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Photography QnA: Photo Editing Software

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Category: Best Photographic Equipment to Buy : Digital Cameras and Accessories : Photo Editing Software

Interested in photo editing software with decorative trim? In this Q&A you will find photo editing software types & comparisons. You can also check out this article by Jim Miotke to answer all of your imaging software questions: Imaging Software: Just the Basics. For in-depth instruction, check out Ben Willmore's Photoshop Mastery: The Essentials online photography course.

Page 1 : 1 -10 of 15 questions

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Photography Question 
Tara R. Swartzendruber

member since: 3/28/2007
  1 .  Help! Monitor Calibration Question
OK, I just calibrated my monitor for the first time (using Spyder3Pro), and it's so dark I feel like I'm going to get real eye strain! Is this normal? It's driving me crazy!

11/11/2009 10:03:23 AM

  Hi Tara,
The first thing to consider is that when you calibrate, make sure the lighting in the room is the same as any other time you are using the computer. If I open a window or change the ambient lighting in my room, I re-calibrate my monitor.
Follow the Spyder3 guide to adjust your monitor settings as recommended. Brightness levels may need adjusting as well.
I keep my room pretty dark, and it stays this way as it is easier for me to see the monitor.
Hope this helps!

11/11/2009 12:27:06 PM

Tara R. Swartzendruber

member since: 3/28/2007
  yeah, spyder actually didn't like the room lighting too well. I have a big window beside me that I tried to hang a neutral colored sheet over, but I'll have to get some blinds for it. I guess I'm used to things being a lot brighter so I feel like I'm straining. Maybe I need to get my eyes checked.... it just feels so dark!

11/11/2009 1:23:37 PM

  I agree with you, Tara, that things look darker after calibrating than before. But, two things about this:

1. Most monitor makers set the monitor to be bright because the average person likes it that way.

2. But for photographers the best test of your calibration is to compaire it against a good quality print job. That's really what we are all trying to get to anyway. When I first calibrated my monitor I was amazed how off my uncalibrated monitor was to a good print. Now all matches.

11/19/2009 10:03:18 AM

Carolyn M. DAlessandro
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/10/2005
  I found that for me calibrating my monitor works best when I do it in the evening without ambient light.Calibrating in darkness gives the best reading . Then run a test print and see if that works.I hope this helps.

11/20/2009 5:23:24 PM

Donald R. Curry
BetterPhoto Member
wildlifetrailphotography.com

member since: 3/2/2006
  You can have several calibration settings by calibrating at different times and use the applicable setting based on the light. I have settings for night, cloudy day and bright day. Although, I prefer working on photos at night, the light is more consistent.

11/24/2009 6:37:09 PM

Tara R. Swartzendruber

member since: 3/28/2007
  Thanks. This helps. I'm getting used to a darker screen and will continue to learn about the calibration....

11/24/2009 7:39:47 PM

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Photography Question 
Steven P. Hambrick
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/17/2005
  2 .  Vector Mask Vs. Layer Mask
What is the difference between a vector mask and a layer mask in PS? And "reveal all" and "hide all"?

6/12/2005 10:30:45 AM

Vince Broesch

member since: 6/5/2004
  A vector mask is vector-based, and a layer mask is raster-based. If I was going to draw with a vector tool, like the pen tool, I would want a vector mask. You will see, if you look in the path palette, that the path has been saved there. If I was going to paint with a raster tool like the paint brush, I would want a layer mask.

Either mask will allow you any level of transparency. "Reveal all" or "hide all" is just going to fill your new layer with black or white initially.

If you were doing much vector work, you would be using Adobe Illustrator ... it is the king of drawing programs - like PS is the king of raster programs, and the two programs work great together. But If you just want to draw a heart shape around your picture, PS has the drawing tools to do that without going into Illustrator.
Once a vector is rasterized, it is no longer editable as a vector. If you were printing to a Postscript printer, you would probably want to maintain vector data. Vectors will print at the resolution of the output device - they are “resolution independent”, where rasters will degrade as the print size goes up, because they are “resolution dependent”. Most of this won’t matter much if you are printing an 8x10 on your inkjet at home, but if you are printing a 4-foot by 16-foot display for a trade-show booth, it becomes very important.

6/12/2005 11:07:50 PM

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Photography Question 
Daniel 

member since: 2/11/2004
  3 .  Where do I Find Photoshop 7?
Does anyone know where to find Photoshop 7 for a decent price? I keep finding people on ebay either wanting 500 bucks for it (CS isn't much more) or people trying to scam you for 50. Thanks in advance.

9/10/2004 3:09:15 PM

Diane Dupuis-Kallos
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/27/2003
  Hi Daniel,
I'm sorry I can't answer your question. But if money is tight, why not try Photoshop Elements? It is under $100 and has the same look and layout as the real thing, and is super easy to use. Check it out at adobe.com I think they have a free trial version.
http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshopel/main.html

9/12/2004 4:42:39 AM

  Hi Daniel,
If you are in education or a student, you can purchase Photoshop for about 1/2 price at an academic software store. Just type "academic software" into Google and it will give you a couple of sites where you can buy discounted software. Or try this one:
http://www.studentdiscounts.com/
Good luck, Sharon

9/12/2004 8:02:31 PM

Marilyn 

member since: 2/26/2003
  Take a look at Picture Window Pro which is available thru Digital Light & Color. It costs about $50, has on-line manual, message boards and access to the developer of the software. Check it out at www.dl-c.com.

9/14/2004 7:52:30 AM

Joline Frazier
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/1/2004
  Try Paintshop Pro from JASC. It is a good program and not as expensive. I am very happy with mine.

9/14/2004 3:12:06 PM

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Photography Question 
Tonya R. Boles
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/7/2004
  4 .  Photo Software
I have noticed that a lot of people use PS7 to fix up their photos, I'd really like to try this program. Can someone help me out by sending a link of a good place to get a trial version. Thanks.

8/21/2004 4:34:00 PM

Jill A. Johnson
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/20/2004
  Hi Tonya...
if you are talking about Adobe Photoshop you can go to their web site and get a trial version... well I think you can I know I did a few years back...
ok I went and checked and they do the addy is >
http://www.adobe.com/products/tryadobe/main.jsp

and if you are talking about Paint Shop Pro it is not version 8 (9 soon I hear)
you can also download a trial on their site hun
addy>
http://www.jasc.com/products/trialreg.asp?pid=K-PSP8-USDIR
hope that helps you hun
Jill :)

8/21/2004 5:06:15 PM

  I think PS7 is Photoshop 7 and PSP is Paint Shop Pro from what I've seen.

Pam

8/21/2004 5:36:37 PM

Jill A. Johnson
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/20/2004
  ok... I so suck at remembering what everyone calls it... lol I do have photoshop 7 and waiting for my partner to get the new CS one installed...lol
I use it alot more then paint shop pro but have heard many people say that its a wonderful program too... just haven't taken the time to learn how to get to all the functions yet...
Jill :)

8/21/2004 5:40:54 PM

Tonya R. Boles
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/7/2004
  Thanks for the links and for all the help everyone. Looks like the trial is out for me though, the file is to large for me to download on my dialup. I'll figure something out though. :)

Tonya

8/21/2004 5:46:01 PM

Tonya R. Boles
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/7/2004
  Thanks again Jill.

Tonya

8/21/2004 6:02:26 PM

  Here is the link for the tryout version of Photoshop CS. Since Photoshop 7 is no longer the current product, there is no link available. Besides, there are so many great changes in CS that I recommend you use it!

http://www.adobe.com/products/tryadobe/main.jsp#product=39

If you want to learn how to use it sign up for my classes here at BetterPhoto.

8/22/2004 9:33:31 AM

Tonya R. Boles
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/7/2004
  Thanks for the link. I have been working on the download, seems like it's taking forever with this slow dialup.

8/22/2004 10:06:47 AM

Diane Dupuis-Kallos
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/27/2003
  Photoshop Elements is very user friendly (and 1/8th the price of the full Photoshop). It might be worth taking a look at. I know many people on this site use it.

8/22/2004 7:07:02 PM

Tonya R. Boles
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/7/2004
  Thanks for the tip. I'll check it out.

8/22/2004 7:09:03 PM

Ray Sweeney

member since: 10/7/2002
  Hi Tonya, I've been using PSP8 for some time now,it's a little tricky in the beginning but with all the tutorials and books but mostly practice,you'll have no problem.PSP9 is coming out in Sept.Go to www.jasc.com they have free trials.If you like check out my pics on my gallery,in which I used PSP some of my pics. Good Luck
Ray

8/24/2004 5:00:22 PM

Tonya R. Boles
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/7/2004
  Well gang I finally got Photoshop Elements trial downloaded. Now how do I use it. :) Any tips?

Tonya

8/26/2004 2:59:55 PM

Diane Dupuis-Kallos
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/27/2003
  A simple google search brought up...

http://www.arraich.com/elements/psE_intro.htm

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

http://www.photoshoproadmap.com/Photoshop-tutorials/Photoshop-Elements-tutorials

http://www.ephotozine.com/techniques/index.cfm?subject=13

http://graphicssoft.about.com/od/photoshopquicktips/

http://www.photoshop-stuff.com/photoshop-tips-and-tricks.html

I haven't tried any (I use the manual that comes with the book and I bought a book). But now maybe I'll check these out...
Have fun!

8/26/2004 3:12:43 PM

Tonya R. Boles
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/7/2004
  Thanks for the links, I'll check them out.
Tonya

8/26/2004 5:25:04 PM

Levi Wardell

member since: 8/20/2004
  Okay, so call me the black sheep of the bunch, but I am not a big fan of photoshop. Instead, I use macromedia's Fireworks. The ability to resize is MUCH easier, the affects are, in my humble opinion, a little better and it was easier to learn how to use.

8/27/2004 1:51:51 PM

Tonya R. Boles
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/7/2004
  Thanks for the tip. I have never heard of this one. I'll do a search and check it out. Paint Shop Pro 7 has been my editing program for a few years now, just trying to branch out. :)

Tonya

8/27/2004 2:11:11 PM

Steven Butterworth

member since: 8/24/2004
  If anyone is using a Mac or Linux - GIMP is for me equally as good as either Photoshop or PaintShop.

9/2/2004 5:37:45 AM

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Photography Question 
Jesse Ayers

member since: 5/29/2004
  5 .  Student Versions of Photoshop
Does the less-expensive student version of Photoshop have the same features as the full-price version?

8/4/2004 4:40:36 PM

Vince Broesch

member since: 6/5/2004
  Yes, it is the same. You can also buy the bundle with Illustrator, InDesign, and Acrobat Pro for about $380 - instead of the $280 that you'll pay for PS only. That is a great deal if you have an interest in the whole publication process. You can buy at your college or from Studica.com
Vince
www.PhotoAgo.com

8/4/2004 5:23:35 PM

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Photography Question 
Pat Worster
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/21/2004
  6 .  Photoshop: What to Get?
I have a birthday coming up and have requested Photoshop. I do not know what one to get. I have about $300.00 to spend. Would someone please tell me which one I should get so I do not have to upgrade six months from now? My next course is going to be Photoshop. Thanks.

7/27/2004 9:21:42 AM

Vince Broesch

member since: 6/5/2004
  If you are a student, you can by the Adobe student versions. Student versions are fully functional like the retail. You will need to prove that you are a student. Check out www.studica.com The Adobe pack with Photoshop CS, Illustrator CS, GoLive, and Acrobat is about $380. You will want CS, it is the new one.

Vince
www.photoago.com

7/27/2004 6:40:33 PM

Damian P. Gadal
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/22/2002
  Newest isn't always best - I picked up a copy of PS 5.5 (along with the license) on eBay for less than $100.00 and am perfectly happy with it ...

7/27/2004 6:47:10 PM

Terry L. Long

member since: 2/12/2004
  I concur with Damian that "newest isn't always best." I have v7.0 and won't upgrade to CS ... yet. There are a lot of problems with "plug-in's" and CS. I've got too much money invested in plug-in's to not be able to use them. I'll wait until they overcome the bugs in CS before I upgrade.

7/27/2004 10:21:16 PM

John Wright

member since: 2/26/2004
  Personally, I haven't seen a problem with Photoshop CS or plug-in's, and I use it daily. PhotoshopCS is far superior to previous versions (and I've been using it for years - including v5.5). If you can get a copy that is within your budget, I'd recommend it. There are other alternatives out there (that are cheaper), but I have no experience with them.

Good luck!

7/28/2004 5:24:57 AM

Pat Worster
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/21/2004
  Thanks for the info now a question about cameras. I am looking for a new camera. I would like at least 6 megapixels and inter changeable lenses. I do not want an SLR. Since going digital I have absolutely no interest in dealing with film again. There are a lot of experienced photographers out there I wouldlike some feed back on the best for about $800.00. Thanks Pat Worster

7/28/2004 7:15:32 AM

Colette M. LaCasse

member since: 3/22/2004
  Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0 is another option. It runs less than $100, and you can do a lot with it, especially if you're just starting out. I have Photoshop 6, and it a little overwhelming. I received the Photoshop Elements 2.0 as part of the package when I bought my Canon Digital Rebel. I like it much better than Photoshop 6 (at least for now)! Just a thought ! :)

8/3/2004 5:35:38 AM

Randy Kinney

member since: 4/19/2004
  Unless you are just "dead-set" upon purchasing PhotoShop, I would suggest looking at Paint Shop Pro 8 by Jasc. It is feature-rich, with very extensive functions. Also, many, many of the plug-ins for PhotoShop will also work with PSP 8. You can pick up a new copy of PSP for as little as $60-$70 (on sale). You can also download a trial version (30 days) directly from www.jasc.com to check it out. If you are an eBayer, you may find a deal there also.

8/3/2004 7:13:25 AM

Diane Dupuis-Kallos
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/27/2003
  I used to use Photodraw, and although Photoshop was way, way out of my budget (it is $800 Canadian here!) I recently bought Photoshop Elements 2.0, which I'm very happy with. I'm not a pro, but am very computer savvy and learn things quickly. I guess it all depends on what you plan on doing with it, how much time you have to devote to it, and how good you are with a computer. My understanding is that PS Elements is more for the everyday users (rather than professional graphic artists), and it has many of the same features as PS but in a more user-friendly and easier to use program.

8/3/2004 7:21:49 AM

Damian P. Gadal
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/22/2002
  You ever wonder, "If Photoshop is so good, why is there the need for so many plug-ins"?

8/3/2004 7:51:22 AM


BetterPhoto Member
  I am fairly new to image editing programs. I've used Paint Shop Pro 8, Photoshop elements, Photoshop 7, and Photoshop CS. From a beginner's point of view, CS is so much easier to use. It's my fav so far. Go to www.adobe.com and download some trials, decide for yourself.

8/4/2004 6:07:50 AM

Karma Wilson
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 6/27/2004
  Well, for 85% of my photo editing I use Picture It 7, which is a lot more powerful than people think when you know some tricks and--it's so easy to use I can edit in half the time there. But it is limited. So recently I downloaded a free program called The Gimp. It's great--and people are creating plug ins all the time for it. It has a lot of the capabilities of photoshop and it's FREE! Plus, I was able to use some of the features immediatly whereas with Photoshop Elements (I tried the trial) I could not. I also found elements completely misrepresented my colors. I would open a file in it and the colors would be much more saturated looking--only to open it elsewhere and have the photo look totally different! I can't work that way. I strongly recommend the Gimp so far. My one caveat--it's hard to download. It was created for Linux, so for the windows version you have to download an auto exe. file thingy to get it to automatically download. But if I can figure it out anyone can. There are lots of pages that give you great tips on using it...whole tutorials that are free online.

Good luck,

Karma

8/10/2004 7:09:00 AM

Leah Marshall
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/4/2003
  I use photoshop elements 2.0. I advise sticking with adobe because it is industry standard. Very cheap and has everything you need to clean up images.

8/10/2004 9:18:19 AM

Karma Wilson
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 6/27/2004
  Popping in again. The more and more I use the gimp the more I'm impressed. I find it much more true to color than Elements was (on my computer at least) and I also find it more powerful and user intuitive. There are some drawbacks, but no more than I encountered on Elements (which seemed to require about 5 steps for every one task!)

If you're on a tight budget it's free! And yes, photoshop is the industry standard, but many of the photoshop plugins also work in Gimp. They are that close in capability.

Up to this point I've used Photoshop Elelemnts, PhotoImpact XL, JASC, Picture It 7 and Gimp. Picture It is by far the most user friendly for most fixes (scratches, cropping, softening edges, adding transparent fade, framing) and Gimp is great for more complex elements like Selective Gaussian Blur, Layers, Coloring Black and White photos, and Cloning. I combine both programs for power and ease of use. I didn't like Jasc so much (the quality of the pics wasn't good after editing). I loved XL--but I was using the trial. The full version is $85. I've already spent close to $400 on camera and accessories and I have two more filters I really want to save my money for. Not to mention I'd someday like the Nikon D70--software is the least of my priorities!

Good luck...and remember industry standards are often just other words for monopoly. If a program like Gimp can be offered for free and has so many capabilities of full photoshop at $600 something is WRONG! Elements is still around $80. Yikes. Here's a good link for the Gimp.
http://www.mozillaquest.com/Linux03/Gimp-Overview_Story01.html

It's a tutorial and will give you an idea of capabilities. From what I've read of full photoshop the programs are very comparable in ease of use (as in they are not easy to use...ha ha). But once you learn you've got some real photo editing power in both programs.

You can check my pictures and my latest entry was edited (Oh Give Me a Home) in the Gimp. I forgot to mention on that photo that I cloned out an ugly red coleman cooler that annoyed me. Once I figured it out it was a great clone tool.

Karma

8/12/2004 5:58:27 PM

Diane Dupuis-Kallos
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/27/2003
  Hi - time for my 2 cents again...
I tried GIMP, which is free! And is supposed to do everything Photoshop does! WOW - my husband had me convinced.
I downloaded it, and printed 1/2 the manual - there were several hundreds of pages!!! I tried playing around in it and I found it very difficult to get started - I'm not computer illiterate but I couldn't seem to get the basics going... so I wound up giving up in the end.
Bought Photoshop Elements and a book to go with and am really enjoying it...
Have a great weekend!

8/12/2004 6:44:08 PM

Karma Wilson
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 6/27/2004
  Hi Diane, how are you?

You're right--its complicated software because of the capabilities (though for the life of me I couldn't get elements to make a colored background layer and a B/W layer to erase through and I tried for hours--in Gimp it happened instantly first time I tried). In three days I haven't figured out 95% of it and have lots to learn. But it's the same level of complication as the full version of Photoshop from everything I've heard, and it's about the same as JASC from my personal experience (except easier for me). I have figured out cropping, cloning, color curve manipulation, softening, hue, saturation, brightness, borders, and lots of other stuff just by trial and error.


However, Pat is doing this for a course and Jim might not want Gimp--I don't know. But it is free, more comprehensive in capability than Elements, and anybody short on cash can always try it and delete it if they hate it. There's a fairly new version--2.0--that I'm told is much more user friendly than past versions.

I'm fairly software incompetent. I just use the try try again method. I use lots of complicated software and never read a manual--I just keep fiddling and reading turtorials for each task till I figure it out. Gimp has mose of the same tools as Photoshop (curves, blur tools, clone tools, perspective, intelligent shears, many filters, etc...) so maybe it could be used in a photoshop course, but then again maybe not.

Personally I find that Picture It is the most overlooked software on earth. I can do more in it more easily (including manual stitching of photos!) than most software--it just stops shy of the total package which is heartbreaking for me. Do you know how many steps elements, photoshop, jasc and gimp require for a simple eliptical cut! It's ridiculous. More intuitive user friendly tools would help these programs immensely! For now I do my base fixes in Picture It, save the file, then open it in other programs for more extensive edits.

Have you noticed color changes in elements to other programs? Maybe it's my moniter but the colors always looked much more saturated in Elements making it impossible to edit colors there! I would do all my fixes, open in another program only to have the picture look washed out! In elements I'd toned down the colors because of how it looked. Frustrating! I liked certain abilities in Elements but that was the last straw.

Take care,

Karma

8/12/2004 7:13:37 PM

Leonid Strizhevskiy

member since: 2/19/2003
  I second John Wright's opinion.
CS is far superior compaired to previous vesions. Especialy file browser,raw feature, hihglight/shadows
command and many mre. It is the last in Photoshop series. Adobe is to announce what will the next.
certainly if you are doing only light editing you can get Elements for a song.
Leonid Strizhevskiy

10/28/2004 3:23:42 PM

Michael E. Johnson

member since: 1/7/2004
  I have just upgraded my photoshop elements 2 to 3. I must say it does have some nice new features. The adjust smart fix is real nice. They have really made it better. I do not know if all plugins work with it yet. Has anyone else used this program yet.

11/7/2004 1:03:04 PM

Pat Worster
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/21/2004
  I finall bought Photoshop Elements and I have been having quite a time using it. I have found that the Microshft Digital Image that I had does nearly all that Photoshop does but is much user friendly. I really appreciate all of the input from everyone. Thanks Pat Worster

11/7/2004 4:08:12 PM

  Most people will never use all the stuff that Photoshop has in it, and you can likely get away (easily) with using Photoshop Elements and the proper techniques. My book and tools can help ramp up the power of Elements so that it virtually matches Photoshop -- in fact I use both programs the same way since developing my tools (http://hiddenelements.com). If you have Elements and you are looking for a little more, check it out before dropping 10xs the cost on Photoshop!

3/2/2006 9:18:53 AM

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Photography Question 
Ralph Enstad
renstad.com

member since: 7/4/2002
  7 .  Photo Software Packages: What's Best for Me?
I want to place high school sports pictures for sale on a Web site. My computer has Adobe PhotoDeluxe, Business Edition 1.1. Is this going to be a good software package to scan, crop, and send to a Web site? Or should I look for a new edition of PhotoShop? Do either of these packages provide for lower resolution transfer to the Web site so viewers cannot download and print a high-quality print? Thanks.

3/25/2004 3:26:52 PM

John Kratz

member since: 3/19/2004
  Ralph, I've been using PhotoDeluxe to scan and crop pictures for years, and it has always served me well. With it, you can also specify resolution or simply use the slider bar when saving as a JPEG to raise or lower the image quality. PhotoShop certainly has many more features, but if PhotoDeluxe does what you need it to do, why spend the extra money?

3/26/2004 8:14:37 AM

Denise N

member since: 4/15/2003
  First of all, why are you concerned about viewers being able to download and print photos? I am a parent that is grateful that my sons' schools put photos on their website because sometimes that is the only way I can get a team photo or photos of some of their class trips etc. If I asked them to get me a copy of the photos, it would never happen, they just wouldn’t do it, they can’t. So, since it is a high school (and you’re not talking about a college or professional team etc.), why would you ever be concerned about viewers downloading and using the photos. I am a parent that does a lot of scrapbooking and count on those pictures on the website to use in my scrapbooks. This is the whole reason they are on the website, so parents that cannot go to every field trip or sporting event, etc. can see them and use them. Come on, if your angle is to make money off of this, it’s inappropriate for the high school level. I’m tired of people always trying to make people’s lives stressful in order to make a buck. Come on and save them so people can use them, my school does this as a service for parents and so should you.

3/30/2004 6:25:21 AM

Kris Lingle
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/10/2001
  Just a quick note. The new Adobe Photoshop Elements 2 does a great job of all of the above plus. You can also set up picture packages and quick fix. Might be a good choice. Also not as bad as full photoshopa at less then 100.00

3/31/2004 12:22:00 PM

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Photography Question 
Damian P. Gadal
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/22/2002
  8 .  A Snag With Flatten Image Option
Anyone know what would cause the Flatten Image option to be grayed out when trying to flatten a bunch of layers.

3/24/2004 8:22:07 PM

doug Nelson
DougNelsonPhoto.com

member since: 6/14/2001
  Two possibilities, although I'm sure there may be others:

- One or more of your layers is in high bit mode. Try taking them all down to 8-bit in Image/Image Mode.

- Did you by any chance change the image to LAB color in order to do your sharpening on the Lightness Channel? (Works, BTW.) Be sure everything is in RGB.

What else might it be, folks?

3/25/2004 7:08:57 AM

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Photography Question 
Kelly Abernathy
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Kelly
Kelly's Gallery

member since: 1/5/2004
  9 .  Looking for Advice
I have taken photos all my life, but am new to the digital SLR arena, but loving it. I am pursuing it aggressively and studying to improve. I have a Nikon D100. The two lenses I have so far are the AF Zoom-Nikkor ED 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5D IF and the AF VR Zoom-Nikkor ED 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D. I love shooting wildlife, nature scenes travel and family. First question is what photo software do you reccommend? I've been using what came on my computer (Image Expert) and it's lacking. I've heard that Adobe Photoshop is probably the best, but I know there are several versions. Again, since I'm putting alot of time into this, I want a program I can grow with. Second question is about the 2X multiplier. Is it worth it? I've had someone tell me that image quality can suffer. What are your reccommendations? Thanks for all your help.

3/4/2004 7:29:06 AM

Roy Breslawski

member since: 2/5/2004
  Photoshop is the industry standard and well worth the very high price. If that is more than you want to spend, look into Photoshop Elements. This is a reduced functionality version of Photoshop that will at least get you familiar with the same commands. It does lack some of what I would consider essential (curves, native RAW file support, 16 bit editing) but most people find it more than adequate.

I would not use a 2x teleconverter with your lenses. It will not be useful (and could even damage) the 18-35. Your 80-400 will lose autofocus, and generally teleconverters do not match well with zoom lenses. The quality just suffers too much. With the very expensive, constant aperature zooms a matched 1.4x teleconverter can give good quality, but that is the exception, not the rule.

On a D100 the 80-400 should be long enough for most wildlife except song birds. The most important aspect of wildlife is learning how to approach it. I use a 500 with a 1.4x teleconverter a lot, but just for song birds. For large mammals I have never needed that length.

3/4/2004 5:17:16 PM

Wing Wong
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/8/2004
  Adobe Photoshop(CS being the latest version) is a great tool and one which most photography related plug-ins work with. So if you had to choose just one, go with Photoshop.

2x convertors CAN affect the image quality. It depends on the maker of the convertor. In many cases, it would be better to just get a longer lens. However, a 2x convertor is a means to an end: longer focal length. You sacrifice some image quality and light loss. But if you can life with that because you need the reach, then go for it.

3/4/2004 5:41:26 PM

Damian P. Gadal
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/22/2002
  You may want to check on the D100, but I believe there's a 1.5 conversion ratio, making the 80-400 equal to a 120-600
hth

3/5/2004 4:58:39 PM

  Thanks Roy, Wing and Damian. I appreciate you sharing your experience - it's much appreciated. I'm going to buy PhotoshopCS next week, (ouch on that pricetag!)- so I know learning that will keep me busy for awhile. I'm going to hold off on the converter for now, since there are some other accessories that I would like to get first. The D100 does have a 1.5 conversion ratio, but the literature I read lead me to believe that the 2x converter could be used on that body as well - but it won't be worth it if image quality suffers. After some practice, I'm starting to be able to get close enough to get the shots I'm wanting, so hopefully this lens will be enough. Thanks again all of you for all your help. -K

3/8/2004 10:12:31 AM

Eric Highfield
BetterPhoto Member
StoneHorseStudios.com

member since: 8/16/2003
  Hi K,

I'm a D100 user and currently use both Photoshop full, and Photoshop Elements 2.0. I would recommend trying a demo of Photoshop Elements 2.0 before spending the big bucks for the CS version. Unless you plan on getting into heavy manipulation of images, Elements has all of the functionality you'll need (adjustments brightness, contrast, sharpening, blurring, hue, saturation, cropping, clone tools, colour dodge, colour burn, most common filters, and a whole lot more). I strongly recommend that you give it a try, and then make your decision based on that. Elements 2.0 Tryout can be downloaded from Adobe's website here:

http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/product.jsp?product=40&platform=Windows

As for the teleconverter, there will definitely be some loss of quality, but how much depends on the quality of the teleconverter. I have had a Tamron 2x AF that cost me about $300 or so, and have used it only on a few shoots, most of which where when I first bought the thing and was excited about its prospects. Sadly, reality kicked in and I've stopped using it except on very rare occasions. The biggest reasons were performance, even over the quality issues. The AF functionality is POOR, very slow, and sometimes you have to flip to manual focus in order to get a focus lock at all. Second is the amount of light you'll need…you’ll lose 2 F-stops when using the Teleconverter. If your widest aperture lens is F3.5, then this is a big consideration for you. Finally the last deterrent is the quality issue. Both the colours and sharpness do suffer. It just isn't worth the sacrifices to me (let alone the price), and the teleconverter spends most of it's time on a shelf. If you do feel you want one, I'd recommend a x1.4 over a X2, and I recommend saving for a good one if you’re going to do it. You'll sacrifice less and with a x1.4 and find that you actually use it more then you would a 2x. You can have Nikon send you a lens system guide and it’ll list all of the current Nikon lenses and teleconverters and some of the compromises you’ll experience when paired with different lenses in the line (such as, loss of AF, Vignetting, possible metering issues, etc.). I’ve just check the online product brochure for both Nikon’s x1.4 & x2.0. Unfortunately, neither the D100 nor either of your lenses appears on the recommended pairing list. I would take this as an indication the performance hit is too much for the D100 AF motor and would probably make your lenses too slow for practical use. You’ll likely be happier spending your money elsewhere (maybe some wide angle glass for those landscapes!).

URL for Nikon teleconverter products brochure:

http://www.nikonusa.com/fileuploads/pdfs/2129_2130.pdf

Best of luck!

3/8/2004 10:12:15 PM

  Thanks Eric. I appreciate all the useful advice. After everything I've read and the advice of much more experienced photographers here, I'm going to hold off on the converter. There are other lenses and accessories that I can save up for first. Thanks again. I appreciate the help. -K

3/9/2004 8:01:00 AM

rudy w. cooper
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/15/2002
  Hi,

Check out Picture Window Pro, http://www.dl-c.com/Temp/. I use it and am quite satisified with it. Plus it's about 1/5th the price of PS.

rudy

3/9/2004 1:27:20 PM

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Photography Question 
Michelle M. Gumina

member since: 11/18/2002
  10 .  Photoshop Elements
I have recently purchased Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0. I was reading the course outline offered for Photoshop and noticed that 7.0 was needed. Do I have to have 7.0 or will 2.0 be suffice?

Let me know,
Thanks.

2/11/2004 11:17:44 AM

Dan Throckmorton

member since: 2/10/2004
  Michelle:
I use Photoshop Elements 2.0 for my photo editing. It is a user friendly limited edition of Photoshop. It is geared only for doing photo work, it does not have the capabilities of the full blown 7.0 version for graphic work. I don't know what course you are looking into taking and why. If they specificlly stated 7.0 then that I am sure that is what they mean but be prepared it is going to cost you! If you are only interested in using it for photo editing then Elements should be sufficient for your needs. Hope this helps.

2/11/2004 8:52:18 PM

Michelle M. Gumina

member since: 11/18/2002
  Thanks Dan for the tip. I guess I'm a bit overwhelmed with the program. There is just so much I can do. The problem is learning how to work the program. I was looking into a course to help me learn how to use the program the hands on way rather than having to read through all the technical instructions offered in the book. Really, it gives me a headache!! Thanks, for the input.

2/13/2004 10:19:22 AM

RoxAnne E. Franklin

member since: 6/26/2002
  Michelle,
I think, I could be wrong, but I think that Jim's course on betterphoto.com is for all Photoshop versions. Check out the info on his course. I was thinking of taking it next time around as I have taught myself most of the tools and would like to learn more. I too use elements 2.0.
Check out his course.
happy shooting!

2/17/2004 3:44:15 PM

Russell 

member since: 1/13/2004
  Michelle, you are not alone in the confusion with Photoshop Elements. I teach a introductory course in PSE at 5 schools in Connecticut and my classes are always full and some have waiting lists. Elements is much more user freindly than Photoshop 7.0. The problem is that they both are unlike other computer programs that most people have experience with. Plus until you actually see the program in action you don't know what to expect from it. Look to your local community college for a hands-on course. Pass on the lecture courses, unless you get hands on experience you won't gain much.

2/17/2004 4:34:20 PM

Gregg Vieregge

member since: 11/10/2000
  I started with Elements One, and Elements Two. I now use Photoshop7. I would never have been able too understand 7 had I not started wuth Elements. I went to Adobe's web page and after registering the software they offered to send me a book at no cost. I received the book and it was helpful. The best way to learn Photoshop is by trial and error and just playing with it. I feel Elements does 85% of 7 and is user friendly. I would not get discouraged but continue with Elements. Many of the monthly magazines such as Shutterbug and Rangefinder offer articles with step by step instructions for new ideas. Stay with it. Now that Photoshop 8 CS is out many things will continue to change

2/17/2004 7:22:44 PM

  Michelle,

I have Photoshop 2.and find it easier to use than 7. I took a private class in Photoshop 7 and almost lost my mind. It was just too difficult for me. I purchased a book called "Photoshop Elements 2 solutions" by Mikkel Aaland. It is very user friendly. Hope this helps.

2/17/2004 7:44:25 PM

Greg McCroskery
BetterPhoto Member
imagismphotos.com

member since: 2/27/2003
  Michelle,
I don't want to clutter the air, but another good book for Elements is "Adobe Photoshop Elements -- a Visual Introduction to Digital Imaging".
It's a very user friendly book.
God Bless,

2/18/2004 7:15:15 AM

Wing Wong
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/8/2004
  PS elements 2.0 has most of the basic features one would want or need to do photo related work in PS. The thing about elements is that the functions are all wrapped in easier to use and simplified interfaces.

With PS(full version), you get the ability to adjust the curves more directly and to have access to each of the color channels as a layer you can manipulate. You also have access to scripted functions as well as CYMK manipulation of images. Granted, most of that isn't required for basic editing, but I find that I miss it alot.

I'm a current user of PS Elements 2.0 as I have yet to save cash for PS CS. :) I used to use PS 3.0/4.0/5.0/and 6.0 while in school and really liked it.

If you crave some of the more in-depth color channel editing and/or more detailed curves tools to adjust exposure and colors, you can try other lower cost software packages like PaintShopPro, Gimp, and Cinepaint. The last 2 being opensource and free for download and use.

2/18/2004 12:15:44 PM

Burl G. Anderson
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/2/2003
  If you want some of the more advanced features 7.0 has but save several hundred $ try "Hidden Power of Photoshop Elemnts 2" by Richard Lynch.
The book comes with a CD and will allow you to seperate color and tone, use curves, and gives a lot of detailed information taking you very deep into image correction. Borders list price 40.00 but I got it for 20% off.

3/4/2004 1:28:06 PM

James Miotke
BetterPhoto Member
BetterPhotoJim.com
Owner, BetterPhoto.com, Inc.
  Hi Michelle,

Roxanne is right. You may already know this, but there are two products - Photoshop full version which costs about $600, and Elements. If you are using the full version, you would want version 7 or CS. If you have Elements, version 2.0 is the most recent version.

For my Photoshop class (Photoshop for Photographers), you can use Elements 1.0 or 2.0, as well as Photoshop 6, 7, or CS. If you saw something about version 7 being required, you might have been looking at a different class... perhaps one of Lewis Kemper's classes.

3/7/2004 10:09:07 PM

  Burl, thanks for the mention. Many people will be surprised what Elements can do using the right techniques and tools. my book comes with the tools to help you make Elements match up very well to Photoshop, without compromise. Please have a look at the book (http://aps8.com/hppe4.html), and ask me if you have any questions. Check out my new Photoshop Elements Workflow course here at BetterPhoto.com. I look forward to helping people discover what it can do!

3/2/2006 9:12:12 AM

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