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Dallas

I Still Hate Photoshop

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I started this project for a new client last week and got to complete it today. It started out as 4 simple pack shots, but ended up becoming an exercise in testing how much of myself I could restrain from cursing and re-cursing the abomination that is Photoshop. 🤢

 

In spite of my perhaps ignorance of how Ps interacts with Lr when it comes to passing work between the two platforms, I think I managed to pull off something I haven't ever done before, which is a composite of a bottle made up of 4 differently lit shots, masking in the bits I wanted to keep and painting out those I didn't want to keep. I still don't quite know how this works, but hey... 

 

EM1B0080-Edit.jpg

The gift box was the easiest to shoot. I had to flag off different parts of the left side so as to avoid it picking up reflections in the studio, while feathering the right side with light to avoid hotspots. I repaired the gold strip on the bottom left, but I could probably do a better job given a bit more time and patience. 

 

EM1B0109-etched-png-2.jpg

The bottle was the hardest without a doubt. This is my final composite for the client. Not perfect, but it will have to do given the budget (and the fact that it's a pack shot, not a hero shot). The label is too wrinkled on the bottom and there are still traces of the soft boxes visible in the neck. The bottom also needs to be properly finished, but their Ps expert can deal with that. It was extremely hard to get the glow on this very shiny label right. I ended up using a white flag and bouncing light from below the shooting table into that in order to get it this subtle. The shot below shows what it looks like when lit directly. You'll also notice that the cap doesn't line up with the label. I had to twist it and fortunately avoided breaking the seal. 

EM1B0085-Edit.jpg

 

What do you think? Not too bad, eh? I know I can do better, and once I have this Pshop stuff in hand I will definitely start charging more. 

 

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Good result alright, but Photoshop 101 = get a Wacom tablet, preferably an Intuos 9x12 version, and map it for the full screen of your main monitor when using Photoshop.

 

Trying to mouse retouch or use a small tablet that doesn't give a close to proportional movement and pressure of pen-to-cursor is simply wasting your time, particularly if you are painting masks using pressure sensitivity to control the feathering and size of your brush input.

 

I don't think anyone ever suggested that Ps was easy (that's why Adobe made Lightroom, after all), and it really does take a heck of a lot of practice to master, but once you get that practice (and learn Photoshop 102 = use keyboard shortcuts) you'll find it becomes as intuitive as picking up a pen and writing.

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So seeing that this would be an obvious and predictable thing from me (and as Forum boss you can delete this whole post should it be considered a bit uncool ;) ).......

 

The low res meant it's a bit rough (I haven't had to use one-pixel brushes since my Mac II ci in the mid 1990's), but here's the original bottle (the one with the harsh highlights and out-of-sync lid)after a bit of Wacom-actuated Photoshop brushwork, plus borrowing the lid from the second bottle (simply rotating the bottle at the time of photography and substituting that would have been a better path so that the lighting would match better, with no need to risk breaking seals :) )
 

 

EM1B0085-Edit.jpg.thumb.jpg.a3c5844839960f2aa119dea6de0444fb.jpg

 

BTW, it's not Photoshop that I dislike, its the company called Adobe that my distrust and dislike are directed at...

 

 

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Thanks Alan. I sold my Wacom Intuos 5 to buy the Apple Cinema screen. 🙄 

 

If I'm honest, the idea of sitting in front of Ps to edit so painstakingly has less appeal than a visit to the dentist, so I reckon I might just be making use of those services in the Asian sub-continent to attack these tasks if I get more jobs from this client. 

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The point I was trying to make is that once you get practiced at it, Photoshop actually speeds things up no end. I'd be willing to bet retouching that bottle took far less time than the fuinal photography. Not that I'm advocating this as a solution to everything, but Ps really is streets ahead of everything else I've tried.

 

I thought Affinity might be a competitor when I bought it, but having now bought the Affinity Workbook to help decipher the odd nomenclature and renaming of standard tools and methodology for apparently no other reason than just to be different, it became very clear very quickly that it was still an infant program sorely lacking in scope and finesse. There still appears to be nothing that actually provides a true digital version of traditional retouching methods like Photoshop does.

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I get it. I realise that it is the gold standard for editing prowess, but the problem I have with it is that it is based on an old architecture for software that is nothing like the way Lightroom works. For instance, if I want to save an image as a certain format I can do that, but then the original format is replaced with this new one when I hit save. That gets very confusing. It's particularly annoying when you have been editing a TIF and then you hit export as JPG and you don't click the little box to save a copy. There's no undoing that kind of error (which I have committed far too many times to recount). Yes, I know they have introduced this thing called "smart objects" but then I have to use Bridge and learn all its little tricks too. It's just too much new information for this old brain to absorb. 

 

Lightroom is a great tool to use once you get the fundamental principles of how it works sorted in your head. The fact that I can just click the presets in an adjoining panel and not have to worry about ever "hurting" the original file is priceless to me. As I said elsewhere on FZ recently, if they can start to bring in more precise editing tools like selections and even layers, I don't think I would need to use Ps anymore. The video I posted in the Lightroom Club recently giving 7 tips from a landscape photographer shows just how powerful this editor has become, where you can isolate a specific colour band and make adjustments to only that range of colours or luminance values was a great discovery that I didn't know existed. I think to do the same sort of editing in Photoshop would require an exponentially larger amount of mouse clicks and strokes. 

 

I will persevere though. 

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I'm on side with you Dallas. I can use PS and do when the need arises but LR is, for me,  so much easier and faster to use for the majority of images. Your wish list would certainly add to the advantages of LR but I'm not holding my breath.

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I suspect that they can add those things to Lr but if they did then nobody would be using the "flagship" anymore. It's all just meta data anyway, so whether it is held in the file format natively or the catalog and then applied "on the fly" doesn't really make any difference from a processing point of view. It might be slightly slower in Lr, but it could certainly be done. 

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8 hours ago, Dallas said:

I get it. I realise that it is the gold standard for editing prowess, but the problem I have with it is that it is based on an old architecture for software that is nothing like the way Lightroom works. For instance, if I want to save an image as a certain format I can do that, but then the original format is replaced with this new one when I hit save. That gets very confusing. It's particularly annoying when you have been editing a TIF and then you hit export as JPG and you don't click the little box to save a copy. There's no undoing that kind of error (which I have committed far too many times to recount). Yes, I know they have introduced this thing called "smart objects" but then I have to use Bridge and learn all its little tricks too. It's just too much new information for this old brain to absorb. 

 

Lightroom is a great tool to use once you get the fundamental principles of how it works sorted in your head. The fact that I can just click the presets in an adjoining panel and not have to worry about ever "hurting" the original file is priceless to me. As I said elsewhere on FZ recently, if they can start to bring in more precise editing tools like selections and even layers, I don't think I would need to use Ps anymore. The video I posted in the Lightroom Club recently giving 7 tips from a landscape photographer shows just how powerful this editor has become, where you can isolate a specific colour band and make adjustments to only that range of colours or luminance values was a great discovery that I didn't know existed. I think to do the same sort of editing in Photoshop would require an exponentially larger amount of mouse clicks and strokes. 

 

I will persevere though. 

 

Always "Save" first (CMD+S) (there will be no dialogues, the file will save with its original name and format), then "Save as..." =Shift+Cmd+S to save in any other format. You'll get a dialogue box asking you what and where - change the name of the file slightly for added security and nominate the format. Your second save will be in whatever format you choose and your original file remains in its last saved state and format. Using this you'll never see "save as a copy" unless you're trying to save a 16-bit layered Tiff as a jpeg or similar (you'll have to convert to 8-bit and flatten the image first to avoid that).


What I said about keyboard shortcuts.... doing the above becomes automatic, is lightning fast and there is no chance of error in mixing up what and where the original file is as distinct from the "saved as" file. You don't hurt your original file, everything can be in the same folder or distributed to other places if desired, and granted that this takes a bit of thought, it results in a workflow that suits the user and not some Adobe software writer's idea of how the program should be used. Ps is a professional tool, in other words, and I don't think it ever pretended to be anything else.


Lr introduced this stupid "export" nomenclature which doesn't have the same meaning as Ps "save" and is more like the effect of "save as" with fewer options. Unfortunately Lr's dumbed-down workings have now carried over into just about all other imaging software, so much so that in Affinity I've come across parts where "save" refers to whatever image settings you've just made in a filter or similar, and NOTHING is actually saved until you "Export". This means that you can lose the bloody lot even though you may have "saved" fifty times, but failed to "Export". As Photoshop predated Lr by many years, anyone who was seriously editing and retouching before that black day soon realised that Lr and Ps in the same workflow was a disaster waiting to happen, and, as I did, deleted the Lr demo in short order as there is still nothing that comes close to Ps in outright capability when it comes to retouching and image manipulation.

 

Everything else I've tried falls way short of the mark - I've given up on Affinity now that I've properly explored it - aside from the infuriatingly esoteric renaming of workings, it is in fact more like a totally castrated Photoshop. On1 Photo RAW is very speedy at what it does, but most of what is in Photoshop isn't in On1 at all - On1 appears to be more for the hit and giggle overblown and pumped colour brigade that are enjoying their moment in the sun in photography at the moment (which will soon pass into the same oblivion as did the pervasive "HDR Effect" rubbish of a few years ago).

 

Just to show what happens when "Save" and "Save as" are used properly in Photoshop, here's the Bridge folder containing the progress so far of a tricky job I'm working on at present, and is the way I worked before Photoshop introduced History States and the accompanying multiple undo. Combining both now means I almost never have to completely start again.

 

St6nGEx.jpg

 

At each major point of change I've "Saved as" in order to give me a progressive return point should further "Save" points lead me down the wrong path. I find keeping things going like this gives me both a visual reference and order along which I can backtrack should things not be going well, which in my line of work happened often. In fact the ability to do this was why I switched to digital retouching over brush, dye, scalpel and airbrush way back in 1999, even though the method for getting the image into the computer and out again for a photographic print to be made was anything but easy back then. Doing retouching the old way meant no possible chance of correcting mistakes other than to start again from scratch, so all the frigging around getting the image into and back out of the ether was worthwhile.

 

Just one correction - " The video I posted in the Lightroom Club recently giving 7 tips from a landscape photographer shows just how powerful this editor has become, where you can isolate a specific colour band and make adjustments to only that range of colours or luminance values was a great discovery that I didn't know existed. I think to do the same sort of editing in Photoshop would require an exponentially larger amount of mouse clicks and strokes. "

- there are several ways to do this in Ps, perhaps one click "Color Range" selection, which is highly adjustable with a simple slider will do that almost in an instant with a real-time preview effect being the one I use most frequently, followed by an accurate adjustment of that selected colour/luminosity in the Hue/Saturation/Lightness panel. I doubt there is anything in Lr that is faster than Ps,... just finding the quickest way in Ps is the skill that comes with practice - the program almost always has several different options to achieve certain effects, usually with some subtle difference in result of ways that better integrate with an alternate workflow chasing a different end result.

 

One click to select after a quick slider adjustment in "Select>Color Range....", then Hue and Sat slider adjustments in HSL (my KBSC Ctrl+U) = total time, less than 10 seconds.

abqizNi.jpg

eg8e7IS.jpg

(Note that the selection was fine enough to change the colour reflection in the paint on the side of the car, the banding in the sky was only because I worked off an 8-bit jpeg as this was the easiest suitable one to hand in the recent file history list and the Hue slider movement was extreme - the adjustment available is infinite for a fussy worker).

 

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Adding:

 

Thanks for that, Dallas, the client liked the idea she ordered one done with a bit more subtlety - took maybe 20 seconds this time to be a bit more fussy about the colours :D

 

ea271FR.jpg

 

SPPVkUU.jpg

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Well you see, there's the thing with Lr. There is no save function required because it "saves" every change you make as you do it. Think of Lr as having a little scribe sitting quietly in the corner writing down everything you're doing as you do it to your raw file. If you make a mistake you use the CMD+Z to undo repeatedly until you're back where your error occurred, all the while your raw file remains untouched so there's no chance of messing it up and nothing you do is ever lost. When you reach the point of your edit at which you wish to create an output file you simply select the export function and within that dialog box you define your format, size, compression, destination, watermark, etc. It couldn't be any simpler. In Photoshop that process is so complicated by multiple menus and magic sauce that you can only operate the program efficiently if you have prior training in it. That training is based on an old architecture of logic which, in my personal opinion, doesn't have any place in the world of computing anymore. It should be deprecated by all software developers. 

 

I'm not saying that Ps doesn't have a place in photography - that would be foolish. All I'm saying is that it is hobbled by a workflow logic of the past and as such I prefer to use the simpler, much more logical (to me at least) Lightroom. I can't recall how many times I had this argument with (she will shall not be named) where doing the same task in Lr cut down the number of mouse clicks or KSC's by more than half. It did however highlight to me that there is an old school and a new school in image editing and I don't think too many people from the old school like to see things being made simpler. I hope you don't take that the wrong way.  

 

I can't recall how quickly Nigel Danson make that selection of the green range in his video but I think it was about 3 clicks and a slider movement. I hadn't seen that done in Lr before using the gradient tool with masking, so it was nice to learn. 

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19 hours ago, Dallas said:

Well you see, there's the thing with Lr. There is no save function required because it "saves" every change you make as you do it. Think of Lr as having a little scribe sitting quietly in the corner writing down everything you're doing as you do it to your raw file. If you make a mistake you use the CMD+Z to undo repeatedly until you're back where your error occurred, all the while your raw file remains untouched so there's no chance of messing it up and nothing you do is ever lost. When you reach the point of your edit at which you wish to create an output file you simply select the export function and within that dialog box you define your format, size, compression, destination, watermark, etc. It couldn't be any simpler. In Photoshop that process is so complicated by multiple menus and magic sauce that you can only operate the program efficiently if you have prior training in it. That training is based on an old architecture of logic which, in my personal opinion, doesn't have any place in the world of computing anymore. It should be deprecated by all software developers.

 

Photoshop does that - it's called the History Panel (Multiple Undo), and you can nominate how many "states" it'll save before it starts overwriting, so it saves every move as you go, and gives you an access interface  to choose to which state you'd like to return to at any time. This way all you have to do is click on any one of those states and you're instantly returned to that part of the work. If you're not sure this is what you want, you "save as..." first and then  revert and try an altered workflow you think might be better - if it leads you up a blind alley, then just open the "saved as" file and you're back at that point again, and still have your just completed history preserved if you leave that file open as well. You can also save a record of those steps if you want. Call it multiple redundancy, if you will.

 

What you're describing here for Lr is a similar thing, with fewer options. The earliest versions of Ps (0.07-4.0) had a single step ctrl+Z backstep which is probably why they had "save as" in the first place. Thankfully they left that choice when they introduced the history panel to widen the options available.

 

Ps isn't complicated, it's just very full-featured. Lr always was and always will be, a pared-down, simplified program that combined Bridge and Elements into one program for those who didn't have the need to, learn the considerably weightier feature set of Photoshop. Once you've sorted what you need and don't need in Ps, it becomes very user friendly and, most of all, extremely quick to use. That said, the other thing aside from a Wacom that should be considered essential is a second screen (I've had a two-monitor setup since 2000). With all the panels you need open and on display in the second screen, and the working image taking up the whole main screen, everything is immediately at hand, just as my palette, dyes, airbrush, gouache, spotting brushes and scalpels were prior to digital.

 

As to the mention of someone's complicated methodology, that workflow often left me scratching my head as to why the most complex route possible was being taken. A slavish adherence to "smart objects" I think was probably picked up from a Jeff Schewe tutorial and often (mostly) incorporated regardless of need to do so might have had a lot to do with it. As a retoucher I never use smart objects as my need for vector & raster images and multiple layers each with numerous modification steps that might need changing (or any other automated things, for that matter) is almost zero.

 

Just be aware that perhaps the most liberating thing about Ps is that there are usually multiple ways to go about something, and in retouching I find it best to finish one complete part of the overall task before moving to the next, so at best I'll probably have the background image, a background copy layer and maybe a mask layer above that, period. Whan I finish that task, I'll merge the copy and mask layers, and proceed to the next task, more than likely "saving as" before merging. I never professed that Ps is everybody's answer for everything, and you'll be aware for how long I've looked unsuccessfully for a substitute to get me out of Adobe altogether, although it is perhaps pertinent to point out that I saw no reason to embark on Rent-a-Shop and stuck with CS6 (actually CS3 would have been all I needed had they not completely stuffed up the printing module and then taken a typically Adobe stance of denial, dodging, weaving, obfuscating, reluctant admission, begrudging attempts at repair before finally getting it right by CS6).

 

I'm old school in that I utilise Ps tools in much the same way as I would have used dodging, burning-in, freehand brush and airbrush and/or knifing as I did when things really were completely devoid of digital content. I appreciate that most retouchers today never even learnt those skills and are purely software born and raised, so there are probably methods they use that I haven't even discovered myself yet, but then neither do I (or will I) have to. Point is, there is no substitute for the actual use of these tools in most software programs these days, which is why Photoshop is still essential. Much and all as it is easy to wish this stuff away, there are many things you simply cannot do without these tools, and is probably why I find all other attempts at "retouching" programs inadequate by comparison. It's obvious that the software writers have no idea of the use of those tools, so they just leave them out, favouring instead the path of presets, filters and automation.

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Each to his own Alan. You pays yer money and takes yer choice, which is probably why we own different cameras, cars etc.

LR works for me about 90% of the time without the need for PS, but them I'm just an amateur enthusiast.

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ps is daunting, but once you get a bit comfortable, it will do better than lr, 

nowadays I mainly only  use acr , the equivalent to the develop module in lr 

 

I think you did great with the bottle,  and I should remember the next time I shoot a bottle

 

 

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