Another recent question was “what software do you use to process your images?”
My current image processing software is ACDSee Pro 8 available from ACD Systems.
I also have Corel Paint Shop Pro (came with the computer), Microsoft Photo Gallery (free for Windows 7 & 8 users), Picasa (free, from Google), an older version of Adobe Photoshop Elements, and Nikon’s View NX2 that came with my cameras. Each of these is good – I’m not slighting any of them. But I’m currently using ACDSee Pro 8.
I’m simply not that good at post-processing. I can’t process an image file and take a cloudy sky and make it blue, or swap out a foreground, or anything like that. I process very simply (for the most part) and stick to the basics, and they do the basics very well.
Disclosure: occasionally, I do find that I can pull off a mini-miracle with this software and salvage a slide or botched exposure. These are adventures in trial and error, and always involve working with a copy of the image file and not the original file. Sometimes, it can take hours to save an old slide – but it’s the only way. It’s much simpler on most digital images.
Three key things that I really, really like about this software:
The Light EQ tool is absolutely fantastic when working with an image – you can set up to nine (9) individual tone bands when adjusting the lighting on an image. When you’re working with old Kodachromes, that means you can bring out shadow detail very discretely, as well as tone down clouds and the sky.
I find the Hybrid tool for noise removal to be (1) fantastic and (2) equally effective with scans and RAW files.
And, the Sharpening tool is intuitive and easy to use.
Overall, the software is very easy to use as an image organizer and as an editing software. And, it’s intuitive. Very intuitive. I find myself looking at the manual every so often, but you can be up and running in a short time without reading the manual. One of the hardest things for me is establishing a consistent workflow, as I only seem to work on images on the weekends, and then, not every weekend. I tend to forget workflows and processes once in a while. I guess I could take notes…
So, if I sound like a commercial for ACD Systems, I guess I am. If anyone knows anyone there who can hook me up with a sponsorship deal… If anyone has any questions about how I got to ACDSee among all the other programs, please ask! If you’re considering (new) processing software, it’s definitely worth a look.
Oh, before I wrap this post up, there’s one very, very, very important thing – you need a good mouse.
There’s a companion post to follow on what I call finishing software (a program that does not cease to amaze me).
Happy shooting / scanning and processing!