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Software Discuss Olympus Master, Studio and Viewer software applications as well as third party programs like Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, Apple Aperture, and others.

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Old 27th June 2017
Matt_Hirst Matt_Hirst is offline
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Starting out manipulating images

So I've had a EM5 mk2 since November last year and now moved up to a EM1 mk2 and photography friends keep saying oh you need to photoshop so, as I know nothing about image manipulation or the software packages I have a question or two:

* Whats the best beginner package to get to start looking at image manipulation of RAW images (I am assuming RAW is the best image to manipulate?)
* What can it do for my images? Or what should I be aiming to do with the images? Friends mention all sorts of things and none of it makes sense (sounds more like a secret society to me)

Any help or pointers would be appreciated.

Matt
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Old 27th June 2017
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Graham_of_Rainham Graham_of_Rainham is offline
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Lightbulb Re: Starting out manipulating images

FastStone is FREE and is a very simple editor and a good place to start.

It handles RAW files by using Adobe DNG converter built in to the package.

http://www.faststone.org/FSViewerDownload.htm
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Old 27th June 2017
Olybirder Olybirder is offline
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Re: Starting out manipulating images

Raw is just the basic data as captured by the sensor without the camera making decisions about how it is processed. This means that a good raw developer allows you to choose how the image is processed. It give you more scope to correct problems such as incorrect white balance, exposure, highlight clipping, etc. It is not a panacea for all ills and it takes a lot more work to create your images but it can be worthwhile if you are prepared to put the effort in.

Having said all that, I do not like the raw developers that I have for my E-M1 II, so I will probably be reverting to jpegs for the time being.

Ron
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Old 27th June 2017
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Re: Starting out manipulating images

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt_Hirst View Post
So I've had a EM5 mk2 since November last year and now moved up to a EM1 mk2 and photography friends keep saying oh you need to photoshop so, as I know nothing about image manipulation or the software packages I have a question or two:

* Whats the best beginner package to get to start looking at image manipulation of RAW images (I am assuming RAW is the best image to manipulate?)
* What can it do for my images? Or what should I be aiming to do with the images? Friends mention all sorts of things and none of it makes sense (sounds more like a secret society to me)

Any help or pointers would be appreciated.

Matt


What is wrong with your existing images ? What are people saying. Process in RAW because "...." ? If you are happy with the jpegs straight out of your camera then there is no need to use post processing at all, except maybe to crop an image.

If you start post processing then yes RAW images are the best place to start from and almost anything is possible, you can simply change the white balance of the image to change the feel or pull out more detail from shadows or highlights, or change the exposure, sharpness and focus. You can even do much more advanced things like removing unwanted objects or adding new objects to a shot or move an object from one place to another in the shot.
Change the colour of peoples eyes and clothes is also possible.

Photoshop (PS) has become the defacto standard for professional photographers and artists but there are lots of other applications out there some free, most cheaper than PS, that will do "most" of what PS can do.

One advantage of using PS is the massive base of add-ons (Actions and Filters) that are available and Tutorials from Adobe and on YouTube etc that can take you from a novice level all the way to highly complex manipulation. The other packages tend not to have as much supporting info available.

To just put a toe in the water then I would go for a free one first and if you like it then move on to more advanced software.
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Old 27th June 2017
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Re: Starting out manipulating images

I think that one has to consider how the files are to be stored.

In a simple process one starts out with the Raw file - 18 or more GB
A Jpeg file is exported from the RAW manipulation process - can be of varied size, plus you should keep the details of what corrections were made to the file so you can repeat the process for similar pictures or to create larger or small JPEG files for sharing and printing.

Multiply this for a days trip and you can have several hundreds if not thousands of files to control.

My view is that you have to set out how you are going to control all your files so you can retrieve them when you want them.

So you need a DAM - Digital Asset Manager - almost before you think of how you are going to edit the pictures.

There are several DAMs that not only convert RAW to JPEG etc format annd control the locations of the images, store the identification data etc.

SO my view is that you have to start climbing the Lightroom learning curve, get hold of some of the video tutorials and understand what is happening. Do not get sidetracked into using Photoshop until you understand your Lightroom process. You can take troublesome pictures into Photoshop for major surgery eg head swapping, perspective / keystone correction, but that will be after you have understood the rudiments of RAW conversion.
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Old 27th June 2017
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Re: Starting out manipulating images

Another vote for using FastStone to see what is possible.

The key thing about raw data is that it has 14 bits of intensity data for each photo site which gives 16384 levels of intensity whereas a JPEG has only 8 bits giving just 256 levels of intensity. This is why it is much better for things like recovering blown highlights or dark shadow areas plus a host of other adjustments.

Your cameras have a built in raw converter to convert the raw data to JPEGs but this is to some extent a "one size fits all" solution. Olympus JPEGs are very good and adequate for most purposes but once the data has been converted to JPEG the possibility of further "corrections" is limited.

To get an idea of what doing your own raw conversion can achieve have a look at this http://www.dxo.com/us/photography/ph...cspro/features which shows you before and after views of some types of adjustment. Note, I only quote DxO because it happens to be what I use for pp, Adobe Lightroom and other products will give similar features.

As said at the top have a dable with the free FastStone and see if it gives you worthwhile enhancement to your images.

Regards.
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Old 27th June 2017
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Re: Starting out manipulating images

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Originally Posted by DerekW View Post
SO my view is that you have to start climbing the Lightroom learning curve, get hold of some of the video tutorials and understand what is happening. Do not get sidetracked into using Photoshop until you understand your Lightroom process. You can take troublesome pictures into Photoshop for major surgery eg head swapping, perspective / keystone correction, but that will be after you have understood the rudiments of RAW conversion.
Absolutely agree, I've been using Photoshop and similar packages (Paint Shop Pro, Corel PhotoPaint, GIMP and others) for many years but now do most of my photography manipulation in Lightroom (90+%).

PS is great if you need to do fancy editing that requires layers, masks, precise selections and other features not found in LR, but for typical photo adjustments, LR is the best choice because of its asset management features. These also mean you know exactly how an end result was achieved since the manipulation history for each image is maintained.

Spending a bit of time with the tutorials is well worth the time to get familiar with the management features so that you don't start off using a sub-optimal process.
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Old 27th June 2017
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Re: Starting out manipulating images

Hopefully there might be someone here on the forum that can find and display a thread that points to a video link that is a step by step tutorial. which I believe was on photo-shop. The tutorial is by a woman which might help jog the memory banks.

I also seem to remember something called Therapy or Therapee being given a good write-up?

You could also GOOGLE for video tutotials to get some idea what they are capable of? A picture speaks a 1,000 words as it were.
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Old 27th June 2017
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Re: Starting out manipulating images

Another vote for Lightroom. You can download the full version and use it for free for 30days.
In addition to the previous comments regarding Asset Management and image-editing, LR makes the process of printing very easy (it does all the resizing and sharpening for whatever print size you require).

You can find introductory video & other tutorials on the Lightroom website. See here:-
https://helpx.adobe.com/uk/lightroom/tutorials.html
There are also many other indepently created LR tutorials on the web.
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Old 27th June 2017
Matt_Hirst Matt_Hirst is offline
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Re: Starting out manipulating images

Thanks for the replies.

As mentioned a lot of friends oh you should lift that sharpen this and I am, if honest, happy ive managed to capture the image in the first place...but I also suppose I am interested in the art of the possible, for instance I posted an image of a Dragon fly in the Panasonic 100-400 mm thread im not sure what can be done to that image (please dont think im being big headed, its more I wouldnt know what could be achieved or what I need to do to it to make it a better image).

I think ill look at one or two of the free packages but will also look at photoshop elements as there appears to be lots of help for that package.

Matt
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Old 27th June 2017
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Re: Starting out manipulating images

Matt - sometimes friends are your worst enemies. Your honest approach to taking photos is refreshing in this 'pixel peeping' environment. 'Sharpen this - remove that - change the colour.... these concepts will try to persuade you into a genre of photography that has bugger all to do with reality. Yes, glad to get the shot - yes, well it may be a bit out of focus, but at least it did record something for it's own sake, not 'how smart it looks'.
Sure cropping - levelling - and a few other things maybe. So do look at FastStone. I use it now after a recommendation from this Forum. (Maybe also stick to jpeg).
But whatever you do, continue to do what feels right for you...
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Old 27th June 2017
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Re: Starting out manipulating images

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Originally Posted by Matt_Hirst View Post
* Whats the best beginner package to get to start looking at image manipulation of RAW images (I am assuming RAW is the best image to manipulate?)
It's important to realise that 'raw' is not an image format in the usual sense. It is just the raw, unprocessed data that the camera captures. The data is also just greyscale values, with no colour information whatsoever, and furthermore is not standard in any way, being exclusive to the particular model of camera. It's misleading to refer to the data as being RAW format, which implies that it is an acronym like JPEG, TIFF etc., which are standard image formats, and I think in doing so contributes to the confusion about 'raw' data.

The advantage in capturing raw data is that you've captured all the data that the sensor has 'seen'. You may subsequently process the data how you wish - compress it to a standard format such as JPEG, and in doing so irretrievably discard some of the data, or convert it to a lossless TIFF format. You can also convert it to DNG, which is an Adobe standard 'raw' format.

Hope this helps.

Jim
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Old 27th June 2017
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Re: Starting out manipulating images

Iso and jim,

Thanks for the responses.

I suppose being new to the hobby, its like taking up any hobby in that you listen to everybody else as they must be doing something right and im doing something wrong.

Maybe I should stick to my original thoughts on this hobby and that is to get out and just get the shots and when I look at them decide if I like them or not - obviously take on board others criticism and advice of the shots but not think I have to do xyz just to make the good shots great all the time - hope this makes sense?

Ultimately this is just a bit of fun for me so use the image processing to as mentioned resize the image do a few basic things and leave it as that.

So thanks for the responses guys, appreciate it.

Matt
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Old 27th June 2017
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Re: Starting out manipulating images

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Originally Posted by Matt_Hirst View Post
Ultimately this is just a bit of fun for me so use the image processing to as mentioned resize the image do a few basic things and leave it as that.
As has been mentioned, 'Faststone' is the ideal tool for that.

http://www.faststone.org/FSViewerDetail.htm

Shoot JPEG and process with Faststone until you feel a bit more adventurous - but it may be all you'll ever need.

Jim
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Re: Starting out manipulating images

I think your above post is the right approach. Once the joy recedes it becomes like having to go to work even when you don't want to.

At some point in the future, you may want others opinion and, to this end, there are existing threads available - Photo Fair and Looking for Improvement which can be found within the Forum Index link situated just under the log-in box .
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