Editing images

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Editing images

Does anyone have a favorite image editing program? I've used some different ones---Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, and one other one (can't remember the name right now). Just curious what others have tried & what they like best.

Matt Whitlock (not verified)
Photoshop is powerful, but it

Photoshop is powerful, but it seems to take a degree in rocket science to use it. If it's too intimidating, they have a program called Photoshop Elements that's a bit easier to use at the sacrifice of some funtionality.

Another option would be Microsoft's Digital Image Suite 10, which I've heard good things about, but I haven't had an opportunity to play with it myself. At $99.95 MSRP, it's also very affordable compared to Photoshop CS (MSRP 649.95).

Hi Debbie, Going back

Hi Debbie,
Going back through these posts, I'm just answering some that I might have something to say about.
I've looked, but not too deeply, at a number of photo editing programs. But being an computer guy first and a photo artist second (at best), I come at the world of digital photography from a decidedly IT perspective.
As a consequence, I have yet to find a program I like better than a rather inexpensive program I've stayed with for over a decade now. It's called ThumbsPlus and it's from Cerious Software of Charlotte, NC.
You can download a trial version at no charge from http://www.cerious.com/

What I like about this program is that it allows you to deal directly with the image files, not "imported renditions" of them as seemed to be the case with certain "professional" programs I've looked at.
It uses two types of window: main and view. The main window is an excellent image file manager and uses the familiar windows file manager (now Windows Explorer) metaphor. A file directory tree in a left pane, and a directory (folder) contents display in the right pane. In recent versions, a new multi-purpose third pane has been added, nominally sharing the left column with the tree pane, in which you can dispaly "tasks" (progress bars for certain longer running processes), "image previews", and "Info" (image file type details and other property type info, such as resolution, dimensions, even camera model and exposure info if such EXIF data are stored in the image file itself).
The folder contents pane is visually similar to window explorer after selecting View > Thumbnails. The difference, and one of the key powers of ThumbsPlus, is that, where windows renders the image thumbnails on the fly (and keeps them in a hidden system file in each folder called thumbs.db if Tools>Folder Options... View tab, "Do not cache thumbnails" is not checked), ThumbsPlus keeps the thumbnails in a separate database that it maintains (using ODBC access to the Jet db driver).
This distinction has many dramatic implications. First of all you can keep thumbnail reditions of images on offline volumes. So I don't have to load a CD to see what pictures are on it. Secondly, the database contains not only the thumbnail image, but also carries a lot of other metadata about the file, including a user comments section and user defined searchable structured fields. So you could, for example, catalog a collection of whatever and keep a "catalog number" associated with it in metadata.
Also, you can assign an image to a user named gallery which is in essence a virtual folder. For example, I have a gallary called wallpaper where I store especially sized versions of particular photos I've taken of my granddaughter that ThumbsPlus will set as desktop wallpaper with the click of a button. User keywords can be stored with the metadata to allow you to search on virtually any characteristic you assign.
I could go on and on about the power of having this database, which admittedly can get very large (each thumbnail record can range from a couple KB to 10 or 12KB depending on the size of the thumbnail image you choose to have made and the amount of metadata you choose to store.

The view window is rendering and editing space for an open image file. The view window can be sized in any way you can think of. I typically place the main window in the upper right corner of my desktop and let it open view windows in the upper left. The window can be specified resize the image to fit in the maximum available desktop real estate, or allowed to be scrollable if the image is larger than the desktop.
Once opened, the range of editing capabilities is all (and more) than I can use. See another post on here I made about rotating and turning. The only function I long for is "air brushing". There's a redeye correction function that works great. But the thing I like about all the controls are that they are expressed and operate in image technology terms, not in artistic metaphors. As an example, color depth can be modified. The options are articulated in terms of their technical specifications, not their artistic characterization. For instance, color mode of "Indexed (4 or 8-bit) can be specified, and then within that 18 differnt palettes such as "6x7x6 even distribution (252)" can be chosen from, and then specific dithering algorithms such as Floyd-Steinberg, Burkes, etc. can be selected.

One of the neatest features is the file conversion capabilities and image format parameter specifications. To convert file types, you open it and then simply "Save As..." and select the desired file type. Once selected, when you click save, a dialog pops up asking for type-specific specifications. For jpg, for instance, you explicitly choose the quality spec from 20 to 100 (though below 50 and above 95 are reminded as being of little use), the smoothing factor from 0-100, and the sub-sampling type such as 2:2 (default) or 1:1 (best quality). Even better as you choose these variables, it automatically computes the resulting file size that would be created if you clicked OK, so you can quickly and visually do the tradeoffs between image quality and file size. You can supress headers and EXIF, IPTC info if you'd rather not take up the space or share those details in a version of the image you are sending elsewhere. Further, there's even a preview subpane of the image to be stored showing an enlarged subsection that reveals the image lossy artifacts that will be created.

The main window also has excellent file and folder management functions, some better than windows. For instance, there's a mass file rename function that lets you specify a mask and numeric series sequence specification. My Olympus camera generates file names in the form of PMDDNNNN, where P is a constant, M is 1 through C for Jan through Dec, DD is day of month from 01 to 31, and NNNN is a sequence number. I like to rename my images in the form of PYY_MDDNNNN. I'm inserting a year specification so that my granddaughter's pics from 2002 are distinguishable from those from 2003, but the rest of the file name is the same as the original. With one specification and click, I can rename all the files (without changing the file date/time and without opening and resaving).

As I said, I've used this product since it's version 1. It is now at version 7 and there are significant improvements and functional enhancements with each release. Further, it is NOT buggy. I've never had it hang or crash my system. But the consequence of this long time use, is high familiarity. I quite aware that a new user would not find it as easy to use as I do. On the other hand, if you come to digital photography from the computer geek side, then this will be more intuitive than the "artist" products like Photoshop.

The price is still only $89.95 for the "Pro" full function version. By the way, I've no connection with Cerious Software other than being a satisfied customer. I pay full price for it like anyone else.

i have a cannon powershot 300

i have a cannon powershot 300 digital camera. i am unable to upload my product images to my new website. they limit images to 50 kb and although i have set my image for small and quality to low, i just can't get the images down to 50 kb.
the instruction manual says to click APPLY to begin the compression process and that the size of the file is displayed next to the APPLY button, i cannot for the life of me find any APPLY button. it doesn't even say if the APPLY button is on the camera or the software on my laptop. i just can't find it, and need to get this resolved quickly to i can upload images to my new website for which i am already paying but unable to use!
any suggestions or experience with this? i would be deeply appreciative!

You might want to get the

You might want to get the price on this, as I got it with my Nikon camera, but I like ArcSoft PhotoStudio (or PhotoImpression). After playing with it a few times, you'll get the hang of it and it has quite a few ways to manipulate your images.


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