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Old Jan 10, 2007, 5:44 AM   #1
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You know - there are different versions one can get cheap via eBay etc. - is this a good possibility to join the PS community? Or do you need a current (read: latest) product?

I got my Pentax *ist DL2 for christmas and can now work with RAW and 16bit images coming from a RAW converter. GIMP for example doesn't support 16bit editing... have to check PSP9 for this next (which is my 2nd image manipulation program).

In case I can't go with what I already have and HAVE TO use PS... the question is - which version?

I need all kind of photo corrections and manipulations, some filter etc. to produce "nice looking" photos to print on inkjet or submit to a print service. No real publications (as in paper based book/journal etc.).

If there are any good comparisons or links on that... don't hold back!

Thanks in advance,
Th.
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Old Jan 10, 2007, 7:24 AM   #2
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I'm going to follow this with a great interest Amigo. Currently I'm using Rawshooter Essentials, following up with Elements 3. Two programs are a bit of a pain, but I don't like Elements 3 for raw work. I've been thinking on going to a full Photoshops, but have not heard any opinions good or bad compared to what I am using.

Interesting subject.
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Old Jan 10, 2007, 9:25 AM   #3
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thkn777 wrote:
Quote:
You know - there are different versions one can get cheap via eBay etc. - is this a good possibility to join the PS community? Or do you need a current (read: latest) product?

I got my Pentax *ist DL2 for christmas and can now work with RAW and 16bit images coming from a RAW converter. GIMP for example doesn't support 16bit editing... have to check PSP9 for this next (which is my 2nd image manipulation program).

In case I can't go with what I already have and HAVE TO use PS... the question is - which version?

I need all kind of photo corrections and manipulations, some filter etc. to produce "nice looking" photos to print on inkjet or submit to a print service. No real publications (as in paper based book/journal etc.).

If there are any good comparisons or links on that... don't hold back!

Thanks in advance,
Th.
While you don't necessarily needed the latest/greatest version, I would not go too much further back than Photoshop CS, as there are some great tools like the healing brush that are not available in older versions. Here's a good article on the different versions and upgrading:

http://graphicssoft.about.com/cs/pho...radetips_3.htm

Be VERY CAREFUL in buying versions of Photoshop from people over the interenet. There are lots of pirated copies that you will not be able to upgrade with legitimate upgrades from Adobe. To be honest, you may be better off buying a legitimate copy of the latest version of Elements at $100 or so, and later upgrade to Photoshop if your needs dictate, but Elements is a very powerful tool, and it includes Camera RAW. There are some tools that Elements does not support...one of those toolsthat I use a lot isLayer Masks, but there's a lot in Elements for what you pay.

Did your Pentax come with a copy of Elements? The way I upgraded to Photoshop from Elements was Adobe offered an upgrade for Elements users who had copies bought in bundles with their DSLR's. I was able to buy Photoshop CS for $299 (half price) through Adobe by giving them the serial number from my Elements disk. You might try to find a link for that or call/email Adobe.
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Old Jan 10, 2007, 9:29 AM   #4
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If you want to use ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) to convert your images, you'll need PS CS2.

That's because your Pentax DL2 was not added to the supported cameras until Camera Raw version 3.4

Camera Raw 3.x versions require PS CS2. They will not run under PS CS or earlier versions of Photoshop.

Adobe has a habit of requiring users to upgrade Photoshop periodically to get support for newer cameras in ACR.

For example, Photoshop CS uses Camera Raw versions 2.x. The last version was 2.4

Photoshop CS2 uses Camera Raw versons 3.6. The latest version is 3.6

Photshop CS3 now uses Camera Raw version 4.0. 4.0 will not run on earlier versions of Photoshop.

Note that also PS Elements 3 and 4 support ACR 3.6 (which you'd want for your Pentax).

There are ways around it, too. For example, you can use the Adobe DNG converter to convert your raw files to DNG. Then, use Camera Raw version 2.4 with PS CS to convert them (but, this would require PS CS at a minimum, since ACR 2.4 won't work with earlier versions.

You could also a different raw converter first, then edit the images in Photoshop.

Personally, the only reason I'd consider Photoshop over another product would be Adobe Camera Raw. So, I would not consider purchasing an older version of it.

As for using an editor that supports 16 bit, if you do most of your editing in a raw converter first (any serious exposure tweaks, curves, etc.), you can usually avoid any posterization issues you'd get working in 8 bit mode using a product like the Gimp.

Have you considered another Operating System (i.e., Linux)?

Linux has some good tools available for editing images now, and most are free. Use the package management utility in your favorite Linux distro and search for UFRaw for starters.

Also, get ufraw-gimp (it's a plugin for the Gimp).

This program is designed to work as a stand alone product or as a plugin for the Gimp (and make sure to download the Gimp, too).

UFRaw is doing the raw conversion and all edits in 16 bit mode, even when working as a Gimp plugin. It also works as a stand alone raw converter. The Gimp itself is just limited to 8 bits.

http://ufraw.sourceforge.net/

UFRaw is using the demosaic algorithms from dcraw.c, addding a nice GUI interface and more features. it's also available for Windows.

Another good product available for LInux that will convert your raw files is Eric Hyman's Bibble (also available for Windows). It has a pretty decent feature list available.

It's not free. But, you can download trial versions to see if you like it or not.

http://www.bibblelabs.com/

Also, make sure to check out DigiKam (free). This one won't work with Windows.

It's got a pretty good user interface, and I find myself preferring it's tools to some of the better known image editing applications for simple taks (USM, etc.). You'll also find it available in the repositories for most Linux distributions that use KDE. It's free and will convert your raw files, too.

Here are some screen shots (and make sure to install the kipi plugins for it).

http://www.digikam.org/?q=image/tid/25

Another product to look at is Krita. KOffice 1.6 was just released, and a number of improvements were made to Krita (it's image editor), too. Krita now supports 16 bit editing, raw conversion, layers, color management and more. It's free (no windows version though).

http://www.koffice.org/krita/

In a commercial (not free) product, Pixel supports color management with Linux and is an up and coming tool with 16 bit editing ability:

http://www.kanzelsberger.com/pixel/?page_id=12

A lot of Linux users like Cinepaint for image editing. It's a GIMP "fork" (most code oritinally based on the Gimp). But, unlike the Gimp, it supports 16 bit editing.

A good way to do this is to use UFRaw for the raw conversion, color balancing, white point balancing, etc. Then, open the converted images using Cinepaint for any further tweaking desired (Unsharp Mask, etc.). It's free.

http://www.cinepaint.org/

You can also get a number of Windows image editors to run under Linux via Wine (a free product that lets Windows apps run in Linux). . There are even dedicated sites to help you out with that part. Forget PS CS2 for now (although with a bit of tweaking, you can get earlier Photoshop versions to run OK with Linux under Wine).

I run products like Raw Shooter Essentials and the FastStone Image Viewer (both Windows products) in Linux via Wine. This site has more info on using Wine to run Windows apps (and many applications not in their lists run fine, too).

http://frankscorner.org/index.php

Another up and coming Graphics package that's free for Linux is Xara LX (recently renamed to Xara Extreme). It's pretty slick and powerful software and supports 16 bit edits (but, it doesn't have some of the tools that photographers may want yet like USM). For graphics designers, it would be hard to beat (and it's free).

http://www.xaraxtreme.org/about/

There are many more out there. These are just some of them I've got installed on my PC.

I'm setup so that I use a free boot manager (GRUB) that lets me select the operating system I want to boot into. I've got Windows XP and more than one Linux distribution installed. Note that Windows XP is now at the bottom of my boot menu choices, since I don't use Windows very often anymore. lol

If you want to try out Linux, some of them can run from a Live CD (you boot into a CD and run the operating system and software without installing it on your hard disk), so that you can see if you like them before installing.

But, they're very slow running that way (since most use compression to squeeze several Gigabytes of software into a CD, and the decompressoin "on the fly" takes time (not to mention that CD speed slows it down). It's just a good way to see if they work with your hardware or not before installing.

A good one to try is SimplyMEPIS 6.0 (that's what I'm using right now as I type this post using Firefox with it).

Just download the .iso file for the distribution, and burn the iso file to CD and boot into it. A free product for Windows that can burn the ISO to CD is DeepBurner. You'll see the download link to the free version of DeepBurner on this page (second download button):

http://www.deepburner.com/?r=download

You'll find a good link to download the latest SimplyMEPIS 6.0-4 Beta 2 .iso (around 685MB) in this release announcement which is what I'd suggest installing, even though it's beta with a few bugs, since it already has the latest Firefox 2.0, Flash Player 9, Gimp and more installed.

http://distrowatch.com/?newsid=03954#0

More info on 6.0-4 (still in beta) is here:

http://www.mepis.org/node/12161

For older versions, you'll find download mirrors here:

http://www.mepis.org/node/1462

It's software package repositories have around 18,000 (free) packages available for download right now, including many graphics and multimedia tools (not to mention just about any other kind of software you're likely to need).

So, installing new software that's not installed by default is a matter of a mouse click in a built in tool for getting new stuff. For example, installing Cinepaint is just a matter of using it's Package Manager, searching for Cinepaint in the available software list to mark it for installation. When you click apply, it automatically downloads and installs the software you want to install.

Of course, it's also free. Installation is very easy (and you can resize your Windows NTFS partition to make room for partitions to use with Linux. It's a simple process to install it (and it also installs a boot manager for selecting Windows XP or SimplyMEPIS during bootup).

Heck, I just installed the latest SimplyMEPIS 6.0-4 Beta on a friend's PC last week for him. After using it for a few days, he wants to get rid of Wndows entirely on it and free up all disk space for Linux (no more virus and spyware headaches, etc.). It does everything he needs to do with a PC. I installed some products like K9Copy for making DVD backups and more, and installed some templates in Open Office for him so that he wouldn't need some of his Windows based label creation software, too). He's also got a huge CD collection and I've already showed him how to use Amarok (more free software) to manage and play his music tracks..

Extra software is very easy to install (but, a lot of good software is already installed by default, since it tries to include software for most tasks a user would need in the base installation).

http://www.mepis.org

Jim C.

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Old Jan 10, 2007, 10:06 AM   #5
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Wow - what a load of informations! Will read it in the evening, some quick answers for now:

I am just starting with RAW and downloaded and used DCRAW and the UFRAW plugin with GIMP as well as Silkypix (free version) and Raw Shooter Essentials.

At the moment I mostly use PSP9, GIMP and Image Analyzer for post-processing JPEG's as I am used to do it with my OLY C770 pics.

However, for the last huge panorama I had like 20GB working data due to single pics, low memory in PC and lot's of save's to get from and to other applications, which also won't make the image quality better. So the ideal thing would be one single application

On my family PC I won't install Linux yet, maybe on a new one. However, on the laptop runs Dreamlinux and I am using GIMP/Picasa when on vacation to have a quick go on the photos on organize.

So I have all the choices I guess...

Anyway - have to read all these long posts and decide where to go - also many thanks for the info/warning on illegal PS copies... will be careful!

Regards,
Th.
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Old Jan 10, 2007, 10:14 AM   #6
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thkn777 wrote:
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However, on the laptop runs Dreamlinux and I am using GIMP/Picasa when on vacation to have a quick go on the photos on organize.
I played with DreamLinux 2.2 some yesterday (running from a Live CD). It's XFCE interface is pretty slick. I haven't installed it yet to play with it further though. It looks like it's using Debian Etch for repositories.

SimplyMEPIS 6.x is using the Ubuntu (6.06 LTS/Dapper) respositories.

Pros and Cons.

I've got one partition setup with Kanotix 2006-01-RC4 right now (based on Debian Sid/Unstable) so that I can more easily test newer stuff (since a lot of newer software tends to show up in Debian Experimental first and much of it runs on Kanotix OK). For example, the newer beta versions of Digikam in Debian Experimental support 16 bit edits.

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Old Jan 10, 2007, 10:21 AM   #7
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The cheap eBay versions are not necessiraly real copies, or may be copies that have been installed and activated already. I would worry about finding any really cheep versions of current software.

Depends on what you intend to do, PS elements 5 can be found retail at places like Costco for not too much and it can do a lot.

If you are looking for raw conversion Adobe Lightroon Beta is still available. The new ACR4 raw engine in it is very good and it has a feeling about it that portions of it may have come out of rawshooter.
The new ACR4 is also now in PS CS3.

I've been useing PS CS3 for a while now and it is amazing what they have done with it. Lots of new capabilities and it has really been performance optimized, seems to do everything faster than previous versions. It also seems to be multi processor aware and seems to fully support and load down multi processor machines.
Adobe has my money again when CS3 hits the retail shelves in a couple of months :!::!::!:

Links:
Adobe CS3 beta: Beta product requires a valid CS2 serial to obtain a CS3 serial and goes through full activation http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/photoshopcs3/

Adobe LightRoom beta4: http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/lightroom/
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Old Jan 10, 2007, 5:32 PM   #8
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If you can get 6 or 7 cheap enough you can upgrade to CS2 for $149.00 right from Adobe. Just get one with agood serial #.

Ronnie,
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Old Jan 12, 2007, 4:04 PM   #9
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JimC wrote:
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I played with DreamLinux 2.2 some yesterday (running from a Live CD). It's XFCE interface is pretty slick. I haven't installed it yet to play with it further though. It looks like it's using Debian Etch for repositories.
Dreamlinux was the one to work with my mobile phone and providing easy networking support for both LAN (at home) and 3G when travelling. And I mean VERY EASY. That was my reason to choose it. Also the easy and fast install with lot's of pre-installed tools and the recognition of most components on my laptop (older IBM) added to that. Main thing was X using Savage gfx drivers - this was a huge problem on some recent distro's - including everything *buntu for example. No fun in running a DVD or doing graphics on a 500 MHz Laptop using generic SVGA drivers or framebuffer...

Repository is good - I downloaded and installed latest KDE which we use now mostly (my wife and daughter love the bouncing icons - yes, THAT's the main reason - don't you dare to laugh!!!). Installation process is easy and the package manager is ok.

The thing where I struggle in Dreamlinux are the fonts - I am more a fan of antialiased ones (like in VectorLinux - another fine distro). Can't have everything I guess.

@PeterP
I had a long tradition using beta versions - but since every program these days now dumps junk in my windows registry and won't completely uninstall I am hesitant. Where are the nice little programs you just copy to a directory and start the .exe??? Narf.

Anyway - the tip is tempting!

@Ronnie948
Hm - that's a nice idea! My PSP9 can't work with PEF so at the moment it would cost me like 70 EUR to get PSP 11 - not a bad program at all plus I use PSP since version 3 or 4. So the PSP way would be much cheaper - but PS will add lot's of compatibility and tools... oh well.

@All
Do you know PhotoLine? Link: http://www.pl32.com/

I downloaded the demo and it looks quite nice. Not too overloaded, has some decent release history, 59,00 EUR is an ok price. It reads PEF files coming from my DL2 (not in preview, though, but import is ok), has 16bit, layers and some tools. I'll play a bit with it to get an idea what it is able to do.

What do I really need? RAW support, 16bit, histogram (RGB and single channels) and highlight/shadow functions, noise reduction, deconvolution filter, USM, level adjustments, and some other basic stuff. No "artistic" painting program - something for everyday use. I sometimes feel PS is a too much...

On the other hand, it's THE standard imaging application so getting experience here might be really good.

Oh well - if only money wasn't an issue

Thanks for all your help and ideas - have a nice weekend!
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Old Jan 13, 2007, 7:03 AM   #10
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thkn777 wrote:
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The thing where I struggle in Dreamlinux are the fonts - I am more a fan of antialiased ones (like in VectorLinux - another fine distro). Can't have everything I guess.
Anti-aliasing can be turned on via a check box (that you'll find in the Appearance and Themes section of KDE Control Center).

Download this. It contains commonly used Truetype fonts (including some that are not in the msttcorefonts package you'll find in most repositories). Making sure these fonts are installed is one of the first things I do when trying a new distro. Also, if you use Windows apps under Wine, these fonts are a must have so that application fonts render better (otherwise, they may not translate correctly to a very readable font):

http://alkalay.net/software/webcore-...nts-1.3.tar.gz

Extract it to a folder on your desktop (click on it and it will open ARK if a file association is set -- otherwise, use open with Ark). Then, use Action>Extract to extract all files to a folder on your desktop (or anywhere else, as long as you know where you're extracting them to).

Open KDE Control Center and go here:

System Administration>Font Installer>Administrator Mode, and Click on Add Fonts.

Then, select the folder you extracted the Webcore fonts to. Select all font files (hold down the CTRL key and click on all of them to select them) and click OK to install them.

Restart your PC for the fonts to be recognized. You can now use these fonts if you don't like the ones already selected (use the Appearance and Themes section of KDE Control Center to change them for your desktop and menus).

As for Firefox (so that Web Pages render better for sites using some of the MS Truetype fonts), open Firefox and go here to configure it so that it behaves the same way as it does in Windows:

Edit>Preferences>Content>Advanced

Select Fonts for Western as follows:

Proportional: Serif Size=16
Serif: Times New Roman
Sans-serif: Arial
Monospace: Courier New Size=13
Click OK and Exit

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