Monday, June 13, 2011

Do You Need Photoshop?

Now in its 12th major release, Photoshop is essentially synonymous with image editing for photographers and creatives.
By David Willis Published in Processing
Do You Need Photoshop?


Aperture 3 is similar in many respects to Adobe's Photoshop Lightroom. Originally released before Lightroom, it was offered as a much heftier image browser and editor than the more consumer-oriented iPhoto.

Now in its third generation, Aperture 3 has matured into a full editing solution that foregoes many of Photoshop's complexities at an incredibly low price if you buy it as a digital download through the new Mac App Store (a feature of Mac OS X Snow Leopard). Aperture excels in its simple-to-use interface, nondestructive editing without layers, and GPS-enabled library-organizational capabilities.

What's more, Aperture is all-inclusive when it comes to the different aspects of image editing and image browsing. In Photoshop, for instance, Adobe Bridge is your image browser, and you have to launch two different programs to achieve what you can do in Aperture in two tabs.

Aperture includes all of the family-friendly applications of iPhoto, including Faces, an auto face-detection and -recognition mode for tagging friends and family in your images. The third generation also adds robustness to the image-editing tools and selective retouching for localizing adjustments. There are adjustment presets for previewing and making changes to images in black-and-white, color and in between, like sepia. Adjustments can be applied to any other image, even multiple ones, and users can save their own presets and publish them to the web for other photographers to use. Sure, Photoshop has similar "Actions," but what Photoshop doesn't have is Apple's celebrated ease of use.

There are other nice features, as well, like advanced slideshow templates, a full-screen Projects view and the Vanishing HUD, which reduces distracting contextual windows from the interface so you can see the image in full on your screen. List Price: $79 (Mac only).


Downloading and installing software and photography applications for Apple computers just got even easier. Building on the model of the iTunes App Store for Apple's line of mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad, Apple recently made the decision to offer applications and programs to Mac users in an online storefront that makes software as easy to find and use as browsing and purchasing music through iTunes.

Available as a free upgrade for Mac OS X Snow Leopard (10.6), the Mac App Store provides ratings and user feedback for more than 1,000 apps, and if the Mac App Store is anything like the popularity of the iTunes App Store, that number is likely to increase rapidly. You can search through featured content and popular downloads in a variety of categories, including photography, and results are divided into free or paid programs.

Keeping applications up to date is as simple as updating through the App Store application, and in the event of a computer crash, you also can reinstall purchased apps from the store. There are already close to 200 available photography apps, including favorites such as Pixelmator, iSplash for adding a "splash" of color to black-and-white images and Dynamic Light for creating HDR effects from single images.

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