Adobe alternatives?

Started Oct 31, 2012 | Discussions thread
Don_Campbell Senior Member • Posts: 2,748
Re: GIMP is highly usable

Scott Eaton wrote:

Fluorescent lights may have improved somewhat in terms of CRI over the years due to improved phosphor sets but color temps are just as varied as ever. Commercial bay lighting can range from 6000k to 3500k depending on who's buying the tubes. The problem posted is a valid and common one, although it's something simple enough that can be accomplished with open source tools. As long as dynamic range isn't an issue it could be fixed with two different RAW white balances and some careful layering.

I mess with Gimp a couple times a year to see how it's coming, and while the application has made progress it still continues to be plagued with the 'strap on' effect of having too many developers shoving their ideas into a freebie package. The result is half the more advanced workflow techniques either don't work or crash for no reason. Even the error windows don't have sufficient explanations in Gimp.

Adobe PS and LR have brick walls as well, but typically when you run into a problem other *professionals* are having the same issue and you can find a documented fix that doesn't involve some rude geek hot linking one solution thread to another solution thread and on and on while not listening. Net result is wasting a whole lot of time and getting no where. Bridge sucks and always has.

At one time I had hope for RAWTherapee, but it's like trying to work with Microsoft Excel as a front end for a RAW editor. Again, Adobe just works.

Weird. I find RawTherapee a pleasure to use. I'm using the current development versions 4.0.9.x and compiling them several times a week for the pleasure of seeing how things are progressing. I think that once I had to backtrack to a previous change-set because of a bug but the script used for compiling saves previously compiled versions for a few changesets and a few weeks.

I will grant Scott the point that RT has a huge number of things that can be tweaked. The mistake is that they are not all meant to be tweaked for every photo. I set up a default tweak that works for what I'm doing and almost no image needs more than a little touch up from there in one or two controls. I save my 4-5 most useful processing profiles with appropriate names and when the photo scene fits a different profile I just load it.

There are several advantages of RT but the one that is particularly useful is that it now does all manipulation of images using floating point arithmetic. This means that there is no integer rounding to screw up the results and do things like creating banding effects. Oh, one incidental advantage is that like GIMP, RT is free as in freedom and as in free beer. The price is right and the upgrades just keep coming.

I process raws in RT and then often move to GIMP for one or two things. I particularly like GIMP's Selective Gaussian Blur for noise reduction that careful choice of parameters leaves detail relatively untouched. I have not had the trouble Scott has with GIMP and I've been using it steadily since 1997. Pre-version 1.0 things could be dicey but that's been a huge long time ago. I do use it in Linux so that may make a difference.


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