Author Topic: Looking for a Photoshop alternative software  (Read 960 times)

charlie

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Re: Looking for a Photoshop alternative software
« Reply #30 on: November 26, 2018, 21:41:20 »
I was under the impression that only Nikon software took into account the picture control settings and D-lighting, and all other software disregards in camera picture control settings for NEF files.

Recently Adobe introduced "camera matching" profiles that are their attempt at mimicking in camera picture controls settings but they need to be applied manually as far as I can tell.

Am I missing something?

I quite like Nikon's rendering of some scenes/portraits and have a challenging time recreating them in Lightroom and Capture One.

arthurking83

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Re: Looking for a Photoshop alternative software
« Reply #31 on: November 27, 2018, 00:56:34 »
I'm fairly sure too, that ACR doesn't 'respect' Nikon's Picture Controls.
It may read them in the file, and apply one of their presets, but it doesn't use them in the same way.
Arthur

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Re: Looking for a Photoshop alternative software
« Reply #32 on: November 27, 2018, 01:13:42 »
I was under the impression that only Nikon software took into account the picture control settings and D-lighting, and all other software disregards in camera picture control settings for NEF files.

Recently Adobe introduced "camera matching" profiles that are their attempt at mimicking in camera picture controls settings but they need to be applied manually as far as I can tell.

Am I missing something?

I quite like Nikon's rendering of some scenes/portraits and have a challenging time recreating them in Lightroom and Capture One.

I'm fairly sure too, that ACR doesn't 'respect' Nikon's Picture Controls.
It may read them in the file, and apply one of their presets, but it doesn't use them in the same way.

Charlie and Arthur, thank you for your comments.  Although ACR offers the same set of Picture Controls as that of Nikon, I also noticed that the straight-out-of-ACR NEFs look noticeably different from the same ones processed in CNX-D.  As Charlie notes, I really like the natural rendition of the CNX-D processed NEFs.
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armando_m

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Re: Looking for a Photoshop alternative software
« Reply #33 on: November 27, 2018, 04:08:43 »
I'm with you Akira, I prefer the processing of cnx* (2 or D) to Acr

ACR has gotten a lot closer but not  quite there yet
sharpening in CNX* is easy while in ACR is like a secret sorcery
and in my current machine (laptop win10) CNX2 is faster than ACR

except for astrophotography the nikon software makes a mess and ACR does not
which probably means ACR does extract the full dynamic range
Armando Morales
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Akira

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Re: Looking for a Photoshop alternative software
« Reply #34 on: November 27, 2018, 04:49:17 »
I'm with you Akira, I prefer the processing of cnx* (2 or D) to Acr

ACR has gotten a lot closer but not  quite there yet
sharpening in CNX* is easy while in ACR is like a secret sorcery
and in my current machine (laptop win10) CNX2 is faster than ACR

except for astrophotography the nikon software makes a mess and ACR does not
which probably means ACR does extract the full dynamic range

Armando, thank you for sharing your experience.  I also felt that ACR can fully unleash the DR of NEF nicely, as it was very easy to recover the blown-looking highlight.  Also, I did like the absense of chrominance noise in NEFs shot at ISO12800 processed in ACR.

I have always (still) wanted "the standalone ACR".  LR is pretty close in this sense.  If ever LR allow to cancel the cataloging funnction altogether, I would have been a happy user of LR.
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arthurking83

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Re: Looking for a Photoshop alternative software
« Reply #35 on: November 27, 2018, 15:10:05 »
Count me in too as a CaptureNX fan in terms of rendering .. and now even tho CNX-D has colour control point editing .. I still struggle to come to terms with it(due to many other failings).
Having said that tho, I am starting to use it more.
BUT! (maybe last year, or so) I did end up acquiring DXOs Photolab, when it was initially released as they used CCP editing too. (obviously this was well before CNX-D got it).

So as a fairly quick and maybe not so scientific comparison, I've had a quick try at processing your leaf image with both programs, trying more to replicate the final output, more so than trying to achieve optimal results.


CNX-D


DxO Photolab(v1)

The DxO image does have a bit more detail/clarity in parts of the leaf veins, but this is more so due to the respective differences that the programs' USM tools use .. not so much that DxO is better at it.
I'm sure if I spent more than a few seconds using the USM tool in CNX-D, it'd also pull out slightly more detail in the leaf too.

One major difference is in the way that CNX-D reduced the impact of the highlights on the leaf, and made them less obvious, which I couldn't do in DxO.

in CNX-D I first used -ve exposure compensation, which neutralised the highlight impact, then a single CCP to also try to gain back some brightness, colour and detail too.
Whilst I'm more proficient in CNX-D, the time I took to get to this point was a mere minute or two.

In DxO tho, no matter what tool I used, DxO's result in reducing the impact(ie. contrast difference) of the blown highlights just wouldn't look 'natural'.
In a manner of speaking, DxO seems to have less effect in reducing highlights, in effect to make them less unpleasant.
I'd say it took me twice as long tweaking in DxO to achieve a lesser result.

Having said that tho, this doesn't result in DxO not being an effective and capable editing program.
It has far more traditional tools than CNX-D does.
Only reason I've stuck with CNX-D was simply 'hope' .. that is the hope that one day it may be a usable raw editing/conversion software for NEF files.
Now, after so much time, Nikon finally gave us CCP editing back, so my hopes have finally been (semi) realised.
It's still a horrid software tho .. slow, buggy(I have a major bug, but know not who to report it too!), slow, actually make that annoyingly slow .. think 'pitch drop' slow! .. not glacial super speed by way of comparison.

Having just denigrated CNX-D so emphatically .. I still have to admit that I still use it every so often. It is ever so slightly better at some things than CNX2 is.
And once I update from the D800E(eg. D850, most likely) CNX-D will effectively become my main editor, maybe with some assistance from DxO(??)

So for now tho(for Akira) I'd recommend using CNX-D .. more so because it'll cost you nothing($s) to start with .. and maybe in the future it may become more usable.

ps. when I say CNX-D is slow for me, by comparison I have zero speed issues with ViewNX2 and CNX2 for any D800E image. I updated my PC a couple of years back, have a dedicated SSD for my editing images(longer term images are stored on a HDD, and NAS).
Every operation in CNX2 is instantaneous for me.
No matter what PC tweak I've tried, I just can't get CNX-D to operate at a decent speed.

Would you be happy using DxO's Photolab? .. I'd say "probably" .. then again it really depends on personal preference on lack of or availability of any specific editing tool that CNX-D doesn't have(eg. a brush tool, or whatever).
That is, if you find that you prefer a specific tool type, that CNX-D doesn't have, and DxO does have, then the transition from CNX-D to DxO would be fairly straight forward(due to the use of CCP editing).
In terms of output, I doubt very much you would see any advantage in choosing one program over another. Maybe a few degrees of difference(as I've tried to show with the highlights above) .. but then again DxO may be better at some other aspect of rendering a different type of image.

A weird point with CNX-D 's slower than 'pitch drop' performance .. is that it's batch editing I find is quite fast. It's slow to start up, but once started, the images are processed quite speedily.

ps. if you wonder why I use the reference to 'pitch drop' .. google pitch drop experiment .. 10 years, or more to effect a single droplet! ... kind of speed!  ;D
pps. my foray into ACR(mainly via Lr, but a very small amount of Ps too) .. was for all intents a total disaster. I've had edication copies of Ps for a long while, and wasted my own money on Lr4 and 5 .. never again!
Arthur

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Re: Looking for a Photoshop alternative software
« Reply #36 on: November 27, 2018, 23:55:09 »
Arthur, thank you for sharing the results of your further experiment and detailed report!

I would have to agree that DxO couldn't handle the contrasty rendition of the leaves well.

Apparently, you can use the control point far better than I can.  At first, I tried the CCP but couldn't get the result like yours.  For my take posted on top of the page 2 of this thread, I only moved the "Brightness" slider to the minimum after reducing the total exposure a bit.  Sharpening is not applied.  I observe that your result shows the blown highlights are turned to a little gray (most notably, the surface of the left-most leaf).

Before I tried the demo version of the latest DxO Phtolab2, I used DxO Optics Pro9.  I felt its lens abberation correction and sharpening was amazing but a bit too far for my taste.  As for the DxO product, I rather liked the B&W film simulations of FilmPack.
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arthurking83

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Re: Looking for a Photoshop alternative software
« Reply #37 on: November 28, 2018, 11:54:59 »
For the CCPs in NX-D, two were placed on the coloured area of the leaves(ie. the brown) and brightness increase, contrast increased and saturation increased.
Doing that helps with revealing more detail in the leaf veins(remember sharpening is basically a contrast increase) .. so it brings back both colour and a very small amount of detail.
The second CCP in NX-D was directly on the blown highlight area on the leaf, which was made more obvious with the contrast increase of the first CCP points .. so the highlight CCP was to reduce brightness and reduce contrast.
I think it may have been a bit heavy handed, but it really was a very quick 'point and shoot' edit just to visualise what could be done.

Initially tried the same method in DxO, but the effect DxO's CCP tools make are different.
So in DxO I had to spend a bit more time in experimenting with what all the other CCP sub tools did/do.

If you like, I could upload the CNX-D .nksc (save) file.
What you'd then do is to place a copy of your NEF into another folder, create a new folder (in that folder with the copy of the image) name it NKSC_PARAM and place the save file into this param folder.
Then when you navigate to the copy of the NEF, CNX-D will render it with those edits.
You can then see for yourself the edit processes used.
Arthur

Akira

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Re: Looking for a Photoshop alternative software
« Reply #38 on: November 28, 2018, 18:08:14 »
For the CCPs in NX-D, two were placed on the coloured area of the leaves(ie. the brown) and brightness increase, contrast increased and saturation increased.
Doing that helps with revealing more detail in the leaf veins(remember sharpening is basically a contrast increase) .. so it brings back both colour and a very small amount of detail.
The second CCP in NX-D was directly on the blown highlight area on the leaf, which was made more obvious with the contrast increase of the first CCP points .. so the highlight CCP was to reduce brightness and reduce contrast.
I think it may have been a bit heavy handed, but it really was a very quick 'point and shoot' edit just to visualise what could be done.

Initially tried the same method in DxO, but the effect DxO's CCP tools make are different.
So in DxO I had to spend a bit more time in experimenting with what all the other CCP sub tools did/do.

If you like, I could upload the CNX-D .nksc (save) file.
What you'd then do is to place a copy of your NEF into another folder, create a new folder (in that folder with the copy of the image) name it NKSC_PARAM and place the save file into this param folder.
Then when you navigate to the copy of the NEF, CNX-D will render it with those edits.
You can then see for yourself the edit processes used.

That would be very nice of you.  I'd love to check out your procedure!
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Akira

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Re: Looking for a Photoshop alternative software
« Reply #39 on: Today at 02:01:06 »
Thank you, folks, for taking time to share your experiences and know-hows with various software!

I deleted my sample NEF from Dropbox.

CNX-D does slow me down, but I'm not professional photographer and don't process too many files at a time.  So, I decided I can live with CNX-D.

Thank you again and wish you happy holidays!
"The eye is blind if the mind is absent." - Confucius

"Limitation is inspiration." - Akira