Editing versus processing

Started Jan 29, 2014 | Discussions thread
Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 13,847
Re: Editing versus processing

jackdan wrote:

For the sake of good communication, when does edit apply and when does processes apply?

The problem with most of the replies so far is that they try to answer on an either-or basis. But there's really a spectrum of meanings, and both terms apply equally to most of the spectrum.

Consider the idea that "process means creating an image, editing it means altering it". Take a set of raw image files, open them and start working on them. Even before you opened them the camera had done some processing. By the simple act of opening them in your image software the computer did some processing. So as they've already been processed, everything you do is editing ... or is it?

Some will say that although camera and computer started processing it isn't complete until you decide you've finished. So in that case everything you do is processing.

Now say you've finished six of those images and move to number seven. You notice something that doesn't seem quite right (perhaps a dust spot you hadn't noticed before) so you deal with that and complete number seven. Then you go back to the first six, reopen them and fix the dust spot.

For the first six you had completed processing so fixing the dust spot was editing. But for number seven you did it as part of the processing. This is what I mean about the spectrum: once you get past the automatic processing done in the camera and computer, almost anything you do to an image can be either processing or editing depending on when you do it.

Another example: some say that things like getting WB correct are processing. So far I've chosen to discuss raw files, so it's pretty easy to see setting WB as just part of the process. But with JPG the WB was fixed in the camera and what came out was a finished image. In that case, altering WB in what is a finished image is editing. So WB can be either a processing activity or an editing activity even when it does exactly the same job.

Back to the first part of your question "For the sake of good communication ..." the answer is that just using "edit" or "process" often doesn't communicate very well.  So rather than trying to pick one word over the other you need to supply context to make clear what you are doing.

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First camera 1953, first Pentax 1985, first DSLR 2006

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