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Thanks Dave for the report on Luminar! I recently acquired a Panasonic Lumix G 85 mirrorless camera, and I'm looking for a reasonably priced program to edit the raw photos. I had bought PS Elements DVD, when I bought the camera, but took it back unopened [last Feb.] when I discovered that the Dhaze Filter wasn't included on the DVD. Currently, if you buy their DVD, one gets very little or no updating included! Adobe's subscription model, which Adobe is trying to force us into isn't suitable for most casual photographers who just edit photos during the winter. Adobe wants their hands in my pocket all year round, that's why I purchased the DVD. This got me looking into PS alternatives. One I stumbled onto is called Affinity Photo. Has you or anyone on these boards tried that program and what do you think of it, and will it run on an older, albeit upgraded PC? It's a 2. 4GHZ Core2 Duo, 8 GB Ram, new Video card, with an Intel SSD as the boot drive. Any suggestions for any other PS alternatives would be welcome, Thanks. 😎

 

Your PC processor is a little on the light side for large modern camera files but if your video card is fairly robust and the fact that you have a fast SSD, it should run Luminar fairly well. The latest PS Elements might be a wise purchase as well since Luminar is excellent for adjustment and applying a "look" but has no tools for actual editing of the files. Elements also includes Bridge which can be used to organize your images until the Luminar organization module appears in 2018.

 

 

Corel Paint Shop Pro is another PS alternative but Corel has a history of abandoning older versions when operating systems change. (PSP X13 anyone?) With the Windows 10 base structure, this shouldn't be as much of an issue as it was in the past but be aware that there's a reason Adobe is as widely used as it is. :)

 

Dave

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Thanks! Have you had a look at Affinity?

 

I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to use answering your question to do a wrap-up of the current state of my Luminar adventure.

 

I took a quick look at Affinity a while ago but honestly, the Adobe Photographer's plan for just $10/mo. has kept me from diving into a lot of exploration. I moved to Lightroom years ago from Picasa and have used some form of PS Elements since v.4 before the Adobe subscription model made maintaining current copies of Lightroom and full Photoshop affordable. In addition to PS, I've collected and used Topaz Labs filter products. When Google killed Nik and made it free, I picked it up and have become fond of their Silver Effects for B&W conversions. I decided to try Luminar's filter-based processing mostly for the AI-based smart enhancer. I thought its smoothly adjustable filter presets might replace some Lightroom fiddling for quickly adding some pop to general photos. It does this well, but as of now, the need to open an image, enhance it and take the extra step to export it before closing it is too fiddly. The install as a plug-in function works for PS but not for Lightroom (my LR installation is in the default location), probably because of Adobe's switch to LR Classic just as it was released. While Lightroom still asks if you want to open the original, generate a copy or generate a copy with Lightroom adjustments already applied, the current product isn't integrated into Lightroom's workflow like the Topaz or Nik products and doesn't have a return-to-Lightroom-after-edit function that automatically saves the file. I'm sure this will be addressed as they have plugged a lot of first-release holes quickly.

 

Right now, using it to process a load of vacation photos as a stand-alone product, it would easily quadruple the time it takes to sort, edit and prepare postings. Maybe when the organizational module appears, it will be a Lightroom competitor or maybe a Picasa-on-steroids with a workflow suited to more than casual, low-volume editing. As it stands now, Photoshop Elements with the Bridge organizer is a more complete product if subscriptions aren't your thing.

 

For the time being, I will continue with the Adobe Photographer's Plan. I realize that some people are leery of subscription-based software, but for me, it works and gives me access to world-class editing tools at the price of a couple of fancy coffee drinks or a decent 22 oz. craft beer per month.

 

I'll continue to evaluate Luminar and their apparently excellent Aurora HDR tool on an ongoing basis as the Windows versions mature.

 

Dave

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  • 2 weeks later...

Following is a list of the latest updates. Included are a new Luminar native format that allows re-editing like an Adobe .psd file.

 

WINDOWS USERS

Work faster. Luminar can now launch more quickly. Plus you’ll see a faster-editing performance and better RAM usage.

Save Native files. Be sure to save your editing projects in the new native Luminar format. This makes it easy to come back and edit later.

Clone & Stamp released. Remove objects and blemishes with ease!

LUT Mapping. Any LUT you’ve chosen can now be stored to a preset with no need to link to the original .cube file.

More export control. You can choose to export to the Adobe RGB wide color profile or the ProPhoto RGB color space on export. You can also sharpen an exported file which is great for printing.

Better masking controls. Users can adjust both the feather and density controls on a mask to refine the blending of layers. When editing a mask, a user can also press the X hotkey to toggle between Paint/Erase brush mode.

More editing control. Now even more raw formats can be edited natively with our RAW Develop filter. All filters also support advanced blending mode options as well.

MAC USERS

Work faster. We’ve improved compatibility with OS X 10.10, 10.11 support. The Histogram also updates in real-time. Users will also enjoy Performance and RAM usage improvements. When editing press Cmd+L to quickly access the Filters list as well.

RAW image improvements. Luminar does a better job of detecting noise in a raw file and automatically fixing it when you open to a photo. DNG file support is also improved for easier editing. Plus even more raw formats can be edited natively with our RAW Develop filter.

Improved workflow with other applications. We’ve addressed several small bugs reported when working with Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop Elements, Adobe Lightroom, and Photos for Mac.

Better batch processing. A streamlined user interface makes batch processing even easier to fix multiple photos at once. Additional improvements also made to address user-reported issues.

Improved Native files. Save your editing projects in the native Luminar format which makes it easy to come back and edit in the future. Plus files can be shared between Mac and Windows users.

LUT Mapping. Any LUT you’ve chosen can now be stored to a preset with no need to link to the original .cube file.

More plugin support. Luminar can also use Topaz plugins within the Luminar editing workflow.

Improved exports. Photos can now be exported to SmugMug for online sharing. The Sharpen on Export filter is also improved for crisper images.

Better masking controls. Users can adjust the density controls on a mask to refine the blending of layers. When editing a mask, a user can also press the Backspace hotkey to reset gradient/radial mask drawing.

Again, I have to remark favorably on how quickly they are rolling out updates and patching holes in the feature lineup.

 

Dave

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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I haven't abandoned this review!

 

There haven't been any major updates and frankly, with revamping my website and house projects, my play-with-new-software time is sort of rare.

 

Still waiting for the announcement of their organization/digital assets management module (Lightroom competitor) at which point I will buckle down and determine if it will truly be a Lightroom/Photoshop replacement.

 

Anyway, until then I will spend some time browsing their new forums and see what people are saying.

 

https://community.skylum.com/hc/en-us/community/topics?utm_source=Macphun+Friends&utm_campaign=df01028020-March_Phun_New_Mac_EN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_912838542a-df01028020-276146025&mc_cid=df01028020&mc_eid=3be142d49f

 

Dave

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ok...major update. A "Rocket Booster upgrade" they say.

 

 

A lot of Mac version features added to Windows version and a claimed 300% increase in processing speed. That may be ad-speak but I did some fiddling around and the render time is noticeably shorter.

 

I'm becoming more familiar with it and I'm beginning to like the interface. The organizational features are still vapor, but it looks like they are putting in the time to move things along.

 

Here:a link to the "What's new" page: https://skylum.com/blog/luminar-2018-gets-a-rocketbooster-update?utm_source=Macphun+Friends&utm_campaign=deb20f4738-Luminar_Jupiter_1_Lum_18_owners_EN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_912838542a-deb20f4738-276146025&mc_cid=deb20f4738&mc_eid=3be142d49f

 

Dave

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Has anyone tested Photolemur?

 

I tried, but all 300 copies I downloaded migrated to the outer edge of the drive platter and deleted themselves...

 

 

Oh, wait....that was Photolemmings.

 

:)

 

Dave

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But seriously, folks...

 

 

I tried a trial and while the auto fix does a good job, Luminar's basic adjustment set is just as effective and easy to use. If you have no editing software, it might be a good starting point.

 

Dave

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Buy Jupiter! An upgrade and advertised as a"none-subscription" software.

The upgrade "Jupiter" goes for $69.00 - cheaper than Lightroom!

 

What's the difference between Jupiter and Luminar then?

 

I tried a trial and while the auto fix does a good job, Luminar's basic adjustment set is just as effective and easy to use. If you have no editing software, it might be a good starting point.

 

So, what's the verdict so far as Lightroom replacement in terms of photo editing (not organization, as I don't think I take advantage of Lightroom in that way).

 

Is there any Snapheal features in Luminar, or do I have to buy Snapheal separately?

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What's the difference between Jupiter and Luminar then?

 

The original release was "Neptune", so I assume it is a major release designation like Android uses.

 

So, what's the verdict so far as Lightroom replacement in terms of photo editing (not organization, as I don't think I take advantage of Lightroom in that way).

 

In the realm of what Lightroom can do, it really is similar in capability. I feel that the Adobe LR + PS suite is overall more powerful but most people really only use about 5% of the tools. Luminar is easy to use and saved presets can make quick touch-ups a breeze.

 

As far as workflow, I am happy with Lightroom's file management that let's me continue with my age-old folder system and the invisibly non-destructive editing with auto-creation of editable copies when you jump to an external editor. The jury is still out for me until I see the future organization and workflow promised by Skylum.

 

Is there any Snapheal features in Luminar, or do I have to buy Snapheal separately?

 

It has a smart erase function that works ok for most unwanted objects. I'm not a Macophile, so I'm unfamiliar with Snapheal and where the Luminar function stands in comparison.

 

 

Dave

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  • 2 months later...

DAM Luminar!

 

Actually, Digital Asset Management for Luminar.

 

It's coming in to beta mode within a few weeks and I received a notice that current licensed users will get the organizational module free but new licenses will be going up in price.

 

Just an FYI in case you want a non-subscription alternative to Lightroom and want to buy in before the price increase. (No word on the dollar amount yet.)

 

I like Luminar but am still a solid Lightroom user. If Skylum's DAM product competes and allows non-destructive edits, I may change my mind. I'll be doing a pretty exhaustive evaluation here since I am a potential long term user if it measures up.

 

Dave

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Dave,

 

Have you checked the latest GIMP program v 2.10.2 runs on Win 7 - 10, also for Linux distro's

 

 

framer

 

Worked with GIMP for quite a while a few years ago. It had a lot of power but the UI was a nightmare. I'm sure it has improved but I have no desire to climb up another learning curve.

 

The only reason I'm exploring Luminar is the learning curve seems to be very flat compared to the results you can get and many of my friends don't have the patience or frankly, the computer skills to decipher GIMP or even Photoshop.

 

Dave

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Personally I keep my eye on GIMP to see where it headed. It really has improved in the last couple of years. If anyone wants to check it out go to the source for the latest version 2.10.2

 

 

Currently I'm staying with CS6 for most cameras I use; however, the new D500 is not CS6 compatible. For that I'm using DxO OpticsPro 11 or Nikon Capture NX-D. I then need to export to TIFF format to use CS6.

 

 

 

GIMP is FREE.

 

 

framer

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GIMP is FREE.

 

 

framer

 

 

That was what drove my original interest in it but like my dad always said, you get what you pay for. Same thing goes for your now free but unsupported CS6. I'm not being flip here but rather making my case for my choice of joining the software subscription world. The Skylum folks may be avoiding this direction but even if they achieve huge market penetration, eventually sales will slow down and unless their plan is to run with the money like the Pyramid scheme of old, they'll have to start charging for something. It really is a good business model and as long as the subscription is reasonable, does right by the user by delivering frequent updates and bug fixes.

 

IMHO, of course.

 

Dave

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Personally I keep my eye on GIMP to see where it headed. It really has improved in the last couple of years. If anyone wants to check it out go to the source for the latest version 2.10.2

GIMP is FREE.

I've been a bit curious about GIMP (largely because it's free).

 

Like any powerful tool, one of the challenges is finding out what it can do. (If I know what I'm looking for, I can easily Google how to do it.)

 

Here are the things I know I can do in GIMP (and not in Olympus Viewer 3):

  • HDR (my camera lacks exposure bracketing, so setting it up is a pain)
  • color channel swapping (which should be handy when I get my IR filter in two weeks)
  • touch-ups? (for portraiture, etc.)

 

Are there any other GIMP features that I should pay attention to? Many basic editing tools are in OV3, and can be applied there while the photo is still in RAW. In addition, I like my photos to look real, not overly processed (notable exception for IR photos, of course).

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I've been a bit curious about GIMP (largely because it's free).

 

Like any powerful tool, one of the challenges is finding out what it can do. (If I know what I'm looking for, I can easily Google how to do it.)

 

Here are the things I know I can do in GIMP (and not in Olympus Viewer 3):

  • HDR (my camera lacks exposure bracketing, so setting it up is a pain)
  • color channel swapping (which should be handy when I get my IR filter in two weeks)
  • touch-ups? (for portraiture, etc.)

Are there any other GIMP features that I should pay attention to? Many basic editing tools are in OV3, and can be applied there while the photo is still in RAW. In addition, I like my photos to look real, not overly processed (notable exception for IR photos, of course).

 

Here's the link to GIMP.org: https://www.gimp.org/downloads/

 

 

Full user help files are available to be installed on your computer. There are also links to earlier releases so you can try them if the latest one won't run or crashes your system.

 

 

Downloading from other sites for presets, filters and other tools should be done with care. There is a fair chance of added malware or adware in the mix, so research a free download on the GIMP forums before trusting.

 

 

All of these caveats come from my experience with the program. It may be all fluffy bunnies and unicorns pooping rainbows now, but jump in with your eyes open.

 

 

Dave

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I've been playing with GIMP today and downloaded a couple of RAW loaders/converters, Darktable and RawTherapee which work with many different brands of cameras. Yes, a leaning curve but both seem useable and do non destructive editing. Every thing is FREE. As for GIMP the interface seems a bit crude but it seems to be quite capable. I'm using these programs with Win10 Pro, 16GB & i7 processor.

 

 

 

Open source has come a long way in the last few years.

 

 

framer

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  • 2 months later...

It looks like Luminar with Libraries will be available in December. Another bit of good news is that all the cool stuff they have planned for a paid upgrade in Luminar 2019 next year will instead be be offered free to registered users of Luminar 2018 through late in 2019.

 

I have been playing with Luminar some more and their newly-acquired AI retoucher, Photolemur. Many of my images from our recent cruise were done with the one-click Photolemur.

 

 

https://galleries.pptphoto.com/newengland2018

 

p3081022613-5.jpg

 

Seems like it's a great time to be a photo editor as well as a photographer!

 

 

 

Dave

 

Dave

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It looks like Luminar with Libraries will be available in December.

 

I have been playing with Luminar some more and their newly-acquired AI retoucher, Photolemur. Many of my images from our recent cruise were done with the one-click Photolemur.

 

https://galleries.pptphoto.com/newengland2018

Dave

 

Got the e-mail this morning from Skylum re: Luminar and looks very interesting and promising!

 

Been going through your galleries on New England to see which photos were touched up with Photolemur.

 

Did some bulk-loading on some of my very old slides (converted to CDs) on Photolemur and was impressed. Wish it could wipe out the fungus - lived too long in the Manoa rainforest!

 

Waiting for your full report on Luminar and Aurora

 

Best wishes Dave!

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  • 2 months later...

Put an "X" on your calendar for December 18.

 

Luminar with Libraries is officially announced.

 

After working with the program for several months now, I have to say it is a very capable program and the addition of digital asset management with the Libraries update makes it an attractive option. My only personal hesitation is that I still have a need to do editing in Photoshop for heavy trash removal, content creation and such. Luminar doesn't really have significant power in that area. For subscribeaphobics, I suppose you could go with Luminar and pick up a copy of Elements for deep editing (Elements is really very capable) but I have to admit that with the latest enhancements in Lightroom and the undeniable power of Photoshop make it the benchmark for management and editing. At $10/mo, it is still a bargain compared to the old days of $500 for Photoshop and $99 for Lightroom (on sale) every three or so years. My guess is that Skylum will develop or acquire a pixel-level editor in the near future to round out the package and complete the trinity of post-processing (Manage, Enhance, Edit).

 

So far, my experience is that it is a great, easy to use option for someone just getting into post-processing and the addition of Libraries should make it a very attractive option for folks who want an efficient way to manage and enhance their photos. If Libraries can play nice with Lightroom, I can see myself using both, depending on whether I'm touching up a batch of weekend photos or doing serious prep on vacation photos. 

 

More to come after the release.

 

 

Dave 

 

Edited by pierces
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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, it's here...

 

https://skylum.com/luminar

 

Luminar with libraries is available for download and honestly, it looks pretty slick. 

 

I will be using it regularly since it automatically syncs it's catalog with the drive. This means I can still use Lightroom and my normal workflow while evaluating it since anything I import into LR will appear in Luminar.

 

High points so far:

- Non-destructive edits

- Folder, timeline or album/collection views

- Star rating, color tags and favorites

- No set limit on catalog size (performance hits on large catalog will be early test)

- Import to location from within or Auto-synced if imported or copied over from another program.

- Pretty!

 

More to come but Lumnar has already done a lot of my work for me with a good introductory video linked below.

 

Intro: https://player.vimeo.com/video/306493459

 

Dave

Edited by pierces
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