25 Nov 2013

Newest Adobe deal for Photographers (valid till 2nd December 2013) - take or leave it?

Adobe has a limited time offer, called Adobe Photoshop Photography Program (valid till 2nd December 2013), which offers a bundle of Photoshop CC and Lightroom via a Creative Cloud (CC) monthly subscription of 9.99$ (in Europe it is priced 12.29EUR per month). There was (and is still ongoing) a lot of discussion on Internet about the new business model of Adobe. I am not going to discuss pros and cons of such model. Instead I am going to present some considerations taking different user categories into account.

New users

For someone that does not have Photoshop and Lightroom it is probably a good deal. For 120$ (147.5EUR) per year one gets those two packets. CS6 and Lightroom 5 bundle if bought separately, would cost 848$ (699 and 149 for Photoshop and Lightroom, respectively). So the subscription price would exceed the purchase costs of the standalone version after 7 years. This of course under assumption that the subscription price remains the same.
The added value is that the upgrades of the software are included in the subscription price of the Creative Cloud. And in the period of 7 years one can expect 2-3 release updates of both products.
So for the newcomers it is in my opinion the interesting option.

Existing users

If someone (like me) has purchased Photoshop CS6 and Lightroom, then the benefits of such deal are not so obvious. Let's face it: Photoshop CS6 is very extended package and most photographers don't even need the updates (there are people still using CS2 and CS3 with a great success and pleasure). And update of Lightroom will be available as a standalone application for 79$. 
So for the sake of switching to CC I would not take this deal. 
But there is one more aspect that makes it interesting for at least some of us.

Users using two different OS platforms (Windows and Mac)

If someone has both a Windows and a Mac machine and wants to use Photoshop and Lightroom on both platforms, then he/she should seriously consider the offer from Adobe, in my opinion. Why? Because the licensing model of Photoshop (prior the CC version) does not allow to use the same license for two machines equipped with two different operating systems. In this case Adobe offers either purchase of two licenses (which means 699$ extra) or the so called platform swap. But platform swap is not an option since the usage of software is limited to one machine.

For the CC version the situation is different: one can install the software on two computers, disregard the operating system they run. More on that in this discussion thread.
So for 120$ per year one gets the software running on both platforms. For me this is a deal maker.

23 Nov 2013

onOne Perfect Photo Suite 8 - what isn't addressed in this release

onOne Software has announced the new version of their Perfect Photo Suite software.
The new features are quite exciting, but I was also interested in the performance of the software. In this post I describe my findings with respect to the performance of the version 8.
I am not going to repeat what is new in this version, I think it is best to check the official announcement of the product on the onOne webpage.
The software will be published on 26th November 2013. In the meantime there is a public beta 3 release available for download.
I took the opportunity and tested the beta version for a while. I was in particular interested in the performance of the newest version. The version 7.5 is not fully usable on my setup when I process the high resolution images.
So what is my setup? It is Windows 7 64-bit OS running on Intel i5 Quad core CPU, running at 2,66GHz and having 6MB RAM on board. Sure, not the most powerful machine, but also not the weakest one.
The problem is that I work with the images having resolution of 36 megapixels. Such images on my computer in onOne software are very challenging to process when I try to use the tools like masking brush or masking bug; the software becomes slow and hardly responsive after several brush strokes. And using perfect brush simply freezes the application for a longer time (2-3 minutes).
So when version 8 was announced, I was hoping that the performance would be better.
Unfortunately, it is not the case. It looks actually the same as in 7.5. Which is a pity.
On a positive side: the new tool, called the Perfect Eraser, works reasonably good and remains responsive despite the complexity of the drawn shape.
Note, that the situation I have described is quite specific (most probably not everyone works with 36 mpix images). And version 8 is the step forward when one looks at the new features and overall improvements. But if someone considers purchasing the new version in order to boost the performance, he might be disappointed.

By the way, I learned to deal with my issues by combining the usage of onOne with Photoshop. Whenever I need accurate mask, I create it in Photoshop and from there I run the onOne. Not the perfect solution, but it works. 

17 Nov 2013

Sometimes the most difficult in photography is to pick up the camera and go outside

There are periods when I am less active with my photography. It comes because of the busy times at work, other activities, bad weather and many other more or less important factors. But there are also the moments when I think there are not enough interesting topics to take photos (or I cannot photograph them in an interesting way). I think it overcomes many people that do creative hobby. Finding a remedy for such 'mental block' is the personal process and can in some cases take time. Sometimes, however, finding the passion back can be very simple. What works for me is just to take a camera and go outside, despite the weather conditions, other pending activities and day to day pressures. Like yesterday. It was a cold, foggy, grey, autumn day. I was struggling what to do: my camera was just back from the reparation, I'd like to test it very much. But on the other hand such day didn't promise a lot with respect to photography. Anyway, I took the challenge. I drove to a park nearby and started shooting.

After few minutes the fear of not finding interesting locations was completely gone. I actually couldn't stop shooting, despite bad weather and rather bad light.

After 2 hours of this photowalk my enthusiasm for photography was fully restored. 
And, after coming home, the warm coffee was delicious...