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Software Suggestions for Chromebook Experiment

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by Replytoken, Aug 23, 2014.

  1. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    I posted this question at another photo forum, but I wanted to see what thoughts folks here might have. I will soon be taking a trip in the near future where I will be deviating from my normal routine of just bringing camera equipment and leaving all processing tools (hardware and software) at home. I have been asked to take photographs at an event, and I would like to post some "quick and dirty" jpeg images on the web immediately afterwards, a production schedule that I normally do not follow as I usually shoot raw and process images at home with Lightroom. Due to weight restrictions, I will not be bringing my laptop or hard drives with me, and budget restrictions do not permit my purchasing an ultrabook or MBA. But, I have decided to try out an 11.6" Chromebook to see what is possible if I shoot raw+jpeg rather than just raw, and use the Chromebook for minor editing and posting. I will have periodic access to the web, so i am looking at both on and offline editors. To date, the leading recommendations are Pixlr and Pixlr Touch-up (for offline), Sumo Paint, PicMonkey and Adobe Photoshop Express Editor. And, if I am brave enough to figure out the mess that is Google, there is Google Drive, Picasa, Google+ Photos. I plan on processing the raw files when I return home (for additional web posts and prints), but I was wondering if anybody has used any of these kinds of products when Lightroom is not available. The event I am shooting is not a paid event, and the desire to post afterwards is mine, so there is little pressure if things do not go as planned, but I would still like to know what kind of workflow is possible when my normal toolkit is not available. Comments and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    --Ken
     
  2. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Ever thought of a 10" Windows tablet, then you would have access to a lot more options and the cost isn't always that different from the better Chromebooks?
     
  3. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    I usually advocate Windows, however if the Google+ photo experience is the same on Chrome OS as it is Android, you have a baked-in raw editor with non-destructive editing. I think all it's really lacking is noise reduction.
    GX1•17/2.8•30/2.8
     
  4. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    I did consider a variety of Windows tablets and ultrabooks, but until I can find the right mix of features I need, and at a price I find reasonable, I have been waiting on a purchase/replacement for my Thinkpad. I did not purchase the Chromebook for this use, but as I had initially planned to bring it on this trip for other uses, I decided to see what is possible. Normally, I just deal with posting when I return home, but I suspect some folks will want to see images a bit sooner. I know I am pushing the envelope a bit, but that is OK as this is not a paid gig.

    Thanks,

    --Ken
     
  5. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    I am mostly comfortable with Windows, and am a bit agnostic towards Apple and Google when it comes to images. My concern with G+ on a Chromebook is whether it will automatically suck up all of my images when I insert an SD card in the reader. I wish I had more time to play with Google's latest offerings, but they are far too messy between their constant changes and integration of their products. They just cannot help themselves.

    --Ken
     
  6. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    If you're not really after a great deal of horsepower, even some of the 8" Windows tablets could serve you well, and they are a lot cheaper and easier to carry around. I have a pretty old, by today's standards, 10" Gigabyte tablet that does surprisingly well when I ask it to run LR or PS; I just tether it to my mobile phone, and can connect to the net easily.
     
  7. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    I had considered the Dell as it is now under $200 USD, but the primary purpose of the CB was for writing in places away from a desk, and the laptop format, with a decent keyboard, was what would work best (otherwise I would have used my iPad2 and BT keyboard). I do have an old Atom-powered netbook that I have been needing to decommission, but the CB is a whole lot faster and has a larger screen. The CB would not have been my choice had I known about this shoot when I purchased it, so I fully realize that this is not the best horse for this course, but I did want to know what was possible. I truly suspect that if I wanted to go ultralight, then I could just use my E-M1 and its wifi to send selected images to my phone and then post them from there. some day when I get rid of enough old technology that is cluttering up parts of the house and frustrating my wife, I will consider a proper laptop/tablet for travel that will fully meet my imaging needs. For now, the CB comes with me on this trip.

    --Ken
     
  8. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
  9. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I didn't realise that you already bought the Chromebook. That said, with any degree of typing, the laptop format is definitely the way to go. My wife sort of wanted a tablet when her laptop died but, as she uses a keyboard a lot, I said it would be the wrong move and simply replaced it with a laptop. My tablet does have a keyboard cover, and while you can type on it, it doesn't work as well as a proper laptop keyboard. That could be because it only cost $19, but I'm not sure how well more expensive ones perform. In your case, the Chromebook is probably a better choice. On the software side, I can't help. There have been some Chromebook cracks performed, which allow you to install Linux, but I have no idea how complex that is to do.
     
  10. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
  11. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    No worries. A CB would not be my first choice for editing in the field, but as it is coming along for the ride, I wanted to see if it could earn its keep in the world of digital imaging. I like my iPad2 quite a lot, but there are things that I just would not want to do with it, and digital imaging is one of them. I do not care for Apple's "method" of file managing photos, just as I do not really care for G+'s desire to autoimport everything when I insert an SD card. I am not sure if I will ever settle on a convertible PC as opposed to a tablet and a laptop, but as I cannot afford what I really want, I do not have to make any choices at present. It will be an interesting "experiment" if I do end up using the CB after the event, and I am sure it will prove educational at the least.

    --Ken
     
  12. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
  13. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    I had been meaning to do this with my old netbook as well as an old Thinkpad, but just have not had the time for it. But yes, it does have appeal. Thanks for the link.

    --Ken
     
  14. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    678
    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    Scott
  15. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Nicely done. Since I am also shooting jpegs, I could probably use my iPad2. I do not like how it handles raw images, but it might work in this case.

    Thanks,

    --Ken
     
  16. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    678
    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    Scott
    I always shoot Raw+JPG on all my cameras. That way I had decent quality jpegs to edit on the iPad, and the raw files for when I got home. I used the wireless transfer from both the E-M1 and GX7 for all of the blog shots. Most were with the E-M1, and a few with the GX7.

    I have to say the workflow on the iPad was pretty smooth, once you got used to it. Scanning the images using the cameras' IOS apps is much better than using the Apple Photo app and the camera connection kit, as they allow looking at full sized images rather than just thumbnails before import. I used Snapseed for most of the editing, and Blogsy for the writing and posting to Blogger.

    The bit I still miss, as I said, is having some decent way to back up the images from the SD card. The Nikon D7000 I used to use has dual card slots, and I always ran slot 2 as a backup copy. As it turned out, another card just died on me a few minutes ago - the one of the plastic fingers that separate the electrical contacts is slightly cracked, and I think I'll have to trash it. It took me three tries to get the reader on my iMac to recognize it. I'm (once again) considering a Hyperdrive to carry with me on my next long trip.
     
  17. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    I mucked about a bit with the Picasa extension, and beyond basic editing like cropping, exposure, saturation and such....not a whole lot there worth the time IMHO.

    Picmonkey seems to have a decent set of basic editing tools. I like the fact that they have some portrait specific retouching tools and some work decently, others are just too heavy handed.

    Sumopaint is more photoshop-like, supports layers and has filters and such.
    It might be a best choice of the three, allow picmonkey to support it.

    I'm still liking the options and interface for Pixlr, though. Just my thoughts.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    I also found BeFunky - http://www.befunky.com/

    It is kind of like a more beefed up version of picmonkey. There is a subscription part to it, but that is for additional embellishments, not for the basic/core image editing functions.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Well, I just returned from my trip late last night, and thought I would debrief a bit on my experiences. I'll start with some positive observations. As a web appliance (think iPad with keyboard), the CB is useful. And, the 12 free wifi passes for use during air travel is certainly a nice feature. The CB boots up instantly, and when tied to a Google account, gives you quick access to many services, as well as a web browser.

    Now, on to my experiences with trying to handle my photo shoot. The CB only has 16GB of storage, so I purchased a USB 3.0 flash drive to use with the USB 3.0 port on the CB. I did not want to alter the files on the SD cards (as it contained raw files that I will be processing now that I am home). So, my plan was to copy the jpeg files from the SD card to the flash drive for manipulation prior to posting on the web. This set-up proved to not work very well at all, as the transfer rate was so slow that it literally took hours to just transfer the files. I am not sure of where the bottleneck was, but the transfer of 750 jpeg files taking hours is not workable for me (especially since it kept me up until 5:00am).

    This leads to my next issue - file management. The CB file manager is quite crude, and I am not sure why it needs to be so. It cannot tell you how many files are in a folder, and it is not that easy to move/copy files without resorting to opening two file manager windows (as I could not get the folder hierarchy to fully expand so the files could be easily dragged. For me, this is a big issue, and I was not able to find a work-around solution other than to use two windows.

    Regarding culling, the built-in viewer does not seem to offer any magnification unless you plan on editing the photo. And there is no way to compare two photos at once (a feature I did not expect, but would like to have had available). So, culling is not an easy task given my normal workflow.

    I cannot comment on the editors much because I lost so much time with file management that I ended up posting the images as shot (with the understanding that what was posted was not edited and not for printing or final product). I also found it frustrating that the editors were not able to offer any file management abilities to see other images in the folder (in a side or bottom pane). And, the features I needed were scattered among the different tools. I wanted a proportional cropping tool for quick cropping in the same aspect ratio, but the built-in editor only offers free-form cropping with no ability to constrain the crop. This seems like an easy feature to add, and it has been requested in their forums, but it was not available.

    All in all, the CB makes a better web appliance or writing instrument than a photographic tool given my work style. I knew it was not the appropriate tool for the job, but I still expected better from it WRT managing large amounts of images. In hindsight, I suspect there could have been a few work flow tweaks that might have made things smoother (as this was my first time using the CB for any length of time), but if I had to do this type of work on any regular basis, I would opt for a Windows or OS-based machine.

    Despite my challenges and frustrations, I was still able to get a number of images up to the web, so it was not a total loss. but, I suspect that the CB will mainly live at home when I need quick access to the web, and an iPad will not do.

    --Ken
     
    • Like Like x 1
  20. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Northumberland
    Bassman can you explain this some more? ;
    I find the Apple importer quite clunky and baffling, are you using something off the Camera's CD, or from manufacturers' websites?