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Author Topic: Adobe Photoshop CC - The Alternatives  (Read 25701 times)
Manoli
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« on: September 04, 2013, 04:45:21 AM »
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It's been several months now since the reality of CC hit home. I assume that many of us (those that don't intend to subscribe to CC) have, in the meantime, been evaluating other software. Thought it may prove informative, to have a thread where members can exchange their views, experiences (both pro & con) on the alternatives. Obviously, in attempting to replace Photoshop and possibly even Lightroom in the future, a combination of software will be required.

Personally, for raw converters I have focused on C1Pro (expensive) and Iridient Developer (rapidly becoming a favourite).
For PP have been using some Topaz plug-ins which I DO like. InFocus, Clarity and ReMask. Topaz also has PhotoFXLabs which allows their plugins to be used as stand-alone applications (sort of). Plus either
Photoline - a front runner, combines with Topaz.
GIMP - could be sufficient, but haven't really used it enough yet.
For printing, will probably have to be a RIP.

The break, if it comes, won't be easy.
Anyone ?
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2013, 05:21:43 AM »
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Obviously, in attempting to replace Photoshop and possibly even Lightroom in the future, a combination of software will be required.

Personally, for raw converters I have focused on C1Pro (expensive) and Iridient Developer (rapidly becoming a favourite).
For PP have been using some Topaz plug-ins which I DO like. InFocus, Clarity and ReMask. Topaz also has PhotoFXLabs which allows their plugins to be used as stand-alone applications (sort of). Plus either
Photoline - a front runner, combines with Topaz.
GIMP - could be sufficient, but haven't really used it enough yet.
For printing, will probably have to be a RIP.

The break, if it comes, won't be easy.
Anyone ?

Hi,

My 'plan B.' lineup looks similar.
Besides the fact that I already had a perpetual Photoshop CS6 licence,
Capture One Pro for Raw conversions, also RawTherapee for special conversions.
Topaz Labs plugins including the photoFXlab control centre, with masks and blending layers.
Photoline is amazing, and indeed supports Photoshop plugins from Topaz Labs and FocusMagic.
Gimp needs a formal 16-bit/channel upgrade, but it's in the works and already implemented in the (unstable) development version.
Printing with Qimage (although a Windows application, is supposed to run on a Mac with e.g. Parallels).

For specialist activities I also use Benvista Photozoom Pro for upsampling to large format, or ImageMagick with scripts for upsampling and downsampling with very high quality. Panostitching is covered with several superior applications. HDR exposure blending and tonemapping is done with the superior SNS-HDR application (also requires Parallels to run on a MAC). FocusStacking is done with Helicon Focus, but Zerene stacker is also supposed to be very good. Then there are some applications for Astrophotography and deconvolution as well.

It makes the workflow less smooth, but who could object to superior output results ...

Cheers,
Bart
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Manoli
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« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2013, 06:45:31 AM »
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Bart,

Yes, I too own a CS6 perpetual licence and also forgot to add BenVista's PhotoZoom Pro.
All this is akin to disaster recovery ... !

I know you've been a great proponent of Topaz, and that encouraged me to buy Clarity. So many thanks for the strong recommendation.
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snoleoprd
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« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2013, 09:03:28 AM »
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I wish that Capture 1 would support plugins like Topaz and Nik, that would make things a whole lot easier as well. The standalone Topaz does work, I have had a love/hate relationship with some of the Topaz plugins but there are some excellent ones, like clarity and denoise.

Focusmagic can also be used standalone. PTGUI for stitching and I agree Qimage for printing are good alternatives, in a lot of ways I prefer using Qimage, mostly because I have used it for a long time, but printing on canvas I find easier with Qimage as well as panoramas.

Alan
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Alan Smallbone
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2013, 10:56:40 AM »
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I've used nothing but Qimage for my printing needs for nearly a decade.  For canvas printing it's excellent for a number of reasons, not the least of which is automatic edge mirroring.

Topaz plugins are very useful for me.  Particularly "Adjust" and "Detail".  Topaz would be smart to offer a complete editor.
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2013, 12:06:02 PM »
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I wish that Capture 1 would support plugins like Topaz and Nik, that would make things a whole lot easier as well..

Hi Alan,

But since Capture One is a Raw-converter, I don't expect it to be an image editor as well. It would be nice, I agree, but not if it creates complications for the folks at Phase One.

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The standalone Topaz does work, I have had a love/hate relationship with some of the Topaz plugins but there are some excellent ones, like clarity and denoise.

As always, it takes a bit of time to familiarize oneself with the peculiarities, but also look beyond the intended capabilities (e.g. Black and White effects can also produce color output, with a mask to reveal the color, while allowing to adjust adaptive exposure and some other adjustments). The photoFXlab plugin/standalone application is also a very useful tool, with it's blending layers and masks. It only needs the capability to save layered output. I've done a feature request to that effect.

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Focusmagic can also be used standalone. PTGUI for stitching and I agree Qimage for printing are good alternatives, in a lot of ways I prefer using Qimage, mostly because I have used it for a long time, but printing on canvas I find easier with Qimage as well as panoramas.

Yes, and for repeat prints one can recall the print-job and use exactly the same settings, or make a template for generic layouts with changing content. Great halo free sharpening, and color targeted sharpening capabilities as well. Very efficient and with high quality output. It's Raw conversion is not bad either, although I do not really use that.

Cheers,
Bart
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robgo2
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« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2013, 12:37:08 PM »
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Like many others, I plan to use CS6 until I reach the point where a newer OS is no longer supported.  Then I will survey the field for alternatives.  Corel's Paint Shop Pro seems to be the most logical one, but it is not Mac compatible and may never be.

In the meantime, I use Photo Mechanic for file ingestion and management, Photo Ninja for raw conversions and CS6 with various Nik plugins for local adjustments and fine tuning.  My printing program is ImagePrint.  This non-integrated workflow is surprisingly smooth and quick.  I have no desire whatsoever to use Lightroom and will do so only if it becomes the only non-CC platform available for the Nik plugins.  My guess is that Google/Nik will eventually come out with a standalone version, just as OnOne and Topaz have done for their plugins.

Rob
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blumarble
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« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2013, 07:38:03 PM »
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I've found that I like Capture One and now use it for all of my RAW processing, then do the touch up editing in Photoshop.  For the time being, I'll continue to use my CS5 (and not "bite" on Adobe's $9.99 before 12/31 offer), but I've started looking into alternatives for the future eventuality that I'll need to find something else.

For me, the cost is not so much an obstacle, even at $20 a month.  For me, it's losing the options of being able to choose what I use and only pay for what I need, which version I'm comfortable with/used to using, and when I decide to make the switch or upgrade.  Plus, there seem to be a lot of unknowns about the CC arrangement that I'm not comfortable with.  Hopefully, one *VERY* positive thing that will come out of this is that it will motivate some others to develop real alternatives, and the competition will result in more reasonable prices *AND* more useful tools and options.

For my editing, I really need a 64 bit processing version that works with true 16 bit images for my Phase One back.  It's kind of hard to tell whether this is the case from most; they seem to be focused on what they assume is the bulk of the market which is 8 or 14 bit.  Maybe someone can tell me how to better determine this.

There are two programs that specifically state "16 bit" that I intend to try out eventually; but I may wait awhile in order not to use up a trial session too soon.  One of these is PhotoLine, and the other is one that I haven't seen mentioned here or in other forums, but looks promising: Serif PhotoPlus.

Can anyone tell me if my NIK plugins will also work in PhotoLine?  Also, has anyone tried PhotoPlus?

Rob
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2013, 07:50:25 PM »
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I was frankly starting to consider the CC route at 9.99 US$ per month only to find out I was not elligible as a full CS owner...

So the plan remains the same:
- buy licenses today from all the alternatives up to a the same budget I would be paying on CC until my CS6 license becomes unusable,
- Currently, these alternatives are a bit limited since my Mac Pro still runs 10.6.8, but they already include Photoline and Pixelmator. I will add a few others after I migrate to 10.8/10.9 if I decide to stay on OSX. The UI of photoline is not as tuned as that of PS by a large margin, but there is excellent potential,
- On raw conversion, no need to change anything: C1 Pro for D800 at base ISO, DxO 8 for most of the rest, Iridient Developper for some cases.

I still own a LR4 perpetual licenses but am starting to develop an allergic reaction when I click on the icon in the dock. Some days, after a few drinks, I think I see rust marks on the icon, not too sure... Wink

This being said, I may need to use it to process the DNG files that my soon to arrive Betterlight scanning back seems to be able to generate. So I may decide to upgrade LR to version 5, we will see.

Cheers,
Bernard
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ButchM
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« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2013, 09:38:43 PM »
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I stopped using Lr back in the spring before the Adobe announcement of a CC only option to move forward for Ps ... I utilize and am dire need of a fully functional slideshow and book option as both are very integral to my workflow. Both options in Lr are severely limited and abysmal in Lr compared to other options. I did not invest in Lr since v1 just to own ACR with a different UI ... While I very much appreciate all the hard work expended on the Develop module ... I also expected that the entire Lightroom application would receive equal attention ... it has not.

I've owned Photoshop since 1993 ... I already have ACR ... many times over ... I don't think it is worth a monthly stipend just to have RAW compatibility for new cameras to maintain my Ps workflow (especially considering we no longer are compelled to update cameras every 18 months just to remain competitive) ... it's so much easier to switch to a software developer that doesn't include a built in expiration date with their software.

I have moved my entire RAW workflow to Aperture 3 ... while it may not have all the bells, buzzers and whistles that the Lr Develop module may have ... it does what I desire for slideshows and books like no other ... thus saving me countless hours and the task of exporting tens of thousands of derivative files in the process to use other software solutions. There is no greater joy than to create something from scratch in a software that has no limitations for such output ... yes, maybe on a few images I could achieve slightly better output in Lr ... but if I have to offer a slideshow that can only handle a single transition, single audio tract, can't fit a slideshow to the audio tract, or only print a book using Blurb ... What actual benefit is all that supposed "superior" image processing to my bottom line?

The CC licensing model offers nothing more than the opportunity to enhancing Adobe's bank account while depleting my own ... regardless of what improvements they may decide to offer, or not offer ...(like, after 38 years as a professional photographer I can actually make use of a Camera Shake tool? ... I spent the last four decades precisely honing my skills to avoid the need for such a "fix") ...  

So ... with the May announcement of the CC only model to offer the only pathway to receive future advancements in Ps ... I'm done with Adobe. Not because I think their software is inferior ... but, because of the way they have made decisions over the past several years on how they advance their current offerings. They either deem my concerns as trivial or in the extreme minority ... or ... they just don't care. Either way, they no longer have my best interests at heart ... Why should I spend one cent more to further their financial gain?

I have been using Ps since v2.0 in 1993 ... I had been using Lr since the very first public beta for v1 ... I almost feel that that my entire effort to use Adobe software was in vain ... because their own interests trump mine to the extreme. Commerce is a symbiotic relationship, buyers do not advance without sellers or vice versa ... Unfortunately, CC only guarantees that Adobe will benefit ... not so much for their subscribers. Once in the system, there are absolutely zero guarantees that Adobe will offer a product that will enhance a subscriber's livelihood ... zero guarantee that will happen. Yet, so many think the pathway is a golden opportunity.

My plan of action for the future is to continue with  Aperture 3 for my RAW workflow and use my current perpetual license for Ps as long as I can make it viable for pixel editing ... then move on to whatever vendor who still offers perpetual licensing. I don't really care who that is ... nor am I worried I won't have options. I'm not the only business person of this mindset and there will be more than a few young, enterprising entrepreneurs who will step up and answer the call.

Even with the offer for Ps and Lr for $9.99 a month ... if I must use other options for Slideshows and Books ... where is the advantage for my bottom line to spend more money with Adobe? ... doing so, I will not receive the tools to complete my daily tasks. An offer for a bad deal at half the price is not a good deal for the consumer ... only a less expensive bad deal.

So, no thanks Adobe ... I'll keep what I have already paid for and seek other options to move forward. I may fail in the process ... but I would much rather own a modest cottage in the country ... than to be beholding to another entity forever for a temporary penthouse in the sky paying in perpetuity ...

« Last Edit: September 14, 2013, 10:19:48 PM by ButchM » Logged
chez
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« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2013, 09:56:34 PM »
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I'll continue to use Adobe PS and Lightroom until either it gets too expensive or something better comes along, which is neither the case today...so I stay put.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2013, 04:37:03 AM »
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I'll continue to use Adobe PS and Lightroom until either it gets too expensive or something better comes along, which is neither the case today...so I stay put.

That's a reasonnable approach for sure.

As far as I am concerned the criteria is not "better", it is good enough for my needs.

The reason?
- I prefer to use good enough products from a company I feel respects me as a customer rather than using great software (like PS) from a company who keeps acting as if I didn't mean anything to them. This is not emotional, it affects the continued value of my investment in terms of skills, IP,...
- the longer I wait the longer I keep creating IP that may be lost forever.
 
Cheers,
Bernard
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jrp
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« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2013, 05:23:23 AM »
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Topaz also has PhotoFXLabs which allows their plugins to be used as stand-alone applications (sort of). Plus either

Similarly, OnOne's suite can be used to do some of the touching up that we commonly do in Photoshop; the next release looks as if it will be a serious alternative to Photoshop Elements.
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PhotoEcosse
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« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2013, 05:46:44 AM »
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Like many others, I plan to use CS6 until I reach the point where a newer OS is no longer supported. 

Rob

I think that is the sensible approach, Rob.

There is little point evaluating alternatives today that may not be needed until, say 4 or 5 years down the line. By then there may be more and different options available.
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2013, 06:18:25 AM »
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There is little point evaluating alternatives today that may not be needed until, say 4 or 5 years down the line. By then there may be more and different options available.

Hi,

There may also be fewer options available because nobody supported the new initiatives ...

Cheers,
Bart
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chez
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« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2013, 08:11:42 AM »
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That's a reasonnable approach for sure.

As far as I am concerned the criteria is not "better", it is good enough for my needs.

The reason?
- I prefer to use good enough products from a company I feel respects me as a customer rather than using great software (like PS) from a company who keeps acting as if I didn't mean anything to them. This is not emotional, it affects the continued value of my investment in terms of skills, IP,...
- the longer I wait the longer I keep creating IP that may be lost forever.
 
Cheers,
Bernard


Man if I took that approach I sure could not survive in today's world. Name one petro company that respects you. Name me one pharma company that respects you. All big companies respect their share holders and don't for one minute think that is not the same with whatever products you choose to use. Decisions are made with not your best interests, but the shareholders best interests, always has been, always will be. Thinking any differently is just being naive.
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chez
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« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2013, 08:15:57 AM »
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Hi,

There may also be fewer options available because nobody supported the new initiatives ...

Cheers,
Bart

Well if there is no support for the new product, then the new product is ill conceived. Good products with good management have a way of surviving.
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #17 on: September 15, 2013, 09:00:47 AM »
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Thinking any differently is just being naive.
No. Complete disregard for customers can cause big companies terminal downfall. Google "Ratner effect".

Spending your money with companies you like and trust is a power too few exercise.
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2013, 09:47:35 AM »
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Well if there is no support for the new product, then the new product is ill conceived. Good products with good management have a way of surviving.

Hi,

Indeed, there are those who mistake popularity for quality ...

Cheers,
Bart
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Manoli
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« Reply #19 on: September 15, 2013, 10:48:29 AM »
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Well if there is no support for the new product, then the new product is ill conceived. Good products with good management have a way of surviving.

Not necessarily.
When you have a de-facto monopoly, as we do now with Adobe Photoshop, it benefits no-one other than the monopolist. It stifles competition, can stifle innovation and good products (companies) are often bought in their infancy rather than be allowed to flourish and thereby pose a (financial) threat.

Think RAW Shooter, NIK software etc. I know Jeff Schewe claimed in another post that Adobe bought RAWShooter to acquire one of their engineers, (that didn't work out) but nevertheless they did buy the then 'leader of the pack' and, if I remember correctly, Adobe at the time were not exactly even on the map when it came to RAW converters. Lightroom 1 was a 'freebie' to all RAW Shooter licencees.

I'll continue to use Adobe PS and Lightroom until either it gets too expensive or something better comes along, which is neither the case today...so I stay put.

But until we all understand that a lack of alternatives is detrimental to our long term health AND are prepared to back fledgling companies by actually supporting (buying) their products, then you're putting your head in the guillotine and praying ...

It's BAD business practice to be engaged in any 'negotiation' without an alternative. Pure and simple.
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