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Photoshop or ACR replacement?
  
 
gdanmitchell
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p.9 #1 · p.9 #1 · Photoshop or ACR replacement?


RustyBug wrote:
Sorry Dan, I didn't bother to read your post.

Just a little light-hearted sarcasm to offset the condescension.


It wasn't meant as condescension. It was actually honest frustration at your reply, and lack of enthusiasm for getting into a point-by-point rebuttal to a response that seems on a different track than what I wrote.

You asked if it is worth $800 to me to pay for my CC license over a 6 year and 8 month period. I tried to respond to that objectively, citing specific ways in which the value of the tool seems well worth the cost.

You want to go back to the question of whether there are $800 dollars of "improvements" in CC since the version released about seven or eight years ago.

That is begging the question, from my point of view.

Anyway, here is a reply with more details, which is what it seems like you want.

- - -

First, I paid for Photoshop upgrades before CC was around, and I would have continued to do so had Adobe continued with the old licensing method rather than going to the monthly charge. I do this will all software — not just that for photography — that I rely on in my work. I do so because I regard the costs as being fair for the value received.

So, to start out, in my case I would not have saved $800 if Adobe had not moved to the CC model — I would have paid for version upgrades instead.

- - -

Second, to cite one very obvious "improvement," my CC license added Lightroom to my Photoshop/ACR license. I did not use Lightroom before that point. I still rely primarily on Photoshop/ACR in my work. However, I have come to rely on Lightroom in several important ways. For example, it is a much more efficient tool for me when I have to sort through large numbers of images to make selections. That has real value to me — probably all by itself it has been worth it.

- - -

Third, Adobe has continued to improve ACR/Photoshop during the past seven years, refining and adding features that I rely on all the time in my work. The list is long, and I'd actually have to go back and use a seven or eight year old version to ensure the I could recall all of them. Here are a few:

1. I'm a huge user of the smart object capabilities of LR, which permits me to use a work flow that is virtually completely non-destructive. These features were not present in the earlier versions of the program.

2. Aside from producing the actual LR program. Adobe unified the Photoshop ACR and Lightroom tools, basing them both on the same underlying image editing engine. I recently wrote that I can do a huge portion of my image editing in ACR — again, in completely non-destructive ways — largely because it now incorporates the approach used in LR.

3. A whole bunch of specific features have been added or improved. The tools now available to clone and similar have become tremendously more powerful.

4. Although I don't stitch as much as I used to, the tools for this in the Photoshop/ACR environment are powerful enough to do the job for me. Not too long ago I licensed one image stitched from something like a half dozen images twice in a two-week period. Both were for commercial installations — one was 15 feet wide and the other was 31 feet. I'm certain that I got more than $800 value from Photoshop/ACR updated abilities to stitch right there.

5. For various reasons it is quite important to me to be competent on current versions of Lightroom, Photoshop, and ACR. (These include but are not limited to my writing.)

I could go on.

- - -

So, yes, once again, for me and my photographic work there is no doubt at all that my license for Photoshop/ACR/Lightroom has been well worth the costs — both from the perspective of added value from updates and from a comparison of the real costs had Adobe not moved to the CC subscription version

And, also once again, YMMV.

I'm fine with the fact that you don't regard the expense as being worth it, but I don't see why your decision that it isn't worth if for you should lead to the notion that it isn't worth if for others.

Dan


Edited on Oct 02, 2017 at 09:15 PM · View previous versions



Oct 02, 2017 at 05:15 PM
Zenon Char
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p.9 #2 · p.9 #2 · Photoshop or ACR replacement?


Imagemaster wrote:
You should stop worrying about file size. Then there are those that keep wanting cameras with more MP, then complain that the files are too large.


I actually went back and checked it as I agree it is not significant these days. My external drives are half full but who cares. By the time I need new ones they will even less expensive. They aren't much now. Thanks



Oct 02, 2017 at 06:53 PM
RustyBug
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p.9 #3 · p.9 #3 · Photoshop or ACR replacement?


gdanmitchell wrote:
It wasn't meant as condescension. It was actually honest frustration at your reply, and lack of enthusiasm for getting into a point-by-point rebuttal to a response that seems on a different track than what I wrote.

Dan


Yes, cyber-comms can be a tough gig sometimes ... I also felt like you went off on a different track from what I was trying to discern, regarding the changes.

A 1% change to a million dollars, is worth a different amount than a 100% change to $1, so yes, economy of scale has some influence on those values. What I was trying to discern is more like an (semi) objective "healing brush works 30% faster". What that translates to a person who works one image a week vs. 1,000 images a day ... well, that will vary. But the objectivity of 30% improvement is the kind of thing I was trying to discern ... not if it meant a million dollars to person A vs. $10 to person B.

Yes, the prospect of LR (if you use LR) has value, but that's not an improvement to CS6 > CC tools themselves (which is the question I've been trying to ask). The prospect of more powerful clone tools, being improved, lends itself more to the question of better image IQ from CC than CS6 ... so, thanks for that one.

Anyway, sorry for any angst from my part of the mis-comm.







Oct 02, 2017 at 10:07 PM
rattlebonez
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p.9 #4 · p.9 #4 · Photoshop or ACR replacement?


I paid $29 for Affinity Photo for Mac when it was released in July 2015. I helped with Beta testing so discount to $29
over 2+ years later I still have only spent $29 and have received free updates through the Mac App Store

the current new user price is only $49.99 and worth the cost - you get free updates through the Mac App Store

the current Affinity Photo 1.5.2 is quite good and meets my editing needs.
As I noted before it does also process RAW images using the built in RAW converter in Mac OS X.

note: there is now a PC version for $49.99 as well




Oct 03, 2017 at 01:55 AM
Zenon Char
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p.9 #5 · p.9 #5 · Photoshop or ACR replacement?


DXO 11 Pro is free right now. I downloaded it and tried it.

http://www.dxo.com/us/practicalphotography



Oct 03, 2017 at 03:31 AM
RustyBug
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p.9 #6 · p.9 #6 · Photoshop or ACR replacement?


Zenon Char wrote:
DXO 11 Pro is free right now. I downloaded it and tried it.

http://www.dxo.com/us/practicalphotography


Yes, I did too (sorta) ... but, the free part is the essentials version, not the elite version. I opted for the trial period of the (prompted) elite version. But unfortunately for me, there is no 6D2 support yet. So I can't see how well the NR on 6D2 RAW files works.

I did put it through an FZ1000 RAW file from a few years back, and it seemed to play nice enough on the sharpening end of things. Didn't seem to be quite as "dog slow" as I remember from years back. Still feels rather "deliberate", which I find to be a reasonable trade-off of speed for performance. When they release a version with 6D2 support, I'll try it. I'm okay with going DPP4 or DXO or > CS6. Just depends on which front end converter I prefer. I probably need to put the newest version of LR through similar paces when it releases.

Up to this point, I've mostly gone straight into CS6, but I can no longer do that with my 80D, nor 6D2 cameras. Which means I need something to get my raws into photoshop ... be that the ACR (which I've always bypassed) of CC / LR from Adoble, or a non-Adobe product, such as .tiffs from DPP4, etc.




Oct 03, 2017 at 10:28 AM
charlyw
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p.9 #7 · p.9 #7 · Photoshop or ACR replacement?


RustyBug wrote:
Yes, I did too (sorta) ... but, the free part is the essentials version, not the elite version. I opted for the trial period of the (prompted) elite version. But unfortunately for me, there is no 6D2 support yet. So I can't see how well the NR on 6D2 RAW files works.

I did put it through an FZ1000 RAW file from a few years back, and it seemed to play nice enough on the sharpening end of things. Didn't seem to be quite as "dog slow" as I remember from years back. Still feels rather "deliberate", which I find to
...Show more

What‘s the problem in getting a CC subscription, your workflow will take a definite streamlining! Is your time so cheap that you rather spend hours on end with subpar, cobbled together crutches?



Oct 03, 2017 at 11:45 AM
RustyBug
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p.9 #8 · p.9 #8 · Photoshop or ACR replacement?


The only reason it would be "cobbled together" is because of the lack of new camera support to CS6.

My workflow has been for years to bypass ACR / converters, and go straight into PS as my tool of choice.
So ... given that my tool of choice is (and very likely remain) PS, I merely want to know what changes to the tool itself exist (i.e. not the integration, etc.)

If, then ... the tool itself in CC doesn't hold an increased value (say better NR functionality), then I will look to the others for the increased value in the tool aspect. If that means, that I do the "two-step" with Adobe or the "two-step" with non-Adobe, then so be it.

I'm not cobbling together ... I'm assessing the inherent differences between CS6 tool and CC tool vs. other tools to discern if I want to harness the tool of CC or spend the $$$ on a different tool. If the tool of CC is essentially unchanged from CS6, then I simply want to understand which areas of the CC tool are indeed "improved", so I can focus on those when I do download CC for the limited time evaluation period.

Because the limited time for CC evaluation is shorter than the other tools (i.e. DXO, etc.), I find it prudent to assess those first. This way ... when I do assess the tool (improved or not) in CC, I already have a comparative to benchmark against.

My quest is to discern where the most salient aspects of the CC improvements are. To that end, I'd say they fall into three primary categories:

A) Efficiency / Integration improvements (shortcuts, De-Haze, etc.)
B) Bundling Valuation (i.e. LR + Hosting)
C) Actual Tool Improvement (i.e. quality of clone, content aware or NR capability, speed of healing brush, etc.)

I have heard long, loud and clear about categories A & B. The prospect of those for $10 / month is very reasonable. If one is using the Adobe Hosting, that alone represents a valuation. Personally, I'm not an LR user, nor ACR user, so those things aren't so much interest to me.

What I have heard VERY LITTLE about is the actual gains in category C. Rather, I've heard from multiple individuals that Category C items are pretty much the same as CS6 (with a couple of incremental exceptions). That is the area that I'll be most interested in WHEN, I do download the latest (or next) version of CC for trial ... are the Category C items that have been legitimately improved. Since it seems that most folks want to present Category A & B as their valuation, then the little mentioned aspects of Category C seems to tell a bit of a story in its own right.

All I'm really wanting to know is what to expect in the actual performance difference of CC vs. CS6 for the given tools. If the color balance layer is still the same, then that is unchanged. If there are now more info data points (i.e. more than 4, which I believe there is now 10), then that is improved.

Alternatively, if the NR engine / algorithm is the same as CS6 ... then I already have Adobe's best tool, and may turn elsewhere to find something better for my NR tool of choice. In that regard, it is not an attempt to "cobble", but rather to understand where the improvements / strengths of CC are ... and objectively, where they are not. If they are not, then I need to be prepared to look elsewhere.

As to the point of streamlining ... my workflow is quite slow by my nature. So, I don't discount the category A prospects ... just that it isn't my primary consideration. Rather, Category C is my primary consideration. A & B are certainly welcome, but not part of the critical path to my objectives for Category C.

The simplicity of my quest is in what way is the tool more precise ... not whether or not the tool is faster or more convenient.

If the gains are predominantly category A & B ... then, I may simply need to look elsewhere for category C improvements (or accept the Category C items as relatively unchanged).

For others, I certainly understand the immense valuation they derive from Categories A & B, but I have yet to find a similar immense valuation to be derived from Category C. I'm open to finding them, but so far, I'm not aware of very many areas that truly are improved Category C items ... but, a lot of Category A & B improvements have been sufficiently noted.

As stated ... I will be looking into CC further. Likely, I'll wait for the next iteration of CC to see what gains in Category C may have newly manifested.




Oct 03, 2017 at 01:32 PM
Zenon Char
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p.9 #9 · p.9 #9 · Photoshop or ACR replacement?


RustyBug wrote:
Yes, I did too (sorta) ... but, the free part is the essentials version, not the elite version. I opted for the trial period of the (prompted) elite version. But unfortunately for me, there is no 6D2 support yet. So I can't see how well the NR on 6D2 RAW files works.

I did put it through an FZ1000 RAW file from a few years back, and it seemed to play nice enough on the sharpening end of things. Didn't seem to be quite as "dog slow" as I remember from years back. Still feels rather "deliberate", which I find to
...Show more

I agree DXO is faster and is not short of options. I played around with lens softness and unsharp mask and I feel I can do just as well with LR/ACR. We were chatting about DPP vs Adobe on another thread. I also have developed some sharpening actions in PS using method I just can't seem to give up.

http://www.earthboundlight.com/phototips/photoshop-really-smart-sharpening.html?search=edge+mask&bool=and

I have not found a reason to switch to DXO yet, even if free.



Oct 03, 2017 at 02:18 PM
Imagemaster
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p.9 #10 · p.9 #10 · Photoshop or ACR replacement?


RustyBug wrote:
The only reason it would be "cobbled together" is because of the lack of new camera support to CS6.


If you are using a Mac, depending on what OS you have, there is a built-in RAW converter. You can open RAW images from most cameras using Preview, and then save them as TIFF files.

You will note that certain people that put down DNG as being a poor converter can't be bothered to post example images showing what the conversion problems are.



Oct 03, 2017 at 02:24 PM
 

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RustyBug
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p.9 #11 · p.9 #11 · Photoshop or ACR replacement?


Zenon Char wrote:
I also have developed some sharpening actions in PS using method I just can't seem to give up.


I can certainly relate.

While I don't have many actions saved (I evaluate individually) ... my developed sharpening approach in PS is pretty ingrained into my workflow, i.e. I don't pre-sharpen on the way in.





Edited on Oct 03, 2017 at 03:02 PM · View previous versions



Oct 03, 2017 at 02:47 PM
Sy Sez
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p.9 #12 · p.9 #12 · Photoshop or ACR replacement?


charlyw wrote:
What‘s the problem in getting a CC subscription, your workflow will take a definite streamlining! Is your time so cheap that you rather spend hours on end with subpar, cobbled together crutches?


For those that consider endlessly paying for something that never belongs to them; subscription software may be a boon---It certainly is a boon for the software companies offering it!


Edited on Oct 03, 2017 at 03:02 PM · View previous versions



Oct 03, 2017 at 03:01 PM
RustyBug
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p.9 #13 · p.9 #13 · Photoshop or ACR replacement?


Imagemaster wrote:
If you are using a Mac, depending on what OS you have, there is a built-in RAW converter. You can open RAW images from most cameras using Preview, and then save them as TIFF files.

You will note that certain people that put down DNG as being a poor converter can't be bothered to post example images showing what the conversion problems are.


No go on the Mac ... I'm in the PC realm (for the foreseeable future).

I've always got DPP4 to >TIFF > PS, so I can still get it there, no worries.

The interesting twist to this for me is that I had folks tell me long ago that I should be going .TIFF. But, I never bothered going that route before. Now that I kinda "had to" ... I can see why they were promoting .TIFF as you seem to be working with more data (double edged sword there @ file size ).

So ... in that regard, there then becomes a matter of deciding if I want to retain using .TIFF as my workflow going forward, or prefer to work off the .CR2 (or DNG).



Oct 03, 2017 at 03:02 PM
Sy Sez
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p.9 #14 · p.9 #14 · Photoshop or ACR replacement?


RustyBug wrote:
No go on the Mac ... I'm in the PC realm (for the foreseeable future).

I've always got DPP4 to >TIFF > PS, so I can still get it there, no worries.

The interesting twist to this for me is that I had folks tell me long ago that I should be going .TIFF. But, I never bothered going that route before. Now that I kinda "had to" ... I can see why they were promoting .TIFF as you seem to be working with more data (double edged sword there @ file size ).

So ... in that regard, there then becomes a
...Show more

As a PS CS-6 Standalone user, after processing CR2 files in ACR, it's always been my habit to save the processed raw file as a .TIF & then click Cancel in ACR leaving the raw file unaltered for archive.

Since Bridge / PS CS-6 permits opening .TIF files in ACR, one still has the ability to use the tools that are unique to ACR, (albeit it being an outdated version.)

As such you can open any .CR2 file in DPP, with all "enhancements" turned off, save it as a .TIF, and open it in CS-6 ACR.

Not sure what difference/s the end results would be applying the same post processing steps to a raw VS .TIF (or .PSD) file, in ACR would make, if any?

Perhaps worth experimentation.




Oct 03, 2017 at 03:36 PM
Zenon Char
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p.9 #15 · p.9 #15 · Photoshop or ACR replacement?


"I've always got DPP4 to >TIFF > PS, so I can still get it there, no worries".

I used to do that as well then I started shooting weddings. What a nightmare. That was when I adopted LR.



Oct 03, 2017 at 03:37 PM
RustyBug
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p.9 #16 · p.9 #16 · Photoshop or ACR replacement?


Zenon Char wrote:
"I've always got DPP4 to >TIFF > PS, so I can still get it there, no worries".

I used to do that as well then I started shooting weddings. What a nightmare. That was when I adopted LR.


If I were a wedding (or other event) shooter, I would probably live in LR with little doubt (eventually I'd come to grips with the catalog thing I don't care for). Although, there are a few other RAW converters beside LR as well. My point being that I don't typically use a raw converter at all. Even with ACR, I set all the defaults to "0" on the way in to PS.

I used LR (before CC came on the scene), when I was doing some real estate work, and it certainly has it's place differently than PS. I just don't do that kind of volume based work. Mine is much more "one off" than batch or heavy culling.

So, while many folks live in LR and dabble in PS for the occasional "need something" more. I reverse this @ live in PS and rarely need LR. I literally haven't used LR in years (not even installed on my laptop for the last 4-5 years).





Oct 03, 2017 at 05:28 PM
RustyBug
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p.9 #17 · p.9 #17 · Photoshop or ACR replacement?


Sy Sez wrote:
As a PS CS-6 Standalone user ... leaving the raw file unaltered for archive.


Yup, this ^.

I go about it a slightly bit different, via "save as" in PS, but 100% leaving the original file ... original. I realize that non-destructive editing has it's place, but I really want to view the original file, not the last applied set of instructions. I use the naming convention to keep the original & processed iterations grouped together, rather than have them "stacked".

Many others prefer the catalog / stacked non-destructive instructions approach. Just doesn't work well for me.

Diff strokes, diff folks.




Oct 03, 2017 at 05:37 PM
Colin F
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p.9 #18 · p.9 #18 · Photoshop or ACR replacement?


RustyBug wrote:
My point being that I don't typically use a raw converter at all. Even with ACR, I set all the defaults to "0" on the way in to PS.


There have been many very good points made by you and others, and I feel that you & I are in a very similar place with our workflow and software choice, but this one I don't understand. Why on earth would you avoid & reject all the latititudinal adjustments (especially DR) available in ACR? Isn't that the absolute best place to be making adjustments, especially if you're really pushing the file around?





Oct 03, 2017 at 05:45 PM
RustyBug
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p.9 #19 · p.9 #19 · Photoshop or ACR replacement?


Colin F wrote:
There have been many very good points made by you and others, and I feel that you & I are in a very similar place with our workflow and software choice, but this one I don't understand. Why on earth would you avoid & reject all the latititudinal adjustments (especially DR) available in ACR? Isn't that the absolute best place to be making adjustments, especially if you're really pushing the file around?



I find I have better control with the tools in PS.

Specifically, I use the color balance layer adjustments in PS before making tonality adjustments. I find that getting my colors right before pushing things around is key to A) not having to push things as much, and B) when I do push things more, they tolerate the push better.

Also, there are a few more options in PS (layer modes, channel masks, etc.) than are available in ACR. ACR is pretty good, and rather convenient, but I just found it not able to achieve the level of refinement that I can achieve in PS.

Another example would be pre-sharpening ... I don't do it. I sharpen pretty late in the game, well after most other things. In some regard, I take the long road. But since everything is "math based" anyway, I tend to move my numbers around in a certain order that basically starts with color and ends with sharpening.

I also tend to work my files with a differentiation between global and selective attributes, so I depend on my layers to coordinate the interaction between them (masks, opacity, modes).

Nothing wrong with using ACR on the way in ... I just found early on that I didn't care for ACR results (might be better now) and thus adopted a workflow of "0" in ACR on the way in to PS. I've used it at times, but then I get confused on my workflow, so I pretty much quit trying to use it.

Something like how the sharpening in ACR is (was) on a scale of 0-150, while the scale in PS is 0-500. Operating in the same scale keeps me from getting confused so depending on the image structure, I kinda know what I want to do in PS, where ACR leaves me a little unsure.

Mostly, a case of what you get used to. Me, I've just gone "0" for so long, that I'm most comfortable that way.








Oct 03, 2017 at 06:58 PM
AmbientMike
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p.9 #20 · p.9 #20 · Photoshop or ACR replacement?


It is amazing how much difference there is in processed images from different RAW processors, especially considering how little attention is placed on them, compared to bodies and lenses.

There may be some way to standardize them, as far as colors, etc, but I haven't done it yet.

I've tried DPP and the DxO 9, mostly, and I'd want them both.

I get better colors and look out of DPP a lot of the time, but DxO is good too, and can give more detail. And has a lot more controls.

I'd like to have several RAW processors, but right now have only a few. I've installed RAW Therapee, and it looks promising, but I'm not sure about a couple things, and haven’t really tried it much yet. It looks like it gives more detail than DPP, and possibly better color than DxO. So it looks like a good compromise.



Oct 03, 2017 at 07:51 PM
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