Challenge Within a Challenge…

Where to start…

There was a pretty good discussion going on in the comment section of my post for the One Four Challenge January Week 1 – Tutorial, and it I mentioned that GIMP would be a viable alternative to Photoshop.

And so it began…

I took a step back and realized that my tutorials are not useful to people who do not own Photoshop and now that Adobe has changed to a subscription based license I, myself, will not be upgrading to the next version (Creative Cloud).  So how can I advocate something I don’t believe in?  Now let’s be clear, I think Photoshop is a great piece of software, but I got it at academic prices and like I said, I won’t be upgrading to the Creative Cloud subscription-based version.  If you were to try to buy Photoshop CS6 today you’d have to pay black-market prices (according to my research it costs $1500+ on amazon).

So then I had a challenge, could I replace the software in my workflow to no longer include Adobe products?  And furthermore, could I find software that would run on all platforms (Linux, Mac, and Windows) so that my tutorials would be widely accessible?  Through my research I have decided to try switching to RawTherapee and GIMP* (both run on all platforms).  Over the next few months I will be trying out this new software and seeing if I can replace my Adobe workflow.

So now I have a challenge within a challenge.  I have been making tutorials using Photoshop (and Camera Raw) for my images lately for the two challenges I’ve been participating in (One Four Challenge and ABFriday Forum). I thought it might be a good thing to try to replicate my images in GIMP (and RawTherapee), and then do an additional tutorial on the new software.

I have been working on relearning** GIMP the past three days and this is what I’ve come up with so far…
141007_NAT_009-gimp-colors3_hp_LR500-wm

Here is the comparison to my image that I created in Photoshop… see the previous post to see the before image (click to enlarge)…

diptych

I plan to post a GIMP tutorial for this image soon.

Until next time…
~nic

*GIMP – GNU Image Manipulation Program

**I used GIMP in Linux prior to my two-year photography certificate classes but switched to Windows-based Photoshop for my classes.

4 thoughts on “Challenge Within a Challenge…

  1. I was looking at your other post and the comments and what you have said here, I worked on GIMP for years, but the problems I had was there wasn’t enough information out there for how to manipulate photos in it. Lots of information on how to use it for graphics, but not photos. My husband was very much against me getting PS, but I didn’t listen, and like you got an academic version.
    I can tell you, my husband still doesn’t believe me, that GIMP cannot do everything that PS does. I tried to learn, use PS and then got to GIMP to see if I could do the same things. Some things I could, some things I couldn’t. I get so frustrated working in GIMP now, tried teaching people how to use it a year ago and I wanted to throw the computer across the room.
    I pay the $10 a month for Photoshop and Lightroom, I think it is a great deal. I could never afford the full price, and as I do work that I charge people for, I can’t use the academic version, I had to get the real deal. It is illegal to use the academic version to do work and then sell the work. Well you are in breach of their conditions.
    $10 a month is three coffees, it isn’t really a lot, it costs $120 and year, and every year when they upgrade, you get the upgrades as part of you subscription so you are always getting the most up to date version.
    Sorry, I’ve gone on a bit, but I wanted to say something. I always recommend Lightroom to people now, people who I know don’t want to do a lot of work, it is fantastic really and you can do so much with it.

    • Leanne, Well I guess it’s a good thing I haven’t sold anything yet (as much as it pains me to admit that on the internet – I guess it would be worse if I had sold something). That news was like a kick in the stomach. I have removed all ability to purchase an image that has been touched by academic software. Now I am even more convinced I should switch to more accessible software. It’s not that I feel $120/year is too much money – it’s the ‘phoning home’ that had me not wanting to upgrade. I don’t want to be told when I have to be online (or be locked out of my ability to use the software) – I want to install my software and use it until the underlying operating system is no longer supported… these are my choices and I don’t want them taken away from me. Nor do I want to be made to feel like a criminal because my software keeps calling home to *verify* that I paid for it. These are my opinions, you are free to have different ones. This is the path I have chosen.
      I’m sorry that you have been frustrated by GIMP, but it only makes me want to try harder to show it is possible. I learned a ton in just three days. I’m not saying it is going to be easy, but I feel it can be done. I did not have issues finding information on how to accomplish my goals for this photo. I found tutorials and forums online and I searched the GIMP manual (and I have a few GIMP books). For this image I created layers and masks, selected items, inverted masks, filled layers with colors and then changed the blend mode. I also found a tutorial to help me get a similar effect of high pass filter (there is a plug-in that I could have installed). I resized my photo, I played with canvas to create a diptych. I merged two photos together to add my watermark (and to create a diptych). I found a tutorial to help me add a drop shadow to my watermark (there is a plug-in that I could have installed). Overall, I think I did a mighty fine job.
      I am now even more persuaded to switch to more accessible software so that I can sell my work and not be locked-in to some software company.

      • What do you mean about phoning home, I’ve never had a problem like that.
        If you can make GIMP work and do what you want, that is great, I couldn’t find anything, but that was about 4 years ago, it was hard. I have found many tools that I use on PS wouldn’t work or GIMP didn’t have them. But as I said, things are changing, one of the main reasons I went to PS was because gimp didn’t do feathering, I think it does know. So maybe. I do recommend it to people who don’t want to pay for software.
        Good luck with it. Unfortunately being locked into things seems to be how things are going. Look at our phones. My only concern is that while it is $10 a month now, will they put the price up when more people start using it. Still, it would take me 10 years at what I am paying now for a new version of PS, I think of it as paying it off.

        • ‘Phoning home’ is a reference to the movie E.T. (1982)… there is an alien (Extra Terrestrial) that was accidentally left on Earth during a reconnaissance mission. The alien is trying to contact the Mother Ship to get back home. E.T. has learned some English and tells Elliott (the kid in the story that found the alien) that he wants to “phone home”. Sometimes the phrase ‘calling the Mother Ship’ is used the same way.

          In this instance, I was using the phrase to mean that the Creative Cloud software contacts Adobe periodically to verify that the software that you are using is a valid copy (i.e. payment is up to date). This happens in the background and you probably won’t even notice it until you are in a place that does not have internet connectivity and the connection has not been established in a set amount of time. When that happens you will be locked out of using the software until you can get online and allow the software to contact Adobe (the Mother Ship) to verify that you have paid for your software. From the research I did, if you were to pay the yearly subscription upfront you are “allowed” 99 days without contacting Adobe to verify your license. My problem with this is that if I wanted to have my computer offline to do my work I would not be able to use this software after three months (even though I paid for a year) unless I connect my computer to the internet. There are a million and one reasons you may not be online for long periods of time, some being … you are out in Africa photographing elephants but still want to process your photos, you have a really old computer that you do not want to connect to the internet because the operating system no longer gets security updates, the list goes on and on.

          For me it’s more about the ick factor that the company doesn’t trust its customers. Instead it assumes that the software is invalid (burgled) until it is verified, which it checks periodically. To me, the company is basically calling me a criminal until proven innocent. If I paid for a year subscription, then in a year, we’ll discuss if I’m going to continue my subscription… there is no need to check on me quarterly to make sure I paid.

          The cost of the software is not the issue. In fact, I donate to open source projects, so the idea that I want to use ‘free’ software because it *costs* less is not the issue I have with the Creative Cloud subscription model. By the way, ‘free’ software means – “free” as in “free speech”, not as in “free lunch”, in this case, it just happens to be minimal to no cost.

          As for GIMP not doing feathering… if I understand what you mean by feathering correctly, ‘blur the selection border so that it fades out smoothly’. GIMP does indeed do that (it is mentioned in Grokking the Gimp which was published in 2000 and is available online). It can also shrink and grow the selection. GIMP is constantly improving.

          GIMP has been around since 1996 (which just happens to be approximately when my husband started using Linux and I was looking over his shoulder). I started using GIMP around 2006, but switched to windows-based Photoshop when I started taking classes in 2011, so I’m a little rusty with GIMP now. Also I didn’t know the concepts I know now about photo manipulation, so what I knew about photo processing wasn’t nearly what I know today.

          I’m sorry this response was so long, but I felt the need to defend (and clarify) my stance on Adobe’s subscription-based model.

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