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Old Jun 13, 2002, 9:31 AM   #11
Oz
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Default Calibration

Kelly,

In my opinion, according to what you described, your problem is not necessarily your software, but rather the calibration of your monitor, so that it will match your printouts. This was just hinted at in some of the above postings. I know I have this problems but haven't wanted to get too involved with the calibration yet, however I understand that there is a "calibration spyder" made by a company that cost under $200 that will attach to your monitor to make the calibration easier. Sorry forget the product name. Good luck. I'm still trying to develop my eye to recognize good skins tones.

Oz
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Old Jun 15, 2002, 12:33 PM   #12
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Kelley, go to picto.com and check out iCorrect 3.0 and iCorrect Professional plug ins for any Photoshop software, including Deluxe. I have the Pro version and I like the way it easily changes skin tones to optimal, without changing other colors. You can download a free trial version to check it out and see if it is what you want. Might help. Although, monitor calibration is the first thing I would check as well.
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Old Jul 17, 2003, 10:18 AM   #13
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Photo shop seems to be the winner ..... I will try it out
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Old Jul 17, 2003, 10:34 AM   #14
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I have used PSP since v.4 and consequently am most familar with it and have never really felt there was anything I could do better with Photoshop, enough to shell out the price of it. I hear PSP8 addresses many of PSP's shortfalls over PS - like macro/action recording etc. - I'm going to upgrade soon.

I also use a smashing little application called PhotoBrush that has some really nice features and when used in conjunction with PSP make a good team - I just copy and paste work back and forth between them for specific functions. Photobrush has a good de-barrellizer and perspective correction tool - a good proportional crop tool and I like the Lanczos3 resampling algorithm that PSP7 doesn't have - and I have some USM actions recorded to sharpen the way I like in one move. I think it's about 40 US dollars from http://www.mediachance.com/ and if you don't need - or want to have to learn - the more sophisticated features of PSP or PS, it's a great little application for the price.
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Old Jul 17, 2003, 1:37 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2spyc
Photo shop seems to be the winner ..... I will try it out
True, but check out NHL's careful reply, above.

After reviewing his and other comments, I decided to stick with what I know.

He and others convinced me there were advantages to PS, but also his reply convinced me that I'm way too lazy to use them, and I'm not planning to spend 3 hours editing a photo. I think there is some issue as to how far you want to go, in other words, and how much power you need.
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Old Jul 17, 2003, 1:49 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2spyc
Photo shop seems to be the winner ..... I will try it out
Try both! Download the demos from the web and see what works best for YOU...yours is the only opinion that counts!

I don't know how many times I've tried programs that come highly recommended over my 20 years of computing and have been disappointed every time (especially with the piece of garbage called WordPerfect).

I've tried many photo editing programs including Photoshop, and instead I use Corel's PhotoPaint because I just like it better...and no, I'm not recommending PhotoPaint to you.
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Old Jul 17, 2003, 1:50 PM   #17
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I would concur with PhotoShop. I have been using it for sometime and its amazing what you can do.

Simply put: PhotoShop is designed to "colormatch" for both your monitor and your "output". Knowing what all the features are is imperitive!

I highly recommend www.vtc.com for learning the software. VTC stands for "Virtual Training Center". Its costs $25 US/ month for access to every software product they have lessons on and they have ALOT! Or its approximately $99 US for the CD version of a specific product. It may seem like alot to some but you will more than make up for it with MUCH better quality and many less hours spent experimenting/ using poor techniques. As a note the first three chapters are FREE to what the lessons are like. Its NOT a book! It shows a MOVIE screenshot of the software as they demonstrate each lesson.


Once you know what you are doing, you will calibrate your monitor to colormatch pre-printed cards or use more accurate colormatching methods using high-end tools. If your monitor isn't calibrated you could become quite dissapointed with what comes out on your printer or at a professional print shop. I, personally, think the cards are quite accurate enough. After all, the final "colormatching" will, in-essence be tuned to your monitor.

For output, you need to set "color space". The wrong "color space" can wreck havoc on a pro, let alone amatuers.

For example, if you are creating graphics for a web page, you will want the colors limited to "web safe" colors and, internally, it will use the standard web numbers for each color. These are "tagged" in the final output and will "color match" in any professional software package.

If you are wanting the output to be used at a print shop (i.e. posters or flyers) you need to ask them their preference. Print shops use many varied tools and the different shops prefer different file types and color space. I have found most to prefer CMYK because it's what their RIP software uses for their press. However, many shops ask for different outputs. A good shop will have color charts like picking out paint. They will match a couple colors on the chart with a few spots on your photo and "adjust" to these colors once they have the image loaded in their software. THe pressman will then very the "calibrated zones" on their output from the press.

As you see, it can get VERY complicated.

If all you want is nice photos on your screen and typical photos from your printer or a local print shop. Then you are really just worried about editing out noise, adjusted hue, satuartion, etc. Then you will still need to calibrate your monitor and ensure you are in quality colorspace.

As to editing, PhotoShop kicks PSP's butt, I believe.

First, and most important: The magic lasso/ Magnetic lasso. When you know how to use these (i.e. fine tune them and use add to selection and subract from selection properly) you will find that you can mask object to the pixel very rapidly. The lasso tools look for variations in conrast (think blue or green screen when filming movies). These tools snap to the edge of objects quite nicely when you know how to adjust and use them. Many users try to get the snap too perfect in the first pass and spend too much time because they don't know about add to or subtract from selction options. The fist go should get 90% plus of they object selected. Then you, by hand, subract or add to the selection to perfect it.

Next, the selection must be converted to another layer as a mask. This is very important if you don't want to redo all your work when you find a flaw. It should also be linked to the original object so that it will be moved and resized with it.

It seems that many many users aren't aware of a "Feather" feature under the "Select" menu. This is an incredible and necessary tool for professional results. Think of a mask like a "cookie cutter" it has sharp edges and looks "cut" if you don't know about the feather options. Feather allows you to select a pixel range to "soften" the edges for any filter you apply.

I use the described methods to have an image appear to have a narrow DOF (Depth-Of-Field) orr "Blokeh" effect. by reversing the feathered mask and applying a "gaussian blur" to it. Its causes the image that was masked to stay focused and the back ground to have a nice out of focus. It causes the viewer to concentrate on the object.

Having touched up many brochures, flyers, photos, etc. You may say that you don't want to spend the extra money. But, it would quickly pay for itself if you learn how to use it.

I am not a professional photographer, but I am a professional photo editor. I am working in reverse. I, now, am stepping up and buying some proffesional photo equipment and am giving the photography side a go! Knowing what gets edited, I hope, will give me an advantage on what to seek in my original photos.

I hope this helped.
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Old Jul 17, 2003, 3:03 PM   #18
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Quote:
As to editing, PhotoShop kicks PSP's butt, I believe.
I'd beg to differ. Either application is only as good as the eye, skill and knowledge of the user. I've seen many examples of someone making a complete pig's breakfast of a job with Photoshop and other people with the right skills doing superb work in 'inferior' applications. I work on images every day of the week professionally and have never once felt that I was being shortchanged by PSP. If I felt I was being hindered in a professional capacity, I'd simply buy Photoshop.

Photoshop is expensive and a very steep learning curve and whilst I'm sure it is the industry standard for image manipulation for professionals, it may simply be overkill for the average amateur photographer who wants to improve the appearance of their digital photos and don't want to invest masses of time in learning the tool first - it may well represent a lot of wasted capacity for them. Some people simply don't have the skills or knowledge to master it and wouldn't choose to.

It's horses for courses. Photoshop may be considered to be at the top of the tree, but PSP bang for buck gives it some stiff competition and is probably considerably easier to learn and use for many users. I've only played with other people's Photoshop occasionally and to me, it isn't as intuitive to use and I personally don't 'like' the interface. I've never actually considered buying it.

Either are only a tool at the end of the day and if you don't know how to use it or what is required to improve the photo and the eye to see what needs to be done and to implement it effectively, it won't really matter which tool you choose. The person behind the mouse has more influence on the results than the software application they choose to implement their vision.
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Old Jul 18, 2003, 1:11 AM   #19
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First off, remember - he asked us for our own opinion. And my opinion is that PhotoShop is much better, noot just slightly than Panit Shop Pro.

However, if a user doesn't want to get to know how to use all that is included, of course, that levels the playing field. As well as cost. So, If somebody is most concerned with price, I don't think PhotoShop would even be considered. And, again, if they don't want to really learn all the tools its not going to make too much of a difference.

BUT... when it comes to options, quality, compatibility and speed, I believe PhotoShop is way ahead. I want to repeat that the is my opinion. From my experience, beginners spend alot and I mean ALOT of time using the eraser tool or paint brush, by hand, and spend far too many hours editing photos with a lower quality. They never learn what tools to use for blending, to make a picture look old, to add effects like lens flare are gausian blur...let alone how to properly layer and mask.

So, I will agree that it won't make much difference for the casual user but it makes a HUGE difference for the experienced user. I have been to at least 3 advertising agencies and 8 print shops - every one primarily used PhotoShop. But, they all had "other" little applications that did nifty tricks or some other invaluable trait. I still have Corel Draw because of its "Convert to Curves" feature which has become much more difficult to use in newer releases. It was my main tool for vector art. But, I am much more impressed with Macromedia's new MX line for vector art and Flash for animating. Ahhh...I digressed into web rather than Photo..Oops ..sorry!

DISCLAIMER - All of the above statements are simply my interpretation and who says I know what I'm talking about anyway!
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Old Jul 18, 2003, 3:26 AM   #20
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I have never found photoshop to be a difficult programme to learn. There are so many magazines on the market carrying articles on using Photoshop with many of them carrying free cd’s complete with instructional videos. That makes the job of learning even easier.
I also use photobrush because of its easy to use perspective correction tool. Well even Photoshop isn’t perfect, nearly but not quite. The main thing putting none pro’s off Photoshop is the sky high price. But now they have brought out Photoshop Elements 2 things are looking better.
Boo, love the photos. Great site.
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