Adobe alternatives?

Started Oct 31, 2012 | Discussions
Bobzilla2
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Adobe alternatives?
Oct 31, 2012

I have previously had access to a copy of photoshop, but I no longer have that privilege.  I will struggle to justify £400 to the Mrs for photo editing for a hobby.  So what alternatives do I have?  I always shoot raw to give maximum flexibility on editing.

Likes:

Bridge - I really like the file management of Bridge - all in one viewing full screen of files, scan through them quickly, instant reject, file management, everything there in one place.

Layers - being able to edit photos but not change the underlying picture, just adding an adjustment filter to it that I can get rid of if I screw it up.

Anything else I am not sure that I really need or would use.  I generally use the hue/saturation/levels/curves type tools, and not the touch up tools.  As I said, I'm an amateur, not a pro, and I don't have time to go for long training sessions on how to use said software to its full advantage (hence not liking the £400 price tag if I can avoid it, legitimately).

Suggestions?  Thanks.

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DavidC
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Re: Adobe alternatives?
In reply to Bobzilla2, Oct 31, 2012

Photoshop Elements 11 is worth a look. Very good value for money I think.

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Bobzilla2
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Re: Adobe alternatives?
In reply to DavidC, Oct 31, 2012

DavidC wrote:

Photoshop Elements 11 is worth a look. Very good value for money I think.

I had wondered.  I remember looking at this a while ago, and found that elements lacked a few quite fundamental things, but from a bit of research over lunch it would appear that a lot of the things which had gone AWOL have started to appear.  I might give elements a closer look.  Ta.

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Jim Cockfield
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Aftershot Pro, PSP
In reply to Bobzilla2, Oct 31, 2012

For most things, Corel AfterShot Pro is probably all you need. It's similar to Adobe Lightroom for Image Management and Raw Conversion Purposes. Just download it, install it, and it will work for 30 days without buying it. Then, if you decide you like it, just purchase it and plug in the License Key (no need to reinstall it).

http://www.corel.com/corel/product/index.jsp?pid=prod4670071

Here'a a webinar that goes into a lot of it's features:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i633ZBya9Fc

For more advanced editing, you may want to look at PaintShop Pro X5:

http://www.corel.com/corel/product/index.jsp?pid=prod4900067

I have no recent experience with PaintShot Pro. But, I do use Corel AfterShot Pro. Basically, Corel purchased Bibble Labs a while back and relaunched Bibble Pro as AfterShot Pro.

So, AfterShot Pro is completely different than other Corel Products like PaintShot Pro, and works similar to Lightroom in many areas, only AfterShot Pro is *very* fast, and also works under Linux (I have it installed in both Linux and Windows, and the same license key works under both Operating System installs, just the way Bibble Pro allowed you to install it under more than one OS.

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malch
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Re: Adobe alternatives?
In reply to Bobzilla2, Oct 31, 2012

Zoner Photo Studio Pro is work a look at around $70.

Also ACD See Pro at around $100.

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ppage
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Bridge Alternative
In reply to Bobzilla2, Oct 31, 2012

I can't offer an alternative to Photoshop.  Others have suggested Elements and I believe it now has layers.  But as a Photoshop user you are probably used to all those nice little features like the healing brush that may or may not be found in other products.

I can offer you an alternative to Bridge.  I use Photoshop and I've never been a fan of Bridge.  I use FastStone Image Viewer for managing my photos.  I can't list all the little features it has for making my life easier because it would take too long.  But among the essentials: it can be configured quite easily to automate the downloading of photos from your camera while renaming the photos and placing them in folders.  You can create lists of favourite folders to navigate quickly between them or copy or move images between them.  Double-click on any image to get a full screen view of it, use your mouse's wheel to zoom in our out.  The imiage's Exif information is a keystroke away, as is the histogram.  A single keystroke will bring up your image editor with the selected photo already loaded.  Comparing two or more images in a full screen mode is extremely easy.  It also has some basic image editing functions and can be used to resize or convert images.  And it also interfaces with your scanner and your email.

Finally, it's free.  You are invited to make a donation to contribute to further development, but it's not required.... and no, I am not associated with the product in any way except as a user.

Cheers,
Peter

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acdtech
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Re: Adobe alternatives?
In reply to Bobzilla2, Oct 31, 2012

Try this freebee.

http://free.zoner.com/

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malch
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Re: Adobe alternatives?
In reply to acdtech, Oct 31, 2012

acdtech wrote:

Try this freebee.

http://free.zoner.com/

It's kind of a teaser. You'll need the Pro version to process RAW files and for quite a lot of other features. Nevertheless, the Pro product is pretty good and good value at $70.

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Jim Cockfield
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Adjustment Layers and Regions....
In reply to Jim Cockfield, Oct 31, 2012

Jim Cockfield wrote:

For most things, Corel AfterShot Pro is probably all you need. It's similar to Adobe Lightroom for Image Management and Raw Conversion Purposes. Just download it, install it, and it will work for 30 days without buying it. Then, if you decide you like it, just purchase it and plug in the License Key (no need to reinstall it).

http://www.corel.com/corel/product/index.jsp?pid=prod4670071

Here'a a webinar that goes into a lot of it's features:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i633ZBya9Fc

If you go forward to around 30 minutes into the webinar, you'll see some examples using adjustment layers and regions.

But,all of the edits you make are non-destructive in Aftershot Pro (as that seems like something you're concerned about).

It's not as sophisticated as a product like Photoshop. But, it does what I'd normally do with an image, and it's image browsing/management features are really great (and it's a very fast product). Nothing really comes close to it's speed when browsing folders of raw files, with good tools for rating images, etc (making it really nice for selecting keepers). It's very similar to Lightroom in that area (only it's faster and has support for features like adjustment layers).

You may want to look at Lightroom, too.  Adobe has trial that you can test drive:

http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop-lightroom.html

But, personally, I like AfterShot Pro, as it can do some things like work with files without importing them into a Catalog first (although it does have nice cataloging features), with adjustment layers and more.  Because Corel AfterShot Pro is cross platform (and I use Linux most of the time), that's a big plus for me, too.

Again, I have no recent experience with PSP (Paintshop Pro), but it may also be worth a look for more advanced editing features. Just keep in mind that the two product lines (Paintshop Pro, AfterShot Pro), have very little in common (since AfterShot Pro is basically a rebranded Bibble Pro since Corel acquired Bibble Labs).

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Jeff Peterman
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Re: Adobe alternatives?
In reply to Bobzilla2, Oct 31, 2012

Bobzilla2 wrote:

Bridge - I really like the file management of Bridge - all in one viewing full screen of files, scan through them quickly, instant reject, file management, everything there in one place.

Layers - being able to edit photos but not change the underlying picture, just adding an adjustment filter to it that I can get rid of if I screw it up.

Anything else I am not sure that I really need or would use. I generally use the hue/saturation/levels/curves type tools, and not the touch up tools. As I said, I'm an amateur, not a pro, and I don't have time to go for long training sessions on how to use said software to its full advantage (hence not liking the £400 price tag if I can avoid it, legitimately).

From what you've said, Lightroom looks like a great option for you. It has more power than Bridge as a photo management tool, all of it's "edits" are non-destructive (the software stores the edit instructions and leaves the image alone), and it has the equivalent of all the other tools you want (hue/saturation/levels/curves), and more.

It is a very powerful tool.

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Jeff Peterman
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soloryb
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Re: Adobe alternatives?
In reply to Jeff Peterman, Oct 31, 2012

Jeff Peterman wrote:

From what you've said, Lightroom looks like a great option for you. It has more power than Bridge as a photo management tool, all of it's "edits" are non-destructive (the software stores the edit instructions and leaves the image alone), and it has the equivalent of all the other tools you want (hue/saturation/levels/curves), and more.

It is a very powerful tool.

I agree with what Jeff says regarding Lightroom as an option. I used Photoshop/Bridge for several years before changing over to Lightroom and I rarely need to use Photoshop anymore. If you're looking for photo management as well as great non-destructive editing, then LR 4.2 is the way to go.

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Jeff Peterman
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Re: Adobe alternatives?
In reply to soloryb, Oct 31, 2012

Note that I have two PCs that I use often. I've installed Lightroom on both, then CS5 on one and PS Elements on the other, because there are still times when I need to do real editing on an image. For example, you can't do this with Lightroom:

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Richard
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+1 on Corel Aftershot Pro and Paintshop Pro Ultimate
In reply to Jim Cockfield, Oct 31, 2012

I agree with Jim here. I use windows version of Aftershot, they do have some plugins, they are bonus after you register, it is a great program for all the reasons he listed.

Paintshop Pro Ultimate has 3rd party filters

  • REALLUSION® FaceFilter Studio 2.0 portrait enhancement tools
  • NIK® Color Efex Pro™ 3.0 filters

and all the standard adobe photoshop filters.

Paintshop pro is like Adobe photoshop, it does work with Raw images as well, has layers, it will even import Adobe files retaining layers (though some filters do not translate). Link to Paintshop

Think of Aftershot pro is similar to Lightroom

Paintshop Pro is similar to Adobe Photoshop.

The difference being price, Paintshop Pro Ultimate 79 dollars and Aftershot 59 dollars. I would wait until they go on sale though.

Jim Cockfield wrote:

Jim Cockfield wrote:

For most things, Corel AfterShot Pro is probably all you need. It's similar to Adobe Lightroom for Image Management and Raw Conversion Purposes. Just download it, install it, and it will work for 30 days without buying it. Then, if you decide you like it, just purchase it and plug in the License Key (no need to reinstall it).

http://www.corel.com/corel/product/index.jsp?pid=prod4670071

Here'a a webinar that goes into a lot of it's features:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i633ZBya9Fc

If you go forward to around 30 minutes into the webinar, you'll see some examples using adjustment layers and regions.

But,all of the edits you make are non-destructive in Aftershot Pro (as that seems like something you're concerned about).

It's not as sophisticated as a product like Photoshop. But, it does what I'd normally do with an image, and it's image browsing/management features are really great (and it's a very fast product). Nothing really comes close to it's speed when browsing folders of raw files, with good tools for rating images, etc (making it really nice for selecting keepers). It's very similar to Lightroom in that area (only it's faster and has support for features like adjustment layers).

You may want to look at Lightroom, too. Adobe has trial that you can test drive:

http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop-lightroom.html

But, personally, I like AfterShot Pro, as it can do some things like work with files without importing them into a Catalog first (although it does have nice cataloging features), with adjustment layers and more. Because Corel AfterShot Pro is cross platform (and I use Linux most of the time), that's a big plus for me, too.

Again, I have no recent experience with PSP (Paintshop Pro), but it may also be worth a look for more advanced editing features. Just keep in mind that the two product lines (Paintshop Pro, AfterShot Pro), have very little in common (since AfterShot Pro is basically a rebranded Bibble Pro since Corel acquired Bibble Labs).

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mschf
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In reply to Bobzilla2, Nov 1, 2012

As has been mentioned, Zoner is a great alternative. Another one is Serif PhotoPlus X5:

http://www.serif.com/photoplus/

PhotoPlus has a very similar layout to Photoshop, accepts Photoshop plugins, does layers, imports raw files, etc etc. It also has an image file browser but it's a little weak (last time I checked) compared to Bridge. 89 bucks, can't go wrong with it.

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bennito42
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Re: Aftershot Pro, PSP
In reply to Jim Cockfield, Nov 1, 2012

Corel ASP might bge ok for some, but like it's "mate" CorelPSP X5, it doesn't open RAW files  from Canon G1X correctly.Pics taken at wide angle zoom  are vignetted and distorted. I have trialled LR4 and PE 11, without a problem. Try before you buy.

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Bobzilla2
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Re: Bridge Alternative
In reply to ppage, Nov 1, 2012

ppage wrote:

I can't offer an alternative to Photoshop. Others have suggested Elements and I believe it now has layers. But as a Photoshop user you are probably used to all those nice little features like the healing brush that may or may not be found in other products.

I can offer you an alternative to Bridge. I use Photoshop and I've never been a fan of Bridge. I use FastStone Image Viewer for managing my photos. I can't list all the little features it has for making my life easier because it would take too long. But among the essentials: it can be configured quite easily to automate the downloading of photos from your camera while renaming the photos and placing them in folders. You can create lists of favourite folders to navigate quickly between them or copy or move images between them. Double-click on any image to get a full screen view of it, use your mouse's wheel to zoom in our out. The imiage's Exif information is a keystroke away, as is the histogram. A single keystroke will bring up your image editor with the selected photo already loaded. Comparing two or more images in a full screen mode is extremely easy. It also has some basic image editing functions and can be used to resize or convert images. And it also interfaces with your scanner and your email.

Finally, it's free. You are invited to make a donation to contribute to further development, but it's not required.... and no, I am not associated with the product in any way except as a user.

Cheers,
Peter

Had a look, and its missing one thing.  In fact, so is the file organiser in Elements, and that's a 'reject' function.  I have grown accustomed to the idea that you can tag a file in bridge as not worth doing any work to, but not delete it permanently.  I haven't found a way to do that in Elements, and similarly I can't find a way to do that in Fastone.  In all other respects, its great.  Any suggestions as to one which has a reject function, or how to do it

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Abrak
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Re: Bridge Alternative
In reply to Bobzilla2, Nov 1, 2012

Bobzilla2 wrote:

ppage wrote:

I can't offer an alternative to Photoshop. Others have suggested Elements and I believe it now has layers. But as a Photoshop user you are probably used to all those nice little features like the healing brush that may or may not be found in other products.

I can offer you an alternative to Bridge. I use Photoshop and I've never been a fan of Bridge. I use FastStone Image Viewer for managing my photos. I can't list all the little features it has for making my life easier because it would take too long. But among the essentials: it can be configured quite easily to automate the downloading of photos from your camera while renaming the photos and placing them in folders. You can create lists of favourite folders to navigate quickly between them or copy or move images between them. Double-click on any image to get a full screen view of it, use your mouse's wheel to zoom in our out. The imiage's Exif information is a keystroke away, as is the histogram. A single keystroke will bring up your image editor with the selected photo already loaded. Comparing two or more images in a full screen mode is extremely easy. It also has some basic image editing functions and can be used to resize or convert images. And it also interfaces with your scanner and your email.

Finally, it's free. You are invited to make a donation to contribute to further development, but it's not required.... and no, I am not associated with the product in any way except as a user.

Cheers,
Peter

Had a look, and its missing one thing. In fact, so is the file organiser in Elements, and that's a 'reject' function. I have grown accustomed to the idea that you can tag a file in bridge as not worth doing any work to, but not delete it permanently. I haven't found a way to do that in Elements, and similarly I can't find a way to do that in Fastone. In all other respects, its great. Any suggestions as to one which has a reject function, or how to do it

Sure Lightroom has that. It 'also' lets you delete a photo from your catalogue but still retain it on your disk. I would maintain that Lightroom is a good 'sell' as an alternative to 'photoshop'. Photoshop Elements is the definition of a downgrade. LR combines the best of Bridge with Photoshop and many people much prefer it to Photoshop.

As a previous poster put it 'you cant do this' with LR 'cue spiral hieroglyphics' and you miss out on 'content aware fill' which is spectacularly cool but there you go.

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Bobzilla2
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Re: Bridge Alternative
In reply to Abrak, Nov 1, 2012

So lightroom looks like a goer.

Any suggestions as to where I can find a decent tutorial on Lightroom?  I remember having a play on it, and finding it a bit weird after photoshop.

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Bobzilla2
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Re: Bridge Alternative
In reply to Bobzilla2, Nov 1, 2012

Bobzilla2 wrote:

So lightroom looks like a goer.

Any suggestions as to where I can find a decent tutorial on Lightroom? I remember having a play on it, and finding it a bit weird after photoshop.

I might possibly have found myself an answer.  God, I love having kids.

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Jeff Peterman
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Re: Bridge Alternative - Lightroom
In reply to Bobzilla2, Nov 1, 2012

Lightroom has gone through many improvements. Version 1 was overly complicated and didn't work very well, but Adobe finally got it right with Version 3, and it is now on Version 4.

For routine organizing and processing of photos it's great. I now do about 80% of all my photo work with it, only switching to Photoshop CS or Elements when I need to do something complicated (like merging two images or adding text to an image).

For most people, Lightroom plus Elements will do everything they'll ever need (it's what I keep on my laptop), and the combination is half the cost of PhotoShop. Plus, Lightroom is an outstanding tool for organizing photos, even having tools to select shots and automatically upload them to a number of sites (such as Facebook and Smugmug) if you wish.

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Jeff Peterman
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