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Thread: Adobe Processing software - high level view

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    Adobe Processing software - high level view

    Hi everyone,

    I've been reading all the Lightroom/CS5 posts on here and I'm still a bit confused as to how all these tools fit together. At a very high level, I see PP-ing as a three step process.

    1) Downloading/organizing your photos.
    2) Basic manipulation of images. Exposure, levels, curves, sharpening etc..
    3) More specific image editing. Additional sharpening, LCE, selections, layers, etc...

    Currently, I use Adobe Bridge for #1, ACR for #2 and CS5 for #3. My understanding of Lightroom is that it puts #1 and #2 of the process under one "roof" and integrates it more seamlessly. Also, it may be a more powerful organizational tool than Bridge. Whether you use Lightroom or Bridge/ACR, I assume photoshop is still ultimately the go-to tool for more involved editing.

    Is this a fair characterization? Am I missing something more fundamental? I'd like to confirm my understanding of where Lightroom fits into the puzzle at a high level . Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by woty87 View Post
    Hi everyone,

    I've been reading all the Lightroom/CS5 posts on here and I'm still a bit confused as to how all these tools fit together. At a very high level, I see PP-ing as a three step process.

    1) Downloading/organizing your photos.
    2) Basic manipulation of images. Exposure, levels, curves, sharpening etc..
    3) More specific image editing. Additional sharpening, LCE, selections, layers, etc...

    Currently, I use Adobe Bridge for #1, ACR for #2 and CS5 for #3. My understanding of Lightroom is that it puts #1 and #2 of the process under one "roof" and integrates it more seamlessly. Also, it may be a more powerful organizational tool than Bridge. Whether you use Lightroom or Bridge/ACR, I assume photoshop is still ultimately the go-to tool for more involved editing.

    Is this a fair characterization? Am I missing something more fundamental? I'd like to confirm my understanding of where Lightroom fits into the puzzle at a high level . Thanks!
    Couldn't have put it better myself

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    Re: Adobe Processing software - high level view

    Quote Originally Posted by woty87 View Post
    Hi everyone,

    I've been reading all the Lightroom/CS5 posts on here and I'm still a bit confused as to how all these tools fit together. At a very high level, I see PP-ing as a three step process.

    1) Downloading/organizing your photos.
    2) Basic manipulation of images. Exposure, levels, curves, sharpening etc..
    3) More specific image editing. Additional sharpening, LCE, selections, layers, etc...

    Currently, I use Adobe Bridge for #1, ACR for #2 and CS5 for #3. My understanding of Lightroom is that it puts #1 and #2 of the process under one "roof" and integrates it more seamlessly. Also, it may be a more powerful organizational tool than Bridge. Whether you use Lightroom or Bridge/ACR, I assume photoshop is still ultimately the go-to tool for more involved editing.

    Is this a fair characterization? Am I missing something more fundamental? I'd like to confirm my understanding of where Lightroom fits into the puzzle at a high level . Thanks!
    Hi John

    I think that's fair but it makes the assumption that Photoshop is essential (for your step 3).

    I think of Lightroom as a tool for image processing, and Photoshop as a tool for image manipulation.

    If you need to manipulate images, for example: you need to composite new heads on old bodies, add fancy text overlays, replace whole skies/backgrounds etc, then you need photoshop, because all those things require layers, which LR doesn't provide.

    If you need only to deal with colour/hue/tonal balance adjustments, white point and black point settings, global and targeted exposure, brightness and contrast adjustments, sharpening and noise reduction, red eye and spot replacement etc on top of very elegant and sophisticated image management, then LR alone does all those tricks very nicely.

    In addition, I do my own printing and I've found, as others have, LR's print output functionality is far more elegant and much easier to use than Photoshop's. LR 4 is bringing a very powerful soft-proofing regime to the party as well. That feature alone has many photographers on other forums now saying they won't bother to update PS anymore.

    Increasingly photographers are finding that there's very little that they cannot achieve by way of image processing in Lightroom alone, and therefore PS is not really necessary.

    FWIW because I don't need compositing etc, I saved myself a whole heap of $$ by sticking with LR.

    The raw converter in LR is functionally the same as ACR - it's built by the same team and each leapfrogs the other in development. The further improvement in the raw tools in LR 4 signal another quantum leap forward that is good news for all. (ACR will get 'em too, I presume)

    Just my 2.

    Tim

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    Re: Adobe Processing software - high level view

    Quote Originally Posted by Macmahon View Post
    Increasingly photographers are finding that there's very little that they cannot achieve by way of image processing in Lightroom alone, and therefore PS is not really necessary.
    My personal experience was just the opposite; since LR has essentially no more image adjustment potential than ACR, but falls far short of whats possible in Photoshop, I found I had no use for LR.

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    Re: Adobe Processing software - high level view

    I found this explanation of use
    http://tv.adobe.com/watch/adobe-evan...oom-or-bridge/
    STEWART

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    Re: Adobe Processing software - high level view

    Quote Originally Posted by Two Eyes View Post
    I found this explanation of use
    http://tv.adobe.com/watch/adobe-evan...oom-or-bridge/
    STEWART
    Off memory though, the two choices they offer are "LR + Photoshop" or "Bridge + Photoshop"

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    Re: Adobe Processing software - high level view

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Off memory though, the two choices they offer are "LR + Photoshop" or "Bridge + Photoshop"
    From Adobe's viewpoint this can be translated as "Money + Money" or "Money + no more money" (since Photoshop includes Bridge). You can see one reason why they would favour Lightroom over Bridge in this case.

    @John,

    If you are happy with Photoshop and Bridge then stick to it. Lightroom offers nothing new, just a different interface. However if you rarely use the layering and additional functionality of Photoshop then Lightroom is excellent. Lightrooom would be a good point to start for someone with no Adobe products.

    Each of these packages has a trial version that you can use for 30 days. One option is to give it a go and see if it adds something of value to your workflow. "He who holds the purse strings makes the decisions".

    Alex

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    Re: Adobe Processing software - high level view

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    My personal experience was just the opposite; since LR has essentially no more image adjustment potential than ACR, but falls far short of whats possible in Photoshop, I found I had no use for LR.
    Colin

    I can appreciate that. If you need layers, you need 'em. Additionally if you've invested heaps (in both senses) in Photoshop and it works, why change? And I agree that to learn LR properly also involves a real investment in time.

    It's also true that probably everything you can achieve in a raw workflow using Lightroom, you can also achieve by changing pixels in PS. And, as you say, much more besides.

    Photoshop has an enormous user base among ad. designers and the like, quite rightly. It provides fantastic capabilities for photo manipulation - mostly based on layers. If you need layers, you need 'em.

    While they share a lot of common technology (well, they leap frog each other) the two products are developing for different markets, I believe. I see Adobe expanding Photoshop to cater for its wider market in the design fields, while they're refining LR's capabilities to cater for the needs of photographers.

    Over on the Luminous Landscape forum there are a lot of folk, including some who worked on the development of, and have written extensively about Photoshop, who now wonder whether they need it just for photography.

    Me? I'm a humble landscape and event photographer and printer. I'm one of those who now sees no value in updating Photoshop (especially at NZ prices!)

    Cheers

    Tim
    Last edited by Macmahon; 20th February 2012 at 08:29 PM. Reason: reorder

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    Re: Adobe Processing software - high level view

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    My personal experience was just the opposite; since LR has essentially no more image adjustment potential than ACR, but falls far short of whats possible in Photoshop, I found I had no use for LR.
    That is the same as my view. For me, CS5 which includes an excellent Raw converter does everything that I need; and a lot more which I have yet to understand.

    Basic editing for me, starts with the conversion adjustments then moves on to adjustment layers, which include masks in one form or other.

    I couldn't thinking about editing without layers and masks; it would be like living without a car! Probably possible at a struggle - but what a struggle! And you don't even get a free bus pass at 60 for photo editing.

    Even my previous relatively inexpensive software had virtually all the same options as CS5 - but it didn't work quite as well.

    Like many people, my only complaint about CS5 is, of course, the price! But I suppose when you consider that it is a combined Raw converter and photo manipulator which does everything that I require; the price isn't quite so bad - possibly.

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    Re: Adobe Processing software - high level view

    Tim: A great number of lightroom users also use Photoshop elements, for the ability of using layers. If one addes the cost of Lightroom and Elements and compares the cost of taking a Photoshop course at an approved learning centre, a person can purchase CS5 at a student cost. I know that you are going to say, but you have to add the cost of the classes, yes but 12, 3 hour classes to learn how to use the program compared to the time spend wasted trying to teach yourself, priceless. I did the math before going that route, CS5 to Lightroom+Elements with taxes in $27.00 CDN more for CS5. I already had Elements 9, however I could not do the workflow I needed, which was the ability to open a file into a program as a smart object, Element will not do this but CS5 will.

    Allan

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    Re: Adobe Processing software - high level view

    If someone starts with Elements, I can see some value in getting LR because it adds a whole lot of new tabs to ACR, although only 2 or 3 are liable to be used much.

    I went from Elements 8 to CS5 and prefer doing the Camera Lens Corrections in ACR to CS5 (or Elements), which is on a tab I didn't have access to before I got CS5.

    But as others, I know about 1% of what it can do, but mainly because I'm too busy to train myself up.

    Cheers,

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    Re: Adobe Processing software - high level view

    Quote Originally Posted by Macmahon View Post
    It's also true that probably everything you can achieve in a raw workflow using Lightroom, you can also achieve by changing pixels in PS.
    Hi Tim,

    No - not really, as the file is out of linear gamut once it hits Photoshop. It's more a case of everything that can be achieved with a RAW workflow in LR one can also achieve in ACR (they're the same engine).

    In my experience, if one has ACR - and one doesn't have a need for the catalog / database functionality of LR then LR has very little to offer that person.

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    Re: Adobe Processing software - high level view

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Tim,

    No - not really, as the file is out of linear gamut once it hits Photoshop. It's more a case of everything that can be achieved with a RAW workflow in LR one can also achieve in ACR (they're the same engine).
    TRUE allowing for leapfrogging in versions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    In my experience, if one has ACR - and one doesn't have a need for the catalog / database functionality of LR then LR has very little to offer that person.
    TRUE as far as it goes. I'm loving the more obvious workflow and powerful but (to me) much more obvious printing functionality

    As I said, if you've already made the investment in PS (you'd have had to to get ACR, no?) it won't make sense to change. At least not for every one.

    I'm not going to update PS because I don't want to pay any more for functionality I don't need. I note that others have said PS has oodles of functions they've yet to explore. My guess is they've never actually needed them. .

    Anyhow, my beef isn't with PS. It's a great piece of software. The best in its class.

    My contribution for the benefit of the OP was that, IMHO, LR offers more than enough post-processing capability for photographers to produce excellent images from well-taken photographs.

    Tim

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    Re: Adobe Processing software - high level view

    Quote Originally Posted by Macmahon View Post
    I'm loving the more obvious workflow and powerful but (to me) much more obvious printing functionality
    I'm not sure if many realise this, but Bridge/ACR (used together) offer some very powerful functionality - like the ability to open and adjust hundreds of images at once, with just a few clicks (everything from white balance to things like GND filters). Printing wise, I'm normally just doing single prints, but I think LR probably has better package options over basic contact sheet prints.

    As I said, if you've already made the investment in PS (you'd have had to to get ACR, no?) it won't make sense to change. At least not for every one.
    Maybe yes, maybe no IMO - I like to think of it as a bunch of tools; just because someone, say, doesn't use puppet warp (CS4?) doesn't mean that they won't get good value from content aware fill (CS5?) (memory is going!).

    My contribution for the benefit of the OP was that, IMHO, LR offers more than enough post-processing capability for photographers to produce excellent images from well-taken photographs.
    I'm on the fence with that one to be honest - I know what you're saying, but I'd REALLY struggle without the ability to do things like content aware fill - patching - layers, as well as some of the more advanced colour corrections.

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    Re: Adobe Processing software - high level view

    Thanks for all the responses. Now that I know LR and ACR have the same raw processing engine, I think I will stick to Bridge/ACR for now. I also don't do much printing so probably wouldn't get benefit out of any additional capabilities that LR may have in that area.

    I understand the evolution of the programs and how they got to this point, but it is interesting to me that adobe has not quite figured out how to package these products into a single photography solution. For a relative novice like me, their product line is really confusing at first.

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    Re: Adobe Processing software - high level view

    Quote Originally Posted by woty87 View Post
    I understand the evolution of the programs and how they got to this point, but it is interesting to me that adobe has not quite figured out how to package these products into a single photography solution.
    Hi John,

    The automobile industry has been around for much longer, and they still haven't managed to come up with one car that suits everybody.

    In my mind, Photoshop IS a single photography solution (from a technical perspective) (it's all I EVER use), but for some strange reason, folks will happily shell out thousands of $$$ for cameras / lenses / tripods / flashes / filters etc, but not a few hundred dollars for the software that makes the biggest difference of all most of the time.

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    Re: Adobe Processing software - high level view

    Quote Originally Posted by woty87 View Post
    I understand the evolution of the programs and how they got to this point, but it is interesting to me that adobe has not quite figured out how to package these products into a single photography solution. For a relative novice like me, their product line is really confusing at first.
    But why should they? This is called marketing ("horses for courses as well"...) and personal choice lets you define what you need.

    I personally do very little image 'treatment' and as such Lightroom offers ME just what I need - it keeps my stuff in place and lets me, as an amateur photographer, do what I feel I need to with my images.

    While Photoshop will let me create my images without even bothering to get up, go out and actually shoot, it won't do what I need.

    All comes down to personal choice in the end.
    Last edited by darkslide; 21st February 2012 at 10:21 AM. Reason: can't spell...

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    Re: Adobe Processing software - high level view

    I think your original summary sums it well, but don't under-estimate one very important aspect of LR - as a database management system. If you take a lot of photos, it is very powerful for sorting, batching etc

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    Re: Adobe Processing software - high level view

    I would add this for evaluation by those interested. I was posted in the discussion forum of the Luminous Landscape.

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/fo...?topic=62722.0

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    Re: Adobe Processing software - high level view

    Quote Originally Posted by Fit View Post
    I think your original summary sums it well, but don't under-estimate one very important aspect of LR - as a database management system. If you take a lot of photos, it is very powerful for sorting, batching etc
    IMO this is also it's archilles heel; if that databse ever gets corrupt / damaged and a fully-functional backup is not available (and how many people don't backup regularly?) - then one risks losing every edit that they've ever done.

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