Composites: Photoshop or On1 RAW?

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
OP ADW02 Regular Member • Posts: 382
Re: Composites: Photoshop or On1 RAW?

candgpics wrote:


Here are some thoughts to consider, but excuse my rambling!

I have been a Photoshop user for about 10 years. I have CS4, CS5, and CS6, and also subscribe to CC.

I actually started using One One PhotoTools Professional and PhotoFrame years ago when the company was a Photoshop plug-in based company. I still have the programs and use them once in a while in Photoshop CS5 (they do not work in CS6 or CC).

And, I have DXO PhotoLab, Capture One Pro, NIK, and Exposure X5 (I love NIK and Exposure).

I also have Affinity Photo and used it solidly for about 6 months when I stopped my Photoshop subscription. I returned to Photoshop because I preferred not having to relearn my workflow.

In actuality, Affinity is very much like Photoshop and the principles are the same; there are small workflow differences throughout--but I think this only makes a difference if you are a long time Photoshop user. The output from Affinity is excellent and on par with Photoshop (although Affinity's raw developer is very basic and cannot compete; for pixel editing, however, I found Affinity is really just as powerful as Photoshop). also has a number of excellent Affinity tutorials including compositing that go on sale from time to time.

My workflow now centers on ACR or DXO then Photoshop, with my two main plug-ins being NIK and Exposure.

I own On1 (their not so new abbreviation) Photo Raw 2020 and have a couple of the prior versions. I never had the crashing and performance issues others have experienced, but the program was buggy in the past. It's user interface was not the best originally, but it has improved. I have never warmed up to the program, though. Everyone has their own preferences and workflow, but in my opinion I found obvious quality differences between the output of On1 Photo Raw and Photoshop (as well as DXO PhotoLab). Even today, I find RAW processing in On1 PhotoRaw inferior (and I did do a trial run with the new 2021 version, but the program's RAW output has improved).

I, too, am trying to get into compositing and follow the work of Joel Grimes, Renee Robyn, Eric Almas, and Rikard Rodin, among others, and there are a number of YouTube channels to check out that do indeed include good quality instruction.

I tend to view On1 PhotoRaw as a program that is still not quite up to speed, at least for me. In my opinion, the company makes grand promises, does not quite put out a finished product, and then moves on to the next yearly upgrade (like Luminar, which I have tried). I think for special effects, On1 PhotoRaw is very good, although I still prefer the previous PhotoTools Professional. It has better effects and a superior and more straightforward interface. On1 has added so much to PhotoRaw that I think it overcomplicated the program.

Photoshop is a far more powerful program than PhotoRaw, but that does not mean PhotoRaw cannot meet your needs. And, everyone has their own workflow and preferences. What works for one person may not work for others.

What you may want to do is see if the subscription to On1's video tutorials (On1 Plus, I believe) has a 30 day refund period. There may be compositing tutorial videos you can view. You can see if they show you what the program can do and if it meets your needs.

Rambling over!

Thanks for taking the time to give me your thoughts, and they certainly weren't meaningless rambling; there was a lot of information I believe I needed to know.

In looking for a photo development and enhancement program that is powerful enough to take me from the beginning stage of compositing to advanced usage, I am beginning to come to the conclusion that Photoshop is my best bet. Affinity is well worth considering, but I would have to learn that program from scratch. Photoshop, on the other hand, is a program I've used almost since the time it was first released. The lease price of $10 per month I can live with.

I've noticed that Udemy is having its Holiday sale on tutorials, and for $10 I can purchase the brand-new beginner's course in Photoshop compositing. It only has one project, but it appears that it gives a good grounding on creating a believable composition. From there I'm looking closely at Matt Kloskowski's 'Photoshop Compositing Course.' The cost is $100, but it has 17 projects, and appears to take beginners to maybe a mid-range level. And of course, there are any number of more advanced courses through the internet, quite likely beyond anything I would need.

Even so, my experience has been that On1 is easier to work with when it comes to texturized photos, and I'm certainly a fan of Doug Landreth's work. As well, the AI functions of the forthcoming Luminar AI appear to be worth taking a very close look at. Since I own both programs, I think these will be great plug-ins for Photoshop.

Again, I very much appreciate the detailed and informative reply you've given.

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