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Thread: Is Photoshop a MUST?

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    strawbs77's Avatar
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    Is Photoshop a MUST?

    Hi everyone!

    I am so glad to have found this place!!!

    I downloaded my trial of Photoshop and Lightroom and the 30 day trial period is almost up. I am usually very good with self teaching but I have found photoshop a bit hard and not so user friendly - SO I downloaded a trial of Corel Paint Pro Photo.

    I am shooting in RAW and the software that came with my camera (a Sony 330a) seems to be very similar to lightroom so at this point I can't see that I need lightroom.

    Should I persist with Photoshop and maybe invest in a couple of good books about it?

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    Re: Is Photoshop a MUST?

    Photoshop is THE industry standard - but - it's a very "deep" and a very "wide" program. I like to compare it to tools in a well-equipped workshop; a tool for every task, but nothing says that you need to use every tool on every project.

    In terms of "picking up a few books", ABSOLUTELY - it's the very best way to learn. A couple that are ABSOLUTELY essential are ...

    - The Adobe Photoshop CS4 Book for Digital Photographers, and

    - Scott Kelby's 7-Point System for Adobe Photoshop CS3

    Work your way through both of these and you'll be well on your way to feeling very comfortable using Photoshop.

  3. #3

    Re: Is Photoshop a MUST?

    yes.

    lightroom really probably has little use beside photoshop, however some photographer's seeking a simple editing solution prefer it. i would dare assume it is better than Sony's software.

    i learned photoshop by basically going through every button and just seeing what happened. and fooling around with the tools. i'm still not sure this is a bad way to start learning. i also think it helps to read or gain some kind of knowledge from those more learned than you. i have no experience with any texts, but i'm sure there are some good ones out there - i would seek out some recommendations (and i would trust colin). also, do not underestimate the help contents included with the software. if you read them, you will learn a lot. this site - www.creativecow.net - i have found to be fairly useful for other applications, and i would assume you may run across some helpful photoshop tutorials.

    if you have just a little patience to learn, you will never regret it.

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    Re: Is Photoshop a MUST?

    Hi Strawbs - If you have the money, then as Colin says Photoshop is the industry standard. If you are new to image processing then you might want to start with something cheaper or even free to learn the ropes. Photoshop Elements has its following as does Paint Shop Pro (I still use version 9). As I used to say to my students and colleagues in another life and another place, what software is best all depends on what you want to do. If you wish to aspire to great things, then powerful and far-reaching software will be needed. If you wish to tart up your photos, Picasa or XnView are both great and free (XnView does not seem to get the publicity it should; it has some smart features like allowing you to use Photoshop plugins).

    Another point to consider nowadays, especially if you shot in RAW, is how well the software deals with RAW conversion. Yet another point is how well the software deals with multiple exposure images such as in HDR photography. Yet another point is that, rather like camers, you tend to get locked into a system. Photoshop is not only expensive to buy initially but also to upgrade.

    Now, as Colin will no doubt testify, I am a great believer in the Gimp: free, clever, versatile, difficult to understand, infuriating opaque at times, but great fun. In some regards, the Gimp is more powerful than Photoshop and in others not so. Give it a shot (Google the Gimp and follow the links) before lashing out vast amounts of hard earned groats.

    Cheers

    David

  5. #5

    Re: Is Photoshop a MUST?

    That's what I do with any new program too- click every button and read through the "help" section to gain an idea of the layout and organisation of the program. Usually I get it, but photoshop is way too complicated. The sharpening itself is intimidating at first so this is one of the few programs where a guide book is necessary, not optional (at least IMHO).

    Try GIMP too, as others have mentioned, if you require something sophisticated and powerful. Not easy either but it's free.

    Edit- I should try Picasa and XnView too.

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    Re: Is Photoshop a MUST?

    Yes. I don't buy the 'industry standard' argument - as an industry isn't always correct, or is stuck in it's old ways (the sound/music industry uses awful software it calls industry standard).

    Photoshop is such a well-made program it stands on its own merits, and don't need to be titled standard. Any large program is a little intimidating at first; take a little bit to learn the landscape. Photoshop isn't known for its ultra-slick-and-easy user interface - it's known for the unprecedented control it gives photographers and designers. That's what we need isn't it? Control so we are not limited by our equipment, but limited by our imaginations.

    If price is an issue - get Photoshop Elements, and as you get comfortable with it and can afford it, upgrade to the full CS version.

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    Re: Is Photoshop a MUST?

    Quote Originally Posted by KentDub View Post
    Yes. I don't buy the 'industry standard' argument - as an industry isn't always correct, or is stuck in it's old ways (the sound/music industry uses awful software it calls industry standard).
    It doesn't have to be the industry standard for "all the right reasons", but like it or not, it's is the industry standard all the same

    Cherie, just to expand on that for a moment ... being the industry standard means a number of good things to end users - because it has so many people using it, it has enertia; it has many many books written about using it (many about just using specific parts of it such as masking, channels, selections, colour correction etc) - it has many internet resources available (both articles and "actions" (programming code that you can download) - it has many internet discussion groups - and of course a lot of people buying it which in turn gives the developers a big budget for improving it. All of which give the program even more enertia.

    Case in point; if you post a photo here that you're having trouble with (or would just like some feedback on), MANY people can give you precise instructions using Photoshop terminology on how to fix it. Some will be able to give instructions on doinging much of it using Photoshop Elements, and perhaps only 1 or 2 in doing it in other programs.

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    Re: Is Photoshop a MUST?

    It really depends on what you want to do. If you want, and need, all the complicated extras and can afford around 1000 for software then Photoshop has it all.

    Personally, I have tried Elements a couple of times and I also thought it seemed cluttered and not user friendly.

    I like Serif Photo Plus (but one of the more recent versions) for around 50. It is fine for most of what I want to do, but does have limitations so if I want to go deeper into editing I will have to just fork out the money and start learning again.

    Most of the better cheap programmes work in much the same way as Photoshop but you may find one that works best for you. So if you don't need all the extras give one or two of the 'simpler' programmes a try and see how you get on with it. There have been several options already suggested and they all have their fans. I wouldn't say any one of them is the perfect solution.

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    Re: Is Photoshop a MUST?

    Quote Originally Posted by KentDub View Post
    If price is an issue - get Photoshop Elements, and as you get comfortable with it and can afford it, upgrade to the full CS version.
    Good advice Kent,

    I think this is well worth doing, because if you buy a pukka retail and registered version of Elements, Adobe tend to offer you CS4 at half price after a few months, thus more than recouping the initial outlay on Elements.

    The user interface on Elements is a three stage affair that you can grow into, progressing from "Guided" (wizard driven), through "Quick" (somewhat similar to develop in LR) to "Full" (similar to cut down CS).

    EDIT:
    Now admittedly (he says, addressing Geoff's points), you cannot do everything you need to in Guided, or even Quick, edit modes, but since the user doesn't know what they're doing at this stage, it doesn't matter

    I started with Guided, did a few pics, then soon moved to Quick mode for a few weeks and when I had the hang of what the basic things did, I started using Full edit mode; you soon get used to where things are and if you can't find anything, as Colin says, just ask here

    Cheers,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 24th November 2009 at 06:44 PM. Reason: added final 2 paragraphs

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    Re: Is Photoshop a MUST?

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    If you want, and need, all the complicated extras and can afford around 1000 for software then Photoshop has it all.
    Is Photoshop really around 1000 in the UK?

    Big "wow" if it is. We pay a premium for stuff here in New Zealand, and even here it's "only" NZD $1200, which equates to around 400.

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    strawbs77's Avatar
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    Re: Is Photoshop a MUST?

    Thanks for your input everyone.

    I think when I was using Photoshop I knew what I wanted to do and just found it so frustrating.

    After considering the comments I think I need to prepare myself for my end goal (which is to photograph children). There is no point in investing money in something like Corel Paint Shop Pro if eventually I do outgrow it and need to get Photoshop anyway. It would be a shame to launch a new career only to be held back by software.

    I must admit though I have been fairly impressed with the results I am getting from Paint Shop.

    Anyway I bite the bullet and purchase a Photoshop! I'm heading to my local library today to see if I can borrow some books!
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 24th November 2009 at 09:07 PM. Reason: As per PM

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    Re: Is Photoshop a MUST?

    Congratulations on the pending new arrival

    Do yourself one more favour ...

    Lay your hands on the two books that I mentioned above. Buy them - borrow them (doesn't matter which) - just get them in front of you. Don't argue ... just do it (you can thank me for it later!).

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    Re: Is Photoshop a MUST?

    Quote Originally Posted by KentDub View Post
    If price is an issue - get Photoshop Elements, and as you get comfortable with it and can afford it, upgrade to the full CS version.
    I agree with Kent. Photoshop Elements is the watered down version of the full version, and the option of upgrading later can be useful.

    For the most part, PS is basically a film darkroom gone virtual for RAW images. It's primarily used to correct, balance, crop, enlarge, burn & dodge, and other standard processing. But it's also capable of taking your images to the next level as well, depending on app. What used to take hours in a darkroom can now be relatively easily done in minutes on a computer.

    www.lynda.com is a great (library) place for tutorials on PS if you need more than what the workbooks offer.

    Does everyone uses PS? No. I use primarily Lightroom (with a couple of plug ins) to edit my work, and seldom use PS. But it is nice to have it to play around with if I want to later "enhance artistically" images that I've taken from my archives. Old school here, I prefer to get my images correct on site and in camera while I still have the subject in front of me while time allows.

    Just keep in mind that PS can't fix everything, and there are some things PS can not accomplish; like the effects of a polarizing filter as well. It's the reason why photographers still carry CPL, ND filters, and others filters still in their bags. You want to recreate the image while you're there. Not go home and hopefully you will remember how the colors of the setting sky still looked for example.
    Last edited by Amberglass; 24th November 2009 at 09:14 PM.

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    Re: Is Photoshop a MUST?

    Quote Originally Posted by Amberglass View Post
    www.lynda.com is a great (library) place for tutorials on PS if you need more than what the workbooks offer.
    I agree with Amber. I've gone through the (then CS2) Lynda video tutorials and they are fantastic. Depending on what type of learner you are, the videos can be very engaging. I've also have a nice collection of books for photoshop on various topics. The thing I really like about the videos is when you skip ahead to lessons at the end of the capter and look at the before/after and realize, "Wow, I'm going to be doing that?!" All of the videos come with the photoshop files so you can work along with them. Videos don't go in depth into tools nearly as much as a book will - but they can get you on your feet quickly so you're kicking out amazing work

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    Re: Is Photoshop a MUST?

    Amberglass (and others) I would remind you about doing calculations on the cameras computer chip versus your PC. While I respect this old-school "in-camera" ideology, and used to lean in that direction, it does not result in the best images for post processing. For some applications it may be better to do everything in-camera so you don't have to do post. But when you really want latitude and room to do tweaks and corrections in post - it's always going to be best to let the camera do less of that calculating and your computer moreso. The camera chip, obviously, is much less powerful than your processor. Even the best cameras take shortcuts when doing in-camera contrast adjustments, coloring, etc. which means less quality and image information that is useful for post production. I've completely moved away from the "in-camera" attitude because I've seen for myself the helpfulness in shooting intentionally with post production in mind.

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    Re: Is Photoshop a MUST?

    Quote Originally Posted by paulherrin View Post
    Amberglass (and others) I would remind you about doing calculations on the cameras computer chip versus your PC.
    I think you'll find that shooting RAW is pretty much a "given" around here Paul (so in-camera picture styles are ignored).

    I suspect that what others are referring to (and I agree with) is taking the time to get the scene set (lighting etc) and any filters in place before opening the shutter so that large corrections aren't needed in PP.

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    Re: Is Photoshop a MUST?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    I think you'll find that shooting RAW is pretty much a "given" around here Paul (so in-camera picture styles are ignored).

    I suspect that what others are referring to (and I agree with) is taking the time to get the scene set (lighting etc) and any filters in place before opening the shutter so that large corrections aren't needed in PP.
    Exactly Colin. Oh and I would also like to add that I only use PS for cropping and setting up my printer.

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    Re: Is Photoshop a MUST?

    With regard to cost. I've just done a quick UK price check and the full CS4 Design Premium Suite has a recommended price of 1400 but is available for around 1000 or slightly more.

    The standard version CS4 starts at 650 but is available around 550.

    There are further discounts for students. Does 60 years in the University of Life & Hard Work make me a student?

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    Re: Is Photoshop a MUST?

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    The standard version CS4 starts at 650 but is available around 550.
    Hi Geoff,

    That sounds a bit closer

    There are further discounts for students. Does 60 years in the University of Life & Hard Work make me a student?
    In my opinion yes, but my opinion and $5 is only good for a ride on a bus (which you can actually get without my opinion, which probably sums up quite nicely just what it's worth!).

    I'd like to think that we're all "students of life", but I doubt that the Adobe legal team see it quite that way

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    strawbs77's Avatar
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    Re: Is Photoshop a MUST?

    Wow, I am starting to wonder how I would ever get ahead without everyone here!

    My next question is:

    Does photoshop do everything that Elements does? Is there any benefit in running both of them?

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