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Old 12th of September 2013 (Thu)   #1
Davenn
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Default PS, Lightroom, Elements, Gimp ... which way to go??

hi guys

Just trying to decide which way to go for image post processing

I do have Helicon Filter which happily handles RAW from my Canon. I have to admit I not totally up on all its capabilities

I look and read in the glamour and portrait etc section on the forum where guys are working with layers ... eg... changing backgrounds, blending so it doesnt look like a cutout places on a new background etc

Can something like Elements 11 do this ? or LR5 ? Or do I really need some version of PS ?
I realise I have a steep learning curve ahead of me. And I really need to get into this if I want to do better with portrait etc photography

I have been doing photography for a lonnnnng time but most of it based around storm,landscape, astro and general holiday stuff.
I just want to step up to the next level.
I understand from a thread on here that Gimp is a free alternative to PS. Does it have the features for layers etc ?
LR5 and Elements 11 are quite affordable and if one of them is a better way to go, I'm happy to spend the money

It really boils down to hearing what different people are using, how they find its ease of use, features etc

Thanks lots
Dave
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Old 12th of September 2013 (Thu)   #2
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Default Re: PS, Lightroom, Elements, Gimp ... which way to go??

Here is a comparison of Ps and Elements; or at least a listing of the things that Elements doesn't have...

http://forums.adobe.com/message/4568487#4568487
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Old 12th of September 2013 (Thu)   #3
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Default Re: PS, Lightroom, Elements, Gimp ... which way to go??

Elements can certainly handle layers and layer masks. The latest versions include features such as content-aware fill and refine edge that were once limited to full Photoshop. Based on the things you are asking about, I think it would fulfill your needs very well. I haven't used The GIMP in a long time, so I don't know where it stands with regard to the latest features, but since it's free the only "cost" to trying it is the time you will spend learning how to use it. One reason I would recommend Elements over The GIMP is the wealth of books, videos, and on-line assistance available for Elements. I always recommend that when looking at the cost of software, include the cost of good reference material in your budget, whether you prefer a video course, book, or other approach (whatever that might be). These programs are so sophisticated that you'll never discover all the features just by playing around with them! A final thought: a combination of Lightroom and Elements is often recommended (here on POTN and by others) as a good, cost effective set of software for photography.
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Old 12th of September 2013 (Thu)   #4
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Default Re: PS, Lightroom, Elements, Gimp ... which way to go??

Lightroom doesn't "do" layers -- for that you would want an "image editor". The "standard" is Photoshop, but the expense of the full Photoshop application is, well, pretty serious!

So, there are the alternatives, such as you have mentioned. Elements is actually very capable, and, as has been mentioned, it has a broad "community" offering a lot of support, and this is enhanced by the fact that Elements has "inherited" a ton of stuff from the full Photoshop application.

The Gimp has its own fans because it is "freeware" and "open-source", meaning that all sorts of people work on Gimp "add-ons". That's all good, but it can be challenging to work in the various add-ons and to learn to make The Gimp do all of what you need it to do.

I've never looked into the Helicon Filter as to how it handles Raw processing. Here in POTN, people seem to be divided between Adobe Camera Raw that is included with Photoshop CSx (a cut-down version is included with Elements), Lightroom, in which the Camera Raw processor is integrated with tools for image organization and output, and the Canon Raw processor Digital Photo Professional (DPP) which is provided with our Canon DSLRs and can be a great app to start with wading into Raw shooting and processing.

Another app that has been getting a lot of attention is Corel's Paint Shop Pro. They recently acquired some nice Raw processing tools and the app does have some decent editing capabilities and so might be worth looking into.

As has been said, many of us use a combination of a good Raw processor and then something like Elements for "image editing" that requires layers and such. Lightroom together with Elements (or Photoshop) is a popular combination. The thing to realize about Lightroom is that it was developed as a Digital Asset Management (DAM) tool that included a top-of-the-line Raw processor together with capable output tools (printing, Web/sharing output, slideshows, and now book publishing). As such, it's not an "image editor" like the others, and also there is a "learning curve" to integrate these things together: DAM in itself does require some real thought and preparation, and some folks are put off by the DAM aspects of Lightroom, so seriously, "look before you leap" into what Lightroom has to offer!

Fortunately, all these apps have "free trials"! You can install them and you typically have a month to "test drive"!
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Old 14th of September 2013 (Sat)   #5
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Default Re: PS, Lightroom, Elements, Gimp ... which way to go??

Thanks so much for your responses guys

I have taken the plunge today and purchased Elements 11. Now the fun and the learning starts.
Looks like there are good toturials on the forum for me to work my way through

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony
Canon Raw processor Digital Photo Professional (DPP) which is provided with our Canon DSLRs and can be a great app to start with wading into Raw shooting and processing.
Yes and I have to admit that I have only given it a cursery view and workout
I didnt realise LR wasnt a photo editor and still needed an editor as well.

Thanks again... time to start playing

Regards
Dave
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Old 14th of September 2013 (Sat)   #6
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Default Re: PS, Lightroom, Elements, Gimp ... which way to go??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davenn View Post
Thanks so much for your responses guys

I have taken the plunge today and purchased Elements 11. Now the fun and the learning starts.
Looks like there are good toturials on the forum for me to work my way through



Yes and I have to admit that I have only given it a cursery view and workout
I didnt realise LR wasnt a photo editor and still needed an editor as well.

Thanks again... time to start playing

Regards
Dave
------------------------------------
Pentax K7, K5 & lots of lenses; Canon 5D III, 24 - 105mm
Going with DPP and Elements is a great "plunge", and you'll get a lot of support here!!
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Old 14th of September 2013 (Sat)   #7
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Default Re: PS, Lightroom, Elements, Gimp ... which way to go??

For many the editing features of Elements 11 are actually all that they need now that layer masks are pretty much fully implemented, and content aware is also pretty useful at times. The real big lack with Elements is that the cut down version of ACR the RAW editor/converter is almost totally crippled. For this reason a lot of folks go with LR sa that is the cheapest way in to Adobe's full on RAW processor. That it gives you a really good way of organising images, as well as some very good output options is just a plus. Many people find that with the full power of LR's RAW converter that they no longer need to regularly go into a pixel editor. One regularly hears quotes of only needing to use a pixel editor for between 5 and 10% of images, with the other 90-95% only needing processing in the RAW converter. This may be different for those who regualarly find the need to change backgrounds etc as that is work on a pixel editor can do.

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Old 16th of September 2013 (Mon)   #8
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Default Re: PS, Lightroom, Elements, Gimp ... which way to go??

I am a LightRoom5 user who only occasionally uses Gimp for bigger cloning/healing tasks. I also use Topaz Labs which does include layers and has a ton of editing features. Topaz is not cheap though, so unless you need the functions it provides, not something that needs to be considered. Maybe once you find your groove in processing.
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Old 18th of September 2013 (Wed)   #9
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Default Re: PS, Lightroom, Elements, Gimp ... which way to go??

You'll love PSE 11!
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Old 8th of October 2013 (Tue)   #10
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Default Re: PS, Lightroom, Elements, Gimp ... which way to go??

Looking to purchase PSE11 as well but PSE12 was just released. Throw down the $100 for 12 or get 11 for roughly $60.
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Old 9th of October 2013 (Wed)   #11
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Default Re: PS, Lightroom, Elements, Gimp ... which way to go??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davenn View Post
Thanks so much for your responses guys

I have taken the plunge today and purchased Elements 11. Now the fun and the learning starts.
Looks like there are good toturials on the forum for me to work my way through



Yes and I have to admit that I have only given it a cursery view and workout
I didnt realise LR wasnt a photo editor and still needed an editor as well.

Thanks again... time to start playing

Regards
Dave
------------------------------------
Pentax K7, K5 & lots of lenses; Canon 5D III, 24 - 105mm


Although Lightroom was not specifically designed as an "editor", like Photoshop CS or Elements was, that doesn't meant that you cannot edit photos with it. As a matter of fact, for something that started off primarily as a photo database manager, it actually has some very powerful editing tools. I probably do 90% of my photo editing entirely in Lightroom, and Photoshop is generally reserved for editing that requires things like panorama stitching, exposure blending, portrait touchup, etc. As others have said, Lightroom is also a very good compliment to Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, and tends to streamline and speed up most people's workflow. Certainly not a necessity, but it may be something you'd want in the future.
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Old 10th of October 2013 (Thu)   #12
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Default Re: PS, Lightroom, Elements, Gimp ... which way to go??

IMO, Gimp is worth a try. Use it with DPP and see where you get. Later, with more experience in your specific needs, you'll be better able to judge what other software you may want to buy. As mentioned, Gimp is free and has zillions of plug-ins to install and play with. It does layers, etc. just fine. It's main drawback is lack of 16-bit-per-channel (48 total) support. So long as you do any heavy tonal adjustments in DPP, and then export a well optimized 24 bit image to Gimp, you'll be fine.
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Old 11th of October 2013 (Fri)   #13
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Default Re: PS, Lightroom, Elements, Gimp ... which way to go??

Elements is waste of money.

PS+LR is the best combo.
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