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Post Processing Workflow?

This is a discussion on Post Processing Workflow? within the Photoshop - graphics programs - pluggins - for photography forums, part of the Education & Technical category; I've been shooting and processing for a while now though I don't think I do the processing very well. I'm ...

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    Default Post Processing Workflow?

    I've been shooting and processing for a while now though I don't think I do the processing very well. I'm wondering if I can get some advice on this. Here's the way I work right now.

    1) Load RAW images into Picasa.
    2) Select image and make a minor editing change such as a crop. This lets me do a "Save" in Picasa which creates a JPG and moves the RAW to a backup folder that I can retrieve at any time in the future.
    3) Edit the JPG in GIMP

    Here's where most of my questions come in. Is there a particular order I should do the next bits in? Should I do colour curves before brightness/contrast? Should sharpening (unsharp mask) always be last? Is there a recommended order for these edits to be done in? How does the histogram help when doing colour curves?

    Basically, I just fiddle with the curves and sliders until I think it looks better but it seems to me my edits should be more structured.

    4) Save the image out as a JPG which overwrites the JPG in Picasa (RAW is still protected).
    5) Now I'm ready to upload to Photography.ca, Flickr, etc.

    Comments? Ideas?
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    Sure I got opinions

    Not crazy at all about this workflow Iggy.

    Saving to jpeg is the LAST thing I do and yet it's high up there in your workflow.

    Once you save as a jpeg...you throw out data...Given that you are into photography as a passion, to do further post processing on a jpeg file does not make sense to me.

    IMO, ALL post processing work should be done in a lossless format like RAW, TIFF or PSD.....then converted to jpeg only at the end.

    I have not worked with ADOBE elements but I hear it's pretty damn close to most photoshop tasks for about 100 bucks... If you can afford it I think it would be a good investment.

    OR

    If gimp allows you to work in a lossless format use GIMP the whole way through and save to jpeg only at the end.

    Hope that helps - Marko
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    I've thought about that but Picasa only seems to export/save to JPG and GIMP does not edit RAW files :( I hesitate adding a third piece of software to the mix and I've been putting off the Adobe stuff because I'm stubborn and figure I should be able to do this for free with the tools I have. Maybe I need to rethink that. $700/$800 for Photoshop is crazy but $100 for Elements might be a good idea. They have a 30 day eval. Maybe I'll give it a try...
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    I'd be interested to hear the suggestions of other members....but by buying elements you're not adding a 3rd piece of software....you are replacing GIMP forever and possibly picassa as well.
    (Though picassa IS a rocket at sorting photos).

    At the end of the day....for me, after I do something for quite a while and realize that i will keep at it, I'll spend the $ to get a reasonably priced tool.

    You can likely even get coupon or promo codes to reduce the elements price even further. I like retailmenot.com for this sort of thing.
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    PS Elements may be worth a try. It can be your DAM, raw converter, and editing tool all in one.

    It's nice to be able to preserve data throughout the process, but if you are at least saving your original RAW file (non destructive editing) that's a very good thing.

    I've read that many photographers do noise reduction near the beginning of the workflow and sharpening at the end. Makes sense. As for contrast or curves adjustments and such, I don't know if the order matters much.

    But if you use the Adobe RAW converter (ACR) in Elements, Lightroom, or Photoshop, you can do much of that during the RAW conversion and then I don't think the order matters since it's all done in one step basically through the interface on importing a RAW file. The sharpening that you might apply in that process could be called pre-sharpening. As I understand it, it is just to counter what the RAW format usually lacks. Then you would usually also do some output sharpening depending on how your images will be viewed (screen vs print) and that, if you use Elements, would be done probably as the final step using unsharp mask or the advanced sharpening (like smart sharpen in CS3/4).

    The thing with Elements I am currently struggling with is how I can save a file without flattening the layers and losing the editing history, while still not producing overly huge file sizes cluttering up my hard drive, so I can go back again and tweak it if I wish, without having to start all over again. I think PS CS's smart filters make this task easier and more efficient.

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    Yes, Elements is the way to go. I think you can get an offer on the net which takes about $20 off the price making it about $79. You can add your filters such as Topaz and it allows you to work in layers which once you learn that makes doing all sorts of tweaks or fixes easy. There is a learning curve, but even just doing the auto stuff at first gets you started. I use it in conjunction with LightRoom which is not cheap but a wiz at saving photos. It also does a few minor adjustments, is great at converting to B&W and has a great straightening, cropping tool. But definitely, Elements will give a you a lot of control on how your photo ends up looking.

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    We had another thread all about this Iggy. Went for a few pages from memory too.

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    just to thow in that you can edit RAW in GIMP with the add in I posted about here:
    http://www.photography.ca/Forums/f10...gimp-6852.html

    I also quite like photoshop and it's closer to lightroom. Why not download the demo and try them out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mad Aussie View Post
    Thanks! I missed that the first time around.
    “If you are out there shooting, things will happen for you. If you’re not out there, you’ll only hear about it.” – Jay Maisel
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