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Processing RAW in Mac OS X - Suggestions please

Discussion in 'Photography, Art & Design' started by mookboy, 9 Aug 2007.

  1. mookboy

    mookboy BRAAAAAAP

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    I'm finding Aperture and Lightroom to just be an utter ball ache when post-processing, and to be honest they're putting me off doing much with my pictures at the moment. Aperture seems to be bloated and an absolute resource whore, whereas Lightroom seems a bit ineffective for post-processing and again just painful to use sometimes.

    I really want some way of post-processing that doesn't need some piece of software to create libraries or backups or anything else. Mate of mine on his PC has a nice quick RAW/JPEG viewer that he can quickly and simply organise his images with, and then open in PS3 with fairly straightforward and pain-free RAW facilities.

    Any Mac OS X users out there with some workflow suggestions, or programs to try? I've got CS2 installed already.
     
  2. Firehed

    Firehed Why not? I own a domain to match.

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    You're right - Aperture gets painfully slow at times, especially if you've got it on a laptop with a slow hard drive. I just suck it up and deal with it, tbh.

    I think you can probably get by with just using iPhoto if you want. For the smallest tweaks, I use ImageWell (free, but worth paying for the full-er version if you ever do batch processing), then Aperture, then CS3. I'd like something more effecient than Aperture, but it's got all of the tools I need for basic post work, and has good version management when I need to do some heavier work in Photoshop.

    Are you looking to do pretty heavy post-processing work, or just some lighter stuff like tweaking levels a bit, cropping, rotating, etc? You may want to check out GraphicConverter as well - lemkesoft.de. The translation from German to English is a bit meh, but it's got some decent options. And if PixelMator ever comes out, it's probably also worth a try.
     
  3. mookboy

    mookboy BRAAAAAAP

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    Yeah nothing major, tweak the levels, white balance, crop etc, some basic editing. Something that can handle RAW files without my computer having a heart attack. I'm on very good MacBook Pro (recently replaced the HDD with a more efficient 160GB model) but even that finds stuff like Aperture a chore. I got so sick of Aperture I don't know I could go back, and iPhoto is gash.
     
  4. Jumeira_Johnny

    Jumeira_Johnny 16032 - High plains drifter

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    You didn't mention if you are shooting in NEF or CR2. For organization, look into iView Media Pro or Photo Mechanic. Both are great and full featured. MS just bought iView, though, so I would recommend Photo Mechanic. For RAW files, I recommend Capture NX if you are a Nikon user. It easily handles batch conversions and most editing, so you only really need PS for more advanced edits of your selects. The newer versions of NX (1.1, 1.2) are universal binary and much more stable. If you are a Canon user, ACR/PS handles the files much better then NEFs. PS can handle batches, both in PS and in Bridge. And you are already there for your editing.

    My work flow looks like this: upload-Iview batch rename and selects-Capture NX for selects adjustment/cropping-PS2 for advanced edits if needed.
    From NX I usually convert to JPG for clients that are not printing or PR stuff, TIFF or NEF for graphic clients or for shots going to print.

    The trick, I have found, is to quickly sort the culls. That really focuses you on your selects; don't try and edit everything you shoot. Good digital management software really makes this a breeze. Then you take a second look and pick the 2 or 3 eye-catchers. Edit the other selects, then really take your time with the ones you think are worth it. From my usage, neither lightroom nor aperture have the speed needed to quickly sort, tag, rename and store 1000s of images. Aperture is close, but light room has a ways to go-especially if you move files off your laptop to external drives.
     
  5. Firehed

    Firehed Why not? I own a domain to match.

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    Hm... looks like the '08 version of iPhoto is supposed to be a lot better. I hope so, because Aperture just hits my MBP too hard as well thanks to the slow laptop hard drive in it. But once you get a good workflow, it's quite nice for quickly sorting out your pics and spotting the best out of the lot.
     
  6. mookboy

    mookboy BRAAAAAAP

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    Can iPhoto view RAW images? I don't even have it installed to check.
     
  7. Firehed

    Firehed Why not? I own a domain to match.

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    I'm pretty sure it does, but I can't say for sure since Apple redid their website with the '08 release and I can't find info on that. Finder can view my RAW files (Canon .cr2) fine, as can just about every other image editing app I've thrown them in - I'd be extremely surprised if iPhoto can't. It looks like 08 has better editing tools as well - similar features to Aperture by the looks of it. I haven't picked up a copy yet but I'm planning to do so soon (as soon as I have enough free hard drive space) so I'll let you know for sure when I do.
     
  8. mookboy

    mookboy BRAAAAAAP

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    Oh it's Canon RAW btw - as mentioned above. Gonna try out some of the above suggestions with the RAW images I took today and see how I get on.
     
  9. Firehed

    Firehed Why not? I own a domain to match.

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    I've been playing around with the new iPhoto a bit just now. It definitely supports RAW (at least Canon's) and has some pretty good adjustment features - a lot of what you'll find in Aperture. You don't get the greyscale mixer or color monochrome, but most everything else that I use is in there and very accessible. It seems somewhat snappier than Aperture too, although then again my Aperture library is fifteen gigs or so, where my iPhoto library has a couple dozen shots. A quick rundown of the adjustments you can make:

    Levels, Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Saturation, Temperature, Tint (w/ standard simple eyedropper white balance correction), Sharpness, Noise reduction. Effects: B+W, Sepia, Antique, Fade Color, Boost Color, Matte, Vignette, Edge Blur. Plus: Rotate, Crop, Straighten, Red-Eye, Enhance (auto-correct, I'm assuming) and Retouch.

    All in all, fairly simplistic, but it should keep you covered for touch-ups and quick fixes. Don't expect to be doing selective effects with layer masks and all that good stuff. I don't see an option for batch changes (ie, correcting the white balance of a full set like you can with lifting and stamping metadata in Aperture) but I got the impression that it's in there and I've just missed it.

    Having said that, the thing for ordering books and calendars is pretty cool if you're creative and want to make a heart-felt gift or something ;)
     
  10. mookboy

    mookboy BRAAAAAAP

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    Had a go with iView, seems pretty good, fast, and easy to use. I can't seem to find any automatic import features though to catalogue my pics - but then I think I'd rather have full control over how they are organised and filed.
     
  11. cderalow

    cderalow bondage master!

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    old version of iPhoto doesn't import the RAW images from my Olympus (.orf)

    haven't tried the new version, or another raw format yet
     

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