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Author Topic: Sagelight Editor - $39.95 Lifetime Promotion Ending July 1st  (Read 5046 times)
Bionic71
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« on: June 15, 2011, 09:04:14 AM »

Pick it up while it lasts..  Wink

Regular Price: $79.95 $39.95 - Sale Ends July 1st, 2011

http://www.sagelighteditor.com/



  • On July 1st, there will be two versions of Sagelight, a Standard Version and Hobbyist/Pro Version.
  • The Pro Version is currently the lifetime version promotion.

Helicon Filter is also offered at BDJ today (2011-06-15) 50% off
http://www.bitsdujour.com/software/helicon-filter/
--
Past two days I've spent time with Helicon & Sagelight, which one to choose?
I felt that Sagelight was the way to go, Helicon has DRM but their policy seems fair.
However I've now chosen Sagelight hence so much easier working with & my plugins worked.
Sagelight=100% Value.. I wanted something affordable, less bloated & still packed with features.
--
Very cool proggie Mr Nelson thumbs up
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oblivion
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« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2011, 03:08:40 AM »

Pick it up while it lasts..  Wink

Thanks for pointing that one out -- it's an excellent deal!
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...this space unintentionally left blank.
Curt
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« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2011, 02:20:38 PM »

bumping

ending by the end of tomorrow,
after that you can only get a normal license, not a lifetime.

Quote
Special Sale Ending July 1st, 2011! Buy Now and get a lifetime version for just $39.95 (50% off)!

www.sagelighteditor.com
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Dormouse
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« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2011, 05:06:43 AM »

ending by the end of tomorrow,
after that you can only get a normal license, not a lifetime.

Not sure about that. Seems you can still get the lifetime license at the $39.95.
Website still says only available until July 1, but the buy link takes you to a page that says lifetime updates at the same price.
I assume this will change when Rob gets around to changing it.
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rjbull
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« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2011, 01:53:04 PM »

$39.95 lifetime offer still up today, 2011-11-20.
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Bionic71
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« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2011, 10:37:48 PM »

Well.. yes, it was not a quickly change, myself stressed buying before stated date.
I cant say I'm angry as he dealt & implemented many new hot features, I'm impressed and see now why he's been busy.

After reading his forum I know that rob is in the progress of splitting the program apart.
These changes will occur very soon, if I recall there will be Free/Standard/Pro, still discounted is the Pro license $39.95 lifetime offer

Great program & no regrets   Thmbsup
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Rob Nelson
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« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2011, 11:05:48 AM »

Hi, Everyone.

I thought I'd tell you what I am up to with Sagelight and explain where I am at with current pricing and future plans.

First, thanks a lot for all the support.  I appreciate it very much.  I apologize for the sale issue, but also want to explain why all that happened.

In the last year, I have added a lot to Sagelight, and the last release was definitely a major release with the Lens Blur/Bokeh, which turned out to be much harder than I thought it would! 

As I add more and more functions to Sagelight, the pressure to raise the price has grown also, as $39.95 doesn't really reflect the level of functions inside of Sagelight any longer.

On the other side, though, is that as I do add more functionality to Sagelight, it has been really great to expose those features to people who would never buy an advanced image editor at a greater price.  For example, the Bokeh/Lens Blur that was recently added is typically found in packages that are fairly expensive (Alien Skin, for example is $200, and DOF Pro is $99), and I have received a lot of e-mails and comments from people exploring and having fun with it who would never buy a package with Bokeh/Lens Blur in it due to the price.

With the other functions in Sagelight (such as the Light Blender, Vignetting, Tone Blender, Power Curves, Masking, etc.), it's also been great to give people the exposure to the wonderful world of image editing who normally wouldn't even know that they could do so much with their images.

Many Sagelight customers are on a fixed income or find $39.95 the their upper-limit due to their financial circumstances.

I've been looking for ways to split Sagelight and also to find ways to make the higher-end functions of Sagelight available to as many people as possible.

While I didn't mean to mislead anyone about the sale, finding the right way to keep Sagelight as cheap as possible, while not devaluing it with a price that is too-low, and keeping in the spirit of why I started Sagelight has been a difficult and ongoing task. 

Right now, the current plan is to split it into a standard and "Enthusiast/Pro" version, though I would also like to continue to find other options that lets everyone enjoy Sagelight, as $79.95 gets out of the range of a lot of people.

I originally started Sagelight for two purposes.  One was to create an image editor with powerful functions that I've always wanted to see.  The other was to write an image editor that was (hopefully) also very fast and easy to use so that people who never thought about image editing (other than removing red-eye and cropping, that sort of thing) could see how much of an artistic endeavor it definitely can be.

Sagelight is still a young editor (at 3 years old), and, actually, I never expected Sagelight to have so many features and to get so big as it is now, and I am planning much more in the next year.  The current plan is to build verison 5 over the next year (with pre-releases as things are added), adding HDR (both artistic/single-frame as well as multi-frame), extended layers/stacks, more masking functionality, content-aware object removal, comprehensive paint function (i.e. for image coloring and painting, in various modes such as Soft light, hard light, dodge & burn, etc.), procedural language scripting, automation, NL means noise-reduction, RAW staging area, as well as updating and upgrading many current functions to be even better (like the LightBlender, Power Box, etc. (not to mention a few notable bugs. smiley )).

The great thing is that these are all already designed, and just need to be put in.

I'ts been a great process, and I really appreciate the support here and posts on the discussion board, as well as the positive e-mails -- it definitely makes all the difference.

I'd be interested in any thoughts you might have on the pricing structure.  As I mentioned, the current plan is to split it into two versions around the end of the year (I am just wrapping up the 4.2 release, and starting on the last version 4 release).  But, it would also be great to hear any other ideas about how to keep Sagelight accessible to those whose price range is just not in the $80 area.  I'd love to make Sagelight available to anyone who wants it.  While that's probably not possible, perhaps some creative ideas might make something closer to that possible.

Thanks again,

Rob








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rgdot
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« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2011, 11:34:18 AM »

In my opinion in the age of online apps pricing for offline apps is even more difficult. There are niche, one (or few) feature apps (extensions, programs, etc.) that go for much less than $39. My limited experience suggests that you make a standard version for as feature rich and cheap as possible, under $30 perhaps. Then go for it for the pro version, $80 or more.
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CWuestefeld
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« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2011, 12:54:47 PM »

Rob, if I'm at all typical of your customers, then the choice for Sagelight was made over upgrading Corel PaintShop Pro, which I can purchase for ~$90. Since I decided that your app is superior, at least for editing of photos, I think it would be possible to go with a number in that neighborhood. (FWIW, PSP is probably better for some kinds of tasks, but when it comes to optimizing a photograph, you're the hands-down winner)

You didn't actually ask, but I'll weigh in on future functionality -- because that's the kind of guy I am  tongue

When I'm using Sagelight, I still rely on two plugins: Alien Skin Image Doctor and Topaz DeNoise. So from my perspective, the quickest way to become my full-feature editor is to provide those function -- easy-to-use noise and more effective noise filtering, and object removal. I'd also love to see some kind of object detection coupled with the masking feature.

Something else you just said struck a chord with me: "extended layers/stacks". You're currently referring to this as "layers", but that's confusing because it really has nothing to do with the layering feature found in PSP or Photoshop. Changing terminology to "stacks" might prevent such confusion.
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JavaJones
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« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2011, 12:57:33 AM »

As someone whose "other editor" is $300 (Lightroom), I find your pricing considerations and general range to be very, very reasonable! Now granted LR does things that Sagelight does not do, things I wish SL did, and I cannot replace LR with SL right now because of that. Photo organizing, tagging, and uploading are the majority of that, but also things like HDR plugins. At the same time SL can do things that LR doesn't, or at least do things in ways that are easier to control and/or produce better results. The new lens blur/bokeh stuff is a great example.

So while I understand people's comments about "the app world" and whatnot, I also see the other side of things where SL is actually a tremendous deal compared to other *similarly capable* apps. That's the thing though, does SL have a professional reputation and if not, could it develop one? That's what you need to charge more than about $50 I think, or $100 at most. It's little or nothing to do with the actual capabilities which, as I've said, are excellent and already surpass programs that cost much more in some ways.

If I'm being honest, I think the UI design is probably the lest professional-seeming thing about SL. It's hard to put my finger on, but it feels less clean and polished than LR, Bibble, and the like. More colors, gradients, and icons than clear lines and text, perhaps. Beveled edges, that sort of thing. And the general feel and workflow is good, but still somehow just doesn't "feel" as "solid" as LR and others. That may be just my personal, subjective opinion of course.

At any rate I definitely understand the pricing difficulties. I admire your dedication to keeping features accessible, and that's one thing I've dealt with personally at Planetside Software where we make a fully free (with some limitations) version of our software available. I also understand the pro vs. hobbyist vs. amateur debate and the difficulty in establishing the right perceptions of your product, *especially* when you want to keep things accessible to a wide range of users and price points. I suspect that sometimes you do just have to make a sacrifice of one or the other, or take some radical approach like making an entirely different product (at least in name). But I do have some suggestions for a pro vs. "light" split if you're interested. I suspect you might not agree, but I think any decision you make on it is going to involve some compromise in your core desires and values. If that weren't the case I expect you'd have made a decision by now. Wink

By the way, great to hear that HDR functionality (that I recently emailed you about) is planned!

- Oshyan
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Dormouse
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« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2011, 03:28:49 AM »

The one comment I'd make about price at this point is that people need a sense of stability and long term support if they are being asked to pay a higher price. The extended, unpredicted and unannounced, absences unfortunately don't give this impression. Neither does the loss of the old forum posts or announcing a price change and limited time offer that then apparently goes on forever.

I understand the need to replenish and the new features that have been added, but the price people will pay isn't just about the features on offer. Current users are very supportive, but that might not always be the case if you manage to extend your market (as should be possible) and especially if the price goes up. I appreciate your ethics and concerns about all your users, some of whom may have difficulty with higher prices but, at the same time, it won't be a going concern as a program if it doesn't make the money you need out of it.
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JavaJones
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« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2011, 06:54:43 PM »

Good points Dormouse. One perhaps counter-intuitive (but nonetheless effective) change you might consider is being less frequent and detailed with releases and release promises and instead settle on a regular schedule you can stick to within the year. People like updates, but reading through this thread and your blog, you can see that the "It took a lot longer than I thought" comment is frequent and regular. So you'll say "4.2 is coming soon" but then it won't because hey, it took longer than you expected. That's fine, the problem isn't necessarily (or at least solely) with it taking longer than expected but that you externalized that expectation by hinting at or even in some cases announcing it. If you had said nothing and instead just had a general policy of bi-annual updates, and making them major updates (i.e. 4.0 at beginning of the year, 4.5 mid-year, 5.0 at the beginning of next year), that would create that sense of stability while taking some pressure off you.

Heck even annual releases are not necessarily to be expected from a lot of (professional) software. Lightroom gets point releases, but they're mostly bug fixes and support for new camera RAW files. With Version Control you can easily do patch releases while working on separate tracks with major features and merge them later for a big release.

I would not suggest reducing communications overall necessarily, I think your engagement with your users through the blogs, videos, and tutorials is part of the appeal of SL, but you could stick to helping people learn existing tools, creating videos for future features behind the scenes if desired and then releasing those when the version with those features eventually comes out.

Just a thought... All I know for sure is not announcing release dates ahead of time has worked a lot better in my experience. cheesy

- Oshyan
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Rob Nelson
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« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2011, 03:59:30 AM »

Hi...

Rob, if I'm at all typical of your customers, then the choice for Sagelight was made over upgrading Corel PaintShop Pro, which I can purchase for ~$90. Since I decided that your app is superior, at least for editing of photos, I think it would be possible to go with a number in that neighborhood. (FWIW, PSP is probably better for some kinds of tasks, but when it comes to optimizing a photograph, you're the hands-down winner)

Thanks... I have chosen $79.95 for the number right now, and that seems to be reasonable with the feedback I've received about it.  As I said, I am currently looking at different options on how to keep Sagelight accessible to everyone while dealing with the price issue at the same time.  I think there is a solution, and I have been doing quite a bit of research over the last few months on pricing models and strategies.   


You didn't actually ask, but I'll weigh in on future functionality -- because that's the kind of guy I am  tongue

No Problem. ha... It's always great to get comments and constructive criticism.

When I'm using Sagelight, I still rely on two plugins: Alien Skin Image Doctor and Topaz DeNoise. So from my perspective, the quickest way to become my full-feature editor is to provide those function -- easy-to-use noise and more effective noise filtering, and object removal. I'd also love to see some kind of object detection coupled with the masking feature.

Pretty much on the top of the development list is more noise reduction, a real-time version (in the Power Box), and also an NL-means implementation.  I really like the NL-means algorithm, and I have developed some algorithms that will hopefully make it useful on a reasonable time.  I have seen some packages take up to 20 minutes on a fairly small file, and I've wanted to avoid that kind of timing.  Either way, I agree and it should appear fairly soon (the Power Box version first, then the more aggressive NL-means independent function).

With the object removal.  That is also something I have planned for version 5.  It turned out that the NL-means algorithm and the "content-aware" object removal have the same base algorithm, so when I get to the NL-means noise reduction, I can start on the object-removal, too. 

Right now, I recommend the Wire Worm plugin which can do a great job.  But, I am finding that the plug-ins don't get much traction in a general sense; that is, if you have a plug-in that you like, then you tend to use it.  After that, I don't see people trying the plug-ins.  So, even though I consider the Wire Worm a very, very nice tool (which is why I didn't write one, as I wanted to support Martin Vicanek's work), a lot of people don't even know it is there.  I wanted to put a menu item for it in the tools list, right under cloning, but Martin was not comfortable with it.  As much as I really want to refer to that plug-in, I may have to end up writing a blemish/object-removal function myself just so I can make it obvious in the function list.

Something else you just said struck a chord with me: "extended layers/stacks". You're currently referring to this as "layers", but that's confusing because it really has nothing to do with the layering feature found in PSP or Photoshop. Changing terminology to "stacks" might prevent such confusion.

For the time-being, I will just use the term 'layer', as that it really what I am talking about.  The term 'layer' can tend to mean different things based upon the context.  Sagelight, for example, uses a lot of layers internally in most control.  Because of that, I don't see any need to do 'adjustment' layers, since each control is essentially just that, and if you want to work with one as a layer, you will just be able to do what you would do with an adjustment layer in Photoshop and edit it the same way; except that you will have multiple controls instead of just the one layer (which can get tedious).  The basic idea is that each thing you do in the history becomes a potential layer, if you want to assign it that way, and then you will be able to click on the Quick-Edit layer and adjust the controls -- such if you realize something became blown out or too saturated in that layer; that sort of thing.

So, it kind of does have to do with the layers in Photoshop, but with just a different (and, I think, more modern) approach in using them.

I'm also talking about more stack-like layers, too, where they can be useful to group together.  I am planning something very comprehensive, so it's still a little TBD, which is why I used the term 'layers/stacks'.  My main goal is to get some real power out of them, while not making them so much of the UI that they're unavoidable.  I finally have a design I like, so it will be nice to start putting them in!

Rob
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Rob Nelson
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« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2011, 05:00:15 AM »

As someone whose "other editor" is $300 (Lightroom), I find your pricing considerations and general range to be very, very reasonable! Now granted LR does things that Sagelight does not do, things I wish SL did, and I cannot replace LR with SL right now because of that. Photo organizing, tagging, and uploading are the majority of that, but also things like HDR plugins. At the same time SL can do things that LR doesn't, or at least do things in ways that are easier to control and/or produce better results. The new lens blur/bokeh stuff is a great example.

So while I understand people's comments about "the app world" and whatnot, I also see the other side of things where SL is actually a tremendous deal compared to other *similarly capable* apps. That's the thing though, does SL have a professional reputation and if not, could it develop one? That's what you need to charge more than about $50 I think, or $100 at most. It's little or nothing to do with the actual capabilities which, as I've said, are excellent and already surpass programs that cost much more in some ways.

If I'm being honest, I think the UI design is probably the lest professional-seeming thing about SL. It's hard to put my finger on, but it feels less clean and polished than LR, Bibble, and the like. More colors, gradients, and icons than clear lines and text, perhaps. Beveled edges, that sort of thing. And the general feel and workflow is good, but still somehow just doesn't "feel" as "solid" as LR and others. That may be just my personal, subjective opinion of course.

At any rate I definitely understand the pricing difficulties. I admire your dedication to keeping features accessible, and that's one thing I've dealt with personally at Planetside Software where we make a fully free (with some limitations) version of our software available. I also understand the pro vs. hobbyist vs. amateur debate and the difficulty in establishing the right perceptions of your product, *especially* when you want to keep things accessible to a wide range of users and price points. I suspect that sometimes you do just have to make a sacrifice of one or the other, or take some radical approach like making an entirely different product (at least in name). But I do have some suggestions for a pro vs. "light" split if you're interested. I suspect you might not agree, but I think any decision you make on it is going to involve some compromise in your core desires and values. If that weren't the case I expect you'd have made a decision by now. Wink

By the way, great to hear that HDR functionality (that I recently emailed you about) is planned!

- Oshyan

note to everyone:  I can see that I am doing a lot of writing in answering.  I want to be sure to answer all the questions, comments, and suggestions posted in the last few days.

As someone whose "other editor" is $300 (Lightroom), I find your pricing considerations and general range to be very, very reasonable! Now granted LR does things that Sagelight does not do, things I wish SL did, and I cannot replace LR with SL right now because of that. Photo organizing, tagging, and uploading are the majority of that, but also things like HDR plugins. At the same time SL can do things that LR doesn't, or at least do things in ways that are easier to control and/or produce better results. The new lens blur/bokeh stuff is a great example.

Thanks.  I really don't care to charge $300, or even $200, and just need to figure out the pricing in issue in terms of avoiding the devaluation concept in marketing one's product.  That is to say, I'd rather keep it cheaper, but to do it in a traditional setting just wouldn't work.  More about that in some commentary below (not sure if it was this post or not, but it is here somewhere!)

About the things Sagelight does that LR doesn't and vice-versa.  That's basically why I have been working on more powerful functions, even at the expense of some things that are really starting to show.  For example, I put in the Light Blender, but it has so much to it that the UI is clearly not keeping up with it.  One of the next releases will have that cleaned up in a measurable way.  The Lens/Blur bokeh tabs worked out well, so I am going to start doing more of that sort of design to keep the UI cleaner.   The current level of pop-ups becomes a little overbearing, I think -- as in too much information at the same time.


That's the thing though, does SL have a professional reputation and if not, could it develop one? That's what you need to charge more than about $50 I think, or $100 at most. It's little or nothing to do with the actual capabilities which, as I've said, are excellent and already surpass programs that cost much more in some ways.

Thanks again... Sagelight is just starting to get a professional reputation.  I never pursued the professional market directly, but have written a lot of documents on the engine, and more and more people who are professionals are starting to compare the results with other professional apps.  In the last few months, I've seen more professionals who use Sagelight than I have before.  That's nice, and that's why there is more pressure on Sagelight to do things that didn't matter quite as much as it did before.   I kind of like the pressure, because it's helping me make Sagelight much more well-rounded, and I think that will make it better for everyone, even if they're not consciously using certain elements of it.

With the $50 thing... That does become an issue.  I saw a message board where someone posted an example of an image edited with Sagelight.  Everyone liked it, and that was nice.  The person posted the price, and at $39.95, it really looked misplaced because everyone there was using Lightroom or Photoshop.   It was clearly a devaluing issue, which is why I need to deal with it.  I'd keep it at $39.95 if it wasn't for that (not with the lifetime, though).


If I'm being honest, I think the UI design is probably the lest professional-seeming thing about SL. It's hard to put my finger on, but it feels less clean and polished than LR, Bibble, and the like. More colors, gradients, and icons than clear lines and text, perhaps. Beveled edges, that sort of thing. And the general feel and workflow is good, but still somehow just doesn't "feel" as "solid" as LR and others. That may be just my personal, subjective opinion of course.

I'd be interested in hearing more thoughts about that.  As it turned out, I like the Sagelight UI over LR, and consider LR's UI very utilitarian.  But, sometimes it is just a personal choice.  There has been some evolution in the UI, and that may cause some consistency issues, as I've had to streamline the UI with things like the Power Box, which looks markedly different than the rest of the Quick Edit Mode.

But, I am pretty sure what some people react to is (I'll just throw it out here... let me know what you think): Sagelight controls, for the most part, are laarrrggeee... ha... It's just tends to be a visual thing that smaller, diminutive controls tend to look more utility-like and more like a professional program.  Here is why they are large in Sagelight... The Quick Edit Mode, for example, has sliders that are 201 pixels wide, to support a 1:1 resolution with -100 to 100.  This causes the sliders to be much larger than LR (and most other editors, since most other editors copy LR, at least for the overall look-and-feel).    When I put in the Power Box, I shortened the sliders to 161 pixels wide, but most sliders still have a range of -100 to 100.  This immediately causes resolution problems.     Since I have wide sliders, I put the values and slider name on the top, causing much more space to be used vertically.

To my mind, I think this is part of the issue.  granted, the rounded corners don't help... I was watching the Miami Vice DVDs a lot when I designed the UI. smiley

The UI is being redesigned, but I am only planning that for version 5 (except for the glaring updates, such as the Light Blender and Power Box consistency), as I have a fairly large restructuring plan -- Sagelight has something like 80+ functions right now, and Version 5 is going to add quite a bit to that, so that they are more organized (as well as personally organizable).  A lot of the people on the Sagelight Discussion Board have really been great in letting me know what they'd like to see.


At any rate I definitely understand the pricing difficulties. I admire your dedication to keeping features accessible, and that's one thing I've dealt with personally at Planetside Software where we make a fully free (with some limitations) version of our software available. I also understand the pro vs. hobbyist vs. amateur debate and the difficulty in establishing the right perceptions of your product, *especially* when you want to keep things accessible to a wide range of users and price points. I suspect that sometimes you do just have to make a sacrifice of one or the other, or take some radical approach like making an entirely different product (at least in name). But I do have some suggestions for a pro vs. "light" split if you're interested. I suspect you might not agree, but I think any decision you make on it is going to involve some compromise in your core desires and values. If that weren't the case I expect you'd have made a decision by now. Wink

I didn't know you guys made Terragen until just now... I've always loved Terragen, and looked for it just the other day.  I just downloaded the free version.  I'll definitely be playing with it!

It can definitely be a slippery slope.  The free version you guys have seems pretty powerful, but the 800x600 limitation is good.  From a consumer perspective (and I just went through this about Sagelight), I just don't know if a higher sample would encourage me more (say 1200x800), or would make me feel like it's enough so I don't want to buy the purchase version as much.   I am coming out with a new Sagelight free version to replace the old one (since it's so old by now), and what to put in and leave out is a very complex question.  I want something that shows enough power (and isn't diluted), but I don't want to give away too much, either.

As far as suggestions for a split -- sure, I am very interested in hearing your thoughts.

By the way, great to hear that HDR functionality (that I recently emailed you about) is planned!

I've been looking forward to getting it in for quite some time, and I think it will complement the Light Blender fairly well.  I am hoping to get it in version 4.3 as an extra sizeable function before I start on version 5.

Rob
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Rob Nelson
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« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2011, 05:35:00 AM »

Hi.

The one comment I'd make about price at this point is that people need a sense of stability and long term support if they are being asked to pay a higher price. The extended, unpredicted and unannounced, absences unfortunately don't give this impression. Neither does the loss of the old forum posts or announcing a price change and limited time offer that then apparently goes on forever.

It was a shame about the old forum.  It just destroyed itself one day and was unrecoverable.  In a way, it may have been a favor, because the new discussion board is much nicer, open, and easier to use.  It's also easier to maintain.  I used to have such a spam problem with the other one, and this one has received two spam messages in the last three months.

With the absences.  Sadly, those have been hard to deal with, as well.  There were some company issues going on there, but I agree I should have done a better job explaining what was going on.  I don't see any of that happening again, especially now that Sagelight is starting to get some maturity both in it's level as a product and getting known generally. 

There have definitely been some setbacks that have cost publicly, but the overall growth has been more positive.  At this point, if nothing else, I think everyone realizes how committed I am to Sagelight, even when I do hit some learning curves on how to handle everything at once. smiley

With the sale that seems to never end... Well, that is definitely becoming an issue, which is why I wanted to express some thoughts on it here.

As I see it, it's also been part of the growth process for Sagelight.  But, in a way I hadn't anticipated.  When I first started Sagelight, my goal was to give away a free version and then charge $20 for the pro version, even as it is today (which is about 4 times the size it was back then).  The idea being that a low cost would attract more people, and that would solve the issue of keeping Sagelight cheap while also making it powerful. But, I quickly found out you can't do that.  People look at products differently when the are $20 vs. $40 vs. $80.  I've mentioned this before, but I'll put it here...when I doubled the price, I suddenly saw things never noticed being taken very seriously.  Now that Sagelight is growing more and more, this is still an issue at $39.

So, I decided it was time to raise the price.  But, I wanted to give everyone interested a chance to get it, and to be supportive I also wanted to offer a lifetime license.  Part of this was because I knew that I was going to dramatically increase the power and functionality of Sagelight from version 3 to version 4, and I didn't want to put people in a position to have to pay more and more and more.  A lot of this is how the market has evolved.  For example, I've never appreciated paying $700 or so for Photoshop and then having to pay $179 every year for an update.

Here's the part I didn't see coming (but should have).  One of the things that started happening with Sagelight is that it got noticed by a major part of the demographic for whom I wrote Sagelight: Beginners who want to do and learn more (with a low or flat learning-curve) as well as hobbyists who want to work with their pictures.  Sagelight was already getting known to hobbyists and advanced amateurs and enthusiasts.  These two distinct groups are exactly why I wrote Sagelight.

I take your point very well, and I agree with it.  I feel awkward about it, really, not to mention slightly embarrassed.  But, I really want to make a way for both groups, and, as I mentioned in the first post, the price at $80 becomes prohibitive.  I am looking at alternatives, such as possibly a monthly, or even yearly payment plan, and that sort of thing.   

The reason the sale still exists today (and with the lifetime version) is because I've known for quite some time that I am going to change the pricing structure drastically, and until I do that, it's far better to give a lifetime version away than to accidentally cause people to have to spend more money later on.  I have a few pricing options I am looking at in the sense of 'guerrilla marketing', and I want to make sure anyone who buys it now knows exactly what they have as I change the structure.  I am just deciding on which one now.  A couple of them are fairly dramatic, so that's another reason why I haven't changed anything yet, so no one feels confused as to what to do (i.e. if you have a lifetime version, then you know what you have).

It's definitely coming to a close in the very near future.  I don't personally feel bad about the price, just about the plans (and announcements) that were clearly premature.  Sorry about that, and I definitely apologize and take full responsibility for it. 


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« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2011, 06:12:27 AM »

Good points Dormouse. One perhaps counter-intuitive (but nonetheless effective) change you might consider is being less frequent and detailed with releases and release promises and instead settle on a regular schedule you can stick to within the year. People like updates, but reading through this thread and your blog, you can see that the "It took a lot longer than I thought" comment is frequent and regular. So you'll say "4.2 is coming soon" but then it won't because hey, it took longer than you expected. That's fine, the problem isn't necessarily (or at least solely) with it taking longer than expected but that you externalized that expectation by hinting at or even in some cases announcing it. If you had said nothing and instead just had a general policy of bi-annual updates, and making them major updates (i.e. 4.0 at beginning of the year, 4.5 mid-year, 5.0 at the beginning of next year), that would create that sense of stability while taking some pressure off you.

Heck even annual releases are not necessarily to be expected from a lot of (professional) software. Lightroom gets point releases, but they're mostly bug fixes and support for new camera RAW files. With Version Control you can easily do patch releases while working on separate tracks with major features and merge them later for a big release.

One thing I have been looking at is being more frequent with in-progress releases.

The "it took longer than I thought" statement is really more about "ok, I am working on this... I'll release it when it is ready" because I have never really liked specific version releases.  I generally like to release things as I get them done; usually one or two major things, but necessarily a large amount of new & major function sets at once. 

This helps the beta process, as I can have discrete releases that can be tested, and anything going wrong doesn't hit me all at once with bug reports from ten major things at a time.

I'm still deciding how to handle this a bit, in the sense when I start working on Version 5, for example, I will just release things as I go as pre-releases.   This way, I am not sitting on HDR, NL-Means Noise Reduction, Object Removal, Enhanced Layers, etc. etc. for months.  Might as well get it out when it is ready enough.  So, version 5 is going to be built over time.

I think the solution may be in releasing more beta versions as things are in-process.  For example, I didn't release any of the Bokeh/Lens Blur until it was basically done because there were definitely some bugs, and wasn't sure if that would be a good idea.

In general, I'll say what my expectation is, and then sometimes it will take longer due to something that comes up.   Most of the time it's a speed issue, as it was in this last release. Oh, I remember -- another thing with the Lens Blur/Bokeh release that took it a little longer was that I wasn't satisfied with the quality of one of the blur algorithms (a major one), so I moved it from 32-bit per-channel to 64-bit per-channel, which made it much better. I just didn't want to release it that way.

I definitely hear what you're saying.  I will have to find a better way to work out how to deal with what are essentially pre-releases.


I would not suggest reducing communications overall necessarily, I think your engagement with your users through the blogs, videos, and tutorials is part of the appeal of SL, but you could stick to helping people learn existing tools, creating videos for future features behind the scenes if desired and then releasing those when the version with those features eventually comes out.

Just a thought... All I know for sure is not announcing release dates ahead of time has worked a lot better in my experience. cheesy

- Oshyan

That's something I have been doing a lot of lately.  The Youtube Channel, Blog, Discussion board, and help system (www.sagelighteditor.com/sageweb) has been much more filled out lately with a number of topics.  A lot of it is about the Bokeh/Lens Blur (as it is just a huge set of functions), but I've also been splicing in a number of other things to keep it from staying specifically on on subject.

The main thing I needed there was to centralize everything, as I would write one thing in the blog, for example, and then it would disappear forever.  Now that I have the centralized help system on the website, I've been able to write much more because I know it's going to stay useful, rather than being a subject for a couple weeks and then living in oblivion.

Back to the pricing issue, for a moment (since this is what started the thread)

I am really only working with one concept at the moment:  How to keep the price low without accidentally devaluing Sagelight.

Outside of that, I'd be happy to keep the price at $39.95.  As I mentioned, that just isn't possible, so some other strategy is really called for.  I've been spending a lot of time over the last few months researching the marketing issues, and how marketing has changed.  For example, the freemium model is a popular model, and I really like Evernote's model.  I use Evernote a lot, and may purchase their service once I hit the maximum. 

The model in the phone/tablet-based app market has been to charge much lower prices to get more customers, since the low-overhead and significantly larger customer base as compared to just a few years ago makes that possible.  I thought this model could translate over to the PC market, but so far it hasn't.  There is a clear and stated marketing rule that if you price your product at $20, people see it as a $20 product; a $10 product is a $10 product, etc.  So, pricing your product that has the same/different/state-of-the-art/etc. functions compared to rivals that cost 5-10 times as much can be a problem!

The freemium model suggests that 'free' can a separate issue, since it doesn't involve a purchase for the free portion of it, and people understand that a free product can be free for other reasons.  It's a slippery slope, and I am not specifically looking at a that model, though it is great for the exposure potential. 

Version 5 of Sagelight, as I mentioned, is going to be such a factor level over Sagelight 4, I am thinking about some ideas of making Sagelight 4 available in some creative fashion while Version 5 is being produced, but that would require some sort of co-op or donation/reward-based system, and I am not sure that's too feasible.

The main issue for me is that Sagelight 5 is really what I am seeing as 'the' definitive Sagelight statement as a product, so Version 4 definitely has some flexibility to stay cheaper if I can get the pricing model right.  Like I said, that's what I'd rather do, even if the traditional marketing sense is telling me differently.  But, one thing I have learned with my research as of late is that the way the market is being approached is changing rapidly! Maybe that's a good thing (if you can crack it anyway!)?

Do you guys at PlanetSide see any of this, too?

Rob
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« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2011, 03:03:30 AM »

Yow, so much to respond to! Frankly I'd really rather do it in email. Is anyone else really interested in this depth of discussion about SL? lol. If not, I'm going to go back to email for much of this.

I will respond to a few things here though.

First, I'm not really clear at this point what your goal with developing and publishing (selling) Sagelight is. Is it your sole living, and if so is maximizing profit, or at least maintaining a living wage, then a priority? Are you doing it for the originally stated reason, you wanted an image editor that did things you couldn't find any other apps doing? If so that drive remains surprisingly strong! How much of a priority is it to maintain "accessibility", both in pricing and in functionality?

Second, you seem to have some desires that are potentially conflicting, or at least challenging to reconcile (again speaking from experience). The casual user, the amateur, has rather different needs and *abilities*, not to mention time and patience, as compared to the serious hobbyist and professional. Adobe doesn't just make Elements because they need something at a lower price point, they also change the UI and workflow a fair amount (for example Photoshop Elements actually has cataloging functions like Lightroom) because the home user has different needs. Frankly as a semi-professional (or at least serious amateur, in that I don't make money from my photos), I would rather you not be spending time trying to make a UI that caters to both types of users. It's very difficult to satisfy both with one product!

Regarding pricing, I still think you're really selling your product short. If you price to compete with Corel, e.g. Paintshop X4 ($30), you'll be brought down to their level (no offense to Paintshop fans!). Paintshop is an ok product, some people here really like it, but it just doesn't take imaging as seriously as Sagelight. It reminds me of the difference between our product Terragen and our competitor E-On Software's Vue product line. Their software is used professionally as well, but its focus is really on *tons* of features and ease of use. Basically, as long as a feature is implemented and ticks a box on the feature list, it's "good", even if the actual implementation is not great, even if the image quality is not great, etc. Terragen has a lot less features than Vue, but each of them tends to be more solid, higher quality, etc.

Anyway I don't really see you ever truly making people understand that underlying image quality value that SL has with a low price and a split focus on the average home user market. Splitting your product line will help, but the price point may *still* be an issue. It's important that you look at the right apps for comparison. SL is already on par with the likes of Lightzone ($99.95, discontinued), Bibble Lite ($99.95), DxO Optics Pro Standard (149€), and more at a similar price point, and from the sound of it what you're adding for v5 will put it on par with most of DxO Optics Pro Elite (299€), Capture One ($399), Bibble Pro ($199), and the majority of Lightroom's functionality ($299). The main thing you're missing that pros would want and that most of those have is lens correction. Catalog/digital asset management capability is another, but many people already use an external DAM and Sagelight has facility for that. Note also that many of these products have a similar lite/full or home/pro version split, like Bibble, but their lite/"home" versions are generally $99!

Now again I have to say I love that you're not jumping straight to high pricing and I'm not in favor of raising the price just because you can. *Iif* you can make a living pricing your product lower than everyone else and get at the market you want, then I applaud you. I'm just not sure that will work. And the tools SL has seem, to me, to have the potential to capture a different market, and in many ways I think are also above the head of most people who would buy a $39 app. So you may almost be hurting yourself there, by providing features that are not only not needed but even confusing, and at a price point that devalues those same features and the app as a whole. I know you recognize at least some of these issues, but you may not agree with others (i.e. you could argue that providing access to advanced tools but not forcing them on users helps them learn them over time and graduate to more advanced capabilities in their own time). I know you are also struggling with what to put in your high and low end versions, along with pricing of both. These are issues we continue to struggle with at Planetside as well, so I can't claim to have resolved them either, but I do have relatively long-term experience with it at least, and it's from that experience that I'm speaking.

In the end you have to make your own choices and I hope they will be successful. If you have the time and ability to stick with it for the long-term and remain flexible, then you can try other strategies if the one you choose now does not work. That is the ideal way to approach it I think, if you have the luxury of doing so. Above all I hope SL will continue and succeed.

- Oshyan
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« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2011, 06:18:34 AM »

Yow, so much to respond to! Frankly I'd really rather do it in email. Is anyone else really interested in this depth of discussion about SL? lol. If not, I'm going to go back to email for much of this.

I will respond to a few things here though.

Sure.  We already have a conversation through e-mail, and that's fine.   But, if anyone else is interested, I'm happy to make it a thread, either here or wherever appropriate.

I just wanted to make sure I answered everyone and in enough detail to show that, while some mistakes have been made in the last year, that there was nothing cavalier about it, and that the progress overall has been positive; also, that the evolution of where Sagelight is going has been more defined and that has also given me pause about solely going the traditional higher-cost route for reasons described.

My feeling won't be hurt at all if the responses are light or non-existent.


First, I'm not really clear at this point what your goal with developing and publishing (selling) Sagelight is. Is it your sole living, and if so is maximizing profit, or at least maintaining a living wage, then a priority?

Yes, Sagelight right now is my sole living.  But, maximizing profit is not a priority.  Though I am a developer (and photographer) far before I am a salesman, I  really do believe that sticking to the vision will find the right placement for Sagelight, and the finances will take care of itself.  That is, with some care and, perhaps, some measure of calculated risk.  As I mentioned, I've been working on and researching how to work it all out for quite some time, and almost have something ready that fits the vision I started with and still have for Sagelight.


Are you doing it for the originally stated reason, you wanted an image editor that did things you couldn't find any other apps doing? If so that drive remains surprisingly strong!

Well, yes an no.  A lot of it is a personal level of wanting to move into new territory function-wise.  But, the original goal was to combine my two strengths, which is writing extremely fast, low-level code with my hobby as a photographer and image-processing.  I was a long-time Photoshop user (now I use it for graphic-art work), but I really felt that Photoshop was not quite what I wanted to see in an editor, so I modeled Sagelight after my own workflow. I also wanted to make an extremely fast interface so you could get real-time results without having to create N layers independently.  For me, that was the crux of it -- I knew I could write something where you could combine 10,20, 30 different layered controls in realtime if it was written from scratch in low-level code, which was something I spent my career doing.

My main goal was to create a new paradigm for image editing that made it workable at a visceral level, so you didn't need to understand image-processing concepts to use it, but the as you went, you could move into more high-end things, like the histogram Power Curves, Light Blender, and the more professional side of Sagelight.

Yep, still strong! smiley

How much of a priority is it to maintain "accessibility", both in pricing and in functionality?

Very.  Not at the expense of the program itself, but in the sense that I wouldn't make it a priority if I felt it wasn't feasible.  But, the last year has shown me that it is.  I've really worked on keeping the development in the middle, by alternately adding accessible functions and professional-level functions (which the accessible functions inherit, as well).   For example, the RAW functionality is ever-expanding, and the heavy-duty, graphic overflow analysis I added for version 4 has really helped in terms of making RAW both accessible and advanced.  I find it a good mix to work with.  Version 5  will expand even further with the RAW capability and the analysis Sagelight constantly does with your image.

Second, you seem to have some desires that are potentially conflicting, or at least challenging to reconcile (again speaking from experience). The casual user, the amateur, has rather different needs and *abilities*, not to mention time and patience, as compared to the serious hobbyist and professional. ... It's very difficult to satisfy both with one product!

That's true, in general.  I have thought about that, but I am seeing it work out fairly decently, where more professionals are buying Sagelight.  While I put in professional-level functions to do things I couldn't do in Adobe (for example, the Power Curves have a Chroma channel and multplier that makes the curves much more useful, etc.), I never aimed at that market specifically because I knew I couldn't aim at both.  My main focus, in terms of orientation is the 'digital photographer' who wants to enhance their pictures, anywhere from the beginner who wants to do more than crop and remove red-eye, to the advanced hobbyists and enthusiast.  I think more professionals are starting to realize that some software can do things not in Photoshop, whether it's Sagelight or other packages.  To attract high-end professionals, that would require aiming Sagelight only at that group, as Photoshop is king there, regardless as to what it does or doesn't do.


Regarding pricing, I still think you're really selling your product short. If you price to compete with Corel, e.g. Paintshop X4 ($30), you'll be brought down to their level (no offense to Paintshop fans!). Paintshop is an ok product, some people here really like it, but it just doesn't take imaging as seriously as Sagelight. It reminds me of the difference between our product Terragen and our competitor E-On Software's Vue product line. Their software is used professionally as well, but its focus is really on *tons* of features and ease of use. Basically, as long as a feature is implemented and ticks a box on the feature list, it's "good", even if the actual implementation is not great, even if the image quality is not great, etc. Terragen has a lot less features than Vue, but each of them tends to be more solid, higher quality, etc.

I believe that I am currently selling Sagelight very short, and that it is clearly devaluing it, as described in above posts in terms of the price being a factor that people look at.  As I mentioned, the whole price structure needs to change as I get this last version 4 release out.  I'm just currently looking at creative ways to keep Sagelight where it wants to be, hence the delay on raising the price, ending the sale, etc.

With tons of features vs. focused editors.  I agree.  I decided a while back to focus on many "product-level" (i.e. Bokeh, Light Blender, Tone Blender, HDR, upcoming noise-reduction, etc.) features in order to expose people to as much as possible.  For instance, when I added the Bokeh and Lens Blur, I initially started on a few-day long project to replace the "vignette blur", but a little into it, I decided, "you know, really gotta have the full-on Lens Blur & Bokeh..." 2 1/2 months later, I had something really great, not to mention a lot of underlying code that I can use in the upcoming HDR and NL-Means noise reduction.

Sagelight pays a high price for doing this, as the Bokeh really is comparable to a lot of standalone packages out there ranging from $100-$200, but I just have much more interest in exposing things like this to everyone than I do making it a separate package that a lot of people who currently enjoy the Bokeh in version 4.2 wouldn't ever buy or experience.  I do need to find ways for them to stand out, though... The LightBlender is a good example.  It's probably the most powerful tool in Sagelight, but gets a little obscured where its placed.  But, I am working on those issues.

 
Anyway I don't really see you ever truly making people understand that underlying image quality value that SL has with a low price and a split focus on the average home user market.

I completely agree.  That's why the creative strategies I am thinking about... 'Guerrilla Marketing' as it were -- that is, something out of the norm, because it is unworkable there.  But, as I mentioned, the market has changed so much, and is still changing at such a rapid pace, I think there is a place to be found.

Splitting your product line will help, but the price point may *still* be an issue. It's important that you look at the right apps for comparison. SL is already on par with the likes of Lightzone ($99.95, discontinued), Bibble Lite ($99.95), DxO Optics Pro Standard (149€), and more at a similar price point, and from the sound of it what you're adding for v5 will put it on par with most of DxO Optics Pro Elite (299€), Capture One ($399), Bibble Pro ($199), and the majority of Lightroom's functionality ($299). The main thing you're missing that pros would want and that most of those have is lens correction. Catalog/digital asset management capability is another, but many people already use an external DAM and Sagelight has facility for that. Note also that many of these products have a similar lite/full or home/pro version split, like Bibble, but their lite/"home" versions are generally $99!

There is what Version 5 is all about: bringing Sagelight into line with what it needs to completely well-round it, and getting rid of all of the current omissions, such as Lens correction, as well as other things.  That's always been part of the plan, and why I did so many of the other functions, so when version 5 is complete, it will have all of the traditional things the pros want and a whole lot more. 


Now again I have to say I love that you're not jumping straight to high pricing and I'm not in favor of raising the price just because you can. *Iif* you can make a living pricing your product lower than everyone else and get at the market you want, then I applaud you. I'm just not sure that will work. And the tools SL has seem, to me, to have the potential to capture a different market, and in many ways I think are also above the head of most people who would buy a $39 app. So you may almost be hurting yourself there, by providing features that are not only not needed but even confusing, and at a price point that devalues those same features and the app as a whole. I know you recognize at least some of these issues, but you may not agree with others (i.e. you could argue that providing access to advanced tools but not forcing them on users helps them learn them over time and graduate to more advanced capabilities in their own time).

I agree with the assessments, for sure.  I think my statement about it is that I think they can be overcome with some new strategies.  I at least want to give it a try.  I've been looking at the market, and I think that there are a few things coming together.  One is that more and more people are getting into digital cameras in terms of taking nice pictures and wanting to do more with them -- beginners, hobbyists, but have no exposure to Photoshop (i.e. traditional/old-school methodologies) but still want to do professional-level things, but more easily.  Also, Adobe's new pricing scheme seems to recognize that, because they are clearly making a stand with who they want to see as customers.  Lightroom has been $99 all week (or something like that), and I suspect that there is something coming in terms of this large, burgeoning market.   So, it's not in a vacuum -- there's definitely a passion to it on my part, but it definitely seems to align with how the market is changing.


I know you are also struggling with what to put in your high and low end versions, along with pricing of both. These are issues we continue to struggle with at Planetside as well, so I can't claim to have resolved them either, but I do have relatively long-term experience with it at least, and it's from that experience that I'm speaking.

Yeh, it's a tough issue to crack, isn't it?  One plan looks good here, but dilutes the other, and vice-versa! ha...  There's always some catch with this plan or that, and finding the middle ground is definitely difficult, at best.


In the end you have to make your own choices and I hope they will be successful. If you have the time and ability to stick with it for the long-term and remain flexible, then you can try other strategies if the one you choose now does not work. That is the ideal way to approach it I think, if you have the luxury of doing so. Above all I hope SL will continue and succeed.

Well, I do have a particular plan in mind.  They say "go with your passion", and the plan I am thinking of is definitely that, though perhaps risky.  But, they also say "build it and they will come". Well, we both know there is more to it than that! smiley

Thanks again,

Rob
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« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2011, 04:58:24 PM »

Thanks for the continued responses Rob. I'm very curious to see your take on all of this, pricing certainly, but perhaps more interestingly the balance between ease and power, amateur vs. pro functions. Definitely looking forward to seeing some of your ideas tested in the market. Maybe I'll learn something new! smiley

- Oshyan
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