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Thread: Photo Editing Software

  1. #1
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    Photo Editing Software

    I was looking into purchasing Photo Shop CS3 and wanted to know how people react to this software, or is there another prefered brand of software to edit photos that I should be looking into.

    Just wanted to get a good overview of what is out there and what will do the best job for an amateur photographer.

    Thanks!

  2. #2

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    Re: Photo Editing Software

    Hi Jarrotk,

    CS3 is the de facto standard for image processors, and with good reason.

    I have to say though that although I own CS3, I very rarely use it - preferring instead Paint Shop Pro X (PSP X) which I find to be more intuitive, less bloated, and (for my purposes) more effective in terms of use and end results.

    I just prefer the image quality I get from PSP processed images: there's a little gem of a sharpening tool in PSP called "Focus", and it results in more pleasing sharpening results than anything I can achieve in CS3, even using multiple iterations of Smart Sharpen at low settings in LAB mode.

    CS3 has far more to it, and interfaces seamlessly with ACR and Bridge, but - for me - PSP gets the nod pretty much every time.
    Last edited by Keith Reeder; 1st June 2008 at 01:35 PM.

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    Re: Photo Editing Software

    Keith, thanks so much for your advice, I will try the Paint Shop Pro x.

  4. #4

    Re: Photo Editing Software

    Photoshop is undoubtedly the standard for image editing so I don't think you can go wrong learning and using it. If you're shooting RAW it is a pretty big deal for me to have the integrated workflow.

    It would probably be a good idea to take a look at the types of image editing you are going to be doing and see if Photoshop Elements might be enough - at least while you're learning the tools. PSE has the same integration with Camera Raw, etc, so it's a great way to get your feet wet without dropping $600!!

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    Re: Photo Editing Software

    Hi Jarrotk
    What photo editing software to use is a continuing problem. I agree with the other responses that Photoshop is the standard, but at what a cost to the average user. I, like Keith, find Paint Shop Pro extremely good, easy to use and value for money. I also use The GIMP, free, very powerful, but difficult to get into (but then I like that sort of thing). I suggest that as you develop your abilities you may find having a variety of software beneficial, using the best bits from differnt packages. For example, I use Canon's own software to process RAW files (from my Canon 40D), but sometimes prefer RawTherapee, or UFRAW, a powerful plugin for the GIMP. Then, I have PSP for most of the basic editing, blending, tonal adjustments and so on. Finally, having saved the work in TIFF mode, I use Qimage for printing. I think that as experience develops so you find the tools best suited to your work. Overall, to start, PSP would be my recommendation.

    David

  6. #6

    Re: Photo Editing Software

    Quote Originally Posted by Jarrotk View Post
    I was looking into purchasing Photo Shop CS3 and wanted to know how people react to this software, or is there another prefered brand of software to edit photos that I should be looking into.

    Just wanted to get a good overview of what is out there and what will do the best job for an amateur photographer.

    Thanks!
    Hi Jarrotk,

    Don't forget that if you qualify for an Educational Store purchase (and I believe that part-time/evening courses -may- qualify you), Adobe offers a significantly reduced price on its products. Check it out here

    Alternately, if you were to choose PS Elements (~$100) and then later decide you really did want or need the full version, you can upgrade for a cost ~$100 less than the buy-it-outright price, so you won't have wasted the original purchase $$.

    You can download full 30-day trial versions of both to see what you think.

    I've used PS Elements for a number of years and been perfectly happy with it. Occasionally I read about something CS3 does that Elements doesn't and that I would quite like, but it's never been anywhere near enough to make me want to pay the substantially higher costs for the full version.

    As others have said, PSP is a very good program for its cost, and the cost of The Gimp is even better

    If you're going to be editing RAW files then also look at Bibble and LightZone.

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    Re: Photo Editing Software

    Again thanks so much for the help from all of you, I am a college student so the educational discount on the software is awesome.

    I will try and play with all of the ones that were suggested here. I have to confess some of them I have never heard of, so this was very educational. Thanks so much again.

    Time to start editing!

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    Re: Photo Editing Software

    I like CS3 in XP, but I also use gimp in linux (I use zenwalk 5). Gimp is great when you get the hang of the multi window-iness thing it has going on. Took me a while to get used to it but when you are it's fine. Best of all it is GNU software so free and good community support with many plugins. There are windows ports of gimp avail if you use windows exclusive machine.

    I tried psp7 years back and honestly I liked it more than photoshop sometimes. I know photoshop is the standard but many people including myself don't really need most the features it is capable of that other software isn't. The main reason I stick with photoshop is some plugins I cannot live without are not compatible or avail for other things, such as ones for making normal/bump/spec/parallax/diff maps (for 3d game textures) automatically from colour/texture maps.

    On the education licence side of things speak to appropriate person at your uni first as sometimes you can get stuff even cheaper again. I know some will give you software lower than usual edu licence rate or even for free in some cases. You can get a trial of CS3 to give it a test run. I also use vector graphics packages, I know it's not useful for photo editing but if you want good free vector image software try xara and inkscape. I have the linux versions but I know there are win versions available.

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    Re: Photo Editing Software

    I use the following three editing programs: DxO Pro, Nikon NX2, Photoshop CS3. This is my assessment of the three programs:

    DxO -
    Pros: Unique capabilities to correct geometric as well as camera and lens distortions, excellent RAW conversion, great time saver, easy to use.
    Cons: Does only work with certain camera/lens combinations, some software bugs, mediocre colors.

    Nikon NX2-
    Pros: Outstanding RAW conversion, excellent colors, unique control point technology.
    Cons: RAW conversion only works for Nikon cameras, slow.

    CS3-
    Pros: Most complete set of features, fast and reliable.
    Cons: Mediocre RAW conversion, very complex and vastly over-priced.

    My suggestion: Take some time to evaluate different editing programs before deciding which one to buy.

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    Re: Photo Editing Software

    I've used PS from version 5 - it's now 10 - and always found it very hard to get to grips with, even if it is industry standard and you can do everything with it.

    Many of the guides were no more than recipies to be followed - understanding what was going on always proved difficult. This wasn't helped when the gurus would say: " for correction of brightness and contrast DO NOT use the brightness and contrast controls".

    I now use Lightroom2. It's much simpler and it's certainly intuitive. The controls do what you expect them to do. Almost all processing can be done in LR. Occasionally, you need to go to PS for some very specific and localised correction - maybe 5% of the time, or less.

    LR uses Adobe's camera raw conversions; but there are now beta profiles available, which most people seem to think give much better colours.

    Bertie

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    Re: Photo Editing Software

    Quote Originally Posted by rc53 View Post
    This wasn't helped when the gurus would say: " for correction of brightness and contrast DO NOT use the brightness and contrast controls".
    Although, I agree with you that the LR is very intuitive and easy to use, I do not believe that the problem you mentioned with the contrast or brightness controls is different in LR. You basically have the same controls there, and as far as I know they do the same thing and the warning goes for them too.

    What is easier with LR to me is that it is much lighter than PS and it is a better way of managing the workflow.

    Sedali

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    Re: Photo Editing Software

    Quote Originally Posted by sedali View Post
    I do not believe that the problem you mentioned with the contrast or brightness controls is different in LR. You basically have the same controls there, and as far as I know they do the same thing and the warning goes for them too.
    The brightness/contrast control in PS has been changed -- I forget from which CS version -- and it now works more or less as you would expect. There is a 'legacy' option if you want things as they used to be. The brightness/contrast in LR does what it says on the tin.

  13. #13
    I too use PSP (X2) but I am becoming frustrated by its inability to handle RAW files. I have to turn these into TIFFs to edit in PSP, but TIFFs are actually larger than RAW files (and PSP won't handle 16-bit ones). The alternative is to use Canon's Digital Photo Professional to edit the RAW files from my Canon 40D and often this is all the adjustment I need, but occasionally I want to for example get the horizon level, and DPP doesn't rotate images by a few degrees. Can anyone recommend a more versatile image editor that works with RAW files?

  14. #14
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    Re: Photo Editing Software

    Whilst my workflow/basic editing choice is Nikon NX2 because it seems to produce the most natural colours, has colour control points to work with and....came bundled with the camera (seriously though it is worth buying, I bought NX before I had the bundled NX2).

    However as an alternative to CS3 (bear in mind this is now old hat with CS4 released), Adobe Lightroom 2 is really Photoshop slimmed down especially for photographers and whilst there are a few features missing I think I would go for this as it has an educational discount, is mega easy to use (though I have learnt PS and therefore everything else seems easy) and makes workflow and general editing a cinche.

    Also...as CS3 is now superceded (after only 18 months!) you might find a retailer clearing out old stock and get it a shade cheaper too.

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