Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: Are the software creators duping us?

  1. #1
    mikejduk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Lancashire UK
    Posts
    42
    Real Name
    Mike

    Are the software creators duping us?

    I generally manage to find my way around most PC software for manipulating images, sadly I find it's more of a necessity nowadays than from choice. The thing is, call me an old cynic if you like but I do feel as if software creators are duping us into thinking we're getting more for our money than we really are.

    Now I am happy to be corrected if I have it wrong but please read on and let me know what you think.

    Whether it's Photoshop CS6 or Elements 11; Lightroom or ACR, each of these programs have adjustment sliders for 'Brightness' and 'Contrast', 'Exposure' and 'Gamma'; but don't they all kind of do the same thing? Please bear with me, as you've probably guessed I'm still a novice at this.

    I have learned that by reducing the exposure the really bright places will darken, so what's the difference between that and reducing the brightness? Likewise, if I reduce the Contrast am I not doing the same as I would achieve with the Gamma control?

    Is it a dupe or have I failed to spot the differences these controls achieve?

  2. #2
    xpatUSA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    3,193
    Real Name
    Ted

    Re: Are the software creators duping us?

    Hello Mike and welcome,

    Such cynicism when you know that the big guys only want the best for us, their valued Customers.

    Sometimes these controls are a bit different in their action - e.g. brightness in one prog might simply adjust the slope of a linear graph but another might mess with a curvy bit at the upper end. Also , in my copy of ACR, the range of adjustment is less than the outrageous capabilities of Elements.

    You are correct in that they all "kind of do the same thing" but when you become seriously knowledgeable like the rest of us, you'll soon be agonizing over editing minutia. It's not really a dupe, as in duplicate, but it's kind of close . . .

    Slightly OT, but when you look inside the XMP sidecar file which ACR produces when you convert a RAW file, you'll see all the adjustments you made and their values . . . . .

    . . . . plus about a billion other adjustments which your copy of ACR can't make 'cos it doesn't show any sliders for them.

    Good old Adobe - for a few dollars more . . ;-)
    Last edited by xpatUSA; 29th January 2013 at 02:04 PM. Reason: cain't hardly write good English

  3. #3

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    northern Virginia suburb of Washington, DC
    Posts
    19,064

    Re: Are the software creators duping us?

    One of the explanations is that software developers seem to like the idea of presenting many ways to accomplish the same results. That's true of all software, not just photography software. That's because you might like using one particular method and I might like using a different method to accomplish exactly the same thing.

    However, when comparing the results of making different adjustments, such as reducing the exposure and decreasing the brightness, keep your eye on the histogram. Seeing the differences between the histograms that are produced after making two different changes may help you develop an eye for changes that are being made to the image itself. I don't use any of the products that you mentioned, but there is a huge difference when using my primary software between changing the exposure and changing the brightness.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 29th January 2013 at 02:46 PM.

  4. #4
    Shadowman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    31,141
    Real Name
    John

    Re: Are the software creators duping us?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    One of the issues is that software developers seem to like the idea of presenting many ways to accomplish the same results. That's true of all software, not just photography software. That's because you might like using one particular method and I might like using a different method to accomplish exactly the same thing.

    However, when comparing the results of making different adjustments, such as reducing the exposure and decreasing the brightness, keep your eye on the histogram. Seeing the differences between that graphical depiction of the distribution of tones may help you develop an eye for changes that are being made to the image itself. I don't use any of the products that you mentioned, but there is a huge difference when using my software between changing the exposure and changing the brightness.
    Also keep in mind that if you want to avoid patent infringement, it would help to try and distinguish your process from the competitor.

  5. #5
    DanK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    3,993
    Real Name
    Dan

    Re: Are the software creators duping us?

    No, they are not duping us. Yes, all of the packages can do similar adjustments, such as brightening and changing the black and white points. And for many purposes, it may be a matter of indifference to you which you use. However, they are not all the same. For example, there are substantial differences in the tonal adjustments in the new Lightroom and ACR, compared to the previous. For an excellent description, see this. I have to admit that my postprocessing skills are poor enough that I can't fully take advantage of these improvements, but I think I have been able to squeeze a little benefit out of them.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Akersberga (near Stockholm) Sweden
    Posts
    125
    Real Name
    Lennart Elg

    Re: Are the software creators duping us?

    As you get more familiar with your tools you will also find that the "obvious" tool for making an adjustment is seldom the best tool. As we Photoshop users are a notoriuosly cranky group of old farts, the people at Adobe are wary of changing the tools we have grown accustomed to. So when they invent a better way of achieving an effect, they add it as a new tool, and as the obvious name is already taken it has to be called something more obscure. The result over time is an accumulation of tools which do almost the same thing, but the best tool is seldom what you think. Few of us would touch "sharpen" with a ten-foot pole, instead we use "unsharp mask" or a "high-pass filter" when an image needs a touch of sharpening..

  7. #7
    charzes44's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Nr. Cambridge, UK.
    Posts
    121
    Real Name
    Charles

    Re: Are the software creators duping us?

    Q e d !

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Greytown, New Zealand
    Posts
    190
    Real Name
    Tim

    Re: Are the software creators duping us?

    Quote Originally Posted by lenelg View Post
    As you get more familiar with your tools you will also find that the "obvious" tool for making an adjustment is seldom the best tool. As we Photoshop users are a notoriuosly cranky group of old farts, the people at Adobe are wary of changing the tools we have grown accustomed to. So when they invent a better way of achieving an effect, they add it as a new tool, and as the obvious name is already taken it has to be called something more obscure. The result over time is an accumulation of tools which do almost the same thing, but the best tool is seldom what you think. Few of us would touch "sharpen" with a ten-foot pole, instead we use "unsharp mask" or a "high-pass filter" when an image needs a touch of sharpening..
    Ain't this the truth!

    Tim

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Provence, France
    Posts
    912
    Real Name
    Remco

    Re: Are the software creators duping us?

    Quote Originally Posted by charzes44 View Post
    Q e d !
    Not really, a lot of experienced users would get very upset when a new version has
    the tools working differently all of a sudden. So a better tool has to get a new name...

    And no, documentation wouldn't help (when did you last read a manual?).

  10. #10
    Glenn NK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Victoria BC
    Posts
    1,510

    Re: Are the software creators duping us?

    You can fool a few people all the time, and you can fool many of them some of the time, but you can't fool all of them all the time (I apologize for mashing up someone's famous saying).

    There are many thousands of photographers using all sorts of different software. Eventually the marketplace will come into play, and very quickly bad software with exotic looking tools and hip names will be found out.

    Good software that works well will also be discovered.

    Duping may work for a short while on many people, but it won't work for long for most of us.

    Glenn

  11. #11

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Are the software creators duping us?

    Quote Originally Posted by mikejduk View Post
    I have learned that by reducing the exposure the really bright places will darken, so what's the difference between that and reducing the brightness? Likewise, if I reduce the Contrast am I not doing the same as I would achieve with the Gamma control?
    Exposure sets the highlight clipping point -- the point at which all pixels above that point are forced to pure white. Brightness is in essence a mid-tone adjustment; it'll have the biggest effect on the appearance of the midtones, but will affect the highlights far less (it's one of my favourite tools). Contrast will force highlights to be brighter and shadows to be darker. Gamma and midtone adjustment are similar.

    Do I feel "duped" by software manufacturers? No - not in the least. I'm very grateful for the cutting-edge tools Adobe provide me with.

  12. #12

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Stockholm, Sweden (and sometimes Santiago de Cuba)
    Posts
    1,089
    Real Name
    Urban Domeij

    Re: Are the software creators duping us?

    I think it's pretty obvious. They are fooling us all the time, but not just the software creators, but also hardware manufacturers.

    When the software creators made a control in the editing programs called "exposure", they well knew that exposure CANNOT be altered in software, there is no way. No control "Exposure" can exist in software, except when it is controlling the camera. Nevertheless, photographers are using the erroneous concept since decades now, making believe that exposure may be altered in post production. It cannot.

    The hardware is the same thing. There is no phase detection AF. What "phase" is detected? In physics, phase relates to waves and cycles, but there is no such cycle in the focusing of a DSLR. No phase is detected by "phase detection" autofocus. It simply juxtaposes images taken from the one side of the lens exit pupil and the opposite side, and calculates how the focusing system shall cope with the difference encountered, and the computer then sends the lens focusing hardware to the calculated position. No phase, no actual focusing, only comparing of the relative positions of two images, calculation and data stream to stepping motors. Minolta started it, with their "Contrast Light Compensation", and from then on it has become worse. One of the worst cases is "Matrix metering", which mostly is moot. Canon for example cannot do it, as the necessary hardware has not been implemented in their cameras. Nevertheless, they claim that they can integrate such a measuring in their DSLR cameras. They cannot, it is only marketing blurb, a lie, a simple lie.

    So they dupe us, and many people swallow line, hook and sinker.

  13. #13

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Are the software creators duping us?

    Quote Originally Posted by Inkanyezi View Post
    When the software creators made a control in the editing programs called "exposure", they well knew that exposure CANNOT be altered in software, there is no way. No control "Exposure" can exist in software, except when it is controlling the camera. Nevertheless, photographers are using the erroneous concept since decades now, making believe that exposure may be altered in post production. It cannot.
    Um, all conspiracy theories aside, has the thought ever occurred that manufacturers are simply using terms like "exposure adjustment" as an analogy to help humans relate to the technology?

  14. #14

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Johannesburg South Africa
    Posts
    2,550
    Real Name
    Andre Burger

    Re: Are the software creators duping us?

    An interesting article I once read was about the ultimate gholf ball. Every manufacturer claims their ball will travel further than any other ball. In other words all gholf balls must be travelling into infinaty.

    The more a software developer can upgrade the current version the longer they will stay in business. Perhaps that is what it is all about - staying in business?

    Maybe technology is developing at a rate that is leaving us older folk behind and we cannot keep up with the pace anymore.
    Perhaps Albert Einstein had a point and the time has come that he feared.
    Think he said something like this "I fear the day technology will surpass humanity and result in a generation of idiots".

  15. #15

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Stockholm, Sweden (and sometimes Santiago de Cuba)
    Posts
    1,089
    Real Name
    Urban Domeij

    Re: Are the software creators duping us?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Um, all conspiracy theories aside, has the thought ever occurred that manufacturers are simply using terms like "exposure adjustment" as an analogy to help humans relate to the technology?
    I think that modifying the standpoint a bit might get closer to the truth, because I actually don't see a conspiracy there, just human behaviour. "Helping relate" and downright trying to persuade us that what's too good to be true is true maybe is the same thing. And perhaps it didn't start with Minolta, but earlier. The CLC was deployed in mid-sixties, but much earlier, photographers themselves were stating that they could use Tri-X film at up to sixteen times its actual sensitivity, in fact doing much the same as "altering exposure" in post production. We couldn't change the sensitivity of the film. We could change its tonal curve, i.e. contrast, by developing in hotter soup and/or longer time. So we exposed after an exposure index of 1600 ASA and souped in a more concentrated developer at 40 centigrade, so we got a very contrasty negative with blown highlights and pitch black shadows and quite visible grain. Actually, digital is better, because we can, within certain limits, alter it's ISO even after capture, provided the dynamic range is sufficient.

    But it's the old adage of the spade i find here. I like to call the tools just what they are and not imagine that they are something else. Therefore, I host a peeve against the usage of "exposure" in pp software, as well as "analogue" for photography with film and chemistry to contrast it from digital storage of the images. I admit that photography on film is analogue, but so is digital as well, it does not discern a particular [analogue] technique. The only still camera that I would call analogue is the Sony Mavica, although there are scores of analogue video cameras.

    So, it's not exactly (or only) software engineers or camera factory technicians that are fooling us, but we have a tendency to fool ourselves. Marketing people often exaggerate or present features that are not yet implemented as if they were, and it is their job to dupe us into buying their merchandise. But software developers don't dupe us, they try very hard to come out with the best possible software, to keep up with the competition in the market, and we all know that it is not perfect and that the next upgrade might improve it in some ways. We have even seen technical solutions that are still only in the idea bank of said software engineers. The next upgrade might include some serious tools for getting rid of motion blur or defocused images; the technology already exists, it has been demonstrated, but no ordinary desktop computer can process it in reasonable time yet. In fact, many of the features that are now in our software was at a similar stage of development many years ago, and would not be released until people's computers could also handle it.

    So yes, it has crossed my mind that those that set names to menu items are trying to simplify, to make things "easier to understand", but too often there's too little technical explanation directed toward users. Simple functions in software takes on exotic names, making believe that there's some magic involved. D-Lighting or Highlight Tone Priority and such blurb that is not explained technically is not much help to the photographer that wants to get control of the processes. If we could have generic names for such things instead of trade mark specific pseudo-words, life could have been a bit easier.

    The bottom line is that digital photography is only about thirty years old, and our processing software about the same, so we haven't yet created a really useful generic language around the processes. In the meantime, we use analogy, for better or worse.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •