Join our zoo community

Photo Editing Software (for animals and more)

Discussion in 'Animal Photography' started by Arizona Docent, 9 Jan 2022.

  1. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member 15+ year member

    Joined:
    10 Feb 2009
    Posts:
    7,702
    Location:
    Arizona, USA
    This thread is for those photographers among us, whether you are accomplished or aspiring or anywhere in between. In this thread we can discuss software for editing animal photos, though of course the same programs can be used for any photos.
     
  2. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member 15+ year member

    Joined:
    10 Feb 2009
    Posts:
    7,702
    Location:
    Arizona, USA
    I will bring up my newest love: Topaz Sharpen AI. I bought the bundle of three Topaz progams (Sharpen AI, Gigapixel AI, DeNoise AI) in a Black Friday special before Christmas. Previously for images that were a bit blurred I used the Unsharp Mask feature in Photoshop Elements, which has very minimal effect in improving sharpness. The manufacturer's sample image for Topaz Sharpen looked too good to be true, but for the price I thought it was worth a try. WOW!!! It works unbelievably well. The first shot I tried was perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime of a bobcat leaping towards me mid-air with a cotton rat in its mouth. Due to the speed of the leap the camera couldn't quite keep up and the focus was just behind the head on the middle of the body. Topaz made the face perfectly sharp. Just now I processed a similar image (but without the rat) to the same effect.
     
    RetiredToTheZoo and Moebelle like this.
  3. RetiredToTheZoo

    RetiredToTheZoo Well-Known Member 5+ year member

    Joined:
    25 Jun 2015
    Posts:
    165
    Location:
    Arkansas, USA
    This past year I've been using RawTherapee. It has a lot of capabilities and a big learning curve, but once I figured it out I really like it. The best part is it's open source, frequently upgraded, and free. I started using it because of it's excellent handling of Pentax pixel shift files. Better than any of the others including the Pentax software. I've also been using Lightroom/Photoshop, Great programs, but am about ready to dump it. Don't like the subscription. Also have the 2020 version of Photoshop Elements that gives me some Photoshop capabilities if I need any.
     
  4. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member 15+ year member

    Joined:
    10 Feb 2009
    Posts:
    7,702
    Location:
    Arizona, USA
    @RetiredToTheZoo Interesting - I have never heard of RawTherapee. I also don't like the subscription which is why I don't use Photoshop CS or Lightroom. I use Photoshop Elements which is a one time purchase and does what I need (in conjuction with the NIK plugins for Elements, also a one time purchase). For focus stacking I use Photoshop Elements "upgraded" with Elements Plus - a third party upgrade that only costs twelve bucks! (It does other things that I haven't tried - I only use the focus stack feature).
     
  5. Therabu

    Therabu Well-Known Member 10+ year member

    Joined:
    9 Jan 2010
    Posts:
    209
    Location:
    Paris area
    Nice thread idea!
    I personnaly use Photoshop CS6 for post-processing, for the same reason than Arizona Docent, the subscription to Adobe softwares suite end up being very expensive for what I do.
    I started only very recently to shoot RAW for landscape photography and using Capture NX to convert my files to JPEG but I am not yet very convinced by this move as the most notable change I have noticed is how incredibly slower I have been at processing images.
     
    Arizona Docent likes this.
  6. Julio C Castro

    Julio C Castro Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    12 Jul 2019
    Posts:
    1,161
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    My main photo editing software is Lightroom mobile app. I’ve used it almost exclusively with occasional Photoshop for more abstract and fun edits. I do pay for the subscription for Lightroom to use masking tools or gradients when needed, I find them very helpful especially to bring out more detail in washed out areas due to my mistakes or just harsh shooting conditions. It’s become almost second nature to edit a photo, spending less than a minute and not really trying to be too extravagant with my editing choices :D

    As for why I use the Lightroom app, I don’t have a laptop or PC to edit from but am in the process of upgrading my camera body and hopefully saving for a proper laptop to allow for editing without it being a massive undertaking for it :oops:
     
  7. LCPete

    LCPete Well-Known Member 10+ year member

    Joined:
    8 Aug 2011
    Posts:
    163
    Location:
    UK
    I also have Topaz sharpen AI it’s excellent especially for times when the picture hasn’t come out as sharp as you would like , I used it to rescue some old photos that weren’t very sharp
    I mainly use DXO photo lab for raw conversion and also Affinity photo for editing
    DXO raw conversion is amazing gives decent results even at high ISO
     
  8. Lafone

    Lafone Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    6 Dec 2021
    Posts:
    1,754
    Location:
    UK
    Had a discount code for the Topaz stuff sent to me and remembered this thread so took the plunge. Very nice indeed and shortens the workflow on noise and sharpness!

    Thanks for the write up! Would recommend as you say - nice results so far.

    Plugs straight into lightroom cc for me too (as I don’t mind the sub model) so the ability to do it all in one place is really nice too.
     
    LCPete likes this.
  9. cloudedleopard611

    cloudedleopard611 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    7 Jun 2022
    Posts:
    432
    Location:
    St. Louis
    I just use the standard photoshop. Its really good for making lighting changes, messing with color, and especially removing unwanted objects. It can be pretty tiresome though, and there's quite a learning curve.
     
  10. littleRedPanda

    littleRedPanda Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    22 Sep 2014
    Posts:
    2,156
    Location:
    Wicksteed is not a zoo
    I've just installed the Topaz Photo AI trial to see what it's like, but I have no intention of buying one of the packages, I'm just curious.

    Seems a bit slow for my liking.
     
  11. littleRedPanda

    littleRedPanda Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    22 Sep 2014
    Posts:
    2,156
    Location:
    Wicksteed is not a zoo
    With a couple of clicks in photoshop elements of the auto sharpen, I've got similar (maybe another click needed) result to the lengthy wait for topaz to finish and save the file. I picked a poorly lit photo on purpose, that was distorted by the window.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Lafone

    Lafone Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    6 Dec 2021
    Posts:
    1,754
    Location:
    UK
    Depends on the shot I expect. Glass is a strange beast. And I think these tools are not quite one for all.

    I tried them all from topaz as the trial voucher as above and bought the one for noise from topaz - denoise ai. I found that one brings me the start point I like the best.

    I use DXO pureraw or topaz denoise along with DXO photo lab and Lightroom. I use PS rarely if I want to make a bigger change to something.

    I stick with LR as my library all started in it and I’ve used the Adobe suite including PS for work - the plug Ins are cool.

    With DXO pure raw you can batch process for noise which is helpful particularly with horse sport photos and it does a good job in its lens correction step that’s a bit better than only LR.

    Don’t really notice the speed of any of them as I like trying things out (and conversely often do very little) so I am sure I have a very inefficient workflow! I like the processing bit though - shooting raw and going through the process is all part of the chilling out / fun part of the photography hobby for me.

    It’s cool to see other peoples workflows.
     
  13. Rayane

    Rayane Well-Known Member 5+ year member

    Joined:
    4 Dec 2017
    Posts:
    667
    Location:
    Switzerland
    My workflow starts on FastStone image viewer to check the overall quality of my images.
    Then I import them a first time into a dedicated Lightroom catalog where I chose my keepers.

    After that I classify the pictures in a taxonomy tree file, connected to an excel file so that it's easier to search for said species.

    After that I import the pictures in Lightroom again, run the ones I want to edit through DXO Pure raw, make the first part of edits in Lightroom, then on to Photoshop to do the work Lightroom doesn't do very well (cloning, cleaning the pictures, removing dirt etc.) and this is where I also play with brushes to chose where I want to lead the eye.
    After a quick save, it goes back to Lightroom where I can make my final framing and export the end result.

    I do lots of studio photography so the "cleaning" images part is more important since the background is usually white, black, grey or beige, dirty things are really visible. Where as in photography with natural background, I don't clean the pictures as much as I don't find it relevant.
     
  14. Rayane

    Rayane Well-Known Member 5+ year member

    Joined:
    4 Dec 2017
    Posts:
    667
    Location:
    Switzerland
    You do need a quite heavy PC or laptop configuration for it to work at its best, but it is definitely way better at what it does than Photoshop or Lightroom.
     
  15. Lafone

    Lafone Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    6 Dec 2021
    Posts:
    1,754
    Location:
    UK
    Interesting. I save the contents of the card onto an external drive for backup, have a look in preview there then import from the card to LR with a first pass on lens if needed and do the cull in LR.

    Then I choose which ones I want to process and use the quick collection feature to keep adding / getting rid of images as I head towards the final group (which is where I use DxO to start then topaz and PS as needed) which I save at the end as location / date of visit and tag as species / animal / rider depending on the subject. I then also export that set to the cloud for sharing or whatever and back up locally.

    As you say PC / Mac base speed helps. Don’t have a dedicated graphics machine though so use my gaming PC - saves room, makes good use of two hobbies and it has lots of memory and a good card though it’s a gaming one. A purely graphics dedicated card would work best but I find it goes along ok.
     
  16. littleRedPanda

    littleRedPanda Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    22 Sep 2014
    Posts:
    2,156
    Location:
    Wicksteed is not a zoo
    My PC meets the spec required but I could do with a bigger graphics card, which were pricey when I last looked.

    I used to enjoy the processing side of photography, but not so much these days due to a combination of things. A replacement monitor I bought makes the menus etc really small on Lightroom (and other random software packages) which makes it's use more challenging. Since getting the D7500, I've needed to convert NEF files to DNG first before my old lightroom can work with it. And finally, I'm too tight to pay for flickr (or any other host) so the limit on how many pictures they'll now host is uninspiring. I'm thinking of setting up several accounts to focus on individual species instead.

    I've got thousands of photos I've barely looked at, let alone processed and need to do something with them. There might actually be some nice ones amongst them :D
     
    Lafone likes this.
  17. Lafone

    Lafone Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    6 Dec 2021
    Posts:
    1,754
    Location:
    UK
    Guess you set light room fonts to large - they are still a bit small though on a big monitor!

    I do pay for the upgraded / premium version of Google to upload full size images. I think Flickr is cheaper by a dollar a month. If Google stopped supporting the service though I would go to Flickr.

    I don’t upload every image to Google though as the storage size cost is big at the large levels, preferring a NAS and HDD / drop box backup for my archive and just sending the finals to Google.
     
  18. littleRedPanda

    littleRedPanda Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    22 Sep 2014
    Posts:
    2,156
    Location:
    Wicksteed is not a zoo
    I have. The small setting make the menus like dots! :eek:
     
    Lafone likes this.
  19. bubblywums

    bubblywums Member

    Joined:
    21 Jun 2022
    Posts:
    20
    Location:
    Canada
    A friend of mine recommended DxO PureRAW 2 and I recently processed a very noisy indoor photo with it. Made a huge difference so if you're looking for a noise reduction software I can highly recommend. I have used Camera Raw/Lightroom/Topaz for noise reduction but none of them compare to the DxO results.

    [​IMG]

    Closeup before and after:
    https://i.ibb.co/Pcv5CGR/noise.png
     
    Lafone and Rayane like this.
  20. Rayane

    Rayane Well-Known Member 5+ year member

    Joined:
    4 Dec 2017
    Posts:
    667
    Location:
    Switzerland
    Topaz might actually challenge DXO but it's not as user friendly in my opinion.
    DXO is also great because it sharpens the image as well