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Thread: Right - How do you work this ACR thing?

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Right - How do you work this ACR thing?

    Okay, the story is - I've downloaded a trial version of Elements 8. Not because I want it. I'm a happy GIMP user. But I do want to try ACR for B & W conversion.

    Look at the picture below. On the left is a screenshot from a tutorial site. On the right is a screenshot of ACR in the trial version I downloaded. Spot the difference? The number of tabs available underneath the shooting info. And, in particular, there's no HSL/Grayscale tab in what I've downloaded - and that's what I want.

    So, do you know ......
    1. Is this all you get with Elements and you have to buy Lightroom or PS to get fully functioning ACR?
    2. Is the absence just becuase it's a trial version I've downloaded?
    3. The answer to any other question that I don't know to ask!!?


    I've used Raw Therapee for some time. It gets me close. But the problem is that whilst I get it right some time, I still struggle to understand its channel mixer. And I don't like working with something I don't properly understand nor master.

    I am a contented GIMP user and have no desire to go down the PS route. But since, I understand, I can't have ACR as a stand alone, I need a product on which to piggy-back it.

    Right - How do you work this ACR thing?

  2. #2

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    Re: Right - How do you work this ACR thing?

    A. Left looks like mine, a full version of CS4.
    B. Elements only come with those tabs (i think)
    C. You can still use ARC without those other tabs (I think)
    Last edited by Crovean; 14th June 2010 at 09:05 PM.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Right - How do you work this ACR thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    1. Is this all you get with Elements and you have to buy Lightroom or PS to get fully functioning ACR?
    2. Is the absence just becuase it's a trial version I've downloaded?
    3. The answer to any other question that I don't know to ask!!?
    1. Yes unfortunately
    2. No
    3. I think you have it covered


    Lightroom is cheaper than CS4/5.

    I'm told a pukka s/h copy of CS3 might do, depending on camera model.

  4. #4

    Re: Right - How do you work this ACR thing?

    Donald

    I have always found it confusing what you get with each version. I have always been on CS* and have never used Elements. It could be that you have restricted access as it's a trial. You are also missing the tone curve tab which is pretty essential for BW as the contrast slider on the main tab is not so effective. It must be because you are on a trial. Where did you download it from? Do you have the link?

  5. #5

    Re: Right - How do you work this ACR thing?

    I just read Dave's post. I can't believe that's all you get with Elements. It's not worth having like that.

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    Re: Right - How do you work this ACR thing?

    B. Is the absence just becuase it's a trial version I've downloaded?
    With adobe trial software you actually get to use all the features but it just expires in 30 days.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Right - How do you work this ACR thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    1. Yes unfortunately
    2. No
    3. I think you have it covered
    Oh well, that's Adobe just lost a sale. Not sure they'll lose sleep over it. But, as Rob says, seems quite an incredible approach. And confirms why I want to and will stick with the GIMP.

    The search goes on for the ultimate RAW converter that's 'made' for B & W conversion.

    And now excuse me whilst I go and uninstall what I downloaded.

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    Re: Right - How do you work this ACR thing?

    Hi, Donald;

    Chriss and Dave are correct. I switched a few months ago from PSE8 to CS4, and was surprised to discover all these tabs suddenly appearing in ACR. I just opened a CR2 file in PSE8 to verify my memory, and the only tabs in ACR are the three you see in your right-hand screenshot: basic, detail, and camera calibration. This is a licensed version of PSE8 purchased direct from Adobe.

    Cheers,
    Rick

  9. #9

    Re: Right - How do you work this ACR thing?

    Donald

    Have you tried Digital Photo professional from Canon? Some people claim it's pretty good now, but I haven't used it for ages.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Right - How do you work this ACR thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by carregwen View Post
    Have you tried Digital Photo professional from Canon?
    I've always found that DPP is a perfectly good tool. However (and I'm sure someone will come back and tell me I just don't understand it), I think it has its limitations, especially given I want to use it as a B & W converter.

    Have re-downloaded a trial version of DXO to see if it feels any more intuitive than last time.

    Not only do a I feel very anti-Adobe, but I can't justify the cost of Lightroom just to get the right tabs on ACR. Which is a great shame, because it feels like the tool I'm after.

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    Re: Right - How do you work this ACR thing?

    Donald,

    Any particular reason why you're wanting to do B&W in ACR vs in Photoshop itself? In PS, I particularly like the channel mixer or gradient map for b&w conversions. They are both great options while doing so non-destructively.

    I've also become a recent fan of Silver Efex Pro by Nik software. They offer a free 15 day trial with no limitations. It's worth trying.

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    Re: Right - How do you work this ACR thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    I've always found that DPP is a perfectly good tool. However (and I'm sure someone will come back and tell me I just don't understand it), I think it has its limitations, especially given I want to use it as a B & W converter.

    Have re-downloaded a trial version of DXO to see if it feels any more intuitive than last time.

    Not only do a I feel very anti-Adobe, but I can't justify the cost of Lightroom just to get the right tabs on ACR. Which is a great shame, because it feels like the tool I'm after.
    Donald, i've tried elements 8 and used it for about 2 weeks and ditched it. The gimp and UFRaw are twice the program.

    On the other hand, DXO is a fantastic program, and priced very good in my opinion . It's worth it's weight in gold just for the noise reduction. You can convert to B&W and only need some minor dodging and burning and some extra sharpening for most photos. If you need some pointers, let me know. I have a pretty good workflow with it now.

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    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Right - How do you work this ACR thing?

    You might like to use Helicon Filter which is free;
    http://www.heliconsoft.com/heliconfilter.html

    Right - How do you work this ACR thing?

    Right - How do you work this ACR thing?

  14. #14

    Re: Right - How do you work this ACR thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by flipmode View Post
    Donald,

    Any particular reason why you're wanting to do B&W in ACR vs in Photoshop itself? In PS, I particularly like the channel mixer or gradient map for b&w conversions. They are both great options while doing so non-destructively.


    Donald

    I think Chris has a good point here. RAW can only do so much in terms of BW conversion. I like to see it as preparing the ground ready for converting in CS4. It just sorts out the basics - contrast, exposure corrections, clarity etc. Most of the BW shots that I have posted here (which seem to get very favourable comments) were done using Jan Esmann's Power Retouche plugins. They are excellent, not just in what they can do, but also in how well they do it without knocking the stuffing out of your image. He's a very clever guy, I think, and he seems to have done a great job with these plugins. He has a black and white studio plugin, which I use for most of my conversions, and you can buy that as a stand-alone. Or, you can buy the whole package for 65. It's worth having the others as one or two of them are excellent such as exposure, and sharpening. The BW studio and the exposure plugins give very fine adjustment control, either over the whole image, or in selected zonal areas. I see that they interface with GIMP. You can download a demo pack for a short period. I think once you try them you will want them.

    http://www.powerretouche.com/buy_plugins_now.htm

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    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Right - How do you work this ACR thing?

    I was looking at DPP and you can indeed do monochrome on a RAW file but I couldn't find a blue filter. Helicon Filter will work on RAW files but is a bit limited as as far as B+W is concerned. I found you can use spectral sensitivity a bit like adding a filter.

    Normally I don't go for the complicated stuff everybody else seems to like preferring the simple life, but if you know how to use Gimp then all you need is a 16 bit version and you should be able to do everything.

    I've found Topaz Detail to have some very useful sliders that control how light influences different colours and it is possible to completely change an image using these but alas no histogram also easy to blow it. These sliders work in black and white and appear more powerful than filters.


    All other plugins I use are 8 bit so I suspect you are not interested in those.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Right - How do you work this ACR thing?

    Thank you all for your contributions to help resolve my latest dilemma (thought this photography thing was meant to be pleasurable!).

    As noted above, I re-downloaded the trial of DXO to see if it made more sense this time around. And, hey presto, the lights came on. It gives me the control of hues that I was looking for, + lots and lots of other things (all of which make sense and I understand - which is where this little journey started).

    So, I've gone down that road.

    Steve S - The PM is on its way

    I agree with others that the RAW converter is not the answer to life, the universe and everything, but, as I think Colin has said on here before (and perhaps others), doing as much as possible in (in his case) ACR, has its advantages. As said above, I will remain loyal to the GIMP. Stuff from DXO will go there for finishing-off.

  17. #17

    Re: Right - How do you work this ACR thing?

    Here's another vote for DXO. I use it as my main RAW converter and I absolutely love the images it produces. My only complaint is how slow it performs, but then I guess that's down to all the corrections it does.

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    Re: Right - How do you work this ACR thing?

    I will be interested to learn how you get on with the DXO software, Donald.

    At 90.00 for the basic version (special offer price) it needs to be excellent.

    After a quick look at their web site, I was a bit confused over exactly what was available with that programme.

    Currently, I am using Serif Photo Plus X3 which suits me but I think their RAW converter is rather poor. And in some respects it possibly isn't even as good as DPP.

    Raw Therapee would suit me, particularly version 3, if only it was stable; and I find the previous version crashes just as often. I have discovered some work arounds but sometimes the programme is in a 'funny mood' while on other occasions it works fine.

    So yes, I am also looking for improved RAW conversion; but any total software must perform as well as Photo Plus which otherwise works well with me.

    ps. And I don't really want to have to learn something totally strange until those cold wet dark winter days!

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Right - How do you work this ACR thing?

    Geoff

    24 hours in to my new life as a DxO user and ... I love it.

    Now, I'm sure there are many brilliant RAW converters. The important thing for me, as I was saying earlier in this thread, is that I understand how the thing is working and therefore can proceed on the basis of some knowledge and skill. That's what I struggled with with Raw Therapee (RT). It was good. But each image was guesswork.

    As you know, my aim is to get the tool that I can use for B & W conversion in RAW. With RT, I couldn't look at an image and say, for example, 'Take green down on the reds. Put blue up on the greens'. It was all guesswork and moving sliders until I ended up with something that I liked the look of.

    Why I wanted to explore what ACR offered was because of what Michael Freeman's said in his book, The Complete Guide to Black & White Digital Photography, ILEX, 2009 (which is my photgraphic bible), about ACR's and Photoshop's Black & White dialogue, made so much sense. It seemed as if using that would be so straightforward.

    The lovely thing is that I have found DxO to be as easy to understand. Already, with DxO, I know what I'm doing, or trying to do before I start. I'm still learning. But the most fantastic tool for what I want and the way I work is its 'multi-point color balance'. Get it into B & W and then get to work with that tool and the world becomes full of flowers and light.

    It seems an incredibly powerful tool that opens up, for me, so many options. Becuase each of us thinks in a different way and computes information in a different way, different RAW converters will make sense to different people for different reasons (if you see what I mean!). DxO certainly makes sense to me

    As you can probably tell, I'm very excited about it. It must make me a brilliant photographer! Or maybe not.

    ps: - And my thanks to Steve S (see above) who, via PMs, set me on the right road with some super advice.
    Last edited by Donald; 16th June 2010 at 08:12 PM. Reason: Add PS

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