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Free photographic software and how to use!

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Free photographic software and how to use!

Post by Eric M Palmer on Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:00 pm

I am to bring in my laptop and show free software on Monday. I want to have some hand out ready to remind people what they have seen when they get home. The following is what I was thinking of writing down. Can anyone see any mistakes please. Eric

Free photography software.
There is a range of free software and by swapping and changing between the software all but the most complex operations can be done. However away from the adobe produces, the problem is one knowing the names to look for, to be able to down load, and also finding out how to use it. Most Photography clubs will get guest speakers on how to use adobe products and other market leaders like Photomatrix, (HDR) PicturestoEXE, (AV) and Hugin (Panorama) but for Gimp, RawTherapee, (RAW) Picturenaut, (HDR) UFRaw, (RAW) FastStone Photo Resizer, PhotoStage Slideshow, (AV), Codex, (Thumbnail viewer), Audacity, (Sound), Kompozer, (Web page developer), PhotoME, (Metafile correction), and SM Tether, (Nikon computer remote) the beginner is left to fend for them selves. OK that’s the list to jog memories.
RAW
Some programs link Picturenaut handle RAW files directly but often first step is to convert from RAW (12 or 14 bit) to Jpeg or other 8 bit format. UFRaw was the standard program used with Gimp but the user interface left a lot to be desired. RawTherapee is far better main thing is it includes a screen of thumbnails so you can select the pictures you want to process. The options are huge but lacks graduated filter and adjustment brush found with adobe but has options missing in adobe equivalent as well so is a very powerful bit of software.
Gimp
Only works with 8 bit files. However it does most of the things photographers need including layers and masks. It now saves in it’s own special format so retains info on layers and masks it will of course also save as Jpeg in fact will even save and open photoshop files to a limited degree.
Picturenaut
A HDR program on par with CS4 (CS5 is better) however it lacks the local tone mapping found with Photomatrix. Works better direct from the RAW files. Lacks a front end with picture icons so careful notes required as to what to load up.
Codex
These are made by many manufactures my PC has Pentax and Nikon codex loaded so I can see thumbnails of my RAW files. Not really required with RawTherapee but you don’t really want to start it up just to view what file is what.
FastStone Photo Resizer
Real boom when setting sizes of competition entries and setting for web upload. It will handle batches, so although other programs can do the same this one is handy.
PhotoME
Good to correct meta data dates and even lens size when you forget to set on camera.

I use CS5 and have no intentions of moving over to free software in the foreseeable future so don’t use Gimp or the RAW converters except to show others. However Picturenaut and Hugin are very good. With both it’s a case where some times CS5 does better job and some time the free ones do it better.

Oddly I still use Paint to crop screen dumps as it loads faster. My bundled software with camera was not much good however one has to remember many cameras will allow you to convert RAW to Jpeg in camera and I have converted twice and loaded as layers in Gimp and used masks to combine best of both.

When I was using CS4 my Nikon RAW files could not be directly loaded option was RawTherapee or convert to DNG since DNG is 12 bit and Nikon RAW is 14 bit using RawTherapee was clearly best option.
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Eric M Palmer

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Re: Free photographic software and how to use!

Post by David Lewis on Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:16 pm

Hi Eric,
I saw this and posted it to the Facebook Forum.
http://digital-photography-school.com/darktable-vs-lightroom-does-it-measure-up
It may be of use to you.

Dave L.
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David Lewis

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Re: Free photographic software and how to use!

Post by Eric M Palmer on Tue Feb 18, 2014 3:53 am

Looks good will you demo it tonight please not enough time for me to do it now would be good to compare with REawTherapee.
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