Upload & Sell: Off
Just read an Interesting article about the development of Photoshop / ACR/ Lightroom on Verge: http://t.co/Yz1kdzD6 I learned things about the early versions and Kroll's development of ACR and Lightroom I didn't know previously. It also has the chronology of all the PS version launches.
Having used Photoshop since V1 it resonated with me. Before the introduction of layers I did "global" corrections (all similar tonal values in image changed) then use the dodge / burn tools for "selective" adjustments. The problem with dodge / burn before CS4 was they just added / subtracted "gray" (RGB equally) and dulled colors (e.g., burning in 10% would add 25.25.25 to the pixel value)
Around 2000 after seeing the technique suggested in a Dan Margulis magazine article I started using duplicate layers w. modes and masks with one set to "screen" to dodge and the other to "multiply" to burn. Selective contrast tweeks could be done by adding a "soft light" adjustment layer. The advantage was screen / multiply changed a pixel value proportionately. A 120.40.60 color when multiplied 100% would become 240.80.60. The disadvantage was it tripled the amount of memory needed and slowed processing.
The introduction of adjustment layers solved the memory usage problem. Instead of duplicating the image added a Layers adjustment layers then changed mode to "screen" or "multiply" to do the selective dodge/burn edits. The Layers sliders aren't used, it is just a way to create the mask for the adjustment which I fill with black then erase with the eraser tool. Based on a few debates on the topic of opening masks it seemed to use the white brush to open masks but Being old school and having cut masks on Rubylith with single-edge razor blade I relate open the window with erasing.
When I got my Canon 20D in 2004 I didn't have the RAW Plug-in needed for PS (ACR). It cost $150 at the time and I figured it would be rolled into the next upgrade, so I used DPP to do my "global" corrections on the RAW then opened as 16-bit TIFF in PS via the menu option in DPP. It was a glacially slow kludge on my 400Mhz Mac. I bought a new iMac and upgraded to CS2 in 2006 and switched to a Bridge > ACR > Photoshop workflow.
Bridge wasn't very convenient to use in the early versions but it improved incrementally with CS upgrades as did ACR. Finding Russell Brown's tutorial videos got me up to speed on working in RAW and the new features of each CS upgrade such as content aware fill and scaling.
ACR replaced the "global" contrast "normalization" I had done in DPP previously, and before DPP in Levels on JPG captures. When I made the switch I found ACR not as convenient and as good in terms of IQ compared to DPP, but the simple logistics of Bridge > ACR > PS trumped those concerns. ACR improved over upgrades adding features like gradients.
My workflow now is:
Custom WB off a gray card or shoot one so color is "technically nominal" SOOC.
Global Contrast tweeks in ACR
Selective Color Correction in ACR via the Camera Profiles tab (edit skin without shifting neutrals)
Open in PS
Run action to add adjustment layers for screen/multiply/soft light and edit masks / sliders
For portraits run Skin Smoothing action: Surface Blur and High Pass adjustment layers
Save "Master" Edit (Unsharpened) in .PSD format
Resize for Prints / Screen
Save As JPG Level 10 for prints / JPG Level7-8 for Internet
In CS4 the way dodge / burn was changed to be more like screen and multiply but since I was already using adjustment layers that new feature didn't affect my workflow.
In CS5 the masking function was greatly improved making more practical to make a selection then refine the edges when changing backgrounds in a portrait, etc. But I don't do much masking like that so it didn't have much impact on my workflow either.
I haven't upgraded to CS6 because I don't see the need. I'm also still using Snow Leopard on the Mac so I'm OK until a new computer or camera compel a change. I downloaded and tried the demo of the first LR and with PS already there didn't seem any compelling reason to use it. But if forced by hardware to update PS I'll likely switch to Lightroom.