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07-08-2008, 09:27 PM   #1
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lightroom vs photoshop

what's the big difference? i've had mixed reviews on what is the editing tool of choice for the professional photographer. i myself have been dedicating SERIOUS hours to learning photoshop inside and out lately and would be super sad if it's not THE thing to know how to use. thoughts?!

07-08-2008, 09:40 PM   #2
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Firstly I am NOT a professional photog....but I do have lightroom.

Lightroom is for storing, archiving, managing and adjusting exposure, saturation, sharpness etc of your photographs (including converting from RAW to jpeg).

Photoshop is for the other things you may want to do after you exhausted yourself in lightroom. I dont use it.

However, I had a play with an Apple mac and Aperture.......... WOW!! Thats where I will be heading next. I am having so many PC issues, I'm really over the whole windows thing.
Do yourself a favour, go into an Apple Shop and have a play, they are amazing and Aperture (which I understand is basically lightroom for Mac)
is great to use....and fast, oh so wonderfully, beautifully.....fffffffffffaaaaaaaaaaaassssssssttttttttttttttttt!!!!!!!!!
07-08-2008, 09:58 PM   #3
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what Mallee Boy said... Lightroom is for managing you photo library and "prepping" them for Photoshop. For some photographers Lightroom is enough and Photoshop can be avoided. However, if you get yourself addicted to layers, masks, smart objects, etc, you will forever need Photoshop because Lightroom does not do that stuff. Lightroom is basically Bridge with a memory (it can track images on external volumes even when the volume is not connected).

I gave up Lightroom for Aperture. I'd like to give up Photoshop, but I can't. Addicted.
07-08-2008, 10:48 PM   #4
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The key is in the name...

Lightroom obviously is a play on the word darkroom...the place you go to process your pictures.

Yes, Lightroom is a workflow tool and I would not want to minimize those valuable features, but at its heart is the ability to approach your images in much the same way you would if you were working in a traditional darkroom. In the darkroom and traditional retouching bench you could:
  • Manage lightness/darkness of final product
  • Adjust contrast
  • Adjust luminance range
  • Modify color balance and saturation
  • Retouch to remove imperfections
  • Crop/modify composition
  • Correct/create vignette
  • Application of unsharp mask
  • Soften details
  • Dodge/burn to correct exposure flaws
  • Modify perspective (some enlargers)
  • Apply color to specific areas (hand coloring)

With the exception of the last three points, all of these can be done in Lightroom (the last point also to a limited extent). Add in the ability to retain processing setting (analogous to the file of 5x7 cards kept by so many photographers for recording processing details) and you have most of what you need to process for an essentially photographic image treatment (as opposed to a manipulated image).

In addition, Lightroom also allows:
  • Noise reduction
  • Correction of chromatic aberrations

Now granted, you can do all those things in Photoshop as well and use some other tool for workflow management. The interesting thing to me is that since I have been using Lightroom, I don't think that I have gone to a more comprehensive tool for additional post-processing except for the occasional application of the clone tool to remove a facial blemish.

My suggestion is that if you have good Photoshop skills, own a license, and don't need the workflow tools, by all means continue to use Photoshop. On the other hand, if you don't have Photoshop skills, don't have a license, and/or think that the workflow tools may be useful, it may be worth it to download the trial version and give it a whirl. (The PS Elements option also comes to mind, but I was not particularly impressed with that product...I demo'ed Lightroom first...)

Steve


Last edited by stevebrot; 07-08-2008 at 10:54 PM.
07-09-2008, 12:56 AM   #5
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yup lightroom is more like Dark Room.. Photoshop on the other hand offers so many things to manipulate your photos!
07-09-2008, 01:12 AM   #6
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The difference for me is quite simple:

Lightroom is for touching up pictures

Photoshop is for photomanipulation.
07-09-2008, 01:15 AM   #7
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For me Lightroom takes me most of the way. I do all regular processing of my RAW images in there. I have installed the LR/Enfuse plugin for Lightroom for exposure blending so I don't need to leave Lightroom for that. I also added some develop presets that allow me to invert the colours of an image as well as some IR effect ones.

Other principal software I use is PTGui for panorama stitching. I wish a LR/PTGui plugin would be made for Lightroom, that would really please me!!

I only use Photoshop for:
- correcting panorama stitching problems I cannot deal with in PTGui (working on the PSD output from PTGui). Principally for parallax problems and to deal with moving elements in the panorama.
- composition work, in case I want to merge several images into one. Mostly for group portraits or the more creative experiments. Only very exceptionally.
- various non-photographic work.

Wim
07-09-2008, 01:15 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mallee Boy Quote
Do yourself a favour, go into an Apple Shop and have a play, they are amazing and Aperture (which I understand is basically lightroom for Mac)
is great to use....and fast, oh so wonderfully, beautifully.....fffffffffffaaaaaaaaaaaassssssssttttttttttttttttt!!!!!!!!!

Any software will work fffaaaaaasstttt with the latest generation of hardware. Try using Aperture on a 5 year-old computer, and you'll notice how sssslllooooooowwww it runs.


Then again, the type of hardware you use matters a lot.

Tried and tested: Lightroom works faster on a machine with an Intel Pentium 4 CPU than one with an AMD Athlon 64.

07-09-2008, 01:53 AM   #9
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Hi Dan,
My computer guru has tried just about everything to rev this old girl up, but to no avail. 2 gig of ram has improved it, but a new cpu proved to be incompatible with something else (causing constant crashes)....so we just grind along in first gear.

But I hear what you are saying, so will go & have a play with a latest generation pc, just to keep the playing field level.
07-09-2008, 02:53 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mallee Boy Quote
Hi Dan,
My computer guru has tried just about everything to rev this old girl up, but to no avail. 2 gig of ram has improved it, but a new cpu proved to be incompatible with something else (causing constant crashes)....so we just grind along in first gear.

But I hear what you are saying, so will go & have a play with a latest generation pc, just to keep the playing field level.

How old is your computer guru?

J/k


I work in the IT industry and have had my fair share of fiddling around with the latest gadgets, (I'm sitting right next to a GeForce GTX 280 as I'm typing this) and I pretty much know what works and what doesn't.

Believe me, a mainstream desktop PC (~$700 with no peripherals) will more than keep up with today's software requirements.
07-09-2008, 03:39 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by ftpaddict Quote
How old is your computer guru?

J/k


I work in the IT industry and have had my fair share of fiddling around with the latest gadgets, (I'm sitting right next to a GeForce GTX 280 as I'm typing this) and I pretty much know what works and what doesn't.

Believe me, a mainstream desktop PC (~$700 with no peripherals) will more than keep up with today's software requirements.
He's a young buck, say 30 and knows his stuff, but this computer (not his product I hasten to add) has been a problem child from day one when the mother board had kittens on start up. In 3 years I have been through 3 mother boards (always replaced by the 'latest & greatest'), upgraded to 2 gig ram (thats when he discovered one of the old modules was faulty), numerous power boxes, two hard drives, graphic card and a sound card.

Patient aren't I...?

So if you were going to buy a new one?.....any reccommendations?
07-09-2008, 04:20 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mallee Boy Quote
So if you were going to buy a new one?.....any reccommendations?
take a look at new iMacs 20" or 24", I did yesterday, and it just overtook me. Al thought I'm a PC user for whole my life, I'm getting one soon
07-09-2008, 05:16 AM   #13
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i used to write a big answer to these questions but i will make due with a sentence this time, i hope you can get the depth of these words,



photoshop is an image manipulation tool, lightroom is a digital photo processing tool.


get it?
07-09-2008, 05:31 AM   #14
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This is along the lines of other's replies but I think it might say something else.

Aside from workflow and organizational aspects:

Lightroom edits at the photo level

Photoshop edits at the pixel level.

That being said, 95% of changes you make in Lightroom will affect the entire photo. The exception being the clone/heal tool. Adobe has included some additional pixel level tools in the new beta.

In Photoshop, you can restrict any changes you make to individual pixels or groups of pixels.

They are both very powerful tools. Photoshop can accomplish anything that Lightroom can at completely different scopes. With this greater power comes a larger learning curve. Lightroom is more intuitive in its design. One can open it up and immediately begin using it. Photoshop requires some degree of learning.
07-09-2008, 05:37 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mallee Boy Quote
So if you were going to buy a new one?.....any reccommendations?

Macs aren't the way I want to upgrade because they are very limited in key aspects (YMMV)


ProTip #1: Stay away from cutting edge; it'll make you bleed. Allow at least 6 months of a product's lifetime to pass before buying it. You're more likely to buy a 2nd or 3rd revision that way, with most of the bugs ironed out.

Fact of life: New ASUS motherboards are EXTREMELY fiddly and difficult. Never had a problem with Gigabyte.

ProTip #2: A good CPU is important; but don't go overkill by buying a Quad Core, unless you're a hardcore gamer or do a lot of rendering.

ProTip #3: RAM is important both in quantity and speed. Again don't go for overkill. 4 GB is more than enough for today's requirements. (unless you do a lot of rendering)

ProTip #4: integrated graphics chips are far more reliable than getting an add-on board. If you're not a gamer, you don't need an expensive graphics card. They'll just suck more power and heat up the internals.

ProTip #5: (I don't want to sound anti-apple, but I've read about lots of scandals and censorship regarding apple notebook and display issues) Mac displays often come out with some manufacturing faults, and the whiter-than-white laptops become yellow where your wrists touch the plastic.

Of course, the same could be said about hundreds of 3rd-party manufacturers of PC gear.

ProTip #6: Buying a "brand" PC (Compaq, Fujitsu-Siemens, Dell etc.), while being generally more expensive than a custom-made one, usually yields greater stability.

Biased ProTip #7: Brands I recommend (based solely on the number of returns for servicing):
+ LG for monitors and DVD writers; my boss uses a 5-year-old LG monitor and there's not one dead pixel on it.
+ Gigabyte for motherboards and Intel for CPUs - they generally run at lower temperatures than AMD; but if you're into overclocking, AMD Black Edition chips are awesome
+ (this may surprise you) A4Tech mice and keyboards! - while not being as sofisticated as.. say.. Logitech products, they are INCREDIBLY reliable. I have an A4tech mouse that's 7 years old and running like a charm. Just bought a brand new GLaser mouse today, because it works on transparent glass.
+ Canon for printers (JUST printers )
? as far as graphics cards go, just take your pick. Nowadays the only difference between brand X and Y is the sticker and the logo. They're all manufactured by Foxconn and have mostly identical specs (Exceptions being special series made by XFX, EVGA, BFG etc. who come out with overclocked cards).

nVIDIA has more powerful chips, ATI is cheaper.

2 top-of-the-line ATI boards in Crossfire will waste a GTX 280 and will cost less at the same time.

+ Creative for music players and sound cards

Bonus points go to apple for advertising, but no apple will ever be more powerful or cost less than a CBB laptop.


Apologies for the rambling; we now resume your normal programming.
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