November 2017 - Digital Group - Adobe Confusion

Meeting Notes March 2009 to 2018.
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November 2017 - Digital Group - Adobe Confusion

Post by spb » Sun Nov 05, 2017 1:03 pm

Adobe, in their wisdom, have confused us all again. Lightroom is now divided into two parallel development paths; Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic Creative Cloud and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Creative Cloud. Who thought of that bizarre naming strategy? You need to choose one or the other. They are not intended to interwork.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic Creative Cloud – this is the new name for a fairly routine update to the current Lightroom that many people will be familiar with. The updates in LR Classic include speed enhancements and better control over adjustment areas within the image.
If you are updating make sure you choose this version with the word CLASSIC in it. Many people are complaining that their previous LR installation has been overwritten by the very different and very cut-down Lightroom CC (see below). They chose the wrong update from the list.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Creative Cloud – this is aimed at cross-platform mobile users with all their resources in the cloud. Functionality is relatively simple, tablet-style. New features; artificial intelligence will try to guess which are your best images (good luck with that) and smart previews limit local storage needs. Performance enhancements. Although copies can be held locally, this version of LR is 100% cloud-centric and if you have lots of big raw files and a slow connection, it’s not going to work for you.

Although the two versions don’t integrate, raw edits are transferrable. Presets and styles are not.

Pricing - the move to a subscription model is doing well for Adobe. Their profits over the last six months have been $3.5B! So it’s no surprise that this version of Lightroom Classic will be the last one available without a CC subscription (currently about £10 per month). This contradicts earlier statements from Adobe that they had no plans to go subscription-only.

The CC subscription includes both versions of LR and also Photoshop CC.

The Future - Adobe claim that they are not abandoning LR Classic (although the name rather implies it’s being side-lined) but it is rumoured that developments will be limited to the Develop Module only – which is essentially Adobe Camera Raw shared by the rest of the Photoshop family.

Many APS members will have invested a lot of time and effort in the LR database model, will need continued access to their archive, but will only upgrade their camera (and hence raw files) infrequently. In this case you have three options;
- sign up for the CC subscription based on the likelihood that Adobe products will somehow continue to meet your needs.
- keep your current software and move to a two-stage process converting raw files to DNG whilst hoping that your software and the free Adobe DNG converter continue to be supported in the long term.
- look for another non-Adobe solution.

I resisted the CC subscription model for a couple of years but eventually purchased it when I bought a new camera. I took the view that I was already paying a subscription for other software used daily – antivirus and office suite – and the alternatives were unattractive. Having said that, the ‘continuous updates and improvements’ to Photoshop CC have so far brought nothing that I needed.

Lightroom performs a variety of useful tasks and there is no one alternative. Many products operate in the same area and they are detailed in this useful article.

Photoshop Elements 2018 - For the time-being Photoshop Elements continues to be sold with an enduring licence (£70) and not by subscription. This latest version also attempts to pick your best images, identify and tag familiar subjects and further improves selection of difficult edges. A feature to open closed eyes has received very mixed reviews and seems to be a ‘work in progress’. In essence – as usual – nothing much to write home about. However you may need to buy it for the latest raw converter for your new camera.

Photoshop Creative Cloud 2018 – occasional updates to this powerhouse of photo editing dribble out. Here, there is a performance boost, a Curvature Pen Tool, editing for 360 deg. Panoramas, brush preset improvements, variable fonts, animated tool tips and improved masking.

A quick show of hands among the 37 present at our meeting revealed about a dozen each using Elements, Photoshop CC and Lightroom. A handful of other photo editors such as Gimp and Lumina are in use but no consensus. My much-loved free image browser Faststone was used by ten or so with a sprinkling of others such as Bridge (which is available free from Adobe, although they don’t advertise this).

It's important to make an informed decision about whether to use Lightroom or Photoshop. They do co-exist but most photographers find that one or the other suits their style of working. More information about this is here under the heading Photo Processing Software.

Gudak (iOS £0.99) – I was amused to read of this iPhone app which simulates a disposable camera. The viewfinder window is tiny, you can only make 24 exposures in 12 hours and then have to wait 3 days for them to be ‘processed’. The resulting images have random faults such as light leaks. Genius.

Smartphones and the Camera Market – smartphones are killing off the compact camera market and gunning for entry-level interchangeable lens cameras too. Nikon have recently closed a compact camera factory in China. It’s hardly surprising. The cameraphone takes acceptable quality images and is also the gateway to storage and social media solutions online. The compact camera may take better pictures but is way too complex and offers no help with storing or using them. Shortcomings in phone cameras are being rapidly fixed by hardware or, more often, software improvements. A good example is the Portrait Mode in the latest cameras which uses dual cameras to determine foreground and background and render the latter out of focus, thus overcoming the minimal inherent depth of field. Only photographers will be buying dedicated cameras in the future – a relatively small market.

Cassini – after expressing a little loss at ‘only’ having 16Mpx from my Olympus OM10, we were wowed by the detailed 1Mpx images from Cassini as it orbited Saturn! To be fair, many of those images are composites of many exposures and also benefit from the camera being sensitive to light beyond the visible spectrum. Nevertheless – wow!

iOS11 – is 64bit only and as a result many older apps have now ceased to run on iPhones including a favourite of mine ‘You Gotta See This’. I emailed the developers and they said that the app was no longer supported. Shame. Mac OS High Sierra will do the same next year on Apple computers where threatened software includes Nik, Alien Skin, MS Office (pre 2016), Photo Mechanic and the Olympus Updater.

Nik Software – this popular suite of plug-in filters was purchased by Google (for Snapseed), then subsequently offered for free and then abandoned to its fate. Fans will be pleased to hear that it has been rescued by DXO. It continues to be available for free from them and there will be a new version next year. Silver Efex Pro is probably the most well-know of the suite and is a very popular colour to mono converter. The new version almost certainly won’t be free but a wise person once said “if the product is free – you are the product”.

CCleaner – is a popular and useful free registry and computer cleaner and maintenance tool. I use it regularly. So it was a surprise to find that it had been bought out by Avast but more shockingly that it had been distributed to millions of users for weeks with a virus in it. The distribution was digitally-signed as safe and trustworthy. If you may have been affected you should upgrade to the latest version. Luckily the virus was a trapdoor for future exploits and few people were negatively affected before it was discovered.

I was asked how to lay out a triptych on a single piece of paper;
1. File>New>Blank File with a suitable width eg at least 3000 pixels across for an A3 print.
2. Open all three images as separate layers within the new file eg using File>Place.
3. Select each layer in turn then Image>Resize>Scale> and enter a suitable width eg 600 px
4. Use the Move tool to position the three images approximately eg in a horizontal line.
5. Select all three images layers at once eg Ctrl-click each in turn.
6. Use the Align and Distribute buttons in the Move tool options to align and position them in relation to one another.
NB be careful not to use Resize>Scale (here, or anywhere) to make image layers bigger. Their quality will be reduced.

I was asked how I turned a white dress into a black dress in an image of mine recently;
1. Select the dress
2. Create a Levels Adjustment Layer for the dress selection
3. Move the Output Levels white slider about a third of the way in.
4. Move the regular black slider (immediately under the histogram) about a third of the way in.
These together create a dark grey effect whilst retaining the lighting which gives shape to the garment.

Cheers, Steve Brabner.

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