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Raw Shooter Premium 2006
Old 10-31-2005, 10:24 AM   #1 (permalink)
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O.k., there's this other post going on about RAW workflow. I could've tried to hijack that thread, but this topic does warrant a seperate discussion.

Here's my workflow:

1. Capture Canon EOS 20D Raw+JPG (I use a calibration target to set my color balance and exposure, so I'm usually pretty confident in that. I shoot raw for output files, like Andy Pearlman. The JPGS are used to create web galleries.)
2. PS CS browser to apply any minor color corrections in RAW mode, if any. I don't like to touch the exposure, as CS only really bumps up or down the ISO, so you get more grain. I save that for later.
3. Batch all of the images to PSD files
4. Run a batch on the PSD files to tweak exposure (using a new layer set to screen blending mode and adjust opacity), levels (for contrast), apply sharpening (using a high pass filter), and saturation. Saturation and sharpening are the only tasks that are automated. Exposure and levels are adjusted for eah image. This is tedious as a wedding for me is usually 400 images (those are the keepers).
5. I then batch them all to JPG's and once that's complete, I will archive the RAW's, original JPG's, and the PSD files. Since the PSD's are edits in progress and take up about 10 gig, I've got to where I'll just delete them. The JPG's are sent to print.

Here's my question. I am trying to work Pixmantec's Raw Shooter Essentials into my workflow to automate more this process. A typical wedding will require a day's worth of post production. If I can cut that to 1/2 day that would be fantastic! I'm still leery of switching my worflow because I like working with PSD's (lots of data makes me feel good).

So now Pixmantec has this Raw Shooter Premium 2006 out for $59. Why should I upgrade to this? What is so much more special that I should pay an additional $60 for this software? Oh, BTW, tomorrow it goes up to $99!

Thanks for any help.

Mike
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Re: Raw Shooter Premium 2006
Old 10-31-2005, 01:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hello Mike,

I just processed a wedding with Raw Shooter Premium yesterday (750 images). I don't know if you have used it before in the free version, but the really nice (to me anyway) addition is the ability to adjust curves and levels in this version and that is definitely worth the price of admission.

Once you have your raw images in place you tell the RSP where the directory is and it creates a thumbnail for each image which took about 80 seconds or so for my 800 images that i whittled down to 750. At that point there is a list of thumbnails at the top and you can click on each image and nearly instantly be looking at a larger image in the big window on the bottom to which you can apply color correction, exposure corrections, levels, curves, etc., etc. You can also apply consistent changes to any group of the thumbnails. You can also assign each thumbnail or its associated image to folder 1,2,3 or trash. This works great for me. If an image needs nothing other than what i have done in RSP I put it in folder 1. If it needs a little photoshop work, it goes to two. If it needs a lot of help, it goes to three and if it is just a bad shot or a light test it goes to the trash.


To me, for weddings at least, this is THE best tool I have come across in terms of speed for making basic color corrections and levels changes to wedding images. That accounts for 90% of my post processing for wedding images. occasionally there is an important shot where a flash didn't fully recycle and those need some additional PS work and on the formal, posed images I will generally apply some skin smoothing and blemish removal in PS. But for me, the major work is color and levels and this program really lets you fly through those tasks.

The RSE program is free, but it doesn't have levels so it was not terribly useful for me. But the RSP program has a 15 day free trial. Download it and give it a try. I think that you will like it. Personally, I was about fed up with the whole post process for weddings using PS. It was fantastic to download that program yesterday and comparatively fly through a wedding. I even totally redid a wedding that I was halfway through from the previous week because it was so much faster than PS for me.

No, I don't get any money for saying this stuff. I just think it is a great and QUICK product. And when you are sorting through 800 images, quick is important.

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Re: Raw Shooter Premium 2006
Old 10-31-2005, 03:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I use Photoshop CS2's RAW converter and my workflow allows me to process hundreds of photos in just a few minutes with fantastic results. I've used RSE and the new $99 version also and find it slower to use.
The problem most people have with CS2 is that often they don't really learn how to use it properly and so they end up not liking it. But once you learn the proper way to use it, is gives amazing results. By the way I've also use Capture 1 which I find the worst of the three products (and the slowest).
cheers,
rfs
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Re: Raw Shooter Premium 2006
Old 10-31-2005, 06:29 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Don't know if it should replace what you are using, but I certainly like some of the new features, as others have mentioned. Here is a LONG review of RSP that I wrote and posted elsewhere....

Rawshooter Premium 2006

Lots of new features separates this Premium version (RSP) from the freebie version (RSE). Here is some of what is new, and some of what isn't new, but worth noting for it uniqueness in a RAW converter:

Snapshot. There are icons above the big image display window. The first is probably grayed out, but the second one (looks like a folder with a green plus on it) is the Make a Snapshot button. When you click it, RSP (and RSE) will create a Snapshot (on another TAB) of the image. As you make changes to the 2nd Snapshot (Tab #2), you can go back and look at the first one to compare. This is a feature in Photoshop, and it is a great feature in a RAW converter. Once you make a Snapshot, the first icon is available to delete a Snapshot.

There is a Compare Image feature included. The icon above the big image display window that looks like a grid is it. By default, you can compare two separate image files (instead of snapshots) to see which is better. As you move around (Pan) in one image, the other will follow along. It really helps to see which image file has better detail, sharpness, color, etc., before you start working on them.

There is a Straighten Image tool. A good thing, because a lot of digital cameras images are actually rotated a bit (mine are about 1.5 degrees, and so is a D70 I know of). Straighten Image is on the toolbar above the display window, and looks like a little rotated image, with a dropdown beside it. It works great too. If you just click the icon, you can use the mouse to drag a line across the image (click, hold, drag), and when you let go, poof, the image rotates. If you want more control, click the dropdown, and use the slider, keyboard numbers, or up/down arrows).

The last icon above the image display is the Crop tool. Very handy to have, but not a requirement. As you dropdown the tool, you will notice a lot of features in it. The first is really nice. It is a Composition Grid. It puts grid lines on your image at the one-third points. Can be really handy if you want to do what some pros say you should. There is a Freeform Crop option too, so you can just drag out a rectangle. As you do it, RSP will change the background color, and show the new cropped image in color. If the Composition Grid is on, it shows up in the crop area too. It also shows the size of your crop window in realtime. The Gray Mask Option in the tools pulldown controls the background image coloring. In the tools pulldown, there are also some set aspect ratios for your use, and you can create your own that will appear there by using the Add/Edit Aspect Ratio option on the pulldown. Your image will not actually get cropped, until you "convert" it, so you can Remove Crop (another option there) to undo your crop before converting.

From the Correct tab, you still have control over the Color Temperature setting. You can use either Kelvin (or Warm/Cold), controlled via the preferences area. A lot of folks complain about a lack of White Balance presets, and RSP is not going to set them. But, they allow you to, via Appearances. To the right of the normal Appearances is a dropdown to Save the settings you have displayed. RSP will let you SAVE virtually any and all correction setting like the White Balance (Color Temp/Tint), the Exposure Compensation, Fill Light, Contrasts, Colors, Noise, and Curves/Levels, AND then APPLY them to other images. Pretty nice feature.

RSP still has the familiar Fill Light, Shadow Contrast, and Highlight Contrast sliders, but below that there are now tabs for nice additional features. The new tabs are Detail/Noise, Curve/Levels, and Color.

The Detail/Noise tab is pretty much the same stuff that RSE had, except there is now a Hot Pixel/Pattern Noise Suppresion slider.

The Curve/Levels tab is all new. You get a familiar grid display like other Image Editors, so you can click and drag points to create adjustment curves just like the big boys. There is also a Pick Shadow and Pick Highlight point eye dropper icon. These are used to set the Black, and the White points, to get a jump start on the curve. Might be all you want to set anyway. If not, fine tune it with the grid, and/or the Mid-Tone Slider on the bottom, which will show up in the grid as a faint blue line. You can even SAVE any of these settings for use later. All of this is good stuff to have included.

Next is the Color Tab. Here is where the Saturation, Hue, and Vibrance sliders are. Saturation and Hue are normal stuff, but Vibrance is new. Vibrance does what it sounds like it does. Moving the slider to the right increases the saturation of "dull" colors intelligently. Makes them stand out more. Very handy to use to add some pop to images. There is also a color wheel included. You can click and drag a point around to make changes to the images color cast. It can be very handy, but it can really mess it up quick. Moving the point back to the center should fix things.

Not much on the Batch Convert tab. Be sure to use the Image Size save options there to set the converted images pixel size, or the scale of it, and DPI. You can also use Apply Sharpening checkbox to use the RSP sharpening options you did, or add them again later in another program.

Other things to know about RSP.

You can right-click on the image, and get two options. Only two, but they could be handy.

One is the Magnifier (Alt-M). When it is one, it will drag around a magnified view of the area around the mouse pointer. It can be really handy to zoom into an area, without really zooming. It takes a second or two to "paint" the image into the magnifier box when you stop, but it isn't too bad on a 4 year old machine.

The other right-mouse click option is the RGB Readout. When it is on, where ever the mouse pointer is, will show the RGB color values there too. yeah, it is still shown above the histogram, but now you don't have to look over there.

There is now a Download Images button along the top of RSP. Does what it says. helps you download images off of the memory card and allows you to place them wherever. Yes, you can rename them as they go, you can Move them instead of Copy (not really a good idea, but it is there), and set directory structure too. A handy deal that maybe people will use.

Another new tool is the Rename Selected Images tool that looks like a little N, below the main toolbar. Allows you to select images, and rename just those images. Pretty handy option to use instead of opening Explorer or some other program.

Beside the Rename tool, is a new Fast Proof tool. Simply select images in the thumbnail area, and click this tool. It will allow you to create fast "proofs" (smaller copies) of your images. You set the size of the proofs, and you can apply sharpness and other settings to them as they are created. Really handy.

RSE had the slideshow option, but it is worth mentioning that while doing the slideshow, you can mark images for deletion (they don't get deleted until you tell them to), and rank images to use later (the 1, 2, & 3 buttons). But, the neat part is, you can use the Magnifier and RGB readout options during the slide show too.

Overall, I like RSP more than RSE, despite the cost, and more than ACR too. I think you get a LOT of enhancements that work for the money (and with the $40 off till Oct31, much better). Some features are there as convieniences (downloader for one), but it could be handy if you broke old tradition and used them. Snapshot (even though it is in RSE) and compare images is great to have in the RAW program. They both can really help in tweaking an image just a bit more. Crop is good to have, but may fall into the "I'll do it later" category. Curve/Levels and the Vibrance addition are very nice, and I will use them in RSP. I may tweak them in PS later, but it is certainly nice to get the best possible image into PS to me.

I think the RS folks are going to keep making this product better and better. I'm sure the Premium product will help them get the backing that they need to clean a bit up, and continue to improve it.
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Re: Raw Shooter Premium 2006
Old 10-31-2005, 08:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If you want to get into the "guts" of photoshop, learn Visual Basic.
There is a pdf file in the photoshop folders that will help you learn
to macro manage and automate all of photoshops functions from color to
sizing to format.

Greg.
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