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Author Topic: Photoshop Alternatives  (Read 10734 times)
Justinr
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« on: January 22, 2011, 04:49:28 AM »
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Are there any, or even the prospect of one coming along?

Photoshop is expensive mainly I feel because there is so little in the way of competition, a decent image processing piece of software is something that Microsoft is lacking and I can't help but wonder why they haven't tried to plug the gap.

If for some strange reason all the PS programs now running irretrievably crashed tomorrow where would you turn?
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Farmer
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« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2011, 05:13:09 AM »
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I don't really agree with the price argument.

There's academic pricing if you're a student.  There's Elements and there's Lightroom to suit other budgets, particularly if you don't need the full variety of PS functionality (and many photographers don't).

Full Photoshop is an incredibly diverse and powerful piece of software, but for a professional it's a small investment compared to a lens or camera body or even creating/hosting a web site.

If you're not a professional, then the price is the pain you feel for stepping up to a professional piece of software.  Alternatives include the abovementioned, plus software such as that which comes from the camera manufacturer, numerous alternative raw processors (free and commerical) and a number of other editing programs of various levels of functionality.

To a large degree, you get what you pay for.

I know that's not strictly what you asked, but it bugs me when people complain about the price of PS against what is often $10k or more in photographic and related equipment (even as amateurs).  And if you camera equipment collection is sub $1,000- then you should consider that starting with Elements or Lightroom or if appropriate an academic version might be more suitable.  You don't need to have hugely expensive cameras to capture wonderful images, but it's not reasonable to expect Adobe to price for the general consumer when the software is not intended for that market.
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Dan Berg
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« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2011, 05:52:34 AM »
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To add to Phil's excellent response. Lightroom at half the cost of Ps5 may be all you need. I have both and I am in Lightroom 50 hours to maybe 1 in Photoshop.
For me its all in the effort versus benefit ratio. For hundreds and hudreds of landscape images I process, Lightroom gives ME all I need out of them. Could I get more out of them by going to Photoshop,maybe.
Your photography may require a different level of processing requiring Photoshop.
The bottom line is that digital images straight out of the camera need some form of processing. If I were making my living off of these images I would want the best product on the market to help with this process. Right now Adobe has two of the very best in Ps5 and Lightroom at very good price points.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2011, 06:13:58 AM by Dan Berg » Logged

feppe
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« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2011, 06:02:40 AM »
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GIMP is quite affordable: it's free (as in beer). It does pretty much everything PS does when it comes to photo editing, and much more with plugins. They often have features way before PS does, such as content-aware fill.

It has picked up color management which was one my main complaints the last time I tested it a few years ago. The reason I'm still not using it is that it doesn't do 16-bit editing - it's supposed to come with 3.0 (it's at 2.8 now), hopefully later this year. I'll take a close look at GIMP's viability then. Also, the UI is quite different from PS and I'm not a fan of it at all; this can be "fixed" with plugins, though.

You don't need to have hugely expensive cameras to capture wonderful images, but it's not reasonable to expect Adobe to price for the general consumer when the software is not intended for that market.

That's actually exactly what they do. PS Elements is Photoshop stripped down. Since it is widely frowned upon to ask different prices from customers depending on their ability and willingness to spend*, the next best things is to strip down features and make different products. Since Photoshop is software, CS5 and Elements have essentially identical cost-price - but they ask for wildly differing prices to capture the higher prices of CS5 professionals and serious amateurs are willing to pay, while at the same time they are able to sell the lower-tier Elements at lower prices (margins) to capture that end of the market. It's called price discrimination.

* academic (and children and pensioner) discounts are a peculiar exception to the rule but let's not derail the discussion further
« Last Edit: January 22, 2011, 06:09:11 AM by feppe » Logged

Justinr
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« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2011, 06:04:36 AM »
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All very well and good and quite the proper answer of course but it doesn't help those who do actually turn a penny or two without vast investment in equipment.

At present I have CS and it does everything I want at present in the way of preparing my prints for sale or images for the web but it does have limitations in certain areas that maybe the latest full version might address. Naturally I will never use more than 5% of its capability but that doesn't mean to say that the 5% I need is found in Elements or Lightroom, indeed I get the impression (from visiting the Adobe site) that these two items are designed for those who just want pretty pictures rather than work towards a particular style or look and that is what I want from the software.

I'm sure that we would all like to work at the level where the latest full on edition of PS is just an incidental expense but as I look around and see high street studios shutting up shop, once quite selective wedding photographers offering all sorts of 'deals' to attract custom and hear from colleagues just how thin on the ground work is at present I do begin to wonder if Adobe is chasing a declining market in its apparent pursuit of elitism.

« Last Edit: January 22, 2011, 06:06:54 AM by Justinr » Logged

jbrembat
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« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2011, 06:33:05 AM »
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Try PhotoResampling.

http://www.photoresampling.com/index_eng.php

Jacopo
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2011, 07:06:04 AM »
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For the Adobe averse; How about ?
Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3
Serif photoplus x4
Picture Window Pro 4
Lightzone
iPhoto
Aperture
GIMP

All reasonably competent image editors.
Plus there are many more smaller less well specified or specialist programs like Qimage, Irfanview and for working with RAW files DXO Optics, Capture One, Bibble, and the manufacturer's own software often can be usable too.

There's plenty of cheap competition for Photoshop, but nothing seems to dent it's popularity.
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2011, 07:35:55 AM »
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GIMP is quite affordable: it's free ....It has picked up color management which was one my main complaints the last time I tested it a few years ago.
Shame it doesn't work as you'd expect it to.
Try opening a file that's untagged with a colourspace.....
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Justinr
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« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2011, 07:53:32 AM »
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The trouble with Gimp and Irfanview is that I find them a bit like running through mud, you get there (or somewhere close) but it's one hell of a journey.

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For the Adobe averse; How about ?
Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3
Serif photoplus x4
Picture Window Pro 4
Lightzone
iPhoto
Aperture
GIMP

I've started working through the list (many thanks for the suggestions) and Serif's offering seems to tick the required boxes but I guess I'll never know until I try it. The thing is that I am happy with my edition of PS but I am often asked what I'd recommend that's affordable to non specialists instead, especially by those who are looking to prepare their images for the web.
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2011, 08:29:54 AM »
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The trouble with Gimp and Irfanview is that I find them a bit like running through mud, you get there (or somewhere close) but it's one hell of a journey.
This part of reason people stay with PS, not only the difficulty of learning a new program, but also there are a huge range of tutorials, help pages and peer support for PS, much of it of really high quality.
Unfortunately the cheap end of the market tends to be owned by less expert users and the quality of help and peer support is often far poorer as a result.
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I am often asked what I'd recommend that's affordable to non specialists instead, especially by those who are looking to prepare their images for the web.
I forgot to mention Picassa, free, simple and liked by a lot of more casual users.
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Farmer
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« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2011, 02:27:12 PM »
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If PS isn't an incidental expense, then it's hard to accept that you're someone making a living from photography.  I know that it has different pricing in different markets, but we're talking what up to $1,000- maybe?

It seems to me that you've visited the Adobe site but not taken advantage of free 30-day trials of the software.  Give Elements and Lightroom a go.  You want a "particular style and look" - I'd be pretty sure you could achieve it with either program, but if you really *need* CS5, then you're not going to have much luck with anything else - there's nothing that does exactly what PS CS5 does, except for PS CS5, and that's at a very reasonable price point for what it is.
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Schewe
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« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2011, 03:01:05 PM »
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Photoshop is expensive mainly I feel because there is so little in the way of competition, a decent image processing piece of software is something that Microsoft is lacking and I can't help but wonder why they haven't tried to plug the gap.

Oh, there's competition...it's just that over the long haul, there's really nothing anywhere as good, flexible and powerful. MSFT tried to compete with Photoshop...a product called Digital Image Suite. It didn't do very well and MSFT killed it because, well it wasn't anywhere nearly good enough to compete.

See, while there have been and still are competitors, they just aren't as good as Photoshop. You really can't blame Adobe for that. The US$199 upgrade cost every 18 months works out to be about US$11.05 per month. If you are any kind of pro and can't afford that, ya gotta wonder why? It's a rather small cost of doing business considering how much you can make while using it.

It really sounds more like you are very anti-Adobe or anti-Photoshop. Any particular reason?

The Photoshop engineers are constantly striving to improve the app and very responsive to all the various markets Photoshop serves-of which photographers is rather small (but have historically had enormous input). Adobe COULD behave a lot more anti-competitive than they are...they've really never engaged in that behavior, they just keep making Photoshop better and better. Considering Photoshop's position in the marketplace, I think Adobe bends over backwards for their customers–except for customer service of late (which sucks).
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tom b
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« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2011, 03:25:02 PM »
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I got the Adobe Master Suite for $100 under a deal with the NSW DET. Adobe is going out of it's way to engage with students in NSW.

After working with Microsoft products for the past 14 years I have found them to be clueless with regards to standard graphics industry practices. Anyone professional who has used Illustrator/Freehand and Photoshop to create illustrations and then used Microsoft products will have the same reaction that I have and that is their products are just nasty when you think of quality graphics.

Twenty years of Photoshop and you still can't import a .psd image into a Microsoft product. Sorry not good enough.

Cheers,
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Justinr
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« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2011, 06:19:30 PM »
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Farmer.

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it's hard to accept that you're someone making a living from photography.

It's hard to accept that you have read my posts because that is something that I haven't claimed. Try again.  Wink Yes I went on to the site and no I didn't download a free trials version because I couldn't see one being offered. I was therefore thrown back on relying upon their blurb which gave every impression that it was a prettifying program for people who like pretty pictures. If Elements is more than this then they should say so at the outset otherwise it's a marketing fail. Really, I shouldn't need to spend time looking for something that they do not suggest is there.

Schewe
A cute little sales job for Adobe there and I'm sure you are absolutely right, not so sure about the need to for analysis on my motivation though as your conclusion so far is a little off the mark and I worry that further investigation may only result in yet wilder assumptions. May I ask as to why you are so keen in your support of Adobe? The behavior in trying to corner the PDF project which is in fact open source would suggest that they are not always as saintly as they would like us to believe. I hasten to add that MS is probably no better for I have vague memories of various scandals attached to a more youthful Bill Gates but I can't recollect the details just at the moment.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2011, 06:30:45 PM by Justinr » Logged

Farmer
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« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2011, 06:46:32 PM »
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Farmer.

It's hard to accept that you have read my posts because that is something that I haven't claimed. Try again.  Wink Yes I went on to the site and no I didn't download a free trials version because I couldn't see one being offered. I was therefore thrown back on relying upon their blurb which gave every impression that it was a prettifying program for people who like pretty pictures. If Elements is more than this then they should say so at the outset otherwise it's a marketing fail. Really, I shouldn't need to spend time looking for something that they do not suggest is there.

You said, and I quote, "those who do actually turn a penny or two without vast investment in equipment. "  So my point was, and is, that if you don't make a living from it then it's either not the right product for you, or you have to accept the pain of purchasing pro level software when you're not a pro.  The indication from your post, was that you make some small return from a small investment.

You also appear to be ignoring Lightroom and only discussing Elements.

That said, from the PE page:

The #1 selling consumer photo-editing software*
Simply unlimited! Adobe® Photoshop® Elements 9 photo-editing software delivers powerful options that make it easy to create extraordinary photos, quickly share your memories in Online Albums and unique print creations, and automatically organize and help protect all your photos and video clips.

You then have a link to features, reviews, customer comments and so on.  Since you haven't actually stated what it is you want to do, it's difficult to tell you whether this will work for you (and difficult for Adobe) which is why they have a large, friendly, yellow TRY button right below BUY, so you can check it out for yourself.  For USD80-, it's very inexpensive.

http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshopel/

Turning our attention to Lightroom, they use the same TRY/BUY buttons - you can see for yourself at:

http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshoplightroom/

At USD300-, this obviously moves up in the expense scale, but you get more - again, the site has a list of features and the opportunity to trial it.

Now shall we move to PDF?  This was created by Adobe in 1993.  Since they released it as an open standard, how exactly are they trying to "corner the project"?  They opened it up in 2008.  It's not exactly 100% open, but then so what?  They invented it - they can release it at whatever level they like.

It seems you're here to have a whinge.  Fine, go for it.  If you actually want some advice or suggestions, this thread has many.
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Chris_Brown
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« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2011, 07:58:11 PM »
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I think Adobe bends over backwards for their customers–except for customer service of late (which sucks).

When my laptop was stolen last year, they de-authorized it within minutes of my email/phone call. I was impressed, especially since I had no idea who to reach out to. Perhaps I got lucky.
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Schewe
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« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2011, 07:59:02 PM »
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May I ask as to why you are so keen in your support of Adobe?

Because I personally know many (if not most) of the engineers working on Photoshop and I've worked with the engineers working on Camera Raw and Lightroom. So, Adobe is not some faceless corporation to me but individuals working hard to advance the industry...as far as PDF and what you allege, I'm not personally knowledgable about that. However, I've seen Adobe bend over backwards to try to both offer their technology as standards while maintaining some level of technical control over the their technology. This has been their track record with DNG and XMP. So, unless you can specify Adobe's bad behavior, I'm inclined to discount what you say as sour grapes...

And, the bottom line, no, there is no viable head to head competitor to Photoshop and that's unlikely to change. So, you'll just have deal with the current landscape. BTW, at CS, you are outside of the upgrade window for CS5 (3 versions back)...is that what pisses you off?
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2011, 03:10:19 AM »
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he US$199 upgrade cost every 18 months works out to be about US$11.05 per month...........I think Adobe bends over backwards for their customers–except for customer service of late (which sucks).
I think there's cause for complaint over the pricing of products, especially for their international customers.
You may pay $199 for an upgrade in the USA, in the UK we're asked for £190.80 = $305 even without our local sales tax it's £159 = $254. That's in excess of 25% more and to add insult to injury we don't even get the benefit of a translation into our local language, English! Other markets suffer even worse I believe.

Shall we mention the upgrade trap of the Creative Suite products ? that can be an expensive mistake to buy into.

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Justinr
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« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2011, 04:45:53 AM »
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Gentlemen please, a little less vexation I think would be in order. I make some mild comments about the pricing of Adobe products and all of a sudden mean doubts are cast upon my professionalism and I am reduced to a pi**ed off whinger spouting sour grapes! Extraordinary, but sadly not without precedent in the rather anally retentive world of photo forums.

Elements/lightroom, both are presented as much the same and if I mentioned only the one it was because i was talking in general rather than in the particular, a distinction that most intelligent people can appreciate. Again, why should anybody bother with a 30 day trial if they are not informed or in anyway convinced by the initial sales blurb that it would be worth their while? They hardly make that option obvious anyway and we are all busy people.

I actually like using CS, it is quick and I have found my own way of working with it that suits but I also put together the odd website with a CMS gallery and this invariably involves offering advice on taking and preparing photos for the web, do I tell my customers that they will need to spend another €1,000+ or is there something else that will do the job? I look at the web pages trying to sell me Elements/Lightroom and compare with Serifs Photoplus 4 feature list and it's a no brainer, to my mind Adobe have screwed up here, dismissively aiming for what they consider non professionals want rather than trying to engage in an intelligent manner with potential customers who do not want or need to make such a large investment in the full blown version. But hey, what do I know, I'm only a potential customer after all.

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You said, and I quote, "those who do actually turn a penny or two without vast investment in equipment. "  So my point was, and is, that if you don't make a living from it then it's either not the right product for you, or you have to accept the pain of purchasing pro level software when you're not a pro.  The indication from your post, was that you make some small return from a small investment.

I wonder if you would care to reflect upon that paragraph for it doesn't read as being as decisive or informed as you may feel, but rather pompous, elitist (snobbish even) and sorely detached from reality, well reality as found it in rural Ireland anyway. As a UK based friend who has worked as a photographer for many years put it to me "The game is over". There is no longer the demand for professional photographers that there was and I doubt that there ever will be again. I've been busy teaching myself new and associated skills because I see so many in the trade struggling or going out of business. I never was a full time pro, could never afford to be, but it has been an enjoyable little sideline in the past and I have always considered 'professionalism' in any craft as being a state of mind rather than a dependence upon it for a living.

Yes I have left much unsaid but there is only so much time I can spare for this sort of ultimately meaningless argument, so fire away fellows, but do try to be original at least.
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sniper
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« Reply #19 on: January 23, 2011, 04:54:35 AM »
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Oh, there's competition...it's just that over the long haul, there's really nothing anywhere as good, flexible and powerful. MSFT tried to compete with Photoshop...a product called Digital Image Suite. It didn't do very well and MSFT killed it because, well it wasn't anywhere nearly good enough to compete.

See, while there have been and still are competitors, they just aren't as good as Photoshop. You really can't blame Adobe for that. The US$199 upgrade cost every 18 months works out to be about US$11.05 per month. If you are any kind of pro and can't afford that, ya gotta wonder why? It's a rather small cost of doing business considering how much you can make while using it.

It really sounds more like you are very anti-Adobe or anti-Photoshop. Any particular reason?

The Photoshop engineers are constantly striving to improve the app and very responsive to all the various markets Photoshop serves-of which photographers is rather small (but have historically had enormous input). Adobe COULD behave a lot more anti-competitive than they are...they've really never engaged in that behavior, they just keep making Photoshop better and better. Considering Photoshop's position in the marketplace, I think Adobe bends over backwards for their customers–except for customer service of late (which sucks).
Not quite it's $306. 57 if your unlucky  (or lucky depending on viewpoint) to live in the UK.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2011, 04:57:45 AM by sniper » Logged
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