Composites: Photoshop or On1 RAW?

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ADW02 Regular Member • Posts: 358
Composites: Photoshop or On1 RAW?

In looking at the idea of creating composite compositions in natural light on an advanced amateur basis, so far as I can tell there are just two photo development programs that do that, Photoshop and On1 RAW. I'm using the 2021 version of both of these, but in considering economics and capability, I'm wondering which of these would be the most capable for composites.

Regarding economics, it seems to me that the combination of On1 2021 and Luminar 4/AI are just as good as Photoshop for most photo development/ manipulation tasks, but I have to wonder if Photoshop is still the last word in creating composites. If so, Adobe is worth keeping despite its never-ending subscription model, but if it doesn't have a significant edge over On1 for the above-mentioned purpose I can't see the sense of spending an annual fee of $120 for Photoshop.

Regarding Photoshop, Matt Kloskowski has a training program called something like 'Photoshop Compositing Course' that costs $100 USD, and it looks like it gives beginners a solid foundation to begin to learn this genre, using Adobe. If anyone wishes to peruse this course through their search engine, they might be able to tell me if On1 is capable of the same depth, and if there are really good training courses for On1's ability to create composites.

For all those who would like to give an opinion or advice, I'd like to thank you in advance for all your help.

Digital Nigel Forum Pro • Posts: 13,188
Re: Composites: Photoshop or On1 RAW?
1

ADW02 wrote:

In looking at the idea of creating composite compositions in natural light on an advanced amateur basis, so far as I can tell there are just two photo development programs that do that, Photoshop and On1 RAW. I'm using the 2021 version of both of these, but in considering economics and capability, I'm wondering which of these would be the most capable for composites.

Can't Affinity Photo do it too? It's not something I do, but I think Affinity has all the relevant tools, and some might be easier to use than the PS equivalents.

https://youtu.be/19jfrhSykhE

https://youtu.be/kci6vDPGz-o

https://www.udemy.com/course/affinity-photo-a-beginners-guide-to-photo-compositing/

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OP ADW02 Regular Member • Posts: 358
Re: Composites: Photoshop or On1 RAW?

Digital Nigel wrote:

ADW02 wrote:

In looking at the idea of creating composite compositions in natural light on an advanced amateur basis, so far as I can tell there are just two photo development programs that do that, Photoshop and On1 RAW. I'm using the 2021 version of both of these, but in considering economics and capability, I'm wondering which of these would be the most capable for composites.

Can't Affinity Photo do it too? It's not something I do, but I think Affinity has all the relevant tools, and some might be easier to use than the PS equivalents.

https://youtu.be/19jfrhSykhE

https://youtu.be/kci6vDPGz-o

https://www.udemy.com/course/affinity-photo-a-beginners-guide-to-photo-compositing/

Thank you very much for sending along that info. I just happen to own Affinity, along with its training book, but had never really worked with the program. Only a few weeks ago I bought a much more powerful PC than the six-year-old one I had, but haven't gotten around to reinstalling Infinity into it. I will do that today.

I would guess that the composite training course that can be bought for Affinity will include all source photos, and it looks to me as though it comes at a very reasonable price. At least from what I can see right now, the composites that are created are everything I would want, at least for next few years. And if indeed Infinity does the job, since I already own On1 2021 and Luminar 4/AI (each specializing in ways that the other doesn't), along with Infinity I just can't see why I would want to continue paying an annual $120 lease fee to Adobe.

Again, thank for the heads-up; I really appreciate it.

Digital Nigel Forum Pro • Posts: 13,188
Re: Composites: Photoshop or On1 RAW?

ADW02 wrote:

Digital Nigel wrote:

ADW02 wrote:

In looking at the idea of creating composite compositions in natural light on an advanced amateur basis, so far as I can tell there are just two photo development programs that do that, Photoshop and On1 RAW. I'm using the 2021 version of both of these, but in considering economics and capability, I'm wondering which of these would be the most capable for composites.

Can't Affinity Photo do it too? It's not something I do, but I think Affinity has all the relevant tools, and some might be easier to use than the PS equivalents.

https://youtu.be/19jfrhSykhE

https://youtu.be/kci6vDPGz-o

https://www.udemy.com/course/affinity-photo-a-beginners-guide-to-photo-compositing/

Thank you very much for sending along that info. I just happen to own Affinity, along with its training book, but had never really worked with the program. Only a few weeks ago I bought a much more powerful PC than the six-year-old one I had, but haven't gotten around to reinstalling Infinity into it. I will do that today.

Note that this course say, "This is not a course that teaches the basics of Affinity Photo — it is a course that takes your Affinity Photo skills to the next level". So, if you're not already quite familiar with AP, you might find it easier to start with an intro course first, or at least watch some if the many free video tutorials on-line.

I would guess that the composite training course that can be bought for Affinity will include all source photos,

Yes, it says, "Each project contains all of the downloadable assets you need to follow along".

and it looks to me as though it comes at a very reasonable price. At least from what I can see right now, the composites that are created are everything I would want, at least for next few years. And if indeed Infinity does the job, since I already own On1 2021 and Luminar 4/AI (each specializing in ways that the other doesn't), along with Infinity I just can't see why I would want to continue paying an annual $120 lease fee to Adobe.

Again, thank for the heads-up; I really appreciate it.

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candgpics Regular Member • Posts: 183
Re: Composites: Photoshop or On1 RAW?
1

Hi:

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).

Udemy.com 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!

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brucet
brucet Veteran Member • Posts: 3,731
Re: Composites: Photoshop or On1 RAW?

You need to better define what you call 'composites'. It may mean something different to a number of users/readers.

As far as I'm concerned programs that uses layers can do composites. That opens up many options.

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OP ADW02 Regular Member • Posts: 358
Re: Composites: Photoshop or On1 RAW?

candgpics wrote:

Hi:

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).

Udemy.com 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.

OP ADW02 Regular Member • Posts: 358
Re: Composites: Photoshop or On1 RAW?

brucet wrote:

You need to better define what you call 'composites'. It may mean something different to a number of users/readers.

As far as I'm concerned programs that uses layers can do composites. That opens up many options.

Thank you for that. By composites I mean using images from different photos, and pasting them together--convincingly--into one composition for artistic effect. I believe that under no circumstances should a composite be created that makes a social or political statement. Perhaps making a religious statement may be permitted, with the permission and guidance of a person's place of worship, but a religiously-oriented composite should never be made that in any way demeans another faith.

This is the best way that I can describe a composite as I intend to create one. But perhaps there is a more defined description that I can't think of right now.

candgpics Regular Member • Posts: 183
Re: Composites: Photoshop or On1 RAW?

Glad the information is helpful.

I like Matt Kloskowski. He is a good teacher. I remember him from when he worked with Scott Kelby and he works with ON1, too.

You may also wish to consider Eric Almas and/or Renee Robyn at www.https://proedu.com. Each tutorial (on sale) is less than Matt's course. I have purchased far too many tutorials from proedu (formerly rggedu), but they are excellent.

Eric's tutorials go into much of the shooting style he employs and his tutorials are more like looking over his shoulder at a shoot and then later at his computer desk, but I really like his style. And, I love Renee Robyn. Her tutorials, actually I think she has two at proedu, should be priced as a single tutorial, but they are great (two parts probably because she is so popular).

Matt's course likely will be an orderly beginning to more advanced route and that may be easier to follow, but you may wish to look at the proedu site.

Phlearn.com is also excellent. It is a subscription site, but it is a tremendous value if you have the time to make the subscription work over the course of a year and you may like the owner's style. There are a lot of compositing tutorials on the site.

YouTube can be helpful, too. Sometimes, though, it is nice to have a well produced orderly course that takes you step by step and nowadays tutorials have been coming down in price given the quality of what is available on YouTube.

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brucet Veteran Member • Posts: 3,731
Re: Composites: Photoshop or On1 RAW?

ADW02 wrote:

brucet wrote:

You need to better define what you call 'composites'. It may mean something different to a number of users/readers.

As far as I'm concerned programs that uses layers can do composites. That opens up many options.

Thank you for that. By composites I mean using images from different photos, and pasting them together--convincingly--into one composition for artistic effect. I believe that under no circumstances should a composite be created that makes a social or political statement. Perhaps making a religious statement may be permitted, with the permission and guidance of a person's place of worship, but a religiously-oriented composite should never be made that in any way demeans another faith.

This is the best way that I can describe a composite as I intend to create one. But perhaps there is a more defined description that I can't think of right now.

Thanks for the clarification.

I think you will find many editors that use layers would fit your needs.

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Digital Nigel Forum Pro • Posts: 13,188
Re: Composites: Photoshop or On1 RAW?

brucet wrote:

ADW02 wrote:

brucet wrote:

You need to better define what you call 'composites'. It may mean something different to a number of users/readers.

As far as I'm concerned programs that uses layers can do composites. That opens up many options.

Thank you for that. By composites I mean using images from different photos, and pasting them together--convincingly--into one composition for artistic effect. I believe that under no circumstances should a composite be created that makes a social or political statement. Perhaps making a religious statement may be permitted, with the permission and guidance of a person's place of worship, but a religiously-oriented composite should never be made that in any way demeans another faith.

This is the best way that I can describe a composite as I intend to create one. But perhaps there is a more defined description that I can't think of right now.

Thanks for the clarification.

I think you will find many editors that use layers would fit your needs.

Yes, so it seems unnecessary to keep paying for Photoshop when Affinity can do it all, probably more easily.

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lacogada Contributing Member • Posts: 696
Re: Composites: Photoshop or On1 RAW?

Digital Nigel wrote:

Yes, so it seems unnecessary to keep paying for Photoshop when Affinity can do it all, probably more easily.

Some time ago, I recall reading that for raw files, once you leave Affinity Photos raw developer that the edits are baked in, no more changes can be made to the raw file.

Can you confirm if this is true ?

Digital Nigel Forum Pro • Posts: 13,188
Re: Composites: Photoshop or On1 RAW?
1

lacogada wrote:

Digital Nigel wrote:

Yes, so it seems unnecessary to keep paying for Photoshop when Affinity can do it all, probably more easily.

Some time ago, I recall reading that for raw files, once you leave Affinity Photos raw developer that the edits are baked in, no more changes can be made to the raw file.

Can you confirm if this is true ?

Yes, it's true. It's one of the reasons I don't use AP for raw development, and wouldn't recommend it for others. DxO PhotoLab is far better.

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OP ADW02 Regular Member • Posts: 358
Re: Composites: Photoshop or On1 RAW?

candgpics wrote:

Glad the information is helpful.

I like Matt Kloskowski. He is a good teacher. I remember him from when he worked with Scott Kelby and he works with ON1, too.

You may also wish to consider Eric Almas and/or Renee Robyn at www.https://proedu.com. Each tutorial (on sale) is less than Matt's course. I have purchased far too many tutorials from proedu (formerly rggedu), but they are excellent.

Eric's tutorials go into much of the shooting style he employs and his tutorials are more like looking over his shoulder at a shoot and then later at his computer desk, but I really like his style. And, I love Renee Robyn. Her tutorials, actually I think she has two at proedu, should be priced as a single tutorial, but they are great (two parts probably because she is so popular).

Matt's course likely will be an orderly beginning to more advanced route and that may be easier to follow, but you may wish to look at the proedu site.

Phlearn.com is also excellent. It is a subscription site, but it is a tremendous value if you have the time to make the subscription work over the course of a year and you may like the owner's style. There are a lot of compositing tutorials on the site.

YouTube can be helpful, too. Sometimes, though, it is nice to have a well produced orderly course that takes you step by step and nowadays tutorials have been coming down in price given the quality of what is available on YouTube.

I've heard back from both Matt Kloskowski and Anthony Morganti, and they've both told me that for composites Photoshop is really the only way to go. Neither mentioned Affinity, but since I would have to learn that program from scratch, and its inexpensive price leads me to wonder if it's much more advanced than Elements, I'm going to stick with Photoshop, a photo developer I've used in depth for maybe about twenty years or so.

Of course, both men praised On1 and Luminar, both of which are excellent for their designed purposes, and I'm happy to have both as plug-ins for PS, but I'm not so crazy about constantly upgrading them. These latest versions should last me, I think, for maybe about four years.

Finally, I very much appreciate that you've told me about Eric Almas and Renee Robyn, and given me the site where their tutorials can be found. I have a feeling that creating a compelling and convincing composite may well be the most difficult form of creative photography that a person can undertake, and I think I'm going to need all the help I can get. When I've finished with Mr. Kloskowski's course, they might well take me further.

Thanks again for all your input.

brucet
brucet Veteran Member • Posts: 3,731
Re: Composites: Photoshop or On1 RAW?
1

ADW02 wrote:

candgpics wrote:

Glad the information is helpful.

I like Matt Kloskowski. He is a good teacher. I remember him from when he worked with Scott Kelby and he works with ON1, too.

You may also wish to consider Eric Almas and/or Renee Robyn at www.https://proedu.com. Each tutorial (on sale) is less than Matt's course. I have purchased far too many tutorials from proedu (formerly rggedu), but they are excellent.

Eric's tutorials go into much of the shooting style he employs and his tutorials are more like looking over his shoulder at a shoot and then later at his computer desk, but I really like his style. And, I love Renee Robyn. Her tutorials, actually I think she has two at proedu, should be priced as a single tutorial, but they are great (two parts probably because she is so popular).

Matt's course likely will be an orderly beginning to more advanced route and that may be easier to follow, but you may wish to look at the proedu site.

Phlearn.com is also excellent. It is a subscription site, but it is a tremendous value if you have the time to make the subscription work over the course of a year and you may like the owner's style. There are a lot of compositing tutorials on the site.

YouTube can be helpful, too. Sometimes, though, it is nice to have a well produced orderly course that takes you step by step and nowadays tutorials have been coming down in price given the quality of what is available on YouTube.

I've heard back from both Matt Kloskowski and Anthony Morganti, and they've both told me that for composites Photoshop is really the only way to go. Neither mentioned Affinity, but since I would have to learn that program from scratch, and its inexpensive price leads me to wonder if it's much more advanced than Elements, I'm going to stick with Photoshop, a photo developer I've used in depth for maybe about twenty years or so.

Of course, both men praised On1 and Luminar, both of which are excellent for their designed purposes, and I'm happy to have both as plug-ins for PS, but I'm not so crazy about constantly upgrading them. These latest versions should last me, I think, for maybe about four years.

Finally, I very much appreciate that you've told me about Eric Almas and Renee Robyn, and given me the site where their tutorials can be found. I have a feeling that creating a compelling and convincing composite may well be the most difficult form of creative photography that a person can undertake, and I think I'm going to need all the help I can get. When I've finished with Mr. Kloskowski's course, they might well take me further.

Thanks again for all your input.

I believe you have been mislead. Photoshop ISN'T 'really the only way to go'. I use Photoline and I'm sure it can do as good, if not better, job than Photoshop in many respects.  I sometimes think many Photoshop users see the editing world though tinted eyes!

The key is using what makes you comfortable and achieves the results you are looking for. But don't limit your self. There's a whole lot of capable editors out there. Not just Photoshop.

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lacogada Contributing Member • Posts: 696
Re: Composites: Photoshop or On1 RAW?

brucet wrote:

I believe you have been mislead. Photoshop ISN'T 'really the only way to go'. I use Photoline and I'm sure it can do as good, if not better, job than Photoshop in many respects.

Photoline is a good program  at a good price .... drawback for me is the user manual and very little as for video tutorials and such.

lacogada Contributing Member • Posts: 696
Re: Composites: Photoshop or On1 RAW?

Digital Nigel wrote:

lacogada wrote:

Digital Nigel wrote:

Yes, so it seems unnecessary to keep paying for Photoshop when Affinity can do it all, probably more easily.

Some time ago, I recall reading that for raw files, once you leave Affinity Photos raw developer that the edits are baked in, no more changes can be made to the raw file.

Can you confirm if this is true ?

Yes, it's true. It's one of the reasons I don't use AP for raw development, and wouldn't recommend it for others. DxO PhotoLab is far better.

Thanks Nigel

brucet
brucet Veteran Member • Posts: 3,731
Re: Composites: Photoshop or On1 RAW?

lacogada wrote:

brucet wrote:

I believe you have been mislead. Photoshop ISN'T 'really the only way to go'. I use Photoline and I'm sure it can do as good, if not better, job than Photoshop in many respects.

Photoline is a good program at a good price .... drawback for me is the user manual and very little as for video tutorials and such.

Agreed. Photoline does itself no favors when it comes to tutorials. Here's a link that may be of interest to anyone considering Photoline.  http://www.russellcottrell.com/photo/PhotoLine/index.asp

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