What photo editing software to buy

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Parkersdad, Feb 8, 2018.

  1. LWW

    LWW No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    AFFINITY PHOTO FTW!


     
  2. SquarePeg

    SquarePeg Nevertheless... Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I’ve been using Affinity for iPad ($19.99!) and so far I love it except for sharpening. Care to share your thoughts/steps for sharpening? I’ve been using the Unsharp Mask filter but I can’t get it to work as well for me as when I was using PSE11 Unsharp Mask feature. The values don’t carry over. Also there seems not to be a general “sharpening” tool outside of Unsharp Mask.
     
  3. TCampbell

    TCampbell Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Peg,

    I have not tried to do sharpening in Affinity (yet). I do still have my subscription ($120/yr) to Adobe Cloud for Lightroom & Photoshop. It's just that I like some tools better in Affinity (namely... when I have to "clone" or "heal" it seems to work better).

    However... on those occasions when I sharpen or de-noise using Photoshop, I have a process where I create a mask to detect edges of contrast.

    Why?

    Sharpening & De-noising are basically the opposites. One tries to reduce the difference between pixels... the other tries to exaggerate the difference between pixels.

    If you sharpen... you increase noise. If you De-noise you soften the image.

    BUT... if you create a mask to detect edges of contrast, then you generally want to apply the sharpening just in those areas where you already have strong contrast. And when you want to de-noise, you invert the mask so you de-noise the non-contrasty areas away from the "edges" of detail.

    It's a bit of a process... but it does provide better results.

    I only have Affinity on my iPad... but I may see if I can replicate the process I do in Photoshop and if I can, I'll post the steps.

    Roughly... I duplicate the image to a new layer.
    I create a layer mask.
    I select the image.
    In photoshop if you "alt-click" (windows) or "option-click" (mac) on the actual MASK in the layer (not the image) it will display the mask in the main area (in a new mask, you'll just see an all-white screen).
    You then "paste" the image to the mask. When you do this, the image in the mask will be black & white (masks are monochrome... anything "white" is not masked... anything "black" is masked. Anything "gray" is semi-masked (wont get the full effect of whatever you do).

    You can "invert" the image in the mask (it will look like a photographic black & white film negative) for use when de-noising.

    There are several ways to create a mask to detect regions and edges... sometimes I use the "levels" and alter the white-point & black-point (to massively crank up contrast). You can create a mask to detect edges. Often you'll need to apply a Gaussian Blur of a maybe a couple of pixels to increase the edge and create a better transition between masked & non-masked areas.

    Having done this, you now have a mask which isolates areas that need sharpening vs. areas that can take de-noising (the inverse of the same mask).

    You can now go after sharpening and de-noising much more ambitiously than otherwise possible without creating the bad side-effects.

    Again... I have done this in Photoshop... I have not yet attempted to do this in Affinity Photo. But I may toy with it just to see if it works.
     
  4. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Not sure about the iPad version but the desktop version of Affinity can sharpen a photo using two methods other than Unsharp mask.

    Both methods require than you create a duplicate Layer.

    First: Under Filters/Sharpen there's an option for High Pass. Create the dupe layer and then apply the High Pass filter to the dupe. You'll have to experiment with different values -- try 14 as a starting point. You'll get a pretty odd looking gray ghosty outlined image. Change the blending mode for that layer from Normal to Soft Light and the image will sharpen. Adjust opacity for the dupe layer to taste.

    Second: Under Filters there's an option for Frequency Separation. Create the dupe layer, select it and then select Filters/Frequency Separation. You'll have to add two values in the dialog that pops up. Suggest a radius of 3 and 75%. Lower the radius for less sharpening and raise it for more sharpening. Click apply and your dupe layer will be replaced by two layers one labeled High Frequency and one labeled Low Frequency. Delete the Low Frequency (middle) layer and the image will sharpen. Use the layer opacity slider to adjust the amount of sharpening.

    Joe
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2018
  5. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Unless like the OP you happen to be shooting and processing RAW files. Affinity is the best Photoshop clone to come along and it's a great bargain but it's raw processing workflow is destructive. It's critical to understand that if you use Affinity to convert raw files you lose all your work once you click on Develop and any changes you may want to make later will require that you start all over from scratch -- that's a big ouch.

    Joe
     
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  6. happasmith

    happasmith TPF Noob!

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    I would recommend Lightroom but it's not for free. But it's a good way to practice if you plan on venturing into professional or serious hobby photography. Otherwise, get the software that comes with the camera.
     
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  7. sergezap

    sergezap TPF Noob!

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    It really depends from your workflow.
    The most universal solutions imho is Adobe Photoshop + Camera Raw or Capture One.
    Is depends what you really need. As for me, Lightroom (which has the same RAW engine as Camera RAW) has the worst camera profiles ever. I used Lr on Sony, Canon, and Panasonic.
    If you don't need a retouching take a look on C1.
     
  8. SquarePeg

    SquarePeg Nevertheless... Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Please let me know if you give this a try.

    As far as I can find in the iPad app, there is no Sharpen filter - only Unsharp Mask.

    There is a Frequency Separation option and I'll give this a try if it works with Unsharp Mask but if not then it's not an option as no straight "Sharpen" filter.
     
  9. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The Frequency Separation method doesn't require any other type of sharpening -- no need to have a Sharpen filter so if the iPad version supports Frequency Separation that should work.

    Joe
     
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  10. pixmedic

    pixmedic The Mustached Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    PortraitPro - Easy Photo Editing Software is running a 50% off sale.
    the new version now handles raw files. i got the pro studio and body bundle for $99 and it seems to work really well. it might be a decent alternative to LR. they also have a landscape version. the body studio is new to me, and it lets you make all sorts of adjustments to arms, legs, torso, head..pretty much everything. not sure how much i would actually use it though. might have been better off just skipping it, but we'll see how it goes. dont do much portrait work any more, but it was intriguing so i gave it a go.
     
  11. Yzerwing

    Yzerwing TPF Noob!

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    PicMonkey is absolutely FREE and you don't even need to download anything. It is limited but works well and is simple to use.
     
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  12. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The OP's opening sentence was, "I shoot with a Nikon D300 in RAW mode." -- no PicMonkey.

    Joe
     
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