Lessons learned so far from the book:
- Photoshop, still king. After working with several photo and graphics editors, I can say with a great deal of certainty that Photoshop really does deserve the respect it’s been given. Adobe’s habit of re-arranging its products with every release, paranoia about stolen software (somewhat justified) and high price tags aside, the product is the best.
- There are other good photo editing tools. Having said that Photoshop is the best, there are other excellent photo editing tools, including GIMP. I tried out the new GIMP 2.4 and was very impressed with the application. What’s important to remember about GIMP is that it’s one of the few that isn’t claiming to be a “Photoshop killer”. It considers itself to be a unique photo editing product.
- Of the other products I explored, Paint Shop Pro has gotten a lot of flack for only being 8-bit, and deservedly. It still has an extraordinary number of photo effects, though. Paint.NET is not–not ready for prime time, that is.
- Photoshop Elements is fun Elements is more than Photoshop with much of the guts torn out. Elements really is focused at a different audience. It doesn’t have much of the fine control that Photoshop provides, true. It does, however, support what most people want from a photo editor, and a whole lot of new functionality that most people would find fun. Since I have my TV hooked up to my computer, I adored Element’s ability to generate a widescreen HD-compatible slideshow movie with music of a folder of photos.
- The next Photoshop will be an online tool. I’m amazed at the number of online photo editors. I’m doubly amazed with all the hyperbole surrounding them. These tools are described variously as the next Photoshop Killer or the next Photoshop, period. Even Adobe is coming out with an online tool. My first test for each of the online photo editors I looked at? Uploading and opening a RAW image file. Puts the whole ‘online’ photo editor thing into perspective.
- Colorful black and whites. I don’t think I’ve realized how colorful black and white photos really are until I started exploring, in depth, the many ways one can convert a color photo into a black & white. This exercise should be a requirement for every class teaching black & white photography.
- Snag-It is great for screen captures and Skitch has an interesting social network facility, but my favorite screen capture tool ended up being Faststone’s Fast Capture. I found it more comfortable to use then the other two products.
- I will accept software that dynamically resizes my photos for online display, only if you let me use my new Grease Monkey script that removes all the conjunctions from your writing.
- Most important graphics tools. The most important tool both for editing photos and creating graphics is the Gaussian Blur. You can do without most other things, but you can’t do without the Gaussian Blur.