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Using Free Software.

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Go to my local Photography club and advanced members use Adobe products including myself but beginners want to use free software and finding out how to use it seems to be a problem.

 

The first problem is RAW, all the advanced members are saying use RAW but new members have not a clue on how to turn that RAW file into a Jpeg without losing all the extra information while changing.

 

RawTherapee was first option but no graduated filter or adjustment brush so needs some method to combine multi images together. So I looked at Gimp again to join the images together. So wanted some sample images to test with. As a result decided to try to use just Gimp to produce an image from the RAW file.

 

Gimp will not handle RAW images so first bit is in the camera, and we produce two Jpeg images one +2 EV and one -2 EV then these are loaded into Gimp, but not “Open” but “Open as Layers” this will then give us two layers. With lighter layer on the top add a layer mask selecting “Greyscale copy of layer” and tick “Invert mask” this will merge the two images together grabbing the whole range of the two exposures. As with all true HDR (rather than tone mapping) the picture will become rather wishy washy and likely one will want to adjust the Opacity to get the effect wanted.

 

After this was done then had to adjust levels and it took ages to find how to save as a Jpeg but using the same idea I can now save multi RawTherapee images and do some graduated filter or adjustment brush combinations.

 

However it took all night to find out how to do this simple operation. There must be some books or mags somewhere which show how to use Gimp in the same way as those showing how to use Adobe products. Any idea where?

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I'm surprised that such a club does not run classes to help others learn about the hobby.

Could they not start to do such things?

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There are gimp tutorials and forum help. I'm on my phone so cant find the links I used at home but a google search will pick them up.

 

I will look tonight when I get home for them too.

 

H.

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If your camera is producing RAW images you should be entitled to the official Canon or whatever software. Someone at the club surely has the CD of the proper software?

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http://sourceforge. net/projects/ufraw/files/ufraw/ufraw-0. 18/ufraw-0. 18-setup. exe/download?use_mirror=iweb

 

The above is a download link - just copy and paste in your browser.

 

Using UFRAW prior to editing the file in Gimp will, of course, mean you have already made decisions and adjustments that cannot be undone. This software is a "plug-in" that opens within Gimp itself. A similar scenario to using Photoshop and Adobe Camera RAW. .

 

I could not quite follow your workflow description in your post I'm afraid! I didn't really understand what exactly you were saying other than wanting a free program that would allow editing of RAW files prior to further manipulation in Gimp. If that's the case then this is worth checking out I think Eric. I have to say I have no personal experience with either Gimp or UFRAW.

 

So far as tutorials for using any software is concerned there are hundreds on the Internet from manuals through to YouTube videos and the like.

 

I think David makes a very important point in his post.

 

Good luck with your photography and software!

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The club does run classes but these are done by advanced members who all use adobe products and this is the stumbling block only beginners use free software.

 

Did try UFraw but not a patch on RawTherapee and now no longer supported with Gimp. I like many others tried Gimp and UFraw years ago and then went to photoshop and never kept up with the changes. In the old days there were two versions of UFraw one stand alone the other as a plug-in for gimp and it would convert RAW files then auto open Gimp. That is no longer the case.

 

UFraw and many camera bundled RAW file handlers need the user to set curves. OK for an advanced user but not really much good for a beginner. It needs sliders and to be fair RawTherapee does have them. But two problems with RawTherapee one is it's prone to crash. And two it does not have graduated filter or adjustment brush.

 

The whole idea is to lighten or darken areas before it is converted, with Photoshop there are a host of ways including simple use of 16 bit tiff files and dodge and burn. 16 bit tiff do not work with Gimp so the only option is multi images created with RawTherapee and then blend them together using layers and masks.

 

This straight away causes a problem the user is asked which type White, Black, Alpha, Transfer, Selection, Greyscale, or Channel with an option to Invert mask this is completely different to Photoshop and as a result asking Photoshop users is no good.

 

Look for on line instruction and most is for pre-version 2. 8. 10 and is rather useless today as Gimp has moved on. So although you can do the same as Photoshop the method is very different with Photoshop I would have opened a mask then gone to Image Apply select layer Merged and Blending mode Multiply again with invert ticked and would get same result as using Greyscale with Gimp but it took a long time to find out how and I failed to find any on line instruction.

 

I am guilty as other camera club members of once moved to Adobe I did not look back and I was giving out dated advice to beginners on what could be done. I want to redress that and find some updated info to pass on.

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This is nothing to do with photoshop, although it can handle these files. The software for converting RAW files comes from the manufacturer.

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Found the link to ufraw was for old version ufraw-0. 19. 2-2 a 9. 8 MB file has replaced ufraw-0. 18 a 2. 1 MB file although I see no real changes from the version I looked at years ago.

 

The whole point is it's no good asking advanced Photographers they all use Adobe products it's only by asking on forums like this where there are guys who still use the free software that I am likely to get any real help.

 

With the one bit I did find I was about to give up and say can't be done. When I went to college the college had just CS4 loaded on their computers so there was really only one option load up CS4 at home. At least I could buy with student licence but still expensive. This is near the same with any course adobe or nothing because of the UK government and their national control of schools and colleges Adobe and Microsoft have got a hold in the UK. Still one or two schools with Paint Shop Pro but very few and not seen a single school with Open Office.

 

There is some very good free and cheap software Hugin for panorama and picturenaut for HDR for example. And when you look at Picturestoexe one wonders why anyone uses Power Point! The presentation is really good and no need for the PC to have software installed to show it. So I am open to all ideas on how to use Gimp to the best advantage.

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Sounds like a tall order Eric. But if I may say so, you are the man to tackle it!

 

I've been fortunate having Adobe products for many years but I certainly understand the costs involved which for youngsters just starting their hobby can be prohibitive. The costs of the photographic equipment itself is enough!

 

I'm trying to remember where I read this - I checked it out at the time - but Adobe were offering free downloads of early Photoshop. (If I remember correctly it was the Creative Suite CS2). Just a thought if the offer is still available and the software capable of manipulating the images as you describe.

 

Good luck!

 

Edit:

 

http://www. digitaltrends. com/computing/how-to-get-photoshop-for-free/

 

No idea if this is still on offer Eric.

Edited by John_b_45

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Converters like Adobe DNG Converter 8. 3 comes from Adobe not Cannon, Nikon or Pentax and they simply convert RAW files they don't manipulate them in any way. The software I am looking at does more than simple convert it allows you to use the full 12 or 14 bits of information and produce a 8 bit file with no blown high lights or pixelated dark corners.

 

The Adobe products vary between elements, full photoshop and lightroom the latter is likely the best with history included but all are similar and swapping between them is easy. They have two tools graduated filter and adjustment brush which allow a selective lifting or lowing of the exposure all the other programs seem to be lacking this tool.

 

So the only way to select areas of a picture to raise or lower the exposure is 1) work on a 16 bit tiff or 2) create multi 8 bit images then blend them together. Gimp can only work with 8 bit files so only option 2 can be used. Although there are instructions on using layers these are rather basic.

 

So after trying to convert with free software I can understand why people do not want to shoot in RAW. It's hard work without Adobe yes I am sure it can be done but it's so labour intensive.


Sounds like a tall order Eric. But if I may say so, you are the man to tackle it!

 

I've been fortunate having Adobe products for many years but I certainly understand the costs involved which for youngsters just starting their hobby can be prohibitive. The costs of the photographic equipment itself is enough!

 

I'm trying to remember where I read this - I checked it out at the time - but Adobe were offering free downloads of early Photoshop. (If I remember correctly it was the Creative Suite CS2). Just a thought if the offer is still available and the software capable of manipulating the images as you describe.

 

Good luck!

 

Edit:

 

http://www. digitaltrends. com/computing/how-to-get-photoshop-for-free/

 

No idea if this is still on offer Eric.

Now that sounds a good idea that would clearly solve the problem. Of all the forums this is the only one which has really helped. Well done all.

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I know you want free but is Volume Licensing outside the scope? ACD Systems, for example, offer significant reductions and they don't start at such high prices as most Adobe products. I'm biased - moderated for them and Focus Group Member!

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Have a nosey round here, Talk Photography

 

Raw editors

 

Ask away on there too, lots of good info and help ;)

 

H.

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When I used a Windows PC I used Faststone: http://www. faststone. org/

 

Cracking bit of software.

 

It's free, can read RAW files natively, and export them to JPEG. From memory I'm not sure if it allowed any control over 'developing' the RAW files - I'm afraid I used Adobe Camera Raw as part of Photoshop for that.

 

If you're willing to spend a little money, I hear very good things about Adobe Lightroom.

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If you're willing to spend a little money, I hear very good things about Adobe Lightroom.

 

+1.

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You can solve all of the issues you refer to with Adobe Lightroom. It's not that expensive and with most Adobe products you can get a very good discount if you are in full time education or employed as a teacher. Do you know any students or teachers that can get it for you?

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Makes you wonder how we ever managed to take any photos that looked good before digital photography came along!

 

No disrespect, but an awful lot of rubbish is talked about RAW files, mainly by people straining at gnats. ..then over processing to the point that any value from raw capture is nullified. In the early days of digital photography, it did have some value. But these days the camera processors are so good, in even modest DSLRs that you will get greater rewards improving your capture technique.

 

If you can't take a photo that jumps off the page using in camera jpeg, then your camera settings have not been optimised, your glass isn't the best, or your camera craft needs addressing.

 

Having said that. ..

Lightroom is ok if you want to be constrained into its way of file handling.

Elements is cheap and good enough for most people (though slower than Photoshop) but like Lightroom has the same Adobe Camera Raw option.

 

 

PS I've been running my own commercial photography and digital imaging company for over 20 years and although I do use raw when shooting hotel interiors, critical pack shots, large stainless machinery and other key subjects, it's done for my own processing benefit. I've never met anyone who can tell me whether a finished shot was captured in raw or not.

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I never use raw either, if it's good in the viewfinder click and move on.

 

H.

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The answers are a surprise. I would always use RAW as default setting. OK there are times when Jpeg does work better for example when using a Wifi card to auto transfer to phone but where speed is not an issue then I will use RAW. Having a 12 bit (Pentax) or 14 bit (Nikon) file will allow one to correct in the same way as comparing a film camera with an instant camera although I did have a Kodax Instant camera before they lost court case and it did produce quick good results I would were possible use film then get this processed into prints. Although most prints would be as the lab returned them the odd special I would take back and ask for it to be made lighter or darker. Problem was not easy to process ones own colour prints so either it was take as a slide then slide copy or use black and white. However pre-digital I took a lot more care with filters. My cokin set worked well and although it took time to use a graduated filter would improve things. With black and white using bits of card dodging and burning as it was called one could really improve the print quality but clearly it took a lot of time and there were far more errors. Once I went digital my cokin filter set got forgotten and used digital methods instead. I would agree one could get same results using Jpeg and filters in front of the lens but far easier to use RAW and process after.

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