To RAW or not to RAW that is the question...with Aperture

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by Muggie, Jul 2, 2010.

  1. Muggie

    Muggie Mu-43 Regular

    45
    Jun 11, 2010
    Amsterdam
    So folks have had my GF1 for just over a week but have been taking jpgs because that is what I am used to... however one of the points in purchasing a :43: camera was to move into RAW. I have Aperture 3 already loaded on my iMac. Any one have suggestions for how to start and any other software I might need to consider?

    A little apprehensive...:rolleyes:
     
  2. LisaO

    LisaO Mu-43 Top Veteran

    798
    Mar 18, 2010
    New York Metro Area
    Real Name:
    Lisa
    HI Muggie! Shoot both RAW and jpg and try manipulating them in aperture, you will see that the RAW files are much more adaptable and that you can pull more out of them.
     
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  3. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus Charter Member

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  4. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    hi

    if you have aperture 3 then you have everything you need to start. Just set your camera to RAW and start playing - there is endless scaremongering and voodoo associated with RAW.... all of which should be ignored :)

    The great thing about Aperture is that the default RAW conversions are very good so you can ignore all the esoteric parameters that the RAW geeks swear by and concentrate on the things that make your photos really look better

    The first controls I would explore are Contrast, Definition and Highlights - then move on to curves and some of the brushes

    dont be afraid... remember the great thing about Aperture is that you cannot damage your original image.. so feel free to experiment

    and if you are really stuck... I am just down the road in Gent :)

    K
     
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  5. Grant

    Grant Mu-43 Veteran

    I agree. Raw rocks! Raw allows you so much latitude if you expose and compose your images properly RAW allows for so much creativity. The only down side with raw is it requires a bit more processing and a bit more storage space. This doesn't bother me because I am a frugal shooter I try to make each frame count. I shoot on average 17.4 frames a day and I do that everyday.

    Aperture like Lightroom is, for lack of better words, a suite of programs. You have an organizer cataloger, a post processor, a web design, program, a publishing program, a slide show program, a printing program all rolled up into one. Once you learn interface and then learned how to use the program(s) it is deceptively easy to use. The problem is to lean it and I suggest you pay the $25 to Lynda.com and work through her tutorials on Aperture. There, maybe other tutorials but I know hers works.

    You will find there is no need to shot in jpeg as Aperture creates them as you import RAW. You will learn that any changes to a raw file doesn't effect the RAW file but merely makes a small side car file.

    I use Aperture about 80 - 85% of all my work. I use PhotoMatix for all HDR which is mainly 5 - 10% of my work. Finally I tweak all my images that I am going to exhibit in Photoshop but For the most part I could use Adobe Elements.

    There are other programs I use for specific projects but Aperture is my main touch stone.

    The things you give up with moving from jpg is the presets that Panasonic has given you in camera but frankly they are very restrictive and you can easily use the presets in Aperture, or import new ones or even create your own. To sum up start using RAW it won't take much time to get use to it and it will free your creativity.
     
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  6. sparklehorse

    sparklehorse Mu-43 Regular

    67
    Apr 4, 2010
    Portland, Oregon
    I agree with Grant about Lynda.com. I think it's a great resource for learning software. I've found that watching a pro demonstrate exactly what they're doing in a program, and why, is far more instructive than reading a dry manual. I'd been using Photoshop for ten years, with some success, but after watching 15 or 20 hours of their videos I've easily tripled my skill level with that program. I'm sure their Aperture series is equally good.

    Regards,
    Gordon
     
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  7. Ephemeral Moment

    Ephemeral Moment Mu-43 Regular

    102
    Jun 3, 2010
    Darlington
    I also use Aperture 3 with the GF1 and found the jpgs from it very 'flat' and no amount of post-processing a jpg can bring back as much detail as you can get from a RAW file, so I've actually set the GF1 to only take RAW now as I get much better results that way

    It is so easy with Aperture 3 as well
     
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  8. Iconindustries

    Iconindustries Mu-43 Hall of Famer Charter Member

    Reading about this Aperture made me curious and I took the plunge and downloaded it this afternoon. And after playing around with it for a couple of hours I'd have to say it is the best thing since sliced bread. For years I have used iphoto and then I got LR and Pixelmator and I was never excited to use them. They were kinda hard for me to pick up and so complicated but Aperture is so user friendly. So refined and just there, not cluttered or cramped. Now I shoot RAW. Somehow I was able to make myself a colour profile so when I import my raw images into Aperture it changes the images for me and If I don't like the look of it I just change it manually. Don't ask me how I did it but I think it was something to do with the setting 'Set as Camera Default'. I agree with everyone now that RAW is the way to go. Previously when I had imported raw to iphoto or LR they never looked as good as the Jpeg, but Aperture somehow breathes life into them.

    A screenshot from tonight at the dinner table and my sister doesn't want anymore pictures!!
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/50527022@N02/4757282572/" title="Screen shot 2010-07-03 at 7.54.19 PM by iconindustries, on Flickr">[​IMG]"1024" height="640" alt="Screen shot 2010-07-03 at 7.54.19 PM" /></a>
     
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  9. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    welcome to the club :)

    K
     
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  10. grebeman

    grebeman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Real Name:
    Barrie
    I'll second that, though in my case it's Bibble Pro 5 or RawTherapee.

    Barrie
     
  11. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    I was actually meaning welcome to the Aperture Appreciation club :)

    boo and hiss to to the old workflow of RAW develop in one thing, tart it up in Photoshop, and hope you can find the file again when you want to print it again someday :)

    Both Aperture and LR kinda make your life easier - one application to import edit, output and organise - easy

    you do realise I am saying this with a smile on my face? If Other things work for you then good - but if you are just starting then Aperture and Lightroom are the way to go - and they will take you very very far indeed

    K
     
  12. Iconindustries

    Iconindustries Mu-43 Hall of Famer Charter Member

    Thanks Kevin. I think I might have contracted the PP bug. I made 5 images at 1.5 ev exposures from the RAW image. This is ev 0.0

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/50527022@N02/4757316800/" title="P1050233 by iconindustries, on Flickr">[​IMG]"1024" height="575" alt="P1050233" /></a>

    And then I tried my hand at turning it into a HDR through Photomatix. This is how it came out. Is it OK, or is her jumper (you'se call it a sweater I think) is it too saturated? Let me know what you think. Is this what HDR should be like? GEE, this is fun.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/50527022@N02/4756678351/" title="P1050233 (1)_ (2)_ (3)_ (4)__tonemapped (1) by iconindustries, on Flickr">[​IMG]"1024" height="575" alt="P1050233 (1)_ (2)_ (3)_ (4)__tonemapped (1)" /></a>
     
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  13. grebeman

    grebeman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Real Name:
    Barrie
    Bibble Pro 5 enables you to output directly to printer, no need to tart it up in any other photo editor. :smile:

    Barrie
     
  14. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    Icon - I am the last person to ask about HDR - I think it is the spawn of the devil :)

    But I dont think this pic is one that would benefit from HDR much - I would stick to working it in Aperture

    check out the Vibrancy and Definition sliders to make the picture pop a little more, and maybe the Highlight slider.

    Oh and I would call it a Jumper - being Scottish and all that :)

    K
     
  15. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    OK Barrie - just had a quick look at Bibbles web site - they seem to have improved the programme a lot since i last looked at it

    i might download a trial version

    cheers

    K
     
  16. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    icon

    re-reading your post It sounds like you took a single raw image - made exposure adjustments in Aperture then output those and into the HDR application - thats not really how it works... youre not really expanding the Dynamic range doing that.

    Typical workflow is to shoot the subject at +/- EV so you get both the right exposure for the shadows and for the highlights, and then the HDR software will combine them to give that unreal look that is HDR's signature look :)

    K
     
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  17. grebeman

    grebeman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Real Name:
    Barrie
    OK Kevin, would appreciate a critique of Bibble Pro 5 v Aperture, although am I correct in assuming that Aperture is a Mac only software, Pro 5 enables me to make multiple installs both on Windows and Linux. Since I'm not of a mind to make Mr Gates any richer I'm still on Windows 2000 and have no intention to upgrade.

    Barrie
     
  18. dwig

    dwig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    612
    Jun 26, 2010
    Key West FL
    DON'T LOOK AT OTHER SOFTWARE ... do not listen to the sirens' song... lash yourself to the mast like Odysseus (read: stick with Aperture for now).

    You already have a great RAW converter, don't confuse yourself with others until you get skilled with RAW using what you have.

    Learning RAW is much like learning to do your own darkroom work. The best way to learn is to start with one set of good tools and materials and stick with them until you can do good reliable work. Only then are you skilled and knowledgeable enough to consider others.

    When I was young and first learning serious darkroom work (B&W, back in the 6th grade), Dad and the one sales clerk at the local camera store (one C.K.Netterville at Thomas Camera in Beaumont TX) conspired to only allow me to buy Tri-X film and Dupont Varilour paper and D-76 film developer and Dektol paper developer. I wasn't allowed anything else until I could show a small collection of prints that both felt were technically competent. I owe a big debt to both as I really learned to use the materials without the confusion of unnecessary variables (other films, developers and/or papers).

    The same goes for software. Don't even think about other software until you get good with what you have. I also concur with the advise to shoot RAW+JPEG in the beginning. That way you have the camera's JPEG as a reference. When you can do better than the camera's JPEG then perhaps you could begin to consider other software options.
     
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  19. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    I feel obligated to chime in. I'd never shot or touched a RAW file until the beginning of April. Shortly after I got my epl1, I downloaded Ap3 and, after a few rounds of shooting RAW+jpeg to assure myself that the jpegs held no benefit, I haven't shot anything but RAW since. Aperture 3 processes them on import to the specifications of your camera. And if you don't like that, you can tweak the "preset" for your camera to get initial images more pleasing to your eye. I'm quite happy with the stock processing for Oly cameras (which emulates the Oly jpegs very well) and can take off from there on individual images that I want to work on. And not touch other stuff that's ok as is or that I just want to save as snapshots and don't warrant further attention.

    I really don't see any point in jpeg anymore at all unless you just want to upload straight from your camera to the web or something while you're traveling. Otherwise, RAW processing is so easy as to be completely transparent anymore. And the flexibility when you want to work on something is HUGE.

    -Ray
     
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  20. Muggie

    Muggie Mu-43 Regular

    45
    Jun 11, 2010
    Amsterdam
    :biggrin:Thank you all for the encouragement... thanks particularly for the suggestion to sign up for the online tutorial. The documentation for Aperture 3 was not extensive, although having used iPhoto since about 2003 some of it is pretty familiar. So I think the online tutorial will be step one and then I'll take a deep breath and toggle that JPG to RAW switch in the GF1! :wink:

    And Kevin thanks for the chuckle...
    I had come across HDR during one of my surfing sessions regarding RAW and found some of the images fanciful (they made me think about the images on those encouragement cards and posters that always look a little unworldly) so I am unlikely to play with devils spawn at least until I have made good on the wise advice to stick with Aperture until I am really comfortable with the RAW format and what the programme can do!
     
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