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Thread: Editing Software advice required

  1. #1
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    Editing Software advice required

    Hi this is my first post to the forums so please bare with mer if i am a bit long winded.
    I am looking to purchase some editing software but am not looking to buy the full blown photoshop.
    I have a macbook pro and i have Aperture installed on it and i am looking for something additional
    to use. I have looked at photoshop elements and have also been told to look at pixelmator which is downloaded from the App store. I have also noticed lots of people talking of lightroom.
    Any advice will be very welcome as at the moment i am not sure which to choose

    Regards Adrian

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    Re: Editing Software advice required

    Hi Adrian,

    Welcome to CiC.

    Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice - so before we prescribe the best product for you we really need to know a little more about what you need to accomplish.

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    Re: Editing Software advice required

    Hi Colin,
    Sorry to have been a bit vague in my post.
    I would say that i am looking for software to enable me to carry out general editing and also as i improve with my photography
    learn more and more about editing etc via the software.This is why i do not want to purchase an very expensive piece of software but then again i do not want to purchase something that is too basic if you understand where i am coming from.
    Please accept my apologies if this is confusing
    Regards Adrian

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    Tringa's Avatar
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    Re: Editing Software advice required

    Hello Adrian and welcome.

    Before you buy have a look at some of the free editors. If you Google for free photo editors you will find quite a few.

    I use the software that came with my camera to convert my RAW files and then do virtually all of my editing with two free editors -

    Photoscape - it does not have lots of features but very easy to use. However, I find it often does all I need, and

    GIMP - lots of features and can do most, if not, everything a top end paid for editor can do. The learning curve is steep, but I guess it would be with any powerful editor.

    Dave

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    Re: Editing Software advice required

    Deleted becuase I re-read and see you are using Mac which means you need Adobe Elements.
    These are rather more expensive than what I use with Windows. However.
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_...keywords=adobe elements 9
    Do not go much earlier than v.9 becuase when it first came out Elements was a very basic programme and only with recent versions has it approached a good editing programme. I am biased becuase I don't have to use it
    Last edited by jcuknz; 16th December 2012 at 08:53 AM.

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    Re: Editing Software advice required

    Many thanks for the advice i will have a look at them

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    Re: Editing Software advice required

    Hi,

    You mentioned Lightroom in your original post, but no-one seems to have taken you up on it. I have Lightroom 4.2, and have been using it for a few months. I'm not a complete novice by any means, but nor am I one of the hotshot PP'ers that there are on this site. I find it easy to use, and I think it really does have almost everything the average photographer needs. (I also have PSE 9, but very rarely use it nowadays). You can download the free trial version, and I certainly think it's worth a look.

    Cheers,

    Dave

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    Re: Editing Software advice required

    I have just downloaded the trial versions of Lightroom & photoshop elements 11 and both look very good on my MacBook Pro.
    Lightroom ui looks easier on the eye to me and looks easier to navigate around.i suppose I now have the dilemma of choosing the right one

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    Re: Editing Software advice required

    Adrian,

    Stepping back from specific choices, there are two basic types of "editing" software.

    One type is sometimes called parametric editing software. Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw (the same processing engine) are examples, as is Canon DPP, which comes bundled with many Canon cameras. These compile a list of changes that you want to make to the image but do not alter the base image. In effect, they are creating a recipe for editing. If you then save or export an image with those edits, the software will make the changes to the image itself (although typically leaving the original image unaltered). Because these programs don't change the base image and allow you to undo your changes, they are also called nondestructive editors.

    So-called pixel editors make changes directly to the pixels in the image. Elements is one example of this type of editor. Once you change pixels, you can't always go back. But see the caveat below.

    Now, to confuse things a little:

    --the common parametric editors are also raw converters, that is, programs to render a raw image into a viewable form. However, they can be used with other images. E.g., you can use a jpeg or TIFF image as the base image in lightroom.

    --Most pixel editors now have ways of doing nondestructive edits, generally by creating additional "layers" and making the changes to them. If you save the image with the layers (a huge file), you can open it later and undo the changes you made.

    --In the past several years, the editing capabilities of the parametric editors have increased substantially, so there is now a great deal of overlap between the capabilities of the two classes of editor.

    So, what many folks do is import raw images into a raw converter/ parametric editor, do the edits that can be done there, and then move to a pixel editor or specialized software as needed. My own workflow is this:

    --start with raw images in Lightroom.
    --Do as much editing as is practical in Lightroom. Given what I shoot, except for stacking (below), this is all I need for 80-90% of my images.
    --When I need more capable editing (e.g., selections and masks, a better clone tool, luminance-only contrast adjustments, etc.), move the image to Photoshop.
    --Bring the image back into Lightroom for printing.

    For many macros, I have another step

    --import into LR, adjust white balance and if necessary exposure
    --export TIFFs for stacking Zerene
    --import stacked image back into LR
    --continue as above.

    For the pixel editing stage of this, I wouldn't suggest Photoshop for a beginner. It is enormously powerful and has the advantage of very wide use (hence limitless posts on the web about how to do things), but it is expensive, and its power comes with a very steep learning curve. You might do better to start with something inexpensive, such as Elements or Paint Shop Pro, and then move up later if you find you need to. Many people don't.

    Dan

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    Re: Editing Software advice required

    I thinking I will use the Lightroom trial for the 30 days and then see how I have got on and then purchase the dvd version after
    It is currently 89.99 on amazon.i could purchase the unlock code from adobe but prefer a hard copy.

    Once again I would like to thank all for their advice

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    Re: Editing Software advice required

    Quote Originally Posted by DanK View Post
    So-called pixel editors make changes directly to the pixels in the image.
    Hi Dan,

    Nice write up, but I think one little thing needs to be highlighted ...

    Even with "destructive" pixel-based editors - assuming one has started with a RAW file - then one always has that file to go back to. The original is NEVER changed.

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    Re: Editing Software advice required

    I totally agree with Colin. I always edit a copy of the original file, whether it be a RAW file or a jpeg, never the original. That way I always have a base copy to use, regardless of what I do.

    When using Photoshop, I tend to use "non-destructive" techniques wherever possible, i.e. most of my editing is done using adjustment layers and layer masks. In cases where I can't use non-destructive techniques, I make a new layer using the original file and edit it. Pretty well the only time I have to go back and reload the original is when I use the transform or crop tools.

    I don't particularly like parametric editing because there isn't an easy way to undo changes I've made later on without starting over. Adjustment layers and layer masks are much better this way.

    From a personal preference standpoint, I mostly use full-blown Photoshop. I played with Elements many years ago and found it to be very limited, and frankly while I do use Lightroom on occasion (mostly as a cataloguing tool), I find I end up finishing most things up in Photoshop, which makes using Lightroom somewhat superfluous.
    Last edited by Manfred M; 16th December 2012 at 11:52 PM.

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    Re: Editing Software advice required

    Adrian, what is it about Aperture that you don't like?
    I'm just wondering about you spending money on an editing programme when you already have a very good one.
    I am playing devil's advocate here as I have both Aperture and LR 4, so am quite interested in your answer.

    Best wishes
    Jacqui

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    Re: Editing Software advice required

    Quote Originally Posted by ade123 View Post
    I thinking I will use the Lightroom trial for the 30 days and then see how I have got on and then purchase the dvd version after
    It is currently 89.99 on amazon.i could purchase the unlock code from adobe but prefer a hard copy.

    Once again I would like to thank all for their advice
    I started using Lightroom from almost the beginning - Version one I think which was available February 2007. I bought my first DSLR in Septmber 2006, and struggled with DPP for too long - once I found LR, it was goodbye to DPP (Canon's in house PP software).

    I rarely have duplicate files (except for backup), and only ever create an image file (DNG, TIFF, JPEG) if required for other software (such as Zerene Stacker).

    So the issue of cluttering up HDD's with originals is never an issue. Lightroom like Aperture does not modify the original RAW file.

    From what I understand (there is a current debate on another forum) Lightroom and Aperture do pretty much the same thing albeit in different manners.

    So even though you could convert to LR, from what I can tell, there seems to be no compelling reason for you to leave Aperture.

    Glenn

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    Re: Editing Software advice required

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    I totally agree with Colin. I always edit a copy of the original file, whether it be a RAW file or a jpeg, never the original. That way I always have a base copy to use, regardless of what I do.
    Not sure we're meaning quite the same thing here ... I don't "work on copies" of RAW files per se because I can reset any parametric changes in a couple of clicks -- and pixel-based editors don't save to the original RAW file anyway ... so either way I'm "safe".

    Images are none-the-less backed up though, of course.

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    Re: Editing Software advice required

    I have nothing against Aperture but I would like to learn to use another program for my editing etc.

    Adrian

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    Re: Editing Software advice required

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Not sure we're meaning quite the same thing here ... I don't "work on copies" of RAW files per se because I can reset any parametric changes in a couple of clicks -- and pixel-based editors don't save to the original RAW file anyway ... so either way I'm "safe".

    Images are none-the-less backed up though, of course.
    I guess I was't quite clear here Colin. My meaning is that when doing any kind of editing, I ensure that my original file is protected (and a backup strategy is part of that approach). A parametric editor like ACR or Lightroom does this automatically by design by modifying only the sidecar file or database on a RAW file. My workflow ensures this is the case when I'm using Photoshop when using TIFF or jpegs. I haven't quite figured out what happens to a DNG file and how to reverse any changes there because I use them so rarely, but suspect that changes to them should be undoable as well.

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    Re: Editing Software advice required

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    I haven't quite figured out what happens to a DNG file and how to reverse any changes there because I use them so rarely, but suspect that changes to them should be undoable as well.
    Hi Manfred,

    From within Bridge, just right-click on the image in the filmstrip viewer and choose DEVELOP SETTINGS and then CLEAR SETTINGS.

  19. #19
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    Re: Editing Software advice required

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Manfred,

    From within Bridge, just right-click on the image in the filmstrip viewer and choose DEVELOP SETTINGS and then CLEAR SETTINGS.
    Thanks Colin!

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    Re: Editing Software advice required

    Although I use LR for most of my pping I have found Picasa 3 to work very well for quick touch ups and it dose handle RAW files also and the best part is it's free

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