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Author Topic: Hitting the Perfect Skin Tone?  (Read 57377 times)
bcooter
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« Reply #80 on: December 12, 2008, 10:43:02 AM »
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Quote from: CaptainHook
reading the RGB numbers. With which you agree. As do i.

I really don't care about numbers except 255 at least when I'm doing the initial web gallery processing.

I just finished processing 19,500 files shot with daylight, mixed light, strobe,  hmi and various ambient lights, even mercury vapours with the 1ds3 50%, d700 35%, Lecia M8 10%, p30+ 5% and after testing and trying all the convertors from dpp, Nik, RD, Lightroom 2 and c1. 4.5 processed all the initial files to jpegs for web galleries using c1 4.5.2

Overall I have mixed feelings about 4.5.  First it processes skin tone and the Canon Nikon files very well, once you change the default sharpness and noise reudction sliders (which are way, way off in default) and it processes very nice, very fast.  Even under some very complex mix lighting, it holds up well.  For the few high rez files I've processed for retouching at 300% it makes incredible files with a lot of depth and a great start for the retouchers to go to work.

The usability is somewhat cumbersome.   It was stable though not rock stable like 3.7, as it seems to get sluggish after about a 1/2 day of work (remember these are huge sessions of 2,000 to 3,000 files each session) and the interface is somewhat overcomplicated compared to lightroom.  Why there is no large Sync or Rest button on 4.5 is beyTond me.  I assume Phase wants you to work with quick keys, but under deadline and working very late simplicity matters.

Also there is some other bugs like reading the default and shot to wb of the various cameras.  Sometimes it reads what was shot, sometimes it doesn't and sometimes it requires a manual setting to revert back to neutral.  As I've mentioned before the noise sliders are way too sensitive and on the Canon files especially, take sharpness down to almost nothing, because it looks liek 4.5 already has a lot of built in sharpening.

Processing to jpegs on 4.5 is ultra fast on an 8 core macpro, something like 1 second a file, if that for very high rez it's just a few seconds a file.

What 4.5 is really missing is single channel corrections, even made up colors like lightroom orange correction or the ability to change the rgb channels like Raw developer.  Actually it needs both.

For almost every session I used the color editor and it works like semi works but ranges from global across most of the image, or if you move the smoothness sensitivity down it has little effect.  Once again, I can't urge Phase enough to offer single or multiple color corrections that require less effort.  The variations menu, kind of like Alien Skin or some of the other plug ins somewhat works, but really has no useful effect that I could tell.  

Actually the process and preview of the variations works well, it's just the presets are kind of basic like color pop, or blue tone, but if someone wrote some real film looking profiles they would have a lot more use.

The skin tone thing honey warm or whatever they are called never worked with any of my files, except for one session of 10 files out of 19,000.  

This project had a lot of files and a lot of different light sources with 4 different cameras (really most just the Nikon and Canon) but when you work 19,000 files you learn a lot.  4.5 does produce a very nice image but once again, you have to go all over the place to really fine tune it.  Color editor, white balance, tint movement, expsoure, contrast all need adjustment and sometimes a lot of adjustment for every shoot session and you can never apply a setting from a Canon file to a Nikon file of vice-versa.  

I also learned how different all of these cameras see a subject.  You can tune them to match, but out of the box, the Canon to Nikon, to Leica to Phase are as different as night a day.  You can almost be positive that if a file looks beautiful out of the can on a Nikon it will start out awful on the Canon and once again vice versa.  

It also illustrates how these different cameras focus.  I finally learned in shooting this project if the subject is completely stationary (and you have a truck load of light) use the Phase, if it's slightly moving use the  Canon, if the subject is really moving, or even more than slightly moving use the Nikon (if the shot is just for me I used the Leica).

The Nikon focus is a trillion times more accurate than the Canons 1ds3's.  Regardless of servo or one shot, manual or auto, the Nikons focus if off the scale accurate the Canons are almost a bracket focus type of shoot, especially if your close to wide open.

Also I learned that when it comes to focus megapixels just don't matter.  All things equal locked down with a lot of light obvously the Phase will have more depth and detail than the Canons (though not that jaw dropping difference, but a difference), but going from 31mpx, to 21, to 12 to 10 (on the leica) a 12mpx nikon file in tight focus makes a 21mpx slightly soft canon file look challanged.

Same with low light and high iso noise.  The Canons up to about 400 are quite good, but anything past that the Nikon looks more detailed in real world viewing.  Shoot at Canon at 800 iso the Nikon at 1000 iso and the Nikon file and process them out to the same size and of the same subject the Nikon will look more detailed.  

4.5 is good software, makes great skin tones, uprezzes well, but in the end of working this many files, it really needs some simple rethink of the interface and please Phase put in some single channel color corrections and a very large syn reset button that actually resets back to zero.

Also in close pixel peeping detail, the 4.5 does have a quote-un quote film look.  In my late night haze I compared some Canon files to some scanned film I had on a drive and when adjusted, the noise sliders the files grain structure in 4.5 looks like film much more so than lightroom which either is very smooth or rough.  I had one difficult but beautiful session we shot in almost total darkness and I never could get lightroom to work it without huge nosie issues or huge smoothing issues and 4.5 did it much better, though still took a lot of adjustments.

What I would really like to see is the interface of lightroom (and the stability) and the processing speed and skin tone color of 4.5 in one software.

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bjanes
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« Reply #81 on: December 12, 2008, 10:55:24 AM »
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Quote from: digitaldog
The CMYK by the numbers "technique" is pretty bogus (its based on some undefined press condition which has nothing to do with what you're editing).

RGB is not as difficult but again, what working space? Its really easy in Lightroom using the percentages. Again, YMMV (as you point out, everyone has differing skin). But I've found that by comparing well known, quality files of various ethnic groups, that is, files I know output well, that if R is about 8-10% higher than G, and G again about 8-10% higher than B, you get a good ratio (ie 80%/70%/60%). But you still need to use your eyes and brain, a calibrated display and spice to taste.

The variation idea would be great, I've been asking Adobe to beef this up for years. I also recommend that if you create a gallery of good, well known files of skin tone that's output as you desire, you can use that as a visual guide. Again, in LR that's easy, make a collection.

I wish Adobe would produce an info palette that would toggle to the 0-255 scale to percentages as we have in Lightroom. Then there would be more parity between the two products and in cases like this, working with RGB percentages is useful. Again, the working space is a factor as the percentages in LR are based on Melissa RGB.

The by the numbers method suggested by the DigitalDog does work, but I think a couple of refinements are in order. First of all, it does not distinguish between absolute and relative percentages. On an absolute basis, 80%, 70% and 60% vary by 10% as you go from blue to red, but if you change the luminance, you want constant proportions. Lightroom uses pixel values normalized to 1.0 expressed as a percentage. For example, a pixel value of 204 would be read out as 204/255 * 100 = 80%. If you have a skin tone image with RGB values of 80, 70, and 60% respectively and you are pleased with the color balance, but want to reduce the luminance so that the blue value is 55%, the proportionally reduced red and green values would be 73.3% and 64.2% respectively, not 75% and 65%. These calculations are shown in the Constant Proportions table shown below. These differences are not significant, but if the luminance were decreased further (perhaps for a darker complexion), the differences would be exaggerated.

Furthermore, the gamma of the color space needs to be taken into account. For example, if the pixel values are 80, 70 and 60% as in a 2.2 gamma space such as aRGB, the corresponding values in a 1.8 gamma space such as ProPhotoRGB would be 61, 46, and 32% respectively as shown in the table with the calculated heading. These values were computed with Bruce Lindbloom's companding calculator. You would probably want to take this difference into account.

I looked at a photo in my files with acceptable skin tones. Using ACR the aRGB values were 211, 173, and 159, corresponding to 83, 68, and 62% respectively, roughly in agreement with the formula. The values in ProPhotoRGB are 75%, 65%, and 57% respectively. Since the tone curve used by ACR is not a pure gamma curve, the observed values do not agree with the values that would be predicted from Bruce's calculator, which is a pure gamma curve.

[attachment=10265:dog4.gif]
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digitaldog
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« Reply #82 on: December 12, 2008, 11:08:19 AM »
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Quote from: bjanes
The by the numbers method suggested by the DigitalDog does work, but I think a couple of refinements are in order. First of all, it does not distinguish between absolute and relative percentages. On an absolute basis, 80%, 70% and 60% vary by 10% as you go from blue to red, but if you change the luminance, you want constant proportions.

True. That's another reason to work in an order based on the toolset. I'd probably set luminance first, then tweak skintones using the selective controls further down in the toolset provided.

Quote
Lightroom uses pixel values normalized to 1.0 expressed as a percentage.

I'm not so sure but open to know how you came about this. The percentages in LR are using a 2.2 TRC.

Quote
Furthermore, the gamma of the color space needs to be taken into account. For example, if the pixel values are 80, 70 and 60% as in a 2.2 gamma space such as aRGB, the corresponding values in a 1.8 gamma space such as ProPhotoRGB would be 61, 46, and 32% respectively as shown in the table with the calculated heading. These values were computed with Bruce Lindbloom's companding calculator. You would probably want to take this difference into account.

I looked at a photo in my files with acceptable skin tones. Using ACR the aRGB values were 211, 173, and 159, corresponding to 83, 68, and 62% respectively, roughly in agreement with the formula. The values in ProPhotoRGB are 75%, 65%, and 57% respectively. Since the tone curve used by ACR is not a pure gamma curve, the observed values do not agree with the values that would be predicted from Bruce's calculator, which is a pure gamma curve.

This would be an issue in ACR since you have differing working space scales based on what you select in the workflow options. So in this case, advantage LR in terms of ease of use and consistent numbers. Of course, the final set of values in a working space you select will differ. So again, its pretty complicated in figuring out how Adobe can make all the various options play nicely together without making a color settings/preference dialog as large and complicated as we have in Photoshop. That's certainly something Adobe wants to avoid and I'd agree with that.

How we can use the various scales, encoding spaces and provide parity between LR, ACR and Photoshop isn't an easy solution but one that would sure be nice to have.
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Andrew Rodney
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Morgan_Moore
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« Reply #83 on: December 12, 2008, 12:42:54 PM »
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Quote from: bcooter
I really don't care about numbers except 255 at least when I'm doing the initial web gallery processing.

I just finished processing 19,500 files shot with daylight, mixed light, strobe,  hmi and various ambient lights,....

Bcooter - Thanks for the nice insight - makes me a little happier with my D3 and H1 combo used for natural light /movement and strobe/stationary - shows the grass probably isnt much greener on the C side of the wall

It is so true that 10mp of sharp is so much better than 50mp of blur , misfocus and noise frankly I think 22mp is about all that there is any value to unless shooting conditions are very tightly controlled - tripod - strobe - tethered focus check

Back to the topic..

You say that you shot under many colour conditions/light sources - do you give any credance to my theory that certain light sources -evening sun - HMI - just give better skin than say shade under a tree, unfiltered studio strobe or natural light in an mauve appartment because of the frequncy characteristics of the illumination- ie whatever tricks are done in post you cant beat a good capture from the right light source ??

and if this is the case can anyone recomend some warming filtration gels for - QFlashes - Elinchrom..

These pictures are just grabbed off my library - not heavily worked..

S
« Last Edit: December 12, 2008, 01:00:29 PM by Morgan_Moore » Logged

Sam Morgan Moore Cornwall
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« Reply #84 on: December 12, 2008, 02:20:06 PM »
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Hilarious.
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Morgan_Moore
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« Reply #85 on: December 12, 2008, 04:42:48 PM »
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Quote from: CaptainHook
Hilarious.

How so ?

 nameless faceless exampleless number spouter
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Sam Morgan Moore Cornwall
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CaptainHook
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« Reply #86 on: December 12, 2008, 04:48:39 PM »
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Quote from: Morgan_Moore
How so ?

 nameless faceless exampleless number spouter

Not directed at you (or anyone personally) but thanks.
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bjanes
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« Reply #87 on: December 13, 2008, 09:02:36 AM »
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Quote from: bjanes
Lightroom uses pixel values normalized to 1.0 expressed as a percentage. For example, a pixel value of 204 would be read out as 204/255 * 100 = 80%.

Quote from: digitaldog
I'm not so sure but open to know how you came about this. The percentages in LR are using a 2.2 TRC.

How we can use the various scales, encoding spaces and provide parity between LR, ACR and Photoshop isn't an easy solution but one that would sure be nice to have.

That is a standard way of expressing pixel values. Lightroom reportedly uses the Melissa color space, which has the chromaticities of ProPhotoRGB but uses a gamma of 2.2

To test this hypothesis, I downloaded Bruce Lindbloom's virtual MacBeth color checker in L*a*b and checked the readings of the blue, green and red patches in Photoshop (after converting to ProPhotoRGB) and in Lightroom. The results are shown in the table below. The ProPhoto results are shown in 8 bit pixel values and as a percent. The ProPhoto percentages do not match the Lightroom percentages, since the ProPhoto is gamma 1.8 and the Lightroom is gamma 2.2. The column on the right of the Lightroom display is the Lightroom pixel value converted from a gamma of 2.2 to 1.8 using Bruce Lindbloom's companding calculator. When converted, they match the ProPhoto values reasonably well.

[attachment=10277:dog5.gif]

Personally, I think that the Melissa color space used in Lightroom is a bad idea, since that space is seldom used for practical work. It would be a simple programming task to provide a percent readout in Photoshop and ACR. PS already has a percentage readout for 32 bit floating point, but I think it is for a gamma of 1.0. Meanwhile, one can have an Excel spread sheet open to perform the conversion from 8 bit to percent notation.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #88 on: December 13, 2008, 10:17:27 AM »
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Quote from: bjanes
Personally, I think that the Melissa color space used in Lightroom is a bad idea, since that space is seldom used for practical work. It would be a simple programming task to provide a percent readout in Photoshop and ACR. PS already has a percentage readout for 32 bit floating point, but I think it is for a gamma of 1.0. Meanwhile, one can have an Excel spread sheet open to perform the conversion from 8 bit to percent notation.

I don't disagree at all (but heck, no one asked us).

Its not seldom used, its really never used other than to provide the values here. Its not used for processing, its not used for encoding. So why show it?
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Andrew Rodney
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bjanes
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« Reply #89 on: December 13, 2008, 02:45:53 PM »
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Quote from: digitaldog
I don't disagree at all (but heck, no one asked us).

Its not seldom used, its really never used other than to provide the values here. Its not used for processing, its not used for encoding. So why show it?

They certainly haven't asked my opinion, but I would think that your opinion might carry some weight since you have written a book on color management and many articles on the subject, including a major paper about working spaces on the Adobe web site. But perhaps, the Lightroom team wouldn't listen to you either; after all, way back when Lightroom 1.0 was coming out this matter was discussed in Podcast #8 by Bruce Fraser and Thomas Knoll and others. Bruce said that they should do the right thing and use ProPhotoRGB and Thomas suggested that the user be given a choice as with ACR. Their advice was not taken or only partially taken as in the case of ProPhotoRGB--for some reason they wanted to use a the tone curve of sRGB, which uses a gamma of 2.5 for higher values and a linear ramp for low values.

Like ProPhotoRGB, I would presume that Melissa has a reference white of D50 whereas sRGB has a reference white of D65. IMHO, the Lightroom pixel readout is totally messed up. Most people edit visually with a calibrated monitor so it may not make much difference, but by the numbers editing in LR is more difficult than it could have been. Since I use ACR most of the time, the LR readout doesn't affect me that much, but it is nice to know what is going on. Perhaps you, Michael and Jeff Schewe should let the Lightroom team know what your opinions are.
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« Reply #90 on: December 13, 2008, 03:08:40 PM »
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I tried a few times iCorrect Portrait from Pictocolor (http://www.pictocolor.com/portrait.htm), I was quite surprised how well it does. It's almost magic. Anyone else used this?
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digitaldog
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« Reply #91 on: December 13, 2008, 03:55:29 PM »
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Quote from: bjanes
Like ProPhotoRGB, I would presume that Melissa has a reference white of D50 whereas sRGB has a reference white of D65.

Yes, that's my understanding. Other then the TRC, it's ProPhoto RGB.
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Andrew Rodney
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Snook
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« Reply #92 on: December 29, 2008, 09:26:35 AM »
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Quote from: digitaldog
Yes, that's my understanding. Other then the TRC, it's ProPhoto RGB.

Hey Andrew just saw this icon and noticed it was yours..
looks like your book is being pirated around the net...
Just thought you ought to know...:+} Even though I do not agree with you..

http://www.avaxhome.ws/ebooks/Photo_relate...tographers.html

Snook
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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #93 on: December 29, 2008, 10:35:31 AM »
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Quote from: bcooter
4.5 is good software, makes great skin tones, uprezzes well, but in the end of working this many files, it really needs some simple rethink of the interface and please Phase put in some single channel color corrections and a very large syn reset button that actually resets back to zero.

What am I missing?  There is a "reset" button which resets all adjustments to zero (and the white balance to "as shot") and a keyboard shortcut for it which is easy to remember (apple-R) which can be changed (using "edit keyboard shortcuts").

I agree that RGB single-channel level correction would be nice to have and I imagine they'll be added at some point. But modifying the "orange" or whatever specific color can be accomplished by the Color Editor (which is much faster/responsive in my copy of 4.6 beta) using the "slice" option.

Doug Peterson,  Head of Technical Services
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bcooter
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« Reply #94 on: December 29, 2008, 11:08:46 AM »
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Quote from: dougpetersonci
What am I missing?  There is a "reset" button which resets all adjustments to zero (and the white balance to "as shot") and a keyboard shortcut for it which is easy to remember (apple-R) which can be changed (using "edit keyboard shortcuts").

I agree that RGB single-channel level correction would be nice to have and I imagine they'll be added at some point. But modifying the "orange" or whatever specific color can be accomplished by the Color Editor (which is much faster/responsive in my copy of 4.6 beta) using the "slice" option.

Doug Peterson,  Head of Technical Services
Capture Integration, Phase One & Canon Dealer  |  Personal Portfolio


Your not missing anything other than every function on 4.5 takes a learning curve.  It's good software, processes pretty, but it still takes time to learn and little icons that represent functions make no sense.

It's not like lightrooms interface was a secret, it's out there and a lot easier to use.  It almost seems like Phase made it different just to make it different.

I'm not anybody's fan boy but Lightroom is 20 times easier to learn and from beta to v2 I've never had the lightroom settings disappear like I've just had happen to 15,000 files in C-1 4.5.2.

But in regards to single channel corrections, until you've worked a lot of mixed light files in mass you won't understand why this is so important.  

As far as 4.6 beta whatever where do you get it?  how do you get it?   why isn't it out?  

As far as the color editor, well it works, but it's not that repsonsive and quite honestly takes a lot of fiddling to get it right.  Way too complicated just to take some yellow out of a face.


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« Reply #95 on: December 29, 2008, 11:56:28 AM »
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Quote from: bcooter
As far as 4.6 beta whatever where do you get it?  how do you get it?   why isn't it out?  

As far as the color editor, well it works, but it's not that responsive and quite honestly takes a lot of fiddling to get it right.  Way too complicated just to take some yellow out of a face.

4.6 Beta is not public due to a few surprise it has up its sleeve. You'll see a public release soon. Because it's not a public beta I can't comment further.

But I can say Color Editor is more responsive in 4.6 Beta which makes "fiddling" a lot more doable and a lot less annoying/cumbersome.

As for the interface 90% of what makes an interface "user friendly" or "intuitive" or "easy to learn" is the user's previous experience. Lightroom benefits from continuing many paradigms/icons and other interface choices of previous Adobe products. I'm quite sure that if you took our screen sharing master's class that you would come away understanding not only how to accomplish your goals in Capture One but WHY the interface is the way it is. It's not perfect and there are many things that leave you scratching your head even after you've mastered the program, but it only takes a few hours with someone who has spoken with the designers and trained countless photographers on Capture One to level the playing field that is inherently skewed towards Adobe because of its suite of products with a history icons/paradigms.

Keep in mind many of those icons/paradigms are copyrighted and also keep in mind that Adobe often leaves potential functionality on the sideline because they are unwilling to break with a past paradigm; sometimes you have to leave an existing (and therefore "intuitive") paradigm to add additional functionality. The copy/paste adjustments in Aperture, Lightroom, ACR, C1 3.7.X and 4.X are a great example. I will take Capture One's method of copy/paste/style over any of the other's any day, but because it is a very different way then was done in the past it feels less "intuitive" until you you've used it and really get to understand why it is set up like it is.

I used to be a GUI programmer and I can tell you one man's "intuitive" makes no sense to someone else, especially if you learn it piecemeal rather than properly.

Doug Peterson,  Head of Technical Services
Capture Integration, Phase One & Canon Dealer  |  Personal Portfolio
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bcooter
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« Reply #96 on: December 29, 2008, 01:20:16 PM »
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Quote from: dougpetersonci
4.6 Beta is not public due to a few surprise it has up its sleeve. You'll see a public release soon. Because it's not a public beta I can't comment further.

But I can say Color Editor is more responsive in 4.6 Beta which makes "fiddling" a lot more doable and a lot less annoying/cumbersome.

As for the interface 90% of what makes an interface "user friendly" or "intuitive" or "easy to learn" is the user's previous experience. Lightroom benefits from continuing many paradigms/icons and other interface choices of previous Adobe products. I'm quite sure that if you took our screen sharing master's class that you would come away understanding not only how to accomplish your goals in Capture One but WHY the interface is the way it is. It's not perfect and there are many things that leave you scratching your head even after you've mastered the program, but it only takes a few hours with someone who has spoken with the designers and trained countless photographers on Capture One to level the playing field that is inherently skewed towards Adobe because of its suite of products with a history icons/paradigms.

Keep in mind many of those icons/paradigms are copyrighted and also keep in mind that Adobe often leaves potential functionality on the sideline because they are unwilling to break with a past paradigm; sometimes you have to leave an existing (and therefore "intuitive") paradigm to add additional functionality. The copy/paste adjustments in Aperture, Lightroom, ACR, C1 3.7.X and 4.X are a great example. I will take Capture One's method of copy/paste/style over any of the other's any day, but because it is a very different way then was done in the past it feels less "intuitive" until you you've used it and really get to understand why it is set up like it is.

I used to be a GUI programmer and I can tell you one man's "intuitive" makes no sense to someone else, especially if you learn it piecemeal rather than properly.

Doug Peterson,  Head of Technical Services
Capture Integration, Phase One & Canon Dealer  |  Personal Portfolio



Your probably right doug, sometimes I forget my place in the world of digital capture.  

I'm just the customer that processed 15,000 files and now all the settings won't link, but I guess I just didn't take my classes, swallow my medicine and learn it "properly".

As far as this public beta 4.6 stuff, this isn't NSA secrets.  You and I both know that 4.6 is probably sitting on about 400 computers right now just working away.  Two phone calls, playing nice and promising only to say gee thanks this is the greatest software ever, will probably get any phase one user a copy of 4.6.

In fact I'll bet a few of Phase's competitors already have a copy.

All semi kidding aside, I'm sure your classes provide a good service but I think given the early release issues of 4.5 and 4.5.2 phase would have been wise to keep this is beta, public or private a while longer.


bcooter
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« Last Edit: December 29, 2008, 01:22:59 PM by bcooter » Logged
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