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Lightroom vs. Photoshop CS3

Chris Dana

New member
This is probably going to be an incredibly stupid question.

I'm trying to figure out which "editing" software I should use.

Of the two software programs Lightroom vs. Photoshop, which would y'all get? I can't afford both at the moment. I guess I'm really just looking for touching up images.

Thanks in Advance.
 

Diane Fields

New member
This is probably going to be an incredibly stupid question.

I'm trying to figure out which "editing" software I should use.

Of the two software programs Lightroom vs. Photoshop, which would y'all get? I can't afford both at the moment. I guess I'm really just looking for touching up images.

Thanks in Advance.
Chris, I have both and have used PS for many years. Since I'm also using both at the moment, the question I would ask you is---how are you shooting? Are you shooting in RAW or jpeg? Do you shoot a lot of images and do a lot of editing, would like to be able to archive your images offline on an external harddrive and still be able to view the thumbs? Do you print a lot? There's so much to consider.

Its likely that if you are shooting in RAW (or even jpeg now), LR might be just the thing for you. You can now do so much in RAW prior to conversion (and with LR, you don't need to 'convert' as such), print from it, edit it from the beginning--that if just 'touchup' is what you need--then LR (or even Elements) might be all you need. Photoshop is very powerful, has the same RAW processing engine as LR (but, though I have preferred the 'tab' arrangement for choosing the areas to work on, i.e., curves, sharpening, b/w, etc. in PS, I'm now liking the LR setup better and doing more RAW conversions there) but its better for when you want to do more major adjustments, use layers, masks, etc. If you don't do those things, I would probably buy LR.

My recommendation is to dl the demos of both-find some good tutorials for both online and try them and see which is a better fit for you. Bridge in Photoshop is a very good browser nowadays, but the viewing environment in LR is nicer overall I think--and perhaps more intuitive. LR has some things I don't prefer yet---no softproofing before printing and I don't like the output sharpening options now, but feel sure that's going to change (Jeff Schewe who has a lot of input into those things in PS and LR leads us to believe this LOL). However, the color management for printing is basically the same--just setup differently (and easier they tell me--I haven't printed from LR yet).

So--they really are quite different 'animals' and you'll have to make the decision for the better fit for you now. I'm using a hybrid of the 2--using LR as a DAM, editing there, doing most of the RAW processing there--then either exporting as a psd and opening in Photoshop OR--doing a 'roundtrip' from LR to PS and back. PHotoshop for me is indispensable since I do a lot of post processing, but---if you are only touching up---then consider LR.

Diane
 

John_Nevill

New member
I totally endorse Diane's comments, although I would add that Photoshop comes with Bridge, which adds some DAM capabilities, albeit from a different perspective to LR.
 

Kathy Rappaport

pro member
More options

I would answer that it would also depend on your camera software. I have LR and CS3. While those are the standards in use for most photographers, I wouldn't discount using the Canon ZoomBrowzer and DPP - I use all of them now. They all have their place.

Do you shoot RAW?
What Kind of Camera do you have?
What do you want to do with your images?

I also used Adobe PS Elements
JASC Paint Shop Pro (it has some easy tools that work very nicely)
Microsoft Photo Verison 10
 

Diane Fields

New member
I was going to mention mfg. software also, but the only one I'm familiar with is DPP (Canon) and its def. worth using for RAW conversion. I feel you still need a graphics app, but, like Kathy says, consider what you do with your images--Elements may be enough (I would go that route over PSP only because at some point you may want more---and it would be easier to transition to full PS from Elements).

Diane
 

Chris Dana

New member
Thanks for all the responses so far!

I was shooting in jpeg format and just recently started shooting in RAW format. I've been playing around with LR's trial and have liked what I see, but I'm only doing alterations (usually color corrections) on a few pictures at a time, not all of them.

I'm shooting with a Canon XTi only.

I have Paint Shop Pro (it came for free with something I got recently). I also downloaded GIMP a while ago, but am not really knowledgeable in either of them yet.

I'll take a further look into Elements as well.

Again, thanks so much for all the replies!
 

Kathy Rappaport

pro member
Teaching myself

Chris,

Something I am finding really good is that I am taking distance learning via the local community college classes in CS3. I download the lessons and work on them at my own pace. So far, it's easier then the books I tried. ....
 

Ray West

New member
Hi Chris,

If you are shooting in raw, I expect you will want to go into colour management/icc profiles, and the like. Gimp is not icc aware, afaik, I would not bother with it. I'm not sure about paint shop pro. For quick and simple editing/ viewing of most anything, if you are pc based, you can't beat Irfan view, certainly not at the price - but again not icc aware. Light crafts? Lightzone software is worth a look. Not the fastest thing out there (written in Java so it will be more or less the same on a mac), but its zone system is very useful, and there is free trial.

Best wishes,

Ray
 

KrisCarnmarker

New member
Hi Chris,
Gimp is not icc aware, afaik, I would not bother with it....For quick and simple editing/ viewing of most anything, if you are pc based, you can't beat Irfan view, certainly not at the price - but again not icc aware.
Yes, GIMP is not color managed, which is a bit of a shame really. I hear that there's a branch of Gimp that is though, but IIRC it is not free.

Actually, you can beat IrfanView :) I was a (very) long time user of IrfanView but got tired of him not implementing CM. A better option, IMO, is FastStone ImageViewer and/or FastStone MaxView. Both are color managed, if you want them to be. In non CM mode, they are every bit as fast as IrfanView.

However, I consider IrfanView and FastStone to be viewers, not editors, even though they do have some limited editing facilities.

For image editing/manipulation, we have to differentiate between local editing and global editing. If RC and global editing is all you do then there quite a few alternatives out there, but for local editing there really is no alternative to Photoshop, IMO. At least not once you've used PS for a while :)
 

Ray West

New member
Hi Kris,

At least not once you've used PS for a while :)
And that is the problem/benefit. If we all use the same (PS), easy to communicate methods, etc. But it is an overkill for simple stuff. It depends on what is meant by 'just touching up images'. Picasa2 may be the 'best?' answer in the short term.

Anyone mention qimage?

Maybe we could produce a flow chart of some sort, for general guidance.

Best wishes,

Ray

http://www.openphotographyforums.com/forums/editpost.php?do=editpost&p=32721
 

John_Nevill

New member
I use Qimage, great for upsizing, especially the Hybrid interpolation algorithm. IMO nothing gets close to it. I've upsized half frame 20D files (in tiff) to A3 and the output wonderful.
 

Diane Fields

New member
I use Qimage, great for upsizing, especially the Hybrid interpolation algorithm. IMO nothing gets close to it. I've upsized half frame 20D files (in tiff) to A3 and the output wonderful.
Lots of good suggestions--esp. for 'touching up'. I always have Irfanview on my HD--have recommended it for years (with links on the CDs) when I do CDs for companies that I shoot for (furniture mfg.)--with prints and CDs for reference. They have always liked it for viewing/ thumbs/quicky slideshows.

I had Faststone--also good, but only kept the one when I had my new computer built. I've used Qimage for years and consider Mike Chaney to be about the most responsive developer there is. I did a good sized shoot that resulted in 18- 2'x 3' prints for a showroom and I prepared the files for printing (after my graphics lab and I had worked out just what they wanted and knew I could handle the prep). I tried several ways to uprez as these were files from a 20D. I did crops as well as trying the 'poster' setup to give me an idea of what I would get from Qimage---and compared to GF and PS. In the end I uprezzed in Qimage and 'printed to file', used PKS for sharpening in PS and converted to CMYK and the format they requested in PS. Qimage wasn't WAY ahead, but it was somewhat better for those particular prints.

That being said, I find it easier for me, usually printing a print at a time, to print from PS since I'm working in PS right up through softproofing. I also do no corrections in Qimage and never have though I do know some do use it that way.

Lots of good advice here for the OP---perhaps you don't even need to buy a graphics app--and since you are shooting with a Canon--and just starting in RAW, be sure and take advantage of DPP (its included with your software and there is an upgrade fairly recently on the Canon site).

I would think seriously about what you will do with your images---RAW??, web gallery or print or both? processing beyond RAW conversion? and consider where this might take you in the future. I would start the cheapest I could at this point (software wise) and get a feel for it, thus my recommendation to just use DPP for RC--though 'clunky', it gives an excellent image file. If you have PSP, use that (many years ago when it was 'almost' free and owned by Jasq, I had it on my HD--and I understand that it has kept up nicely).

Diane
 

Chuck Bragg

New member
The Non-Destructor Has Come

I don't see it mentioned, but if you're shooting JPGs, then LR edits them non-destructively, as it (and PS) does with RAW files. This is a big reason I got LR. I shoot both, but don't want two different work flows. I've ruined JPGs in the past by forgetting to work on copies, etc etc. With LR, everything is reversible.

I also have CS2 and I really need its capabilities on some shots. I got it at a major educational discount and if I had to pay retail, I'd look harder at the alternatives, but the *functions* of masking, layering, cloning and so on (and actions) that are not in LR are a necessary part of editing.

Chuck
 

Chris Dana

New member
Thanks again for all the advice!

I think for the time being, I'll just stick to the software that came with the camera, I played with it some the other day and it seems to do what I need at the moment. Also, having just bought a new lens, funds have just gotten low.
 

Jason Winters

New member
LR vs. PS

Hey Chris!
I've been using PS for quite awhile (anyone remember PS2? :} [no, not a keyboard!]), and have been using LR since the beta. Here are my observations (take with a few grains of salt, please!)

LR: This is your library and IMAGE maintainer/editor. I use LR to bring in and color correct my full image; most of the features in LR operate over the entire image, not just a portion of it. So you can interactively and non-destructively change white balance, color saturation, etc, etc, in LR. The nice thing about LR is id does NOT destroy your original image! And the library functions are wonderful to have, allowing you to select images based on key words, perception level (you can flag them as to how well you like them, etc).

PS: This is your image editor. With it, you select areas to "adjust" to your liking, change/mix/remove items from your pictures, and in general can do just about anything to your image. It's not as flexible for RAW as LR (you have to use a RAW tool to load the image into PS, which limits what you can do interactively). However, it is a fantastic pixel editor. Don't want that tree limb growing in that place? remove/move it!
Another place where PS excels: plugins! PS has quite a few plugins for sharpening, noise filtering, etc. These are very useful when printing, for example.

So, to summarize how I see the difference between the two: I use LR for manipulating my library of images and changes to an entire image, and I use PS for manipulating parts of the image or for fine tuning when getting ready to print or adjust the 'look' of a single image.

Hope that helps! Good luck!

Jason
 

Don Libby

New member
Hi Chris

I’m the new kid on the block here so take what I say with a grain of salt. I beta tested LR and found it wasn’t my cup of tea. I’ve used Photoshop now for several years and am up to CS3. Add to this mix is Phase One Capture One Pro – and people wonder why I have a large computer. I don’t use Light Room. I only use Capture One because CS3 currently hasn’t caught up with Phase One and their Plus backs in camera raw. What I do use all the time is CS3.

Either Adobe product can be good however; I personally feel that CS3 is richer in the effects that I use more. My choice not to use LR was that I felt it added an unnecessary step to my digital workflow. Again that was my opinion. I shoot landscape and nature images and CS3 works best. I also shoot 100% RAW format.

There are several very good tutorials out there for both CS3 and LR. I can highly recommend Michael Reichman’s website luminious-landscape.com for in-depth information on LR. I’d also recommend NAAP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) at photoshopuser.com.

What you decide on is up to you. Do you shoot mainly RAW or JPEG? What are you seeking to get from your images? Do you want to show what you saw or show what you felt at the time, or a combination of the two? Do you want a program which is rich in effects or one that has less? Either one will allow you to grow along with it. Money also is a huge consideration as one will cost more (while giving you more).

My recommendation, based solely on my shooting style, wants and needs would CS3 – but again that fits me best.

Good luck with you decision.


Don
 

Mark Schafer

pro member
Obviously PS CS3 is the more/most powerfull tool that can get you from RAW to a final image with every possible editing possibility (and step in between, PDF, stiching, BW, web optimizing, printing, etc.). If you have the luxury get LR (or C1pro) as well, especially i you get away with little or no post production other than color and rendering alterations, it's a quick and easy and a great workflow tool. I find myself less and less in PS as my alterations are minimal.
Bang for the Buck: definitely Photoshop CS3 with ACR and Bridge
cheers
Mark
 

Don Libby

New member
I’ve done a little more research since I wrote the message above. What I found is that maybe LR would be useful as a DAM solution – don’t know yet. If nothing else I’d be able to have a better management tool for my files as well as a software tool to do some of my light work.


don
 

Todd harrison

New member
interesting for sure! I have been using photoshop for quite sometime. I have not had a chace to use Lightroom. but I hear so many great things. I think photoshop is something you should have but in time if your working with a RAW formate then it's good to have both. buut from what I heard you can do a lot of cool light stuff what lightroom. I have not had a chance to try it out myself. I think everybody should have photoshop but if you have any understanding of lighting then lightroom is great to have too. they both can do some pretty cool stuff.
 

Andrew Rodney

New member
I don't see it mentioned, but if you're shooting JPGs, then LR edits them non-destructively, as it (and PS) does with RAW files. This is a big reason I got LR. I shoot both, but don't want two different work flows. I've ruined JPGs in the past by forgetting to work on copies, etc etc. With LR, everything is reversible.
Actually, no it doesn't. It applies edits via Metadata and re-renders the original causing data loss. But you can essentially do the same in Photoshop use Adjustment layers. That's if you consider that 'non destructive' which I don't. It allows you to hold off, to the last minute when to apply the damage. An adjustment layer isn't fundamentally any different in terms of doing this than a metadata instruction. At some point you have to take the JPEG, pre-baked pixels and apply the edit to produce new values and bingo, here comes the damage.

So if you want to use the term 'non destructive' editing to mean you can apply different edits over and over again, change your mind and then pick the edit you want to apply to the pixels, LR and Photoshop with adjustment layers are the same in terms of this functionality. Its non destructive as you decide what you want, then its destructive. There's no way to alter the numeric values of pixels without some data loss (and with JPEG, this can be worse than say Tiff).

LR's effect on a Raw file truly IS non destructive because you're not touching the Raw data, you're creating new, virgin pixels from this data source. You can't do this in Photoshop (you can in Camera Raw) since Photoshop can only edit existing, rendered pixel data. This is what makes Photoshop alone different from Lightroom. Photoshop alone can't handle Raw data, it needs a plug-in, Camera Raw to feed it pixels.

There's a huge difference in LR and Photoshop when you consider the data source you're feeding it. LR is primarily a Raw processor (CR with lots of additional functionality). Its a browser, its a database (DAM), its a print center and web creator. Its not a one image at a time pixel polisher which is exactly what Photoshop is. There are no local corrections in LR as we have in Photoshop. Photoshop is a far better tool to polish pixels, do non global corrections. But LR is the place to do all the global tone and color creation (called rendering) from Raw data. Or you can use Camera Raw and hand that off to Photoshop. CR and LR share the same processing pipeline and limitations if you will.

Potentially there can be far MORE damage using LR on a rendered image than Photoshop. If you feed Photoshop a JPEG in say sRGB, use Adjustment layers and eventually print the data, you stamp the edits on that original color space. In LR, every image has to be converted from its original color space to a linear encoded wide gamut (ProPhoto RGB) color space. Then if you want to honor that original sRGB color space, you have to remember to export it that way. The CR and LR processing pipeline is designed for Raw linear encoded data, data that has no color space.
 
Try the trial versions first

Just to stir the pot a little bit more... I think starting with the manufacturer's software is a very good idea. After a while you might find yourself bumping up against some of the software's limitations and then it's time to start looking. All of the mainstream RAW converters out there have trial versions and I would strongly recommend that you try out your potential candidates with your images and your workflow. The quality that you can get out of the most popular RAW converters is very close, so the decision comes down to how quickly can you get a result you like with a particular piece of software and your particular style. I work for Bibble Labs so of course I'm biased as to which converter is best :), but most of our photographers have at least two different editors to handle different situations.

Just as everyone has their own unique creative vision, we all have different styles of interacting with our images. The tool that does the best job for you could be completely frustrating to use for someone else. There is a pretty good comparison of the major converters at http://www.sphoto.com/techinfo/rawconverters/rawconverters.htm It is by no means complete (Aperture is missing, but it is Mac only) but it's a good starting point to help you narrow down what you might want from a converter.

Colleen
 
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