Adobe Lightroom 4, Corel AfterShot Pro and Cyberlink PhotoDirector 3 were released in January, but the print magazine PC World didn’t get around to reviewing them until the current issue, June 2012.
The article touts the programs as efficient ways to edit, organize and share photos. The main advantage of this kind of software is non-destructive editing, but that’s ignored in the story headlines.
It should be no surprise that PC World rates the Adobe product best of the pack, but the other two get Very Good ratings. You can read all about it here.
As for me, I continue to look for the best ways to improve my images out of the camera, whether the process is destructive editing or non-destructive editing. I recently attended a Topaz Labs webinar presented by the renown photographer Captain Kimo and was blown away by his unconventional workflow and choice of software. He’s the first pro photographer I’ve heard in a webinar who does not use Adobe Photoshop CS in the process of making images.
Captain Kimo begins with RAW development in Photomatix Pro for the greater dynamic range. Then the image is opened in Photoshop Elements (because of its simplicity of use) where various operations are applied, including use of several Topaz Labs plugins. He finishes with Lightroom.
I’ve been trying a bit of this routine, but using Sagelight as my primary editor. I love Sagelight because of the ability to compress the color, yet protect from blowout of the highlights.
Here are a few shots from tests done on images of Texas wildflowers I shot recently.
RAW development in Photomatix Pro, from Sagelight application of Topaz DeNoise, Topaz Detail and Topaz Adjust. Various light and color adjustments made in Sagelight. Image saved in PhotoLine, where text was applied.
RAW development in Photomatix Pro. From Sagelight, Topaz DeNoise, Topaz Detail and Topaz Adjust applied. Various light and color adjustments made with Sagelight. Also in Sagelight, Vignette applied. Text added in PhotoLine and final image was saved as a PLD file, PhotoLine’s native format
RAW development in Photomatix Pro. Topaz DeNoise, Detail and Adjust used in Sagelight in addition to color and light adjustment in Sagelight and use of Sagelight’s great Bokeh adjustment, an effect at least one company charges a couple of hundred dollars for. Text added in PhotoLine and final file stored as a PhotoLine (PDL) document.
Photomatix Pro used for RAW development. Topaz DeNoise, Detail and Adjust applied in Sagelight along with color and light adjustments. Although this image was shot with a macro lens, achieving a shallow depth of field, the effect was intensified with blur and the Undo brush in Sagelight. Text was added in PhotoLine, and the final document was saved as a PhotoLine file (PLD).
Although Sagelight lacks some tools found in other editors, it has some amazing and innovative features that produce great results in images. I’m using a pre-beta version, which includes an Oil Paint effect which actually looks like a real painting on canvas, HDR and CLAHE effects, Bokeh Lens Blur and LightBlender, a light adjustment tool acting on ranges of light within the image.
Sagelight works on image layers, but the user doesn’t have to create them. It’s all done internally. And all images opened in the SageLight editor become 48-bit color pictures.
An update is promised soon. Sagelight is a software tool all enthusiast photographers should evaluate. Check out the website and the Sagelight forum.