Digital photography: software workflow

A key focus of my work in this module, particularly Part 2: Landscapes of Place has been to significantly deepen and widen my technical expertise in Lightroom and Nik FX, to add to my further exploration of Photoshop and Illustrator from Project 2.1 Hagg Wood. This required a steep learning curve from You Tube videos and lynda.com tutorials on Lightroom, NikFX and Photoshop .

My conclusions of workflow are that the key is to explore a range of image possibilities through initial experimentation as unexpected discoveries are often made – the more one becomes familiar with the software the more possibilities open up. This helps clarify what one is aiming to communicate – often a number of different interpretations that are relevant for different purposes and combinations of narrative. Then images can be reviewed and refined:

Lightroom

  • most images intended for professional ‘straight’ colour, black and white and/or split tone photography treatment can be produced using Lightroom alone. If the source photographs are large size RAW images with little tonal clipping etc, then much of what can be done in Nik FX or Photoshop can be done more quickly in Lightroom, using tone and colour sliders, adjustment gradients and filters, with the result already linked to an image management catalogue ready for multiple web upload, printing, book production and slideshows etc with metadata.
  • using History and Snapshots in Lightroom are very useful to keep record of the adjustments made for easy annotation as metadata.
  • if other software are to be used, it is still useful to use Lightroom first for quick spot removal, cropping with guides, removal of tonal clipping and getting an even tone distribution, file-naming and metadata input then editing from Lightroom in the other software so that the result is automatically added to the image catalogue.

See posts:

Nik FX

Nik FX Dfine is quicker and more effective for noise reduction where significant amounts of noise are present.

Viveza, Silver FX and Color FX are easier and more intuitive to use than Lightroom or Photoshop for ‘painting in’ lighting effects using a mouse. The use of control points is much quicker, and produces more targeted and subtle as well as dramatic effects differentiating different parts of the image for depth and leading the eye through the image.

Silver FX, Analog Pro and Color FX can quickly produce a number of interesting image variants that can then be further tweaked either in Lightroom and/or Photoshop.

Silver FX, Analog Pro and Color FX are particularly useful for easily converting low resolution images with noise and jpg artifacts or high levels of highlight/shadow clipping into interesting creative images. These can then be further tweaked either in Lightroom and/or Photoshop.

Where only one or two FX are needed, it is quicker to do this directly from Lightroom and this then exports directly into the catalogues and collections
Where a series of FX and variations are needed, with or without Photoshop editing on top, this is best done through editing as a Photoshop smart object and stacking filters as alternative versions that can be switched on and off and exported as separate tiff files.

See posts:

Photoshop

is needed for producing photographic positives for printmaking and painting and artistic effects and blending and compositing multiple images in photo-montage.

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Software for digital art: iPad and Corel Painter

For digital art I prefer:

  • iPad software like Procreate, ArtRage, Sjketchbook Pro and SketchClub are more expressive and easier to use for digital drawing and painting See iPad explorations
  • Corel Painter is better for high end digital watercolour and painting (still to be properly explored).