I never got around to posting it, but a few weeks back the hard drive of my PC with Windows on it died … a little bit. Technically a large chunk of the harddrive is simply unaccessable. after poking and pushing I at least got windows to boot up again, but a large part of the software was dead. I bough a new drive and went through the fun process of installing a fresh windows, patching it, and then installing all the software again.
I didn’t get around to installing my video and picture software on the new windows until this morning, and it turned out to be lots of fun. Due to pure luck I found the license key for sony vegas (it is shown in the splash screen when starting up, shortly before it crashes due to my harddisk malfunction). Any Photomatix was where I keep most licenses stored. But my Photoshop license was more of a challenge. Adobe only allows 2 activated copies of the software per license, activated copies are bound to hardware … you probably see where this is going. I couldn’t deactivate the old installation since the harddrive was kinda dead, and the new installation says “different hardware (new harddrives), must be a different computer”. Yay, fun. The bright side was that the support was easily contacted and they could reset the activation counter (after lecturing me about using it on “2 computers” and deactivating, bla bla bla). I learned one thing: the more expensive the software, the more problems you have with licenses. A shame I never liked Gimp for photo editing.
I always shoot in RAW + JPEG. For normal point-and-shoot vacation stuff I’m generally satisfied with the JPEG the camera spits out. But I would never shoot only JPEG. The additional information of RAW shouldn’t be underestimated, and to be honest I often tweak around. It makes a difference if you are working on the original RAW data, or if you are working on the JPEG copy the camera has already processed.
Up till now I’ve been post-processing my images with Adobe Bridge and Photoshop CS3. Since I was planning on post-processing a whole load of pictures I decided to see what software there is out there to streamline the work flow a bit (Bridge and CS3 do the job, and the raw converter in CS3 does offer a wide variety of options, but it is still tedious switching to be switching between both programs and working on multiple RAW images at the same time). While I was away, Adobe released Lightroom 3, so I checked out the reviews and it sounded good. I downloaded the 30 day trial version and to sum it up my experience so far … I’m impressed.
I haven’t worked with Lightroom previously, so I can’t say how much has changed in this version. But I really like the details that make life easier when handling collections of images. Being an Adobe product it also offers interfaces to various Photoshop functions (I only own CS3, I could imagine it offers more options if you have the current version CS5 installed). I could go on and on with things I like about it, but I’ll just sum it up and say: It really streamlines the work flow of post-processing photographs from import to print/upload/web/presentation and if you are shooting RAW it has a whole lot of fun stuff to play around with directly built in.
Since I shoot with a Nikon D80 that tends to produce a fair amount of image noise if I go past ISO 400 I liked the noise reduction features of Lightroom, both color and luminance noise can be reduced greatly with sliders for fine tuning.
It’s a good piece of software, and when the 30 day trial ends I’ll probably go buy it.
Photoshop Express seems to have finally gone online https://www.photoshop.com/express/landing.html An online (web application) version of Photoshop. Of course with only a basic variaty of functions, but still plenty useful.
After registering you get 2GB of space for uploading/editing pictures. Uploaded pictures can either be defined private, or can be public and displayed in a gallery. The only technical requirements are a current browser with flash player 9 installed.