PhotoShop: Budget Alternative

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by littlefish, May 12, 2013.

  1. littlefish

    littlefish Mu-43 Regular

    92
    Aug 22, 2011
    Glos., UK
    Having used PhotoShop from version 1, CS6 will be my last purcahse. I was still cooling down from the news that Adobe are moving to an all subscription model for their software (and this is after screwing the UK market over pricing, being economic with the truth re: upgrading and still not overhauling text handling) when an offer popped into my email inbox.

    Serif PhotoPlus X5 for £10.

    Windows only in downloadable format only and, yes, it is Serif who have a reputation for strong / dubious phone selling techniques (ask them nicely and they'll stop calling) but...

    I use X4 very occasionally and prefer a few of it's features to those of PhotoShop noticeably adding text and merging images. It's slower than PS (everything is), feels a little clunky and lacks the powerful tools (e.g. lab colour tweaking) but is perfectly serviceable for those with modest needs especially if LR is your main image program.

    It's not the latest version (current version is X6) but at this price I'm getting it for my laptop and, who knows, a future version might find its way onto my main machine.

    And for the record, no, I do not nor ever have worked for Serif and make nothing (£$) from this recommendation. I just like their software. Pity about the sales techniques.
     
  2. MingTyhMaa

    MingTyhMaa Mu-43 Regular

    80
    Jul 20, 2012
    Lafayette, CA
    Ming-Tyh Maa
    What about Photoshop Elements 11, which for $60 I'm told has 85-90% the functionality of cs6.
     
  3. Just Jim

    Just Jim Mu-43 Top Veteran

    941
    Oct 20, 2011
    Arcsoft has a pretty robust set of features... You get Layers, a RAW engine, the whole thing is photo based as well... has a bit of a curve to it, at least when I demoed it.
     
  4. Strick

    Strick Mu-43 Regular

    128
    Jan 8, 2013
    Columbia, MD
    Rob
  5. romnyrudy

    romnyrudy New to Mu-43

    2
    May 11, 2013
  6. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    I tend to suggest Elements or Paintshop Pro.
     
  7. Petrochemist

    Petrochemist Mu-43 Top Veteran

    655
    Mar 21, 2013
    N Essex, UK
    Mike
    +1

    I've used an early version of Serif's complete suite but didn't find it lived up to it's promices. After a few months I switched to Word for my DTP, which seemed a considerable improvement. The photo software wasn't a patch on Corel at the time either.
     
  8. pcake

    pcake Mu-43 Regular

    187
    May 3, 2010
    a few programs i've been reading about (but haven't tried yet) that have been recommended to me for raw editing and as a photoshop replacement:

    PixBuilder Studio
    PixBuilder Studio Free photo editor

    PhotoPlus X6
    PhotoPlus X6

    acdsee pro 6
    ACDSee Pro 6
    not as budget, but cheaper than photoshop. has a very up-to-date camera list - probably the most up-to-date i've seen.

    elements relies on adobe camera raw for its RAW support, and camera raw has already stopped updating and no longer will be adding new cameras (the newest version doesn't support the E-PM2 or the NEX 5R). unless adobe changes their mind about their new subscription model, elements 11 (and somewhat older versions) will only be supporting older cameras RAWs, and as time goes by, that list will get older and older...
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. sLorenzi

    sLorenzi Mu-43 Top Veteran

    586
    Sep 15, 2010
    Brazil
    Sidinei
    I use Paintshop Pro and it's very useful. I use 2 Topaz Labs plugins with it and all work good. To process raw files, I use it and sometimes Silkypix for better lens correction.
     
  10. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Margaret
    Thanks for sharing your research, Pcake, but ... PS Elements 11 is the latest version and should receive ACR updates till the next version of Elements is released. The most recent ACR is 7.4 (same as LR4.4), and it most definitely does support E-PM2 RAW files.

    Adobe Camera Raw 7.4 is now available for Photoshop Elements 11

    I switched from ACDSee Pro to LR3, and although I haven't used the newest version of ACDSee, I consider it more of a Lighroom competitor. It doesn't do layers, etc.

    Photoplus X6 looks interesting. Serif's web site makes no mention of it supporting Photoshop plugins, which is one thing I really want. Anyone know if it *does* support plugins?

    Will have to give PixBuilder a look.

    Features I'd hate to give up:

    1. Native x64 executable
    2. 16-bit/channel editing
    3. Layers
    4. Photoshop plugin support (16-bit)
    5. PS's Patch tool :biggrin:

    AFAIK, Photoshop is the only app that does all five. :redface:
    Edit: forgot to list PS Smart Objects!

    I know this will never happen, but there's a ton of graphic design features I never use in Photoshop. I do perform a fair amount of retouching (old photos, scanned film slides & negatives, etc.). It would be wonderful if we could have a less-than-pro version of Photoshop (minus graphic design features) that we Adobe photogs could buy along with LR.

    I'm not holding my breath, though! :eek:
     
  11. swampduck

    swampduck Mu-43 Veteran

    335
    Mar 29, 2013
    Taneytown , MD
    Dan
    +1

    I got Paintshop Pro for $39 I believe online. I had a coupon from the trial when it expired
     
  12. CarlB

    CarlB Mu-43 Veteran

    Great timely thread, really need a good Fuji raw processor for Windoze XP, and something with cut and paste image features like photoshop.
     
  13. mh2000

    mh2000 Mu-43 Veteran

    254
    Jul 3, 2010
    >>I know this will never happen, but there's a ton of graphic design features I never use in Photoshop. I do perform a fair amount of retouching (old photos, scanned film slides & negatives, etc.). It would be wonderful if we could have a less-than-pro version of Photoshop (minus graphic design features) that we Adobe photogs could buy along with LR.

    My guess is that when Adobe puts LR on subscription only, it will be closer to what you want... it will just cost you... less per month than PS.
     
  14. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Margaret
    Yes, this has occurred to me.... One thing I forgot to add to my list is PS's Smart Objects. Wonderful for using multiple Nik plugins and layers. <swoon> :biggrin:
     
  15. pcake

    pcake Mu-43 Regular

    187
    May 3, 2010
    thanks for the info - ordering a copy now.

    are we expecting another version of elements that won't be part of the subscription service?

     
  16. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Margaret
    As I understand it, PS Elements is a consumer-grade program and thus will continue to be available for standalone purchase. So, yes, PS Elements is not part of Creative Cloud.

    One reason I finally bit the bullet and switched to Photoshop after many years of using Paint Shop Pro and other apps is that to do everything I wanted to do, I had to have multiple PS-like programs. Once I got Photoshop, I was able to slim down my computer and just use Lightroom, Photoshop, and yes, I do keep FastStone Image Viewer around as my default viewer and to make quick edits in exported jpgs such as putting a red circle around a flaw in a pic for an Ebay auction. Still, I use a thumbnail's worth of Photoshop. But it's *fantastic* for using Nik and Topaz plugins via PS layers, so much simpler and less "cluttery" than using the equivalent plugins in LR. :smile:

    As I already own Photoshop CS5, I'll just stick with it. But something tells me I'll be checking out PS Elements sooner rather than later. :smile:
     
  17. savvy

    savvy Mu-43 Top Veteran

    714
    Sep 28, 2012
    SE Essex, UK
    Les
  18. savvy

    savvy Mu-43 Top Veteran

    714
    Sep 28, 2012
    SE Essex, UK
    Les
    Here's a serif forum thread that lists compatible plugins, although you have to look in a lot of posts/replies to the original. http://forums.serif.com/showthread.php?t=83416

    My 2p on Serif Photoplus - forget it. I tried the X5 version at the £10 offer a while back. Whilst the Photofix studio wasn't bad with lots of ACR/LR type sliders, and 16-bit, after working on a few layers each effect/filter took ages to render making it a very slow and frustrating experience - this is on a Core i7 with 8GB RAM. X6 is not a huge improvement in functionality, if you read their forums, speed is still an issue.

    I moved back to the GIMP 2.8.4. Whilst it only currently deals with 8-bits per channel, if you know where this impacts (like large smooth gradients, only using levels/curves once not multiple times, etc.) you can work round it. I'm currently trying 2.9.1 which is an unstable development version. It has support for 8-bit integer, 16-bit integer, 16-bit floating point, 32-bit integer, and 32-bit floating point, already implemented. It's a bit slow, as being a dev version it still has all the slow debug code active, but has only crashed on me a couple of times (about the same or less as some Microsoft programs !!) - I've used curves on the same image multiple, multiple, times as a test with no degradation of the image, there are no "gaps" (loss of data) in the histogram after these operations like with 8-bit. I wouldn't advocate using this though, wait for the next released stable version 2.10 this year, then v3.00 after that.

    HTH.

    Les.
     
  19. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Margaret
    Thanks Les! You've saved me time and energy looking into PhotoPlus. I'll give it a pass. :smile: I downloaded the GIMP a while back but never got around to installing it. I'll give it another look.
     
  20. littlefish

    littlefish Mu-43 Regular

    92
    Aug 22, 2011
    Glos., UK
    Thanks for the update on the upcoming version of the GIMP. The lack of 16 bit support and one or two oddities in the interface always put me off but it looks like it's becoming a force to be reckoned with. I'll watch development closely as it progresses.

    PhotoPlus is powerful but, yes, it is slow and definitely the runt of Serif's otherwise excellent litter. The main attraction for me is how nicely it plays with Serif's other products, notably WebPlus, so it suits me fine for some of my current projects.

    I still lament the passing of Ulead's PhotoImpact and gave up on Paintshop Pro due to erratic development / support, all at the hands of Corel. I'm glad that there are still alternatives to PhotoShop CS but I don't count Elements 11 as one of them. The new interface is a step backwards, full screen preview is fuzzier than previous versions and Adobe, 'bless 'em, seem to have reduced dual monitor support. The last point is a showstopper for me as I have to have my software laid out just so on my two monitors.

    Ultimately, software is a very personal thing and I hope everyone finds something that suits them.