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Author Topic: Adobe Lightroom V2.0 Beta — Killer Photo workflow  (Read 14337 times)
nontroppo
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« on: April 02, 2008, 11:48:20 PM »

The holy grail among RAW processing apps is localised image adjustment within app. Lightzone was the first app to allow selective non-destructive editing of image areas, but being Java-based it is slow on all but the fastest hardware. And the interface is not really optimised for the other aspects of image management (metadata, collections, printing etc).

Apple just released aperture 2.1 with plugin support for localised adjustment. However, Aperture actually spits out a TIFF and thus the non-destructive, re-editability is compromised (but the workflow is smoother).

So with extreme delight, I saw the Lightroom team have released a beta of the next version with Lightroom. The killer feature being localised, non-destructive dodge-and-burn. The other killer feature is that it will be a 64bit app, benefiting in terms of memory use and performance (Adobe have released no benchmarks to verify this yet). Numerous other interface and feature changes make this an amazing update. Lightroom is a fantastic app already, and pretty interesting in many ways. For example, the beautiful interface is actually coded in Lua, the worlds fastest and smallest embeddable scripting language.

John Nack, the blogger extrodinaire for the Photoshop team has the best summary of the release:

http://blogs.adobe.com/jn...8/04/lightroom_2_the.html

You can download it at:

http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/lightroom/

 Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss

Does anyone else here use Lightroom? Use another RAW workflow or photo manager?
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J-Mac
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« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2008, 12:09:09 AM »

Good news for the avid photogs!

For me - though I would love to use it - it's still out of my price range.  Much better priced than CS, though.

An amateur like me will have to make do with the combination of tools I have managed to collect:

  • Paint Shop Pro X
  • ACDSee Photo Pro 1
  • Photoshop Elements 5/6

I just added Photoshop Elements on the cheap - Version 5 came with my Wacom Bamboo Fun Tablet, and Elements 6 came pre-installed on my Dell notebook.  smiley

I still prefer ACDSee for organizing and photo database management for now, but I think when I get up to speed with Elements ACDSee will fall by the wayside.

I imagine that you are in your glory right now with the new Lightroom!!  (Hopefully you are prying yourself away from it now and then??  Grin) I take it you work mostly with RAW images?

Jim
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MrCrispy
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« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2008, 12:45:57 AM »

I have used Lightroom and Photoshop Elements and the one thing they excel at are organizing and proper use of tags. I am not a pro photographer so I have little use for things such as RAW, workflow, light table etc. I just wish these apps were fast and usable for just browsing. Lightroom v1 was a dog when it came to scrolling through the gallery. I will try the beta to see if its any faster.

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iphigenie
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« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2008, 01:18:30 AM »

ACDSee Pro 2 has non destructive workflow, and I certainly wont ever go back - I'm currently looking for tools that can do non destructive, by some gimmick or other, on other images than RAW. I have a list of apps to try and lightroom is on it.
But I am not sure I can justify the price of most of those for the amount of stuff I do
« Last Edit: April 03, 2008, 01:21:00 AM by iphigenie » Logged
nontroppo
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« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2008, 01:19:42 AM »

J-Mac: Yes, I turn my nose up at JPGs now I'm used to RAWs (from a Canon 350D); the processing flexibility and freedom is so much greater. And luckily a growing number of point-and-clicks are supporting RAW out (and for many Canons you can actually use a custom firmware to gain RAW support). I hope JPG will die its death as soon as possible, but the inertia in image formats is huge.

J-Mac, for a user without getting bits bundled elsewhere as you did, I'm sure for the collected price of your 3 apps one must be close the the price of Lightroom?

Actually looking at the feature list of ACDSee Pro 2 it seems to be in the same competitive arena as Lightroom/Bibble/Capture One/Aperture. I've not tried it (I had bad experiences with ACDSee in the past), but maybe it is as competitive as the marketing spiel suggests?
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nontroppo
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« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2008, 01:27:05 AM »

MrCrispy: Ha, I chose Lightroom for its speed compared to Aperture, Bibble or Capture One Wink I think Lightroom works better on OS X than under XP. As I've never had performance issues in Lightroom (2500 RAW and 1000 JPGs) so far I can't tell you if the beta is "faster"

iphigenie: Yes, I didn't know that before just checking their web page. I have to say I'm dubious as to the quality of their RAW converter. Do they use a proprietary engine or one of the open-source efforts? RAW conversion is a non-trivial enterprise.
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nontroppo
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« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2008, 01:36:25 AM »

MrCrispy: Oh, and I'm no Pro photographer either, but I hugely value RAW processing. It means more fun at playing around with the images I take, and critically, being able to save a badly taken photo that would be unusable if it was JPG. You also worry less taking the photo, as exposure, white balance and other settings are less important when taking RAW.
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« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2008, 02:27:47 AM »

Nah, not expensive at all - I'm always looking for a deal!!

I've used Paint Shop Pro since, I think, Version 6. Got a full boxed retail copy on Ebay very cheap and from then on I just bought at the upgrade prices offered by Jasc. Version X was the first by Corel after they purchased it from Jasc, but from that point on it got "dumbed-down". Lotta frilly menus and wizards added but most users seemed to feel the tools didn't change much. So I'm staying with PSP X. But I never paid even 50% of retail for it.

ACDSee - I purchased at V.7 very shortly before 8 was released, on a great promo price combo with FotoSlate 4 thrown in. So I got the upgrade for V. 8 at no added cost. Then they introduced the "Pro" version about two months later, IIRC, and offered it to existing users of V. 8 for way below retail to placate them - so they didn't feel cheated by having paid for Version 8 and then having to upgrade again to the new Pro version so soon.  Ultimately I ended up with ACDSee 7, then 8, with FotoSlate thrown in, and then to the Pro version for less than the initial price of the Pro product.

And Photoshop Elements was free altogether. Version 5 came free with the Wacom tablet, and I just got Version 6 already installed on my new Dell XPS notebook, along with the Premier Elements. Part of a promo package price. Removing that software from the notebook didn't alter the price, so I left it on there.

Altogether for all of these I paid less than half of the Lightroom price.  Told you I'm a deal-hound!

Jim
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iphigenie
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« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2008, 02:39:56 AM »

There are so many raw formats I doubt jpeg will die - we do need to publish our images after all and jpeg also has the best meta tagging as far as I know. I tend to save my images in png or tiff when i need to exchange, but I lose a lot of tagging options then.

As for acdsee I picked it at the time because it had the best workflow for scanning row after row of negatives. I upgraded to pro when they did a good deal, etc.

I keep discovering things it can do that I had no idea it could do, and for image management and tagging/rename it is pretty good.

But when I read the of some of the image workflow software it makes me feel maybe there's better - not just the "big ones" like aperture and lightroom but also some of the independent tools out there

But then for what i do acdsee might be adequate - then go to the image editors when i need masking and layers etc.

But then I have a samsung gx10 and good luck getting raw support in the independent tools out there Sad
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Curt
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« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2008, 03:02:20 AM »

There are so many raw formats

- I had no idea there were more than one.
How many are we (not) talking about?
And where can I read about the differences?
 tellme
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iphigenie
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« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2008, 03:31:01 AM »

Each manufacturer has its own, sometimes several generations on different cameras - I think it depends on the sensor hardware. The principle in the file format is similar but the details on how it is encoded differ, because it is the data straight from the chip, and each chip is different.

It was never expected people would start working with RAW, so the cmos manufacturers never thought about consistency only quality and speed. But some clever people realised that there is a lot more information than is in jpeg and it allows you to fix badly done photos

So RAW apps suddenly multiplied.

Then some of the software vendors developed their own, Adobe for example, because there was a need. Some cameras support it natively but mostly it is the software that will convert RAW to RAW - all cameras come with a tool to do that.

And there are plans to create open standards RAW now that it is so widely used.

Commercial software will support multiple RAW formats but they often dont bother with all because the camera should come with a converter. It does add an annoying extra step in the workflow for people not on canon/nikon though.

For a while RAW was mostly about pulling more information back from the image, often to allow fix sloppy exposure. Then people realised even if you have a good exposure you can use that additional information for cool effects.

I really got interested in RAW when the tools started supporting the non destructive working - I was trained on film so I havent yet gotten into the "dont worry about exposure just snap and fix later" method.

This is a pretty good, non photographer overview http://www.digitalpreserv...rmats/fdd/fdd000241.shtml with links to some format specs etc.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2008, 03:45:18 AM by iphigenie » Logged
Carol Haynes
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« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2008, 04:06:40 AM »

I have LightRoom and like it a lot (I got a free upgrade from Pixmantec RawShooter which Adobe bought out so it was pretty cheap for me - unfortunately version 2 won't be cheap). I am not sure I will download version 2 beta as I will only end up wanting to upgrade and I am not sure there is much justification for that as it is a while since I did enough photography to justify it! I am sure going 64bit is the way forward - but how many people are actually using windows 64 bit versions? How easy it to get drivers? It seems pretty difficult in Vista to get drivers for a lot of hardware anyway so 64 bit Vista must be a right PITA. (Oops didn't read properly it can be used in 32 bit windows too)

I also have PhaseOne CaptureOne 4 which is also good for RAW workflow (I got version 3LE free with SanDisk memory cards and version 4 as a free upgrade).

Another nice RAW workkflow app is Dx0. I actually bought this and kept updating to version 4 but haven't gone for version 5 as I can't justify upgrading any more when I have LightRoom version 1. That is tied to particular file formats so you install the main app plus plugins for your camera and lenses. It is a really nice app but I don't like the way it is so specific about lenses as they don't have a full range of plugins available. They do work on new plugins all the time but they tend to reflect newer lenses and cameras as they appear and as I have a Canon EOS 300D and for my puposes can't see much point in upgrading it any time soon I feel slightly left behind. See http://www.dxo.com for a a trial version.

Another app that is worth a look is Silverfast. I tried it one and it was very nice too, but I didn't use it for long (too many choices).

For a number of years I used ACDSee and upgraded to ACDSee Pro version 1 when they had a cheap promotion a couple of years ago. I always like the look of ACDSee and mean to use it more but I can never quite get round to using it. AT various times I have tried and developed a somewhat love-hate relationship. They keep sending me upgrade notices for version 2 which are getting cheaper each time but I really can't justify upgrading and having just resinstalled my system from scratch I think I may not even reinstall verion 1.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2008, 04:14:23 AM by Carol Haynes » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2008, 04:59:16 AM »

iphigenie: great RAW summary  Thmbsup

But JPG should still die tongue JPEG2000 offers the same or better metadata support IIRC and far better compression, and Microsoft's new HDphoto or whatever they call it is even better.

Carol: I never got round to testing DxO, it looked great from its web page, but I didn't need the optical correction and nothing else seemed quite compelling enough. Bibble Pro offered optical correction and had a better RAW conversion engine according to a review I read some time ago, so I chose to trial it over DxO. And I really liked Bibble a lot, until Lightroom came along...

http://bibblelabs.com/

Bibble do have a *great* RAW engine, very competitive with Lightroom, Aperture or CaptureOne. I would trust it over ACDSee Pro without a doubt.

I've never got along with CaptureOne, I found weaknesses in the RAW converter (ugly noise patterns at high ISO), found the GUI clunky and the developing tools a bit lightweight.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2008, 05:01:43 AM by nontroppo » Logged

Carol Haynes
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« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2008, 05:46:53 AM »

Have you tried Capture One 4 - it has changed a bit since version 3
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« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2008, 06:31:15 AM »

Whatever was released about a year ago (version numbers of trialed software tends to slip out of my limited neural storge buffer!)  Wink
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2008, 07:44:24 AM »

I think v. 4 (at least the final) is more recent than that .... though my awareness of the passage of time seems to be becoming rather limited - like your memory buffer Wink
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« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2008, 10:23:40 PM »

Thanks Carol, good to know combined we are more than the sum of our deficiencies Wink

Playing with the beta last night, oh boy do I *love* the local adjustments. Very fast way to really enhance and fix photos. The adjustments are exposure, brightness, tint, clarity and saturation. Note all those settings can be adjusted within the same mask, so you can for example target just the iris of the eye, increasing clarity, giving an exposure boost and enhancing the eye colour in one simple, painted-on adjustment!

Also a nice unmentioned change is that detail (sharpness, noise reduction, fringe elimnation) adjustment now has a floating preview irrespective of your zoom level.
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« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2008, 11:27:38 PM »

I think that Lightroom has been the best thought design within  the digital darkroom softwares. I have used and tried all the players in the market and settled with Lightroom.
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« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2008, 01:48:32 PM »

Lightroom seems fine, very slick and all - but i dont really see that many advantages over acdsee.
I mean yes, there are a few more tools available straight from the viewing/managing screen, but i didnt notice anything that i didnt already have in acdsee pro. As a matter of fact some of the things hailed as new make me go "you mean it didnt have that?"

Although with the beta I had lots of errors and crashes so I will wait and see. Not using photoshop or any adobe tool (I was on the macromedia side of that divide) I probably dont get the full benefit of the integration

I can see the workflow might be a little bit smoother if all the changes you do fit within the tools it sets, it feels a bit faster than in acdsee. Although I cannot make heads or tails of the impact of some of the controls without lots of trial and error - i must be wired wrong for adobe.

There's still a couple tools I want to try in the "non destructive" department - photostudio darkroom, rawtherapee, and the very slick (after 10 minutes) lightzone (some cool ideas in that one,although it is a bit more of an editor and a bit less of a workflow/admin tool)
« Last Edit: April 05, 2008, 01:51:20 PM by iphigenie » Logged
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« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2008, 03:20:29 PM »

to not sound like a grump:

lightroom seems very well thought out and slick. I like the workflow. I cant do anything in the develop phase worth anything - random fumbling about produces nothing. And there doesnt seem to be a way to say "i didnt like what i did DO NOT save it"  tellme

I now figured out where the history is hiding, after having toyed with it several hours (took me 4 seconds to find it in lightzone). But it doesnt seem to make sense to me. I cant figure out how to, for example, sharpen an image I have!

There's a sharpen option in the tool bar. It seems that every time I move a slider in a tool it adds it to the history. I dont want to apply sharpening 22 times, i want to find the right setting. And through all of this the image does not sharpen one bit.

lightzone is clearly inspired, interface wise, from lightroom - although I have figure out how to change the exposure (in quite subtle ways at times), apply something only to part of the image, sharpen etc. in 10 minutes. I am still confused doing this in lightroom...

Both lightroom and lightzone have clone/repair tools I cant figure out either - ah well, too clever for me
« Last Edit: April 05, 2008, 03:22:42 PM by iphigenie » Logged
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« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2008, 03:20:56 PM »

Lightroom seems fine, very slick and all - but i dont really see that many advantages over acdsee.

Main thing for me is a good RAW engine - I always had issues with ACDSee and their colour profiles suck!

Quote
Although with the beta I had lots of errors and crashes so I will wait and see. Not using photoshop or any adobe tool (I was on the macromedia side of that divide) I probably dont get the full benefit of the integration

They do advertise it as an 'early beta' so crashes and problems are likely and par for the course. The production version 1.3 is rock solid.
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« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2008, 03:24:34 PM »

I wasnt holding the crashes against the app - just makes it hard to figure out for a lazy user like me - ads to the confusion

I dont have the benefit of photoshop to inform how the tools in lightroom work - I have tended to use other photo editing tools in the past, and my last photoshop course was v6... so I feel lost. I know from reading reviews that people used to photoshop are often lost in front of some other tool, because the sliders arent the same and dont have the same effect etc. Well i have this the other way at the moment.

I am trying to like it, since all the tutorials and books anywhere only ever mention lightroom, if i can get myself to be able to use it and justify its cost, then I will have an easier time improving (same goes for photoshop but heck if I am going to spend the price of a good lens on a piece of software)

Slowly figuring it out - but I think it is overkill for me to have a tool like this especially if i dont have photoshop to integrate with - i dont understand the different tools enough
« Last Edit: April 05, 2008, 04:35:50 PM by iphigenie » Logged
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« Reply #22 on: April 06, 2008, 02:55:29 AM »

Hm, I took to the Lightroom interface like a duck to water, probably because it was similar to Bibble Pro much more than it is to Photoshop (PS and LR are not similar design wise at all, and you certainly don't need PS to benefit greatly from LR). I find Lightzone more difficult to use than Lightroom, and that is even when they are quite similar UI wise.

The very good thing with Lightroom is that there are tons of tutorials (inc. many free from Adobe) and tips out there for many aspects of its functionality:

http://www.photoshopsuppo.../lightroom/tutorials.html

or just search Google.

The critical thing for me are the keyboard shortcuts and transparent UI, learn those and you fly through the interface: D - develop, G - grid view, C - compare view, TAB - toggle left/right panels, SHIFT+TAB - toggle all panels, L - lights out, F - full-screen mode, J - show highlight/shadow clipping, I - show info, R - crop (in develop module), 1-5 - rate image, X - mark for deletion, B - add to quick collection.

Quote
And there doesnt seem to be a way to say "i didnt like what i did DO NOT save it" 

You have many options:
1) UNDO/REDO as in any other app.
2) History in the Left panel (F7 toggles it).
3) Left panel > Snapshots > Import reverts back to the original. I save several snapshots as I work to give me different ideas. Each snaphot has its own history, amazingly flexible. If I really like two snapshots, then i create a virtual copy of the image (CTRL+')

Quote
It seems that every time I move a slider in a tool it adds it to the history. I dont want to apply sharpening 22 times, i want to find the right setting.
I don't see why you think saving the history of your edits is wrong? I may want to try two different sharpen settings, and simply toggle back/forth in the history. If, as you said, all sharpen operations were collapsed into one, i'd lose that flexibility.

Quote
And through all of this the image does not sharpen one bit.
You need to be zoomed in 1:1 i.e. 100% (Z - zoom tool, D - loupe and click image) for sharpening/detail to be observed. There is a ! exclamation point in the interface of the sharpen panel when you are not at 1:1 zoom warning you you will not see your edits.

Here is a useful (critical) key when sharpening in Lightroom: ALT — zoom to 1:1 and first hold ALT and drag the mask slider. This is limit your sharpening to higher contrast edges. Second, hold ALT and drag amount, radius and detail to taste.

If you want to see what effect any edit has in a particular module, you can toggle its effect on and off, so for sharpening:



That gives you very quick way to see exactly what you are doing in that domain.

Hope some of that makes sense ;-)


« Last Edit: April 06, 2008, 03:07:50 AM by nontroppo » Logged

nontroppo
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« Reply #23 on: April 06, 2008, 03:01:39 AM »

Lightroom seems fine, very slick and all - but i dont really see that many advantages over acdsee.

Main thing for me is a good RAW engine - I always had issues with ACDSee and their colour profiles suck!

This is of course a critical point; what RAW engine are they using, what are its weaknesses or strengths?
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« Reply #24 on: April 06, 2008, 06:23:31 AM »

Out of curiosity, I downloaded the latest ACDSee Pro 2.0.238. Got it to import about 50 RAWs and some JPGs into it. The browser is fairly clean and logically ordered. But metadata and keywording is clunky.

I find it quite disorienting when you "view" an image from thumbnails, the browser just disappears, one can only really use the filmstrip. I very much miss having a Loupe to examine photos quickly from the browser. So I tried using the film strip, then using the context menu to go to full size; it zooms in on the JPEG thumbnail and doesn't render a real preview! So the browser is not really able to show you your photos.

OK, so I have to live with a modal interface, View is the only way to "view", and one has to accept the management interface cannot be used if you want to actually see your image as it is.

So then I "edit my image", only to find this is destructive editing (and again modal). So out i go and go to RAW processing. There are two overlapping interfaces which doesn't make sense to me. And lots of the tools are actually destructive for editing.

RAW processing is pretty basic. Exposure, color, detail and cropping. Playing with sharpening I wanted to go back to see my previous edit - but there is no undo! You can reset everything but not step through changes, thus cannot do quick before after comparisons, cannot get back to a previous setting if your cat jumps on the mouse etc.

But the capital offense is indeed the RAW converter:



As far as i can tell, there is substantial image detail lost. Trying to recover with sharpening causes pretty noticeable artifacts. I tried to get the two apps as close as possible in terms of look (unsientific I know, but as algorithms are different there is no way to clearly equalise them). In Lightroom, look for the detail of the skin reflections, and the more subtle gradations on the fabric. With ACDsee there are weird black holes probably caused by the poorer sharpening algorithm. The skin color is flat and grey, and I couldn't get it any better.

Then there are whole important aspects of image control just not available in ACDSee. In Lightroom there are very cool mouse-adjustment tools for hue saturation and luminance for 8 color channels; this is important for more careful color control. Click on the little circle in the HSL panel and drag on a region of your image; you are intuitively adjusting that local color region the color information (same works for tones in the tone curve panel). These adjustments give you fantastic immediate control of color and tone, and are nowhere available in ACDSee. You may say well that sort of stuff is only good for preofessional, but it is not. I now consider solid management of color channels just as important as exposure and tone control.

I also miss the clarity tool, before/after comparison, great BW conversion, vignettes etc. And the whole benefit of non-destructive editing is flexibility. Lightroom gives you Snapshots and history of all your edits. You can spawn out virtual copies and stack them together with ease. And a direct interface to processing presets, applicable to batch import makes complex processing trivial even for large groups of images. ACDSee is much less flexible, I can't even undo settings changes during RAW processing!

The local enhancements are destructive in ACDSee, so I won't try comparing them. Lightroom is just too far ahead here. I can't emphasise how sensational it is to do local adjustment, then tweak it however i want later, save sets of different adjustments. It is all metadata, no pixels are being harmed. In the screenshot above my previous post, my eye is locally enhanced (one set is exposure, another is tint), i can toggle these setting around, tweak parameters without ever having to "undo".

I think as a browser ACDSee is OK, though I dislike its modal nature and inability to see my image properly in the browser. But as a RAW processor, I would never use it. Detail being lost (or at least cannot be recovered) is the killer, but the feature set is weak, and the flexibility to very limited. I personally wouldn't pay $130 for it.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2008, 06:37:08 AM by nontroppo » Logged

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