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11-25-2020, 01:08 AM   #16
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Andy Astbury has been recently producing some fairly in depth video guides to Rawtherapee features

http://https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCu0xxsMt9OSNLtAFkS0anGw

If you can get over the awful dad jokes they're very informative

11-25-2020, 01:43 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by aslyfox Quote

any other RAW pp systems with instructions available ?
Of course it's not free, but Adobe Lightroom has quite a few official as well as lots of third party tutorials available.

Prior to getting an Adobe CC photography subscription, I had an old version of Photoshop Elements that had a cut down RAW processing capability, but I've found Lightroom to be much more efficient for processing large numbers of RAW files.
With Elements it was one file at a time, whereas in Lightroom I can batch process a whole lot, and if I get a look I like I can easily copy it and apply it to other images.

RAW Therapee is similar in what it does, but I found I needed to experiment a bit more to get results I was happy with, and at the time I started my Adobe subscription, Rawtherapeee was a bit unstable on Windows.

I'm not sure what instructions are like, but I've taken a look a couple of times at DxO Photolab, as it has a few features that I think are superior to Lightroom, as it inherits features from the Nik Effects plugins that I know a lot of people have used to really bring photos to life. So far I haven't parted with my money, as it's possible to do the same thing with software as with physical gear, although software is generally cheaper than a lot of lenses.
11-25-2020, 02:22 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by c.a.m Quote
Many threads in Pentax Forums discuss new gear, the choice of camera formats, lens options, and equipment performance. Indeed, the promise of the upcoming Pentax K-3 Mark III has prompted many members to reflect on their current kit and to entertain the lure of new features, higher performance, and an enhanced shooting experience. However, while the choice of equipment is important, it's not the only element in the chain between one's photo subject and a pleasing final image.

I would say that I have assembled a decent kit over the years, consisting of a K-3 II, various 'modern' lenses covering 15-300mm, and a modest collection of classic vintage lenses. My tripod system is sturdy and reliable; my filters are functional; and my library of photo books includes the essentials. On the other hand, my compositions could be better; I still blow the highlights occasionally; and some of my subjects are downright boring.

Earlier this year, while facing months of COVID-related restrictions, I reflected on how I might spend time to improve the outcomes of my photography hobby. I identified one area for serious study: post processing. Although I've become fairly adept at developing my RAW files with RawTherapee, I have had virtually zero experience in the finer aspects of 'local adjustments', layers, and masks. I've used PaintShop Pro for basic editing functions and image resizing, but have largely ignored 90% of its capabilities.

When Serif -- the maker of Affinity Photo -- offered 50% discounts, I acquired a Windows version for CAD $35, an absolute bargain. After dipping my toe into its vast array of tools and functions, I decided to invest in one of the single best photo-related items I've purchased recently: Serif's Affinity Photo Workbook, a printed edition that sells for CAD $65. I'm walking through the heavy 480-page exercise book section-by-section. One of the highlights of the Workbook is that the reader can download the actual RAW and jpeg files that are used in the exercises, which really enhances the learning experience. I'm not a LayerMaster or MaskMan yet, but I'm progressing in my knowledge and skill, and already I'm finding that my images are benefiting from the subtle tweaks that the application affords.

So, my intent here is not to promote Affinity Photo per se. Rather, I'd like to suggest that one's photography may be enhanced through various avenues, and that gear acquisition syndrome may be moderated through a prescription of focusing on other aspects of the photographic process. Improving one's knowledge, skills, and ability may have a greater influence on your outcomes than buying yet another lens or getting a new camera.

- Craig
Thanks for an interesting read Craig. I too have used Paintshop Pro for many years and am well aware that I only scratch the surface of its capabilities.

Regarding Affinity my brother only mentioned yesterday that he'd just bought a copy in the Black Friday sales, personally I'd never heard of it (I suppose just not looking out for new photo editing software and live under a rock!) but when I looked I was surprised how well regard it is and then saw the link to Serif which I do remember from many years ago (good but slightly clunky at the time).

It makes sense to have a good manual and associated images to manipulate to get a real feel. Nothing ground breaking in many ways but a great way to keep the likes of me (and by the sounds you) focused on developing skills

I may invest. There are lots of good videos for most decent software but personally I prefer working to a book, they tend to be more structured.

Thanks again.

Simon
11-25-2020, 02:26 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by jbinpg Quote
Mike - The darktable v2.4 documentation link you provided is obsolete. The current v3.0 documentation can be found here:

resources | darktable

The upcoming darktable v3.4 release scheduled for just before Christmas will also have new documentation, and it will be needed given the deep changes in the next release.

Jack
My bad... I just Googled "darktable manual" and copied the link without checking. Thanks for the up-to-date link, Jack - I've updated my post

Darktable v3.4?! I've only just moved up to 3! I'll have to look at what features are added and bug-fixes implemented...


Last edited by BigMackCam; 11-25-2020 at 03:15 AM.
11-25-2020, 03:15 AM - 1 Like   #20
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Great post Craig and a good thread theme.

I totally agree about PP. I look back on what I did 5 years ago and see how much my skills (and the software) have improved. My tip to newbies is to shoot RAW + jpg and keep the RAW files for the day when you want to do some conversions (e.g during a pandemic!).

The other area where there is great scope for skill development is using strobes. The Lighting 101 course at Strobist (Strobist: Lighting 101: Introduction) is a good start. You don't need expensive gear.

Another I would like to do is focus stacking.
11-25-2020, 03:20 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by SimonC Quote
. . . Regarding Affinity . . . but when I looked I was surprised how well regard it is. . .

It makes sense to have a good manual and associated images to manipulate to get a real feel. Nothing ground breaking in many ways but a great way to keep the likes of me (and by the sounds you) focused on developing skills

. . . t personally I prefer working to a book, they tend to be more structured.

Thanks again.

Simon
I'm thinking along the same lines

and I have always worked better with written material

any one know anything bad about Affinity ?
11-25-2020, 09:37 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by c.a.m Quote
Many threads in Pentax Forums discuss new gear, the choice of camera formats, lens options, and equipment performance. Indeed, the promise of the upcoming Pentax K-3 Mark III has prompted many members to reflect on their current kit and to entertain the lure of new features, higher performance, and an enhanced shooting experience. However, while the choice of equipment is important, it's not the only element in the chain between one's photo subject and a pleasing final image.

I would say that I have assembled a decent kit over the years, consisting of a K-3 II, various 'modern' lenses covering 15-300mm, and a modest collection of classic vintage lenses. My tripod system is sturdy and reliable; my filters are functional; and my library of photo books includes the essentials. On the other hand, my compositions could be better; I still blow the highlights occasionally; and some of my subjects are downright boring.

Earlier this year, while facing months of COVID-related restrictions, I reflected on how I might spend time to improve the outcomes of my photography hobby. I identified one area for serious study: post processing. Although I've become fairly adept at developing my RAW files with RawTherapee, I have had virtually zero experience in the finer aspects of 'local adjustments', layers, and masks. I've used PaintShop Pro for basic editing functions and image resizing, but have largely ignored 90% of its capabilities.

When Serif -- the maker of Affinity Photo -- offered 50% discounts, I acquired a Windows version for CAD $35, an absolute bargain. After dipping my toe into its vast array of tools and functions, I decided to invest in one of the single best photo-related items I've purchased recently: Serif's Affinity Photo Workbook, a printed edition that sells for CAD $65. I'm walking through the heavy 480-page exercise book section-by-section. One of the highlights of the Workbook is that the reader can download the actual RAW and jpeg files that are used in the exercises, which really enhances the learning experience. I'm not a LayerMaster or MaskMan yet, but I'm progressing in my knowledge and skill, and already I'm finding that my images are benefiting from the subtle tweaks that the application affords.

So, my intent here is not to promote Affinity Photo per se. Rather, I'd like to suggest that one's photography may be enhanced through various avenues, and that gear acquisition syndrome may be moderated through a prescription of focusing on other aspects of the photographic process. Improving one's knowledge, skills, and ability may have a greater influence on your outcomes than buying yet another lens or getting a new camera.

- Craig
I have been using the Mac version for the last few years. So far I have been using it as an add in to the existing photos app on my Mac computers and it integrates very nicely. Mostly I use it for editing photos and use the photos app for creating my albums. I like Affinity very much. It is very easy to learn and use. I hope you enjoy using it.
11-25-2020, 10:48 AM - 1 Like   #23
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I forgot to thank Craig for this thread (thank you, Craig). Post-processing - especially raw conversion and post-processing - is something we can all gain more experience with during these strange and restrictive times.

I know a lot of our members shoot JPEGs only, either because they're happy with the results (which is awesome... if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?) or because, paraphrasing, they "don't want to spend hours at a computer" processing raw files. For this latter group, I'd point out that most raw files don't actually require a great deal of work, and many of the adjustments are common to all photos (gently boosting contrast, recovering shadows and highlights, adding a little saturation or vibrance etc.). Most conversion software allows you to create user presets or profiles of multiple adjustments that can be re-applied with just one or two clicks, and in many cases to entire batches of files. As such, it really needn't take much time at all to process even large numbers of raw photos...

11-25-2020, 10:56 AM   #24
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DXO (mentioned above) has some pretty good software. I still rely on LR6 (last non-subscription version) and having cameras that shoot DNG RAWs makes it nice. But I do have PhotoLab 3, and the older Nik collection. the U-point thing for local edits is really nice. Rather than a brush or gradient, it uses a smart zone that is usually pretty subtle without the need for painstaking brush work. I don't find, however, that PL3 extracts as much detail as I'd like from RAW files, but I also don't have the more expensive Prime denoise, maybe that would help. I still like LR6 for RAW processing with PL3 and Nik as plugins.

You're right that improving your editing skills can help your photography move forward. I also found, conversely, that going through my back catalogue I liked some of the out of camera JPEGs that I'd overlooked before. I noticed that when I edit RAWs I tend to go for a more dramatic look, while the JPEGs from my micro four thirds camera had a pleasing gentleness to them that I have grown to like more.
11-25-2020, 05:38 PM   #25
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Good thread, thanks.

I agree. The best photography ’gear’ I bought (apart from Pentax cameras, of course!) was to invest in a photography/art degree as a part time mature student.

Of course, it’s not ‘gear’ at all really. But it got me really thinking about what I saw in other peoples work, finding meaning, expression, understanding myself better to develop a creative voice (ongoing journey) and slowly overcoming that human tendency to ‘compare’ and be your own worst critic. The discipline of deadlines got my creativity flowing when I’d otherwise procrastinate due to bad weather, etc too.
11-25-2020, 05:45 PM   #26
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Sometimes too the best investment can be buying a book of someone's photography. I recently got a book from a member of a different forum who used the same fixed-lens camera and film along with development for years, and published 500 photos crammed into the book. Seeing how someone can vary what he sees while keeping the entire production process the same is really energizing.
11-25-2020, 06:13 PM - 2 Likes   #27
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Thanks to everybody for your comments and ideas. Super discussion.

There certainly are steps that a photographer could take to enhance their craft. In my OP, I mentioned the area that I'm concentrating on now -- post processing. Taking courses, concentrating for a month or two with a single lens, trying out previously-ignored camera settings, or trying new subjects could also be put into one's learning syllabus. I'm sure there are others.


Coincidentally, my camera club is running a 'processing workshop' for our members. The idea is for each participant to offer a couple of their images that might otherwise be discarded but which have some potential in post. I've been working on several images today from other members, and it's a lot of fun. Because I didn't take those pictures, I feel less hesitant to apply some novel (to me) processing steps -- and to crop out distractions. We'll convene through Zoom in mid-December to explore the processed images and discuss our rationale for our choices.

- Craig

(Camera Club of Ottawa -- Now in its 126th Year)

Last edited by c.a.m; 11-25-2020 at 11:51 PM.
11-26-2020, 12:04 AM - 1 Like   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by c.a.m Quote
I'd like to suggest that one's photography may be enhanced through various avenues, and that gear acquisition syndrome may be moderated through a prescription of focusing on other aspects of the photographic process. Improving one's knowledge, skills, and ability may have a greater influence on your outcomes than buying yet another lens or getting a new camera.
Indeed. For me the most efficient antidote to gear acquisition is to use the gear I have. Then I concentrate on creating something, and on finding ways to get the shot I want (and really, working around, or even exploiting, the imperfections of the gear I have is more fun than getting a "perfect" result every time).

The worst thing I can do is to sit in front of the computer reading reviews and opinions on gear I don't have. I end up "needing" all sorts of things

QuoteOriginally posted by c.a.m Quote
There certainly are steps that a photographer could take to enhance their craft. In my OP, I mentioned the area that I'm concentrating on now -- post processing. Taking courses, concentrating for a month or two with a single lens, trying out previously-ignored camera settings, or trying new subjects could also be put into one's learning syllabus. I'm sure there are others.
Excellent suggestions. I did go for a month only processing my images in the camera. Still shooting raw, but doing all the "developing" in the camera. I think I learned some things about not getting hung up on details working on a 3" screen, and I got to know the camera much better.

At times I need to lower the bar, though, and my aim is just to take some pictures every day. No goal beyond getting a picture that has some sort of thought behind it. (The Daily In... Challenge is brilliant for that.)

QuoteOriginally posted by c.a.m Quote
Coincidentally, my camera club is running a 'processing workshop' for our members. The idea is for each participant to offer a couple of their images that might otherwise be discarded but have some potential in post. I've been working on several images today from other members, and it's a lot of fun. Because I didn't take those pictures, I feel less hesitant to apply some novel (to me) processing steps -- and to crop out distractions. We'll convene through Zoom in mid-December to explore the processed images and discuss our rationale for our choices.
That is definitely a good way of learning. Especially the what, how, and why discussion should be enlightening.

The long-running Post Processing Challenge is an informal way of achieving some of the same - getting to try your hand at processing other people's images and also see the way others interpret the same image. Great fun, and you may well end up learning something from it
11-26-2020, 03:29 AM   #29
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I for one spent many, many years on Photoshop. But like most, told them to shove it when they went the subscription model.
My main go to is still Apples Aperture for DAM (there is nothing better on the market) and I use it to store and sort all my photos.
It still integrates well with Photoshop CS4, but I will be stuffed when the MacBook Pro dies as neither apps will be able to run on the newest Macs.

But when I am on the go I always use Affinity Photo on my iPad Pro 12.9” with the Pencil....What a combo!
I have found myself post processing in Affinity more & more nowadays.

A great resource on YouTube is the Affinity Revolution channel, they have tutorials for just about anything you will need to do in Affinity.
Highly recommended for anyone new to Affinity.
11-26-2020, 04:00 AM   #30
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I use RAW mainly for the control. And I'm not convinced that shooting jpeg saves that much time. That is to say, if I am going to have to go through my photos after the fact, crop some , tweak some, and delete 70 percent (probably more), then I might as well shoot RAW. The only negative is the size of the files, but you can get an 8 TB hard drive for 120 dollars, so that should last me a couple of years.

Certainly the answer to GAS is maximizing your current gear and that will involve skill improvement -- both with regard to the actual taking of photos and also post processing.

This isn't a new thing. If you read Ansel Adams books, you realize that he was compulsive about every aspect of photography, from the gear used, to the capture technique, to the development process and the printing.
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