperture is a great tool - it does Raw to final output in in one step in a non destructive way, so you can always go back and get more out of the raw image without having to do an additional raw conversion.
All usable output from Aperture is always a first generation creation of the image from the Raw file, so reducing the possibility of multiple compression effects.

Aperture will also make it easy to document the images such that at any time in the future you will be able to retrieve any of your work very easily.

I use Photoshop CS3 for the clever stuff eg using layers and photo merging.

benvendetta
29th July 2009, 11:51 AM
I have had all the versions of Photoshop and am on CS4. For what I require it is excellent but of course I have only scratched the surface of its capabilities. Everyone in my society uses CS4.
I do have Lightroom but have never really tried it.
Could someone please point out the advantages of using Lightroom over CS4?

Chillimonster
29th July 2009, 12:03 PM
To me, the simplist way i could explain it is that CS4 is an Image Editing & Creation Program, whereas Lightroom is an Image 'Retouching' program.

Ian
29th July 2009, 12:17 PM
To me, the simplist way i could explain it is that CS4 is an Image Editing & Creation Program, whereas Lightroom is an Image 'Retouching' program.

Lightroom is also a very capable image management tool. I am cataloguing my archive with Lightroom at the moment have reached 32,000 images. I believe that's around one half to two thirds of my images from the last 11-12 years.

Ian

benvendetta
29th July 2009, 12:24 PM
To me, the simplist way i could explain it is that CS4 is an Image Editing & Creation Program, whereas Lightroom is an Image 'Retouching' program.

I do editing and retouching but not creation. I will have to give Lightroom a go to see if I can achieve what I need with it.
Maybe I will catalog all my images but that sounds like a retirement job!

Chillimonster
29th July 2009, 12:39 PM
Lightroom is also a very capable image management tool. I am cataloguing my archive with Lightroom at the moment have reached 32,000 images. I believe that's around one half to two thirds of my images from the last 11-12 years.

Ian

I really must get around to cataloging my images in lightroom.

I know i have around 44K of images of my two girls alone (8 & 12 year old) :eek:

HughofBardfield
29th July 2009, 12:49 PM
I think there's no such thing as "perfect" software, any more than there is a perfect camera. I probably use Lightroom 95% of the time as it provides the batch processing and cataloguing tools I want and (having used it since the ealry public Beta) am used to. As others have said, I find I need Photoshop only very occasionally, and if I didn't have the copy of CS that came with my PC, would happily make do with Elements.

But, I also occasionally use Lightzone (especially for B&W) and RawTherapee. Both offer different approaches to RAW conversion that suits some images better. Both have "saved" images that ACR/ Lightroom struggled with. Neat Image also occasionally helps with high ISO noise when needed.

I also use PT Lens and ShiftN for perspective correction. Both provide tools that are easier to use than Photoshop, and I think produce better and quicker results.

Before I got PS CS I also used The GIMP and found it clunky, but powerful enough to do all I needed. "Gimpshop" sounds ineteresting - I'll have a look for it.

Nick Temple-Fry
29th July 2009, 01:23 PM
There does seem to be a 'hard sell' both by the makers and the magazines with respect to photo-editing software. Both trying to tell you that to be a 'serious' photographer you need a large panoply of tools/toys/effects.

I'm getting increasingly skeptical - for the few 'good' pictures I've taken they have been largely untouched by pp. Maybe a slight levels adjustment, a pass with a noise filter and a bit of sharpening, even in the raw stage of processing there is seldom need for more than the slightest nudge to the exp slider. So actually I'm doing far less pp now than I was two years ago. The only other things I routinely do is cropping - but that is to 'shape' the existing composition - rather than making the composition at the computer; and perhaps some slight rotation/perspective.

And actually while doing the pp I'm now mostly wondering if it's 'make work', with the levels adjustment just cancelling out the exposure compensation of five minutes ago.:(

Like most I went through the 'sort it out' on the computer stage - hopefully I've now grown out it.

Overall I think there is a lot to be said for starting with a very basic toolset and restricting what you buy to the bare minimum.

I suppose the one exception is hdr as a replacement for on-camera filters and off-camera lighting. But even then the 'less hdr effect' the better.

It's nice to have the toys, and having them it's worth finding out how to use them. But it's what you take with the camera that makes the picture, it has taken me a long time to really learn that.

Nick

Chillimonster
29th July 2009, 01:28 PM
The main thing i'm using Lightroom for at the moment apart from the usual crop / resize / add borders (for my 365 project) is for my B&W conversions which i've become a little 'addicted' to at the moment as a look in my recent shots of the 365 will confirm ;)

I just find that at the moment it works for my style of PP'ing.

OlyPaul
29th July 2009, 02:55 PM
From the Original post

"What other software is out there at a reasonable cost and functionality"


I guess at Free 59, 249 and 560 respectivly, and from the following posts peoples ideas of reasonable cost seem to vary. ;):)

jonesy
29th July 2009, 03:52 PM
If you are fortunate to be on a Mac then Aperture is a great tool - it does Raw to final output in in one step in a non destructive way, so you can always go back and get more out of the raw image without having to do an additional raw conversion.
All usable output from Aperture is always a first generation creation of the image from the Raw file, so reducing the possibility of multiple compression effects.

Aperture will also make it easy to document the images such that at any time in the future you will be able to retrieve any of your work very easily.

I use Photoshop CS3 for the clever stuff eg using layers and photo merging.

Although I dont have a mac myself, I do have daily access to one. I'll see if they have that software installed, or if not look to see if theres a demo version.

Thanks for that

jonesy
29th July 2009, 03:56 PM
From the Original post

"What other software is out there at a reasonable cost and functionality"


I guess at Free 59, 249 and 560 respectivly, and from the following posts peoples ideas of reasonable cost seem to vary. ;):)

Free sounds reasonable :D

I'll have to take a look at what the bank balance says, specially as my working hours have been cut today :(

HughofBardfield
30th July 2009, 01:16 PM
There does seem to be a 'hard sell' both by the makers and the magazines with respect to photo-editing software. Both trying to tell you that to be a 'serious' photographer you need a large panoply of tools/toys/effects...

Overall I think there is a lot to be said for starting with a very basic toolset and restricting what you buy to the bare minimum.

I suppose the one exception is hdr as a replacement for on-camera filters and off-camera lighting. But even then the 'less hdr effect' the better.

It's nice to have the toys, and having them it's worth finding out how to use them. But it's what you take with the camera that makes the picture, it has taken me a long time to really learn that.

Nick

I agree, although I do find myself using perspective correction software fairly frequently with buildings as - in the absence of a tilt/ shift lens - the image cannot be "got right" in camera.

I give most images a contrast/ curves tweak and fiddle with sharpening, but that's usually it, other than B&W conversions. Like Chilli, I find myself increasingly drawn to B&W ATM.

There's so much free software around, you really don't have to spend a lot to do almost anything you could desire, although some of the free software lacks the "user-friendly" front ends of the full-price packages.

sapper
30th July 2009, 07:07 PM
I use Lightroom which does much of what I want. I do have an old version of Elements that I try to correct converging verticals with very occasionally.
I was interested in the two progs that Hugo mentioned, PT Lens and ShiftN but as I use a Mac I cannot use them.
Anyone know of free/cheap software that does the same but can be used on a Mac?

mike_j
30th July 2009, 08:07 PM
Lightroom backed up by PS 6.5 where necessary. My wife uses Picasa and I use it on the laptop when we are away. It's an excellent, simple, free program and very capable.

We also have Nikon, Canon, Olympus and Panasonic bundled software from various cameras but I have only used Olympus Master, and then only for firmware updates. I'd be interested in comments on these.

Paulpp
31st July 2009, 08:09 AM
Another "vote" for Aperture if you have a Mac. I also use CS3 for some editing and Bridge for keywording as I only use the keywords in Aperture to keep a record of when/where/ how used/ etc.

DerekW
31st July 2009, 08:38 AM
A quick search on Version Tracker gave a pointer to this lens correction app - I have not used it - just did a search

http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/17489

Steve Lane
31st July 2009, 10:59 AM
I use Photoshop CS2 for most editing, but Fastone for viewing images and very minor tweaks. I must admit, I love Fastone for its simplicity...like the saying goes; 'it does exactly what it says on the tin'!

Cheers, Steve.

sapper
31st July 2009, 04:16 PM
A quick search on Version Tracker gave a pointer to this lens correction app - I have not used it - just did a search

http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/17489

Thanks for this, looks interesting.

donmcmahan
14th August 2009, 02:52 PM
Lightroom and Lightzone do it for me, everyone knows about Lightroom so nothing to ad there but I have seen no other mention of lightzone here so I would highly recommend you all to check it out.

Bonsaidad
16th August 2009, 01:05 AM
Where on earth do i start!.
At the moment i mainly use Elements7 for my main processing, but i have several others that i find effective, and easier to do what i want to an image.

I have , Virtual studio, Combine ZP, Olympus master 2, Picasa 3, and lastly Irfanview, as if thats not enough!.
But over a period of time i do use them all, and am reluctant to change because i am simply so use to them.
I am waiting to get Noise Ninja to add to my collection, i am a sucker for software.

I only wish i could use them all correctly :D.



Best regards Paul

Archphoto
16th August 2009, 02:45 AM
Noise Ninja will be a great addition to you.

I have been using it for the past 6 month or so to clean up shots made with the E520 and it realy improves things !

Peter

yorky
16th August 2009, 12:13 PM
I stick with elements 7 for processing and irfanView for resizing I do have occasions to use noiseware but very occasionally.

mike_j
16th August 2009, 02:10 PM
A couple more for your list:

Photomatix for high dynamic range effects, Panorama Maker for muti-shot composite panoramas and (OK a bit specialised but I often use it) Stereo Photo Maker for stereo photography.

Can I add that it is better to learn to use one ot two well than several badly.

Bonsaidad
16th August 2009, 04:23 PM
Noise Ninja will be a great addition to you.

I have been using it for the past 6 month or so to clean up shots made with the E520 and it really improves things !

Peter


Good, as long as its not to difficult to use, like idiot proof, then i will be OK as me and software do not really mix. *yes