Programs

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jokeborn
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Programs

Post by jokeborn » Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:46 pm

Whenever I come up and look at my pics, I end up deleting a lot that are borderline. Can anyone recommend a good program to assist with the back scatter and/or to clean up the shot? Thanks.
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Grateful Diver
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Re: Programs

Post by Grateful Diver » Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:57 pm

Honda ... er, Photoshop ... Elements ...

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cardiver
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Re: Programs

Post by cardiver » Mon Nov 10, 2008 6:02 pm

If you want something that's free and that gives you a ton of space to store your photo's, try Picasa from Google.
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Re: Programs

Post by Phineas Gage » Mon Nov 10, 2008 7:13 pm

A decent and free photo editor: http://www.getpaint.net/

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Dusty2
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Re: Programs

Post by Dusty2 » Mon Nov 10, 2008 7:21 pm

My program of choice is Paint shop Pro Photo. You can download a 30 day trial at corel.com and they have on-line Tutorials to help you learn. If you like it you buy it or you can find a older version thru ebay or one of the on line software vendors pretty cheap.

As far as clearing up backscatter,,, Good luck, There isn't much you can do about it except prevent it. But you can sharpen, change the lighting, color and contrast.

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Huskychemist
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Re: Programs

Post by Huskychemist » Mon Nov 10, 2008 9:58 pm

There are some of us that don't use any photo-enhancing software, preferring to use only unaltered images. It's simply a philosophical choice to try to get the best pictures possible with our cameras and skill. (And I'm certainly not suggesting that my pictures are fantastic, as I don't get very many oohs and aahs...or comments at all, for that matter) The only alteration I will make is to crop photos for easier identification purposes.

Just a thought...albeit not a popular one, from what I can tell.
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Re: Programs

Post by Dmitchell » Tue Nov 11, 2008 9:14 am

CS3 or now CS4
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Re: Programs

Post by Scott G » Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:55 am

Huskychemist wrote:There are some of us that don't use any photo-enhancing software, preferring to use only unaltered images. It's simply a philosophical choice to try to get the best pictures possible with our cameras and skill. (And I'm certainly not suggesting that my pictures are fantastic, as I don't get very many oohs and aahs...or comments at all, for that matter) The only alteration I will make is to crop photos for easier identification purposes.

Just a thought...albeit not a popular one, from what I can tell.


I will disagree :)

Your camera and your browser (egad!) will be processing your photo's if your photo's unless you shoot in RAW and choose the type of processing appropriate for your photo in Camera RAW program (photoshop)...

it's getting processed whether you like it or not, may as well do it yourself to choose what is best for your photo.

I would reccomend PS elements ($99) or CS3 (much more$) to retain control of the processing applied.

Ansel Adams used extensive darkroom techniques, and is considered a purist... the click of the shutter is just the beginning of a great photogaph.

You have some great photo's Lowell, you should consider getting more out of them by understanding the processing...

Nobody ever turned a mediocre shot into a great one in Photoshop, well at least i haven't...

As your philosphy on this does advocate, getting it right out of the camera is the key.

Scott

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whatevah
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Re: Programs

Post by whatevah » Tue Nov 11, 2008 12:06 pm

Huskychemist wrote:There are some of us that don't use any photo-enhancing software, preferring to use only unaltered images. It's simply a philosophical choice to try to get the best pictures possible with our cameras and skill. (And I'm certainly not suggesting that my pictures are fantastic, as I don't get very many oohs and aahs...or comments at all, for that matter) The only alteration I will make is to crop photos for easier identification purposes.

Just a thought...albeit not a popular one, from what I can tell.


You're using photo-enhancing software whether you like it or not Lowell. There's a lot of processing that happens in-camera - especially if you're storing the images as JPEG. Sharpness, color balance, brightness and contrast are likely all being somehow compensated by the camera's software no matter how you've got your settings - it's just a part of converting the stream of data into something that's able to be stored as an image file. If you're not at least adjusting white balance you're doing your photos a disservice - there's no way for the camera to really know about white balance unless you tell it. The way I see it, every camera makes guesses about what you are viewing - you need to show your viewers what it really looked like to the human eye. I store my photos as RAW, and I use a program called UFRAW to import them into my favorite processing software, GIMP (it's free - check it out). As part of that process, I do "darkroom" stuff - adjust white balance, set the brightness such that there are no "burned" parts of the image, and then set gamma where I'm making full use of the range available. Afterwards I crop, and sharpen a touch to make up for the losses when saving as JPEG. When using film, the same kind of processing was necessary. That's the way I was viewing the scene, and I'm compensating for the camera's approximations.

I understand and encourage trying to get the best possible image as you're taking it - that's a necessity for getting the best results whether you do any external processing or not. You make it sound like you think that post-processing alone can produce an excellent image when the starting point is bad - that's definitely not the case. Things like noise reduction, removing backscatter etc are destructive to the image and always result in some trade-offs, so ideally you remove the need for them by changing your technique. Helping your camera to give you images that match what you were seeing is not a bad thing, and it does not eliminate the need to learn good photographic techniques.

Each to their own, but for example: I see a lot of underwater images that have color tint which is way off - the critters look nothing like their real colors and personally that detaches me from the scene - I know for a fact that's not the way it looks in real life but it's definitely the way the camera's software saw it.

http://www.gimp.org/

http://ufraw.sourceforge.net/
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Re: Programs

Post by Dusty2 » Tue Nov 11, 2008 12:29 pm

IMHO Adobe has been getting away with highway robbery for years just because they were the first pro level program and garnered a loyal following early on. Photoshop elements is a pretty basic program for a hunderd bucks and the full photoshop in insanely expensive and difficult to learn.

Paint shop pro photo X2 does almost everything the full photoshop cs4 does including using photoshop plugins for less than a hundred bucks (one scuba unit) If you plan to do pro level print and publishing by all means buy PS4 but for the average mid level digital photog on a buget PSPPX2 is more than enough.

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Huskychemist
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Re: Programs

Post by Huskychemist » Tue Nov 11, 2008 2:45 pm

Pete and Scott,

Thanks for the responses. I've been saying "I won't Photoshop" for as long as I've had my camera, but I've never had anybody put it quite the way you both put it.

I won't be an easy convert, but you've given me pause to consider a few things. (Mentioning Ansel Adams didn't hurt either.) I understand better how white balance and brightness are "dark room" adjustments that have been made for as long as people have been taking pictures. But what about removing backscatter by "painting" the background? What's your take on that? In my view, that's a bit much...but that's just me.

It's 5:43 AM here and I'm on my way to work...more later...

Lowell
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Tom Nic
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Re: Programs

Post by Tom Nic » Tue Nov 11, 2008 2:58 pm

I saw a coupon for $30 off Photoshop Elements in a mailer from Costco today.

Great advice from great photographers in the above couple of posts!

I haven't had much luck removing backscatter from my pictures - only tried a couple of times.

But even with really good software if the picture has a ton of backscatter - forget it. Unless you're REAL good you won't be able to do much with it, at least from my very unprofessional opinion. If you have that one evil piece of backscatter in an otherwise gorgeous shot you can remove that pretty easily.

I don't mind being a purist - about certain things, and if there's a point to it.

I don't hear anyone who does some afterwork on their digital images "pretending" that the final product was their original shot. Of course you can alter an image so much that it's nothing like and so far from the original as to be something it never was... as was mentioned above I don't care much for that either, but that's just my personal preference.

I haven't done anything with white balance yet - I don't have a camera that shoots in RAW. Usually I just adjust contrast or less frequently levels a little bit. It helps my images some, and for my little point and shoot works well enough to give me some joy and let me share "my" underwater world with others.

I'll echo what others have said, however, all the editing in the world won't make a crummy image a great one. There is still a fair bit to the skill and eye of the one behind the lens, not just the one in front of the computer.
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Re: Programs

Post by Scott G » Tue Nov 11, 2008 6:01 pm

Huskychemist wrote:Pete and Scott,

Thanks for the responses. I've been saying "I won't Photoshop" for as long as I've had my camera, but I've never had anybody put it quite the way you both put it.

I won't be an easy convert, but you've given me pause to consider a few things. (Mentioning Ansel Adams didn't hurt either.) I understand better how white balance and brightness are "dark room" adjustments that have been made for as long as people have been taking pictures. But what about removing backscatter by "painting" the background? What's your take on that? In my view, that's a bit much...but that's just me.

It's 5:43 AM here and I'm on my way to work...more later...

Lowell



Hi again,

I think the backscatter should stay if you like it, if you don't and have set up the shot such that it is reasonable and realistic to remove, then it should go.

Normally i avoid giving any photo advice, for a couple of reasons (unqualified and not good at explaining the little i know)

But here's an example:

I recently posted a shot of a juv blue rockfish to another thread...

here's that photo's story.

I shot it knowing there would be backscatter, so i stayed distant from the background, knowing a open apeture would blur that background and make backscatter removal easy (backscatter in front of in focussed areas is unrealistic to remove)

so here's the shot out of the camera:
IMG_3453_OC.jpg


for posting i quickly took that shot, cropped it and put a quick mask with a blur to reduce the backscatter (15 second job)

here's that:
IMG_3453.jpg


This photo is basically just one to have a good ID photo for a juv blue, it's not very good otherwise, i took it in RAW (2 minute job) changed the "in camera settings" and came up with this, proving, you can only do so much with a mediocre shot:
IMG_3453_BC.jpg


it's not a great example of what PS can do, but it's a good example of how PS can quickly clean up a mediocre shot.

Scott

after a quick look at that the cropping is kind of croppy.

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Dusty2
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Re: Programs

Post by Dusty2 » Tue Nov 11, 2008 6:41 pm

First let me say this may be considered a hijack and sorry for being long winded

For the purists out there. A photo must be good to start with or it will never be anything more than a snapshot. You can make a good picture better but you must have a good product to start with. If a picture is out of focus it will always be, if it is overexposed you can make it look better but the detail just won’t be there because it was never there. If it’s too dark you can make it lighter but it will be grainy and the colors flat and lifeless because you didn’t capture them in the first place. No camera, no matter how much you pay for it will pick the right subjects or compose the shot for you and no software is going to take a bad photo and make it good.

No great photographer ever sent his film to Kodak for processing. They all processed and printed their own because artistic control is what it is all about. What happens after the shot is just as important as the shot itself. What happens in the darkroom is the same thing that happens at the computer only instead of chemical processes and such it’s done inside a bunch of microchips. If you are shooting digital allot of that happens between the lens and the memory card. Things like color, white balance, contrast, focus and much more are all interpreted by the logic chip before it stores the data on the card.

A blend of many things that all work together make for those Wows and Ohs . There are three main components. Diving skill, Photographic skill, and processing skill.
If you are not good at buoyancy, balance, coordination and breath control you are not going to get those special shots. You need to be able to sneak up on your subjects and interact with them without stirring up a cloud of silt or scaring them off. And staying still in a moving environment isn’t easy

Photographic skill underwater involves knowledge of your equipment, your subject and your environment and how all those things interact. Plus a “feel” for what makes them into a good photo. You can’t compose your subjects or ask them to smile and don’t move. You won’t have allot of time to get yourself into the right position. You won’t have a tripod or umbrella lights and the water adds a whole new set of rules that you must learn and manage.

Processing is the difference between snapshots and great photo’s. Being able to see the finished product in the raw picture and then having the knowledge to make that happen is where the tire meets the road.

All of these must come together to make it all work. Great photos don’t just happen at the camera they are made in the processing.

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Re: Programs

Post by Fishstiq » Sat Nov 15, 2008 2:29 pm

Huskychemist wrote:Pete and Scott,

Thanks for the responses. I've been saying "I won't Photoshop" for as long as I've had my camera, but I've never had anybody put it quite the way you both put it.

I won't be an easy convert, but you've given me pause to consider a few things. (Mentioning Ansel Adams didn't hurt either.) I understand better how white balance and brightness are "dark room" adjustments that have been made for as long as people have been taking pictures. But what about removing backscatter by "painting" the background? What's your take on that? In my view, that's a bit much...but that's just me.

It's 5:43 AM here and I'm on my way to work...more later...

Lowell


I was in the "Purist" group too until this thread. No cropping, no photoshop, just click, download and show. After seeing another viewpoint explained so clearly and logically, I am seeing things differently.

Can anyone here share advice on a class that would explain photo editing software to a newb? I know some here have mentioned tutorials, is there any one in particular that stands out?
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Re: Programs

Post by whatevah » Sat Nov 15, 2008 4:02 pm

Fishstiq wrote:Can anyone here share advice on a class that would explain photo editing software to a newb? I know some here have mentioned tutorials, is there any one in particular that stands out?


I learned what little I know by trial and error, so I don't have any good leads for you in that regard sorry. One thing I love to do is get together with other photographers and ask for a demonstration of their "workflow" (the process they repeat over and again from images on memory card to images ready for presentation or prints). I've developed my own workflow over the years, using the software I'm most comfortable with, but everybody has their own variation - sometimes you can try someone else's workflow with your own images and see how it goes - or integrate some of their steps to refine your own. If you take a live-aboard trip with a bunch of underwater photographers you will become saturated not only with nitrogen but also with processing tips and ideas. It is kind of funny looking around at everybody feverishly working away at their laptop, surrounded by battery chargers and dismantled housings. I use GIMP for my processing, and I've found a number of good tutorials online - mostly aimed at addressing particular processing challenges though, not so much a general introduction - those kinds of general intros might be out there though - ask google. Good luck with it - for me the processing is a big part of the fun.
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Re: Programs

Post by Dusty2 » Sat Nov 15, 2008 5:30 pm

If you use Paint shop pro Photo as I do they have an on-line lessons feature that can walk you through almost an aspect of the program and it's all free to registered users, including those just using the demo software. Their download demo software is fully functional for thirty days so you have lots of time to test drive it. And If you go with it I can tutor you. It might cost you a pizza or something but it's target oriented for underwater photo work.

As far as Photo shop. Most of the colleges and on line schools offer courses but it ain't cheap and it's pretty complicated software.

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Re: Programs

Post by spatman » Sat Nov 15, 2008 8:36 pm

Photoshop is primarily a design tool used to create artwork more so than a photo editing system, so a Photoshop class will most likely be way more information than you need to enhance and edit your photos. don't waste your money and time on a class, just ask other photog who us PS to show you some tricks.

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