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  • Standalone Software Alternatives to Adobe PS

    Any thoughts on standalone software like ArcSoft Portrait Perfect, FaceFilter and all the other non-Adobe retouching software out there? Is it better (rather more industry friendly / gold standard) to just use Photoshop & its associated 3rd-party plugins for retouching?

    -ar

  • #2
    Re: Standalone Software Alternatives to Adobe PS

    Use whatever works for your clients. If you are hired specifically for retouching, third party applications which attempt to automate things such as smoothing of surfaces will not provide sufficient quality. Their expected clientele are people who are less picky and have to sift through a high volume of imagery. Those people do not require much, so it's not necessary to pay very much.

    Photoshop is a standard because it's basically used by everyone. Assuming they are using the same version, you have the option to preserve things such as layers. Embedded profiles will remain. If you want something similar in functionality without the cost of photoshop, try Gimp or Krita Paint on Windows or Linux. On a Mac try Pixelmator or Gimp.

    If the quality of those applications is sufficient, you must realize that your requirements are minimal. This is fine if you're the photographer and retouching is just a basic cost or extra time. If you are hired to retouch images and find that produces comparable results and meets your needs, find a new line of work before it dries up.

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    • #3
      Re: Standalone Software Alternatives to Adobe PS

      There is a very nice standalone software for Mac - Affinity Photo. It has almost all tools Photoshop has. Personally, I still use PS/LR for my images but I bough Affinity Designer for my graphic work. PS/LR is still most powerful combination but you can easily substitute other software in CC with software created by other companies (I mean for publishing & video editing).

      Regards, Filip

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      • #4
        Re: Standalone Software Alternatives to Adobe PS

        I'm a Mac user / intermediate Photoshop user; and I know that PS does it all, rather it does a lot. I tend to think that other standalone apps out there like ArcSoft Portrait are just actions that you can't customize. So, I totally understand and agree with you Klev, on the quick & dirty side to some PS alternatives.

        I love-love-love Fluid Mask, Tiffen DFX, Topaz Labs and Alien Skin as plugins and enhancements to PS. It's great when PS alternatives are compatible with PS files and can function as both standalone and PS plugins, i.e. Nik. Filip, on a brief look at Affinity, it seems to function that way, I will read more on it, thanks.

        Only recently (say a month or 2 ago) I became aware of retouching specific apps like Face Filter and was like "ummmm, interesting but I don't want to learn anymore software and I don't have the time for trials and the money to buy more stuff; but, are these the tools of the pros too?". It now seems like the same people who are writing software reviews are also writing the advertisements for those alt. products, which can make assembling resources for a do-it yourself learner like me more difficult.

        Here's a parallel thought that I also had -- In college I took a video art class that started folks out on iMovie (the professor said we should be more concerned about the content than the tools used, ok whatever). The more advanced video editing courses I took used Final Cut Pro (before Apple watered it down to crap) and Adobe Premiere. In 2007, if I had continued down this line my next step probably would have been to advance to Avid Media Composer, I think anything "more advanced" after that would have been in-house proprietary software.

        Sometimes the professional tools are not so readily available / visible to people just starting out, esp. if you're starting out on your own - diy style learning. I'm kind-a-sort-of speaking in general here. Thought I've never used PS Elements I think of it as an iMovie, PS as a Final Cut / Premiere, but then is there something more advanced, like the Avid for photos / still images? I like to limit my tools in efforts to become more advanced and efficient with what I got than to constantly update to the latest & greatest. I also don't want to be a "jack of all trades but master of nothing". Somewhere on the forum there is a thread discussion about what's in people toolboxes, it's old, I lost the link, but maybe I will revisit it or we could start a new one here. I've spent the last year learning and taking on little retouching jobs / here & there to build my portfolio. Hopefully in 2016, I can play with the big kid freelancers.

        I don't know . . . slight "on another note" and trying not to be too contradictory . . . Adobe dominates the market, and like with any corporate giant it can overshadow-crush-kill its competitors, which may produce better apps, maybe be the next gold standard, but then again wanting to give the other guys a test goes back to my thoughts on time, money, & being a master of nothing. I started using Fluid Mask because I found it way better than using PS alone. The switch only occurred because of lots of trial & error and frustration with PS masking, this pretty much exemplifies my method / reasoning when seeking out plugins and/or alternatives to PS.

        Happy Sunday folks.

        Thanks.

        -ar
        Last edited by alreese83; 10-11-2015, 01:03 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Standalone Software Alternatives to Adobe PS

          As of now I only know two programs that are actually complete, efficient and stable enough to be used instead of photoshop.

          1. Corel ( I believe it's Paintshop, but now they've gone the package route just like adobe, but the program is still offered and is solid).
          2. GIMP. It's a completely free alternative and I know many pros that use it simply because they've got used to it back in the day when you had to pay full price upfront for Photoshop. So it is also very good.

          New player is the Affinity but I can't tell you if it's as good or not as the more mainstream options. Basically, it's just a tool, you give yourself some time to adjust and keep on trucking. Of course that Adobe is not the only player in the market.
          Last edited by skoobey; 10-11-2015, 05:21 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Standalone Software Alternatives to Adobe PS

            Originally posted by alreese83 View Post

            I love-love-love Fluid Mask, Tiffen DFX, Topaz Labs and Alien Skin as plugins and enhancements to PS. It's great when PS alternatives are compatible with PS files and can function as both standalone and PS plugins, i.e. Nik. Filip, on a brief look at Affinity, it seems to function that way, I will read more on it, thanks.

            Only recently (say a month or 2 ago) I became aware of retouching specific apps like Face Filter and was like "ummmm, interesting but I don't want to learn anymore software and I don't have the time for trials and the money to buy more stuff; but, are these the tools of the pros too?". It now seems like the same people who are writing software reviews are also writing the advertisements for those alt. products, which can make assembling resources for a do-it yourself learner like me more difficult.
            I can understand why you would like something like fluid mask. Adobe hasn't added any masking tools that really outshine the classic methods. Overall a lot of them are quite limited. Microsoft came up with an interesting one called the soft scissors method a while back (link to the research paper). I don't know if it was implemented anywhere.

            This has nothing to do with standards though. You cannot reliably produce the same results across various images at a similar scope to photoshop using just a subset of filtering and masking applications. You are also left with the issue of interoperability, which is important for anything beyond a trivial workflow. With photoshop you do most or all of the retouching work in photoshop, so that is a non-issue.

            Originally posted by alreese83 View Post

            Here's a parallel thought that I also had -- In college I took a video art class that started folks out on iMovie (the professor said we should be more concerned about the content than the tools used, ok whatever). The more advanced video editing courses I took used Final Cut Pro (before Apple watered it down to crap) and Adobe Premiere. In 2007, if I had continued down this line my next step probably would have been to advance to Avid Media Composer, I think anything "more advanced" after that would have been in-house proprietary software.

            Sometimes the professional tools are not so readily available / visible to people just starting out, esp. if you're starting out on your own - diy style learning. I'm kind-a-sort-of speaking in general here. Thought I've never used PS Elements I think of it as an iMovie, PS as a Final Cut / Premiere, but then is there something more advanced, like the Avid for photos / still images? I like to limit my tools in efforts to become more advanced and efficient with what I got than to constantly update to the latest & greatest. I also don't want to be a "jack of all trades but master of nothing". Somewhere on the forum there is a thread discussion about what's in people toolboxes, it's old, I lost the link, but maybe I will revisit it or we could start a new one here. I've spent the last year learning and taking on little retouching jobs / here & there to build my portfolio. Hopefully in 2016, I can play with the big kid freelancers.

            I don't know . . . slight "on another note" and trying not to be too contradictory . . . Adobe dominates the market, and like with any corporate giant it can overshadow-crush-kill its competitors, which may produce better apps, maybe be the next gold standard, but then again wanting to give the other guys a test goes back to my thoughts on time, money, & being a master of nothing. I started using Fluid Mask because I found it way better than using PS alone. The switch only occurred because of lots of trial & error and frustration with PS masking, this pretty much exemplifies my method / reasoning when seeking out plugins and/or alternatives to PS.

            Happy Sunday folks.

            Thanks.

            -ar
            The current version of final cut gained back a number of features. Part of the problem wasn't just features. It had no legacy support for old projects. That will always anger people. The imovie comparison isn't necessarily the same thing.

            Regarding fluid mask some people like it, but it can't replace other things in photoshop. The same problem is present for the others. Now you need photoshop + several other licenses and you have introduced inter-operability issues. That has nothing to do with standards. It's just a terrible workflow if your projects go beyond something incredibly trivial. You also need real masking skills. It's literally the most important technical skill, and automated methods haven't come anywhere close to replacing that. They have tried. It's driven by computer vision problems rather than retouching ones.

            Starting off as a freelancer makes little sense. You won't gain the experience of doing a significant workload on the majority of days. Slowly leveraging up you aren't likely to learn anywhere near what you would working with people who have a more refined level of skill.

            I would actually advise against entering that line of work today unless you have incredible artistic judgement.

            Also see my response here. It will help a lot if you can read into what things had to be done to produce an image. I can't tell exactly what the original looked like in any case, but you should be able to break it down. You should also have a steady hand and some rudimentary illustration skills in case you need to modify highlights and things. Most people starting out do not really understand effective blending methods. Basically you should always be concerned with the shape of the person, garment, or other object. You should be aware different elements may need additional tuning. You should be able to maintain a clean set of layers in case of revisions, which will happen.

            You do sound incredibly inexperienced with some of these comments. I hope you at least consider what I mentioned regarding freelancing. There was a higher volume of work in many markets say ten years ago. There is a lot less today, because less print work is published. There are things like e-commerce sites, which employ a number of retouchers. They pay anywhere from a poor to moderate level, but again this depends on your market.

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            • #7
              Re: Standalone Software Alternatives to Adobe PS

              You know Mr K., you always skim read, and then climb up on your soapbox to preach out a comment. I mentioned my level of experience. Print maybe washed up but the web makes just as many if not more demands for images, duh nothing new. So, I am a little confused on some of your remarks. Anyways, your verbal claws need a manicure Nevertheless, thanks for your advice, there are some golden nuggets of wisdom there.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Standalone Software Alternatives to Adobe PS

                Originally posted by alreese83 View Post
                You know Mr K., you always skim read, and then climb up on your soapbox to preach out a comment. I mentioned my level of experience. Print maybe washed up but the web makes just as many if not more demands for images, duh nothing new. So, I am a little confused on some of your remarks. Anyways, your verbal claws need a manicure Nevertheless, thanks for your advice, there are some golden nuggets of wisdom there.
                Ugh. That's most likely true. I've been through similar experiences, and I mainly intended to advise caution. I think it's important to gain both practice and interaction with others so that both judgement and technical skills grow.

                You're right about the web. It's just that the newer work doesn't always pay as well as the older work. Most brands that have some kind of direct sale such as fashion brands and retailers do employ retouchers. Some of them pay a suitable amount. Some of them pay terribly relative to the cost of living where they are located.

                Edit : on second thought it's definitely true. I need to proofread more. The forum signs me out quickly and doesn't cache anything, so I do it less on here than the other place where I answer a lot of questions regarding color and computer graphics.
                Last edited by klev; 10-12-2015, 12:09 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Standalone Software Alternatives to Adobe PS

                  Paintshop Pro (Corel), is only a Wndows applications, but is very stable and has many features similar to Photoshop.
                  Xara Designer Pro is also a Wndows only suite that is very robust and full of features.

                  http://www.xara.com/us/designer-pro/features/

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