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Old Nov 7, 2006, 9:30 PM   #1
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Hello!!

Totally new here and totally new to dSLR photography, but I am absorbing as much as I can.

I have noticed that many of the pictures posted here are enhanced by "photoshop." Every time I have read about someone enhancing their photos, it is w/ photoshop. Does this mean that everyone is using Adobe Photoshop? Or do some people use "photoshop" to describe any software that will enahnce digital pictures?

I have a laptop w/ Mircosoft Picture It and my home PC has HP Image Zone. Both of these programs have the standard stuff: special effects, crop, resize, red eye, saturation, white balance, etc....

Are these the same things offered by photoshop, or is it far superior? I have done a little research, but I am so green right now I'm not sure what I am looking for. I guess the real questions is:

Is photoshop the leader in digital picture alteration???? What photoshop program is the best for someone just getting started w/ a dSLR? I am using my camera strictly as a hobby and have used a digital point and shoot for a few years and just graduated to a E-500 (love it!).



Thanks in advance. I hope this isn't too confusing, but as you may be able to tell...I am confused!!!!
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Old Nov 8, 2006, 12:31 AM   #2
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Hi, Mikel! You write: I have noticed that many of the pictures posted here are enhanced by "photoshop." Every time I have read about someone enhancing their photos, it is w/ photoshop. Does this mean that everyone is using Adobe Photoshop? Or do some people use "photoshop" to describe any software that will enahnce digital pictures?

A lot of members here are photography "enthusiasts." That means that they have more than a passing interest in the subject. People who are interested in a certain hobby, craft, or business tend to acquire tools that persons of lesser interest wouldn't bother with. I don't think that there's much argument that Photoshop is the premiere image editing software. This makes it very attractive to photo enthusiasts and graphic artists alike. So, when people on these forums say they use Photoshop, I would take that at face value.

Mikel also writes: I have a laptop w/ Mircosoft Picture It and my home PC has HP Image Zone. Both of these programs have the standard stuff: special effects, crop, resize, red eye, saturation, white balance, etc....

Are these the same things offered by photoshop, or is it far superior?


Sure, Photoshop offers all these things. Does it perform the functions that it has in common with your current editors better than they do? I have no idea without a direct comparison of the features and the degree and precision of control.

Is photoshop the leader in digital picture alteration????

IMO, it's the leading image manipulation software -- which includes graphic art, not just photo editing. That being said, you specify picture alteration. There are programs out there that might offer the photographer a comparable feature-set for picture editing. Photoshop is, again IMO, way overkill for the average photo hobbiest and I doubt that there are many pros who use the full range of features and controls that Photoshop has to offer.
But, Photoshop has such a large user base that it's easy to find books, and even free web tutorials covering every aspect of the program. And, as your skills grow and your needs expand, Photoshop always has something more to offer. It's pretty hard to outgrow it.

What photoshop program is the best for someone just getting started w/ a dSLR? I am using my camera strictly as a hobby and have used a digital point and shoot for a few years and just graduated to a E-500 (love it!).

Probably, Photoshop Elements is a good way to go. It offers most of the tools of Photoshop that would be of the most use to photographers at a fraction of the price of the full Photoshop. Just last week, I think I saw that one of the national chain stores was selling Elements 5 for $50.00! That offer may no longer be valid, but there are a lot of deals out there.

You also may be able to get a free download of one of the recent versions of Paintshop Pro, which offers most of the features of interest to photographers that Photoshop does.

Welcome to Steve's, Mikel! Don't be a stranger!

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Old Nov 8, 2006, 6:34 AM   #3
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Mike,

Just to add on to Grant's excellent reply:

A lot of people use photoshop elements - $100 vs. like $400 for the full CS2 version. It's a great package.

I've used both photoshop and paint shop pro. The thing is, Photoshop is by far the most popular tool. That means there is a lot more instruction material online, more books in the bookstore and more help from individuals on how to do things in photoshop. That, to me, is the real benefit of it. There may very well be other software packages that are better but it can be tough finding help on how to use them.

So, my advice is to get Elements. If you become heavily involved in using the software you can always upgrade to the full version down the road.
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Old Nov 8, 2006, 11:48 AM   #4
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I wanted to second the comments about PS Elements. It came with my first digital camera (the Canon 10D) and it was a nice introduction into doing photo editing.

Unfortunately the "new" price for the full version of Photoshop is $600. Way over priced, in my opinion. But if you buy elements, you can "upgrade" to the full version of Photoshop for 1/2 price. So you'll save money. (In fact, I think the math is such that everyone should work that way. It looks like it would always save you money!)

I'd also say that even the really hard core Photoshop users (including the teacher of the class I go to) don't know all of Photoshop. The top people might know 50% or more... but most know around.... 10-30% (and 30% would be rare.) There is just so much to it and many things are not useful for the editing you're doing (be the user a graphic artist or photographer or whaterver.)

Elements is much easier to learn and it has most of the features that you'll need to do what even Pro photographers so (like adjustment layers... I think they added them in Elements 5.)

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Old Nov 8, 2006, 6:05 PM   #5
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Just as a side note to the talk about Photoshop (I use it and love it). If you are a student or are connected to a school in some way, there's an academic version of the program that is significantly less than the retail version (want to say less than half the retail cost, but don't know what the current costs are). It's the full program with documentation, etc. There are some samples that are not included, but that's about all.
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Old Nov 8, 2006, 9:38 PM   #6
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I've used various versions of Paint Shop Pro & Photoshop (took me a month to get used to PS from PSP). It all depends what you're used to...you can do about the same with each (but faster with the one you like most). I also agree...there is so much to the full version of Photoshop, it would take you years to fully learn it all.

But I use Photoshop, mainly because there are so many ways to customize & program it to do things you want to do consistantly.
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Old Nov 9, 2006, 8:15 PM   #7
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There seems to be little argument that Photshop is the top of the line image editing software... it has many more features than most of the other applications, but the question is how many of those features does the average person need?
Many people who are just wanting to take snapshots or who are only just entering into the world of photography as a hobby don't really need that much power, especially considering the price of Photoshop. At least initially, the standard apps that come with the various cameras etc and software like Picassa from Google are perfectly adequate. After a while you might however find your skills have outgrown the capabilities of the basic software and you need to move to something like Photoshop.
There is an alternative though... a FREE one... Gimp
No, I didn't just call you a gimp... that is the name of the software. (http://www.gimp.org)
Originally developed for the *nix world it has been ported to Windows (and I think Mac also but not sure). It has all the standard capabilities of Photoshop and most of the more advanced ones too.
Many people use this as an alternative... I have used it for many years myself for general graphic design stuff and more recently for photo editing. In fact I prefer it to Photoshop in many ways. The only reason I use PS also is that many of the tutorials etc for various advanced methods of editing are written for PS users and I found myself getting frustrated trying to find the corresponding functions in Gimp (Have yet to come across any that aren't there... they just often aren't in the same places or are called something different)

If you are wanting something a little more powerful then I highly reccomend giving Gimp a try. It is completely free and, as I said, will do basically everything the Photoshop will.

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Old Nov 10, 2006, 2:28 AM   #8
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I agree with everything said so far about Photoshop.
Photoshop is seldom used as a generic term for "image editor". When people say they used Photoshop, that is probably what they used. You will occasionally find people saying Photoshop when they mean Elements, but that is rare and inaccurate.
Unless you are converting raw images to 16bit and using advanced color management Photoshop is probably overkill.
I've been using Photoshop for over ten years starting with version 3 and still haven't completely mastered it.
The biggest advantages of Photoshop IMO are the tutorials and help available for specific techniques.

The less expensive programs that are probably as competent for most users are Elements, Paint Shop Pro, PhotoImpact and The Gimp. The Gimp for Windows is free but a little frustrating to learn IMO. The other three aren't free but easier to learn. The two you already have are going to limit your advancing very far and will ultimately be frustrating. It would be better to start with a competent program. If you are serious enough about photography to have bought a DSLR you are already too advanced for Picture It and Image Zone.

Many Photoshop tutorials can be followed pretty easily in Elements but you can run into roadblocks. There are also plenty of tutorials specifically for Elements. Elements is purposely hobbled in some ways because they want advanced users to buy the full Photoshop. They have been pushed pretty hard by Paint Shop Pro to add features though.

Paint Shop Pro is an excellent program with better vector capabilities than even Photoshop. There are also plenty of tutorials available and you can follow most of the Photoshop tutorials after you learn the different approach PSP uses for some things. The latest version of PSP is available in the "CD only" version for $25 plus $5 shipping. It is a bargain at that price: http://cgi.ebay.com/Corel-Paint-Shop...QQcmdZViewItem Corel released them to be sold with new equipment, so they send you a little piece of junk like a CD to make it legal. That isn't what Corel had in mind, but you get the full latest version that can be legally registered with Corel for a good price. It is such a good deal I bought one a couple of months ago just to play with it even though I have both Photoshop and Illustrator. It is nice to not have to use two programs for simple vector images and PSP is more competent than I had anticipated.

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Old Nov 14, 2006, 2:44 AM   #9
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Thank you all for the advice. I went to the Gimp websight and looked it over. It seemed to have a lot of features, so I downloaded it. I played around with it for a while but was frustrated and lost. I ended up getting Photoshop Elements 5.0.

So far so good. I am having a lot of fun just playing w/ pictures, the color variations, the clone tool (so far my favorite!), etc. Lots to learn...feathering, layering..all kinds of stuff.

Here is a picture I was playing around with. I like the concept, but know it could look a lot better:







Anyway, thanks for all the advice.
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Old Nov 14, 2006, 2:45 AM   #10
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Sorry....double posted it....
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