What is the best non-Adobe photo processing software for Apple?

Started Jun 20, 2013 | Discussions
Tom Axford Veteran Member • Posts: 3,644
GIMP is very capable

I use GIMP, which is free, but extremely good. It is a bit harder to learn than Photoshop, but once you get used to it has a very good design, and a wide range of capabilities, although it doesn't match Photoshop in all areas.

I have been using it for several years on an iMac and feel no need to move to Photoshop or another commercial package.

DenWil
DenWil Veteran Member • Posts: 3,084
Why on earth replace CS6?

If you liked CS6 yesterday your public search for an alternative is childish and contrived. ACR is separate  and updates are independent of Photoshop, that in addition to the fact every camera you buy has a RAW developer.  As an image editor your CS6 will work natively at least till the next incarnation of Apple architecture  and if the number of folks happily still using CS3 is any indication, for years to come.

Why these posts continue to show up with the same 'I reject CC so I will remove all things Adobe from my workflow'  reeks of the old saying 'cut off your nose to spite your face'.

I plan on continuing to use that software which serves my needs now and tomorrow and if in 3 or 5 years I am required to change then so be it. Till then there is no earthly reason to settle for the "best non-Adobe" anything.

MikeFromMesa Senior Member • Posts: 2,849
Re: Why on earth replace CS6?

DenWil wrote:

If you liked CS6 yesterday your public search for an alternative is childish and contrived. ACR is separate and updates are independent of Photoshop, that in addition to the fact every camera you buy has a RAW developer. As an image editor your CS6 will work natively at least till the next incarnation of Apple architecture and if the number of folks happily still using CS3 is any indication, for years to come.

As a general rule I agree with you. As long as CS5 (which I have) or CS6 (which the OP has) continues to work for you, why replace it?

However I guess I need to take issue with your statement that ACR is completely independent of PhotoShop. While, in the strictest sense, that is true, it is also true that PhotoShop stops updating ACR for a specific version of PhotoShop when the next release comes out. I have not had an ACR update for CS5 in a long time and ACR updates for CS6 do not work for CS5. So the OP has a point. Once CS7 has been release one should not expect any further ACR updates for CS6.

As far as the idea that someone should use their camera-specific raw converter (presumably to produce a tiff) and then edit with their normal editor, that is not exactly a reasonable workflow. I use LR4 (or PhotoNinja or Pro 6) to process my Canon raw images. I do not first create a tiff in DPP and then process them in some other editor.

Just my opinion.

graybalanced Veteran Member • Posts: 5,680
Re: Why on earth replace CS6?

MikeFromMesa wrote:

PhotoShop stops updating ACR for a specific version of PhotoShop when the next release comes out. I have not had an ACR update for CS5 in a long time and ACR updates for CS6 do not work for CS5. So the OP has a point. Once CS7 has been release one should not expect any further ACR updates for CS6.

Adobe changed their policy on this. What you say used to be true, but it is not true now.

ACR7 came with Photoshop CS6 and under traditional circumstances the road would end there. But Adobe made a statement that even though Photoshop CC is now out with ACR8, they will backport ACR8 for CS6 to allow CS6 to keep getting new camera support.

That does not make ACR8 for CS6 the same as ACR8 for CC because the new ACR8 features for CC are not in ACR8 for CS6. ACR8 for CS6 only gets bug fixes and new cameras. But at least it does that, because Adobe didn't do that before.

MikeFromMesa Senior Member • Posts: 2,849
Re: Why on earth replace CS6?

graybalanced wrote:

MikeFromMesa wrote:

PhotoShop stops updating ACR for a specific version of PhotoShop when the next release comes out. I have not had an ACR update for CS5 in a long time and ACR updates for CS6 do not work for CS5. So the OP has a point. Once CS7 has been release one should not expect any further ACR updates for CS6.

Adobe changed their policy on this. What you say used to be true, but it is not true now.

ACR7 came with Photoshop CS6 and under traditional circumstances the road would end there. But Adobe made a statement that even though Photoshop CC is now out with ACR8, they will backport ACR8 for CS6 to allow CS6 to keep getting new camera support.

That does not make ACR8 for CS6 the same as ACR8 for CC because the new ACR8 features for CC are not in ACR8 for CS6. ACR8 for CS6 only gets bug fixes and new cameras. But at least it does that, because Adobe didn't do that before.

The question, at least for me, is what will happen when Adobe releases CS7. When that happens I expect that ACR updates for CS6 will cease. Since CS6 is relatively new and since CC is still CS6, in slightly different form, we really cannot tell what Adobe will do when there actually is a new release.

Perhaps you are right and Adobe will continue to issue new ACR updates for CS6 but, somehow, I doubt it.

Conchita Veteran Member • Posts: 9,914
Re: Why on earth replace CS6?

>The question, at least for me, is what will happen when Adobe releases CS7

It is my understanding that the current plan is that there will not be CS7--the day of big releases is done as far as Adobe is concerned. It will be CC and it will be updated when and as they feel like it. That was part of their whole point in switching to this model. Whether the dollar numbers let them hold to this, I wonder, but for now that is what they are saying.

OP Marvin Doering Senior Member • Posts: 1,599
Re: What is the best non-Adobe photo processing software for Apple?

I appreciate the education.  Guess that makes the need for RAW updates a continuing hassle.

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MRD

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OP Marvin Doering Senior Member • Posts: 1,599
Re: GIMP is very capable

I appreciate your input but if it's harder to learn than Photoshop I will never be able to use it.  I am 66 years old and my learning skills are behind me.  Thanks for helping though.

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MRD

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Steven Wandy Veteran Member • Posts: 5,352
Re: What is the best non-Adobe photo processing software for Apple?

Marvin Doering wrote:

Aperture is a lot like Lightroom and seems more for organizing.

I assume you are making this statement because of all the comments about how Aperture's file organization is considered better than LR. It is not however "more for organizing". It is a full featured RAW and photo developer. Many people use these types of programs (Aperture and Lightroom), like me, to do 95% of their photo post processing.

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OP Marvin Doering Senior Member • Posts: 1,599
Re: Why on earth replace CS6?

You have obviously never had Photoshop fail.  I have had to reinstall previous versions for various reasons beyond my control.  I downloaded PS6 from the Adobe web site so have no disks.  I would have to depend on the benevolence of Adobe if and when the program needs reinstallation at some future date, so I don't think it is beyond the pale to figure out what I can replace it with.  I plan to use CS6 until such time as the program becomes corrupted, but I need to be ready with something else.  I'm sorry to have offended your sensibilities.

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MRD

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MikeFromMesa Senior Member • Posts: 2,849
Aperture questions

Steven Wandy wrote:

I assume you are making this statement because of all the comments about how Aperture's file organization is considered better than LR. It is not however "more for organizing". It is a full featured RAW and photo developer. Many people use these types of programs (Aperture and Lightroom), like me, to do 95% of their photo post processing.

A question about Aperture from someone who has never used it.

I am switching to the Mac and was wondering if Aperture would fill my processing needs. Does Aperture do masking? Layers? Is there decent lens distortion adjustment functionality? How is the noise reduction and sharpening?

Just wondering since I will need to either move my current Windows software over (LR, PhotoShop, PhotoNinja) or replace it with Mac specific software (Aperture, Pixelmator, ...).

Thanks.

Steven Wandy Veteran Member • Posts: 5,352
Re: Aperture questions

MikeFromMesa wrote:

A question about Aperture from someone who has never used it.

I am switching to the Mac and was wondering if Aperture would fill my processing needs. Does Aperture do masking? Layers? Is there decent lens distortion adjustment functionality? How is the noise reduction and sharpening?

Just wondering since I will need to either move my current Windows software over (LR, PhotoShop, PhotoNinja) or replace it with Mac specific software (Aperture, Pixelmator, ...).

Thanks.

Hopefully someone else will correct me if I am wrong.

I don't believe that Aperture does masking & layers like you are thinking in Photoshop. It is not a pixel level layer. It can make selected adjustments using brushes and selections, but not using layers.

Noise reduction and sharpening are decent - not the best. A lot of people use plug-ins (I use Nik Software) if I need more of these than Aperture can handle. Supposedly LR is a bit better in these.

It has some controls for chromatic aberration and devigneting but not anything else. Again LR is supposed to be better at this.

When I switched from Windows (LR & PSCS5) to a Mac I went with Aperture and PS Elements 10 (which I switched to Pixelmator). Do probably 95% of my post processing in LR and the Nik pluggins that I have.

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Robgo2 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,830
Re: Aperture questions

MikeFromMesa wrote:

Steven Wandy wrote:

I assume you are making this statement because of all the comments about how Aperture's file organization is considered better than LR. It is not however "more for organizing". It is a full featured RAW and photo developer. Many people use these types of programs (Aperture and Lightroom), like me, to do 95% of their photo post processing.

A question about Aperture from someone who has never used it.

I am switching to the Mac and was wondering if Aperture would fill my processing needs. Does Aperture do masking? Layers? Is there decent lens distortion adjustment functionality? How is the noise reduction and sharpening?

Just wondering since I will need to either move my current Windows software over (LR, PhotoShop, PhotoNinja) or replace it with Mac specific software (Aperture, Pixelmator, ...).

Thanks.

You will have to get Mac versions of whatever software you want to use.  I don't know if your Windows licenses would be transferable to a Mac computer, but some companies might allow it, just as they allow their programs to be installed on more than one computer.  As far as Aperture filling all of your processing needs, that depends on your needs and your standards.  It is a lot like Lightroom, and neither is a genuine substitute for PS.  Furthermore, the quality of Aperture's raw conversions lags far behind Photo Ninja's.  Pixelmator, as far as I can tell, is a cute, but basic, program aimed mainly at graphic artists.  There's a good reason why it cost only $15.

Rob

graybalanced Veteran Member • Posts: 5,680
Re: Aperture questions
1

MikeFromMesa wrote:

A question about Aperture from someone who has never used it.

I am switching to the Mac and was wondering if Aperture would fill my processing needs. Does Aperture do masking? Layers? Is there decent lens distortion adjustment functionality? How is the noise reduction and sharpening?

The way to answer this is to step back and think about why you need masking and layers. Aperture and Lightroom can use their own interface to fulfill many of the editing functions that you might have been forced to use layers and masks for in Photoshop. For example, the gradient and brush adjustments let you apply changes to parts of an image, and they do use a mask to do it, but there are no layers in the interface. The masking implementation does not require layers.

If you want lens distortion correction, Aperture is out of the picture. Lightroom can correct lens distortions automatically or manually, and can even draw from a database of lens profiles generated by Adobe or users to correct for specific lenses instantly. You can have Lightroom correct for lenses as part of the preset you use as you import new images.

Lightroom noise reduction is considered some of the best, to the point that people started dumping the noise-reduction plug-ins they used to use. As far as I know Aperture is considered not quite up to Lightroom here.

(unknown member) Senior Member • Posts: 1,934
Re: What is the best non-Adobe photo processing software for Apple?

I've seen great comments on Corel Aftershot Pro.  I would try it and th btrial is free

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www.benoitgroslouis.com

MikeFromMesa Senior Member • Posts: 2,849
Re: Aperture questions

graybalanced wrote:

The way to answer this is to step back and think about why you need masking and layers.

In my particular case it is because I do a lot of low light photography. I have a full frame with excellent high ISO performance, but I still sometimes like to do selective noise reduction and sharpening, especially of the birds around where I live.

Typically I use layers to create one image for sharpening and another for noise reduction and/or blurring and then combine the two. While I have used different tools for this (sometimes Perfect Mask, sometimes, PhotoShop) lately I have been using Topaz's photoFXlab which does a good job with layers and with the plugins as well.

Aperture and Lightroom can use their own interface to fulfill many of the editing functions that you might have been forced to use layers and masks for in Photoshop. For example, the gradient and brush adjustments let you apply changes to parts of an image, and they do use a mask to do it, but there are no layers in the interface. The masking implementation does not require layers.

Gradients are nice, but since I am generally masking something from the middle of the image they don't really help address my needs.

If you want lens distortion correction, Aperture is out of the picture. Lightroom can correct lens distortions automatically or manually, and can even draw from a database of lens profiles generated by Adobe or users to correct for specific lenses instantly. You can have Lightroom correct for lenses as part of the preset you use as you import new images.

Lightroom noise reduction is considered some of the best, to the point that people started dumping the noise-reduction plug-ins they used to use. As far as I know Aperture is considered not quite up to Lightroom here.

Until I bought LR for my PC I had generally used Topaz DeNoise for noise reduction. After buying LR I found I did not need it anymore. Similarly PhotoNinja, with NoiseNinja 3.0, does a really first class job of reducing noise as well as raw conversion. Unfortunately PhotoNinja has a very restricted set of editing functionality. What it does, it does in a first class, top-of-the-class, sort of way, but it is missing some essential functionality.

I was hoping that Aperture might do everything I need, but perhaps I need to return to LightRoom. Thanks for the details.

(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 5,593
Re: GIMP is very capable

Tom Axford wrote:

I use GIMP, which is free, but extremely good. It is a bit harder to learn than Photoshop, but once you get used to it has a very good design, and a wide range of capabilities, although it doesn't match Photoshop in all areas.

I have been using it for several years on an iMac and feel no need to move to Photoshop or another commercial package.

GIMP is awful on a number of levels. Some examples are no 16bit support and a color balance tool that does an awful job. You get what you pay for.

My recommendation for Mac users is to go with Parallels and Paint Shop Pro. Paint Shop Pro is by far the nearest you can get to Photoshop than any other app, Windows or Mac.

(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 5,593
Re: GIMP is very capable

Marvin Doering wrote:

I appreciate your input but if it's harder to learn than Photoshop I will never be able to use it. I am 66 years old and my learning skills are behind me. Thanks for helping though.

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MRD

Most of the features in Photoshop are not even needed by photographers. I use Lightroom and it covers nearly all of my photo editing needs.

MikeFromMesa Senior Member • Posts: 2,849
Re: GIMP is very capable

Basalite wrote:

My recommendation for Mac users is to go with Parallels and Paint Shop Pro. Paint Shop Pro is by far the nearest you can get to Photoshop than any other app, Windows or Mac.

I am not sure why Corel does not offer a Mac version of PSP. They do offer one for ASP.

Then again it may be that ASP (re Bibble) was written cross-platform and PSP was not. Perhaps Corel just does not see the financial advantage of spending all that time writing a Mac version of PSP when they don't expect to sell many copies.

(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 5,593
Re: GIMP is very capable

MikeFromMesa wrote:

Basalite wrote:

My recommendation for Mac users is to go with Parallels and Paint Shop Pro. Paint Shop Pro is by far the nearest you can get to Photoshop than any other app, Windows or Mac.

I am not sure why Corel does not offer a Mac version of PSP. They do offer one for ASP.

Then again it may be that ASP (re Bibble) was written cross-platform and PSP was not. Perhaps Corel just does not see the financial advantage of spending all that time writing a Mac version of PSP when they don't expect to sell many copies.

I think they would sell many copies of a Mac version of PSP since there would be no competition. Unfortunately, Corel is a big enough, faceless and prideless company that simply churns out many different types of software. Such companies rarely do anything special that makes sense. Corel bought PSP from JASC, an American company with a face and a company with employees that took great pride in creating and improving PSP. It was a real shame they sold out to Corel because Corel has actually done very little with PSP since they bought it, besides adding amateur junk and bloat.

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