Adobe alternatives?

Started Oct 31, 2012 | Discussions
OP Bobzilla2 Junior Member • Posts: 26
Re: GIMP is highly usable

Now have a very cheap second hand first user copy of Photoshop Elements 7.  Its definitely clunkier than CS5, and the album system is really difficult to use if you shoot in raw.  Also, the raw convertor is so much more basic than the one for CS5.  I'm going to give it a go, but I'm yet to be properly convinced.

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tcg550 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,763
Re: Adobe alternatives?

I did not read all the responses but Gizmodo just did a top ten free Photoshop alternatives post.

http://gizmodo.com/5974500/10-photoshop-alternatives-that-are-totally-free

Just a few more options.

BobSC Veteran Member • Posts: 3,664
Re: GIMP is highly usable

CAcreeks wrote:

abelits wrote:

No, GIMP doesn't have adjustment layers.

GIMP has layers of many types, but not adjustment. This is one of those misguided criticisms I was talking about earlier. Adjustment layers are fairly useless for these reasons:

  • Adjustment layers involve large PSD files clogging up disk.
  • It is far more efficient to track changes with non-destructive edits as in Bibble Pro Corel Aftershot or Adobe Lightroom.
  • GIMP has a very speedy multiple Undo facility.

Disk is cheap. Time is expensive. I have a photo that takes up 5 MB on my drive. I added four adjustment layers and it's now 10 mb. No big deal. If I start filling the adjustment layers with masks they'll get bigger, but that's not necessary for every image.

Aftershot pro's non destructive edits are neat, but not as flexible as adjustment layers, from what I've seen so far. I don't have LR.

Do you have a way to, for example, apply a color temperature adjustment, or a curves adjustment, through a gradient mask? Also, I frequently find that when I have six or so adjustment layers, that I need to go back and change the settings on the initial adjustments after I get further along in the editing process. Being able to toggle them all is very useful.
Also, can you duplicate your regions? So for instance, if you have a gradient mask that you change levels through, can you duplicate that mask and use it for color temperature too, and then invert it and use it for contrast? Then modify the mask and populate it through the adjustments?

CAcreeks
CAcreeks Forum Pro • Posts: 11,179
Re: GIMP is highly usable

BobSC wrote:

Aftershot pro's non destructive edits are neat, but not as flexible as adjustment layers, from what I've seen so far. I don't have LR.

Aftershot has better layer support than Lightroom, from what I have read. But I don't do this stuff, so cannot verify.

Do you have a way to, for example, apply a color temperature adjustment, or a curves adjustment, through a gradient mask? Also, I frequently find that when I have six or so adjustment layers, that I need to go back and change the settings on the initial adjustments after I get further along in the editing process. Being able to toggle them all is very useful.
Also, can you duplicate your regions? So for instance, if you have a gradient mask that you change levels through, can you duplicate that mask and use it for color temperature too, and then invert it and use it for contrast? Then modify the mask and populate it through the adjustments?

All those things seem possible in Aftershot.

My goal in editing is to make a photo look as much like the original scene as possible. I don't need or use all the editing features you described above. Sorry to judge, but it sounds like a huge waste of time.

BobSC Veteran Member • Posts: 3,664
Re: GIMP is highly usable

CAcreeks wrote:


My goal in editing is to make a photo look as much like the original scene as possible. I don't need or use all the editing features you described above. Sorry to judge, but it sounds like a huge waste of time.

So first you accuse me of making "misguided criticisms" but now it turns out that you really just don't understand what I'm doing.
Here's an example -- your boss shoots a photo indoors with the little on-camera flash. There are fluorescent lights in the room he was in, and incandescent lights in the next room. Your task is to correct the lighting in both rooms (to match the flash) and correct the light falloff from the flash.

That's a simple example; sometimes they're much more complicated. Your "huge waste of time" is my paycheck
But seriously, if you use Photoshop /every/ day at work, it is worth the cost -- especially if you use it in conjunction with Illustrator and Acrobat. Those "wasteful" psd files can be linked into an Illustrator file. Suppose I'm making a poster. If things don't look just right in the print, I can go back to the psd file, tweek the adjustment layer, and Illustrator automatically updates the poster. The really cool thing is I can have the psd file open in both applications at once and they don't get confused.

Most people don't do complicated stuff, so simple solutions work well for them. For people who do complicated stuff, more sophisticated solutions are a godsend. Many people seem to get by just fine without a graphics tablet. I can't imagine how.

Jim Cockfield Forum Pro • Posts: 16,333
Re: GIMP is highly usable

BobSC wrote:

Here's an example -- your boss shoots a photo indoors with the little on-camera flash. There are fluorescent lights in the room he was in, and incandescent lights in the next room. Your task is to correct the lighting in both rooms (to match the flash) and correct the light falloff from the flash.

Hey Bob:

You may want to dig into the Adjustment Layers and Regions in AfterShot Pro.   What some photographers have found is that it's easier to do most of that kind of thing in AfterShot Pro, before using something simpler like the GIMP for final adjustments.

You'll see that kind of thing "touched upon" in this webinar about 30 minutes into it:

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

-- hide signature --

JimC
------

CAcreeks
CAcreeks Forum Pro • Posts: 11,179
Re: GIMP is highly usable

BobSC, the question here is alternatives to Adobe, not whether professionals can use GIMP. I would say not. Amateurs like me can use GIMP. It starts faster than Photoshop, runs on all my computers, and is better for direct JPEG editing.

Not sure Aftershot has sufficient support for professionals either, but it also starts (much!) faster than Lightroom.

BobSC wrote:

Here's an example -- your boss shoots a photo indoors with the little on-camera flash. There are fluorescent lights in the room he was in, and incandescent lights in the next room. Your task is to correct the lighting in both rooms (to match the flash) and correct the light falloff from the flash.

Weird that your boss can afford to pay you as a professional photographer but cannot afford a decent camera. Good example, however.

P.S. Most fluorescent lights made in the past decade are close to daylight balanced, so this scenario hardly ever occurs nowadays.

BobSC Veteran Member • Posts: 3,664
Re: GIMP is highly usable

CAcreeks wrote:

BobSC, the question here is alternatives to Adobe,

When considering alternatives, it's good to know what the limits of each option are, right? I was just point out a few things GIMP is not so good at, in case our original poster, who is a former PS user, needs those features.

not whether professionals can use GIMP. I would say not. Amateurs like me can use GIMP. It starts faster than Photoshop, runs on all my computers, and is better for direct JPEG editing.

Not sure Aftershot has sufficient support for professionals either, but it also starts (much!) faster than Lightroom.

BobSC wrote:

Here's an example -- your boss shoots a photo indoors with the little on-camera flash. There are fluorescent lights in the room he was in, and incandescent lights in the next room. Your task is to correct the lighting in both rooms (to match the flash) and correct the light falloff from the flash.

Weird that your boss can afford to pay you as a professional photographer but cannot afford a decent camera. Good example, however.

P.S. Most fluorescent lights made in the past decade are close to daylight balanced, so this scenario hardly ever occurs nowadays.

Many decent cameras have little on-camera flashes. The Nikon d7000 comes to mind. His camera is a Canon g10. He likes it because it fits in his pocket. Since he's the boss, he gets to make those kind of decisions
But I'm not a professional photographer (though I do take photos for the company, they are mainly simple documentary photos that anyone could take). A large part of my job description would fall in the category of graphic arts and illustration. Although many people don't realize it, Photoshop is useful for many things besides photos.

Scott Eaton Senior Member • Posts: 2,217
Re: GIMP is highly usable

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.

Don_Campbell Senior Member • Posts: 2,709
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.

Don

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