Simple, basic, SilkyPix Pro8 raw conversion tutorial

speedy

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After reading a few different threads in regards to using SilkyPix as an image editing/raw conversion program, I mentioned that I might write a very simple & basic tutorial for beginners, on a quick & easy way to do basic raw conversion & editing with said program. SilkyPix cops (in my opinion) a heap of unwarranted criticism & hate, simply because it uses foreign to most terminology, and it's a bit different to use, than Adobe products that have been around since Methusalah was a boy, and most people seem to have at least some sort of familiarity with. I'll come straight out with it, SilkyPix is not Photoshop, Lightroom, Elements, or any of the Adobe clones. It is unashamedly diffent. Forget most of what you know about Adobe products, or the clones, it's easier for you to grasp newness & different that way. With that out of the way, we'll jump right in. This applies to Developer studio Pro 8, as that's what I use. I have no idea about forwards compatibility, as I use 8, & have no plans to update.

Anyway, opening files is childs play. I won't, or didn't say import, as that doesn't happen. You simply access them wherever they're stored on your system. No need to create confusing catalogues, which get lost/corrupted, & try to take over your computer.
Simply click the "File" tab up in the top left corner, and navigate anywhere you want from there. SilkyPix creates a sidecar file in each folder you open, & stores all the edit data there. It's not hidden, or anything scary, if you want to move your photos wherever you want, simply copy the "SilkyPix D_S" folder along with your photos. Simples. Nothing gets lost, or corrupted.

I like to hit control+F, to view the whole directory tree on your computer/ various drives. Clicking View>folder does the same thing.
Now that you have the folder open, with all the thumbnails displayed, simply double click any thumbnail, & the image will open in the editing window. Simples.

Now, this bit is important. Before you do ANY editing on your opened image, you NEED to choose a colour, in SP speak. That's a picture profile/style in other program languages. On the right hand side of the screen/editing window. The colour doesn't just tweak colours, it also affects exposure, in both the shadowed & highlight areas. As well as contrast, and I "think" default sharpness settings. Feel free to ignore this advice, it's your time to waste, I just found this easiest & quickest.
Here's a picture to help. I find the SP picture profiles very close to the in camera settings. As you'd probably expect, Panasonic aligning themselves with SP after all.
colour tab.jpg
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Now that's out of the way, it's time to move on to the exposure adjustments. SilkyPix does not have "normal" shadow/highlight sliders. What it does have, is a dropdown menu, default being HDR. This seems to work best in most cases. There's also Dodge, colour burn, HDR versions, and various combinations of both. These are found here

HDR.jpg
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The technique that I have found to work the best, is to use the exposure slider to get the highlights somewhere in the ballpark, then just tweak the HDR slider to bring up the shadows. As I wrote, this seems to work quite well in the majority of cases, but feel free to try all the other settings. It simply requires a bit of trial & error, there's no fixed rules here :)

Okay, we have the basic foundation laid, now we'll start on the smaller details. If the HDR and associated slider menus don't do it to your satisfaction, you can resort to the partial correction tools. A selection of brushes, and gradient masks etc, of different shapes. Found here

adjustment brushes.jpg
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As you can see, it allows you to correct brightness, saturation & contrast etc, in your selected area/s You can also add & remove areas of the mask to suit, as required.

Hmmm, that's probably enough for one post, I'llbreak it up a bit, as I'm doing this on the fly. I shall continue.
 

speedy

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Okay. Now we'll move on to white balance. Found here.

WB.jpg
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As you can see, pretty straight forward. But for one really nice touch. Dark area adjust. This allows you to tweak the WB in shaded ares, to match the full sun areas. As the camera generally goes for the largest area to set the WB. Very cool. Very handy. Colour deflection lets you tweak any overall green, or magenta colour casts in the image. Very handy again.

Another very handy little tool, is the fine colour controller. It basically allows you to tweak individual colour channels, for brightness, saturation & hue. You can either use the colour wheel to select, or dropdown menu. You can drag the white dots on the colour wheel around manually, or use the sliders. Your choice. I tend to not worry about over exposing blue skies a bit when shooting, to allow better shadow details in the rest of the image, then simply pull back the brightness of the blue channel in post. It's only blue after all, no detail is being lost.

colour controller.jpg
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Now for noise reduction, and sharpening.

NR.jpg
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As you can see, the button is split in two. The left half brings up the sharpening sliders, the right half noise reduction. I've got the NR half shown, as that's where the interesting bit is. The oddly named "colour distortion" slider, actually works only on the dark, shadowed areas of your image, where you can get those funny, odd looking green or purple blotchy artifacts. It works a treat. Especially so on jpeg images for some weird reason. Very cool. The other sliders, Ill leave them to you to experiment with to your hearts content.

Sharpening. I personally like the Natural Sharp setting in the dropdown list, as it basically does what the title suggests. A natural looking sharpen. Not too jaggy & brittle looking. Just nice. And slightly crisp. I really like the Bokeh preservation slider, as I shoot mostly with large aperture primes, and it does a lovely job of smoothing out those out of focus backgrounds, and not intensifying any noise present. Think of it as the masking slider in Lightroom, if you're familiar with that.

I'll no doubt think of more things as time goes by, & add them to the thread as I remember. I'll probably do a post about setting up keyboard shortcuts, (very very handy -you can choose your own keys), and the develop, or export process.
Any questions, feel free to ask, I'll try and answer them. Also, if you have any neat tricks, or techniques to add, post them up. Actually, I implore you to do that. There's not a lot of help out there to be found. That I know of anyway. The more the better

That's about all I do with my image edits in SilkyPix. As I wrote elsewhere, I was a long time Elements then LR user -up to the last update of the standalone LR6, I prefer the results I get out of SP. Just more natural looking detail. I'm not an Adobe hater, I still have LR6 on my system, I just prefer SP.
I'm also not a camera collector, I only use/own 1 brand at a time, so the Panasonic only version of SP suits me right down to the ground. It regularly comes up on sale, and can be had for around 80 or 90 bucks Australian $$. Which I think is cheap as chips really.
And please, don't mess around with the free version. Download the free month trial of the Pro version, & play with that. You'll thank me later :)

Cheers, happy experimenting
 

speedy

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Okay then. There seems to have been a very good development in the last day or so, for Panasonic owners who want to try/use SilkyPix. Quite major in fact. There is now a free, SE8 version, which gives most of the Pro8 features, for free. It can be found here Download | SILKYPIX Developer Studio SE Version
I "think" that you have to have a previous free version registered, to be able to download & install the SE8 version. As I already had version 4, & Pro8 on my computer, it downloaded & installed without any drama. If you click on the "support" button on the left side of the above page, and scroll down a little, you'll see the latest V4 download there. Initial testing of SE8 looks very very good. It seems very snappy on my system, and the only major thing missing that I can see, is the graduated & brush exposure masks. The HDR and associated tools in the HDR dropdown menu will still get you 95% of the way though, when adjusting shadows & highlights.
It's a very big, make that huge, step up from version 4. Just do it. Right now.
 
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speedy

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Thanks very much!!

No problem. One thing I've just discovered, if you shoot raw, the new free version SP SE8 remembers, or recognises your camera settings on import, and applies them. Brilliant.
I would say that it's now better, or at least just as good, as the Canon supplied Digital Photo Professional software that I was very fond of when I shot Canon. You can now shoot raw with the same ease as setting up your camera to shoot jpegs. Just with better control over WB, exposure & sharpening etc.
I think this is a very big development for Panasonic shooters, I hope Panny & SP advertise/promote it a bit more than in the past
 
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Dan Ka

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Thanks for the posts. There is a lot to like in SilkyPix. I've been using SilkyPix since I first bought my Lumix G2 several years ago and purchased SP Pro8. Even though I must have dozens of other photo programs including LR, PS, Topaz and others. I always fall back to SP for raw development and Digikam for cataloging, tagging, etc.

Dan
 

soundfanz

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I just downloaded the trial version SilkyPix Developer Studio Pro 9.

Yikes....it's about $250 AUD to buy when trial runs out. :eek:

I will try and use it heavily for the next few weeks, and if I like it will cancel my Lightroom Classic CC subscription.
 

speedy

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One thing I forgot to mention, SilkyPix seems to go nuts with the NR as soon as you venture much past ISO200. Perhaps that's where Panasonic gets/got its poor jpeg NR reputation from, seeing that they are closely aligned with SilkyPix. Anyway, don't be afraid to dive into that sharpening/NR split button, and crank the NR slider (curiously named smoothness) back down the scale. Even @ ISO200 , reducing it can have a beneficial effect to sharpness, & the extra fine grain is only really noticeable if you pixel peek at near 100%. If you shoot larger aperture primes fairly wide open, ramping up the Bokeh preservation slider in the sharpness side of the split button will smooth those blue/grey skies, or single coloured backgrounds right out. Hope that helps someone
 

speedy

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If anyone is actually interested in learning a few more tricks/techniques for raw editing in SP, just add a comment to the thread. Otherwise, if no one's really interested, I'll just leave it be :)
 
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I just downloaded the trial version SilkyPix Developer Studio Pro 9.

Yikes....it's about $250 AUD to buy when trial runs out. :eek:

I will try and use it heavily for the next few weeks, and if I like it will cancel my Lightroom Classic CC subscription.


Heck - wished I'd checked price before downloading trial. Iwonder what price version 8 is ...
 

speedy

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Heck - wished I'd checked price before downloading trial. Iwonder what price version 8 is ...

If you're not in a hurry, just wait for the Panasonic only version to come up on sale. Depending on exchange rate, it's only around $80 odd.
Download the free Developer 8 SE, you'll then be on the mailing list, and get notified of all their sales.
The only thing missing now on the free version, is the local adjustment brushes.
 
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If you're not in a hurry, just wait for the Panasonic only version to come up on sale. Depending on exchange rate, it's only around $80 odd.
Download the free Developer 8 SE, you'll then be on the mailing list, and get notified of all their sales.
The only thing missing now on the free version, is the local adjustment brushes.

OK thanks
 

speedy

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One little thing I just bumped into, whilst experimenting with different versions, & that's how to import raw+jpeg. Go to the settings tab at the top, click on function settings, and de-click these two boxes. Otherwise, you'll only see the raw files.

jpeg import.jpg
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speedy

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Okay, I've had a little bit of a play with Pro 9, and I'm very happy with the upgrade. Very happy for the price.
It (9) seems to handle highlights quite a bit better, and it's easier to pull more detail out of them.
Perhaps 9 could be a touch more aggressive with noise reduction than 8, easy enough to rectify, as it's only a default setting.
The HDR sliders have changed position a little bit, and now include separate highlight and shadow sliders, as well as HDR. Seems to work very well -the shadows slider has a much more noticeable effect than the highlights one.
The new clarity slider also appears to do a good job.
When I get a minute or two to spare, I'll update/add to my tutorial to reflect the changes/improvements in the new version
 

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