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Elements vs Lightroom vs The GIMP?

Discussion in 'Photoshop & Editing Chat Forum' started by JabberwockJess, Mar 15, 2010.

  1. JabberwockJess

    JabberwockJess Well-Known Member

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    (I seem to be doing a lot of A vs B vs C posts these days)

    Hi guys - newb question again! Thanks in advance.

    I currently use The GIMP which is great and of course the price is right! The only downside is that it isn't as widely used among the tutorials and forums I've been reading... meaning generally when learning new techniques I have to sort of guess at a few of the steps to achieve a similar result. Also, being a newbie and a big fat cheater, I would like to steal actions off other people until such time as I am able to learn the techniques a little more in-depth... and some of the GIMP scripts/plug-ins I have used just don't seem to be hitting the mark.

    That said, I cannot afford full CS4 and do not want to pirate the software, which leaves me with Elements or Lightroom.

    Has anyone got experience using all three? What would I lose from switching from GIMP to one of these lighter versions of Photoshop? What would I gain overall? Do they have RAW editors? Is it worth spending the money?

    Thanks. :)
     
  2. Dazzler83

    Dazzler83 Well-Known Member

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    I myself use elements 7 it does exactly what i want it for which i admit isnt much but i have had some nice results from it, i have seen some very spectacular things from lightroom it might be worth downloading trials for teh two and see which you get on with.
    Dazzler.
     
  3. Stewcp

    Stewcp Well-Known Member

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    GIMP and Elements are photo editors... Lightroom is a complete workflow system and is geared towards working with RAW files... they are totally different types of applications.
     
  4. tenchy

    tenchy Rain maker Administrator

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    I would say Elements, but with one caveat.
    Elements I'm sure (Sean will correct me if wrong) is less straightforward for using full Photoshop scripts on.
    I think it can run them, but with a fudge.
     
  5. SeanNeedham

    SeanNeedham Ol' Sparky Honorary Life Member

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    As tenchy said, it can be a kludge to run the scripts, some aren't supported, and some plugins aren't either.

    I don't know about the actions from PS to Elements, yet... But give me an hour to get on a machine that has Elements and I'll let you know.
     
  6. tenchy

    tenchy Rain maker Administrator

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  7. JabberwockJess

    JabberwockJess Well-Known Member

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    I certainly want to make the switch to shooting in RAW but would that be too advanced for me right now? Am I trying to run before I can walk? :confused:
     
  8. Stewcp

    Stewcp Well-Known Member

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    Not really... if thats the direction you see yourself going, then its no bad thing... LR isn't difficult to use, as with all things, you just need to know how it works and what does what... also you won't benefit from LR if you're just processing single images... its aimed as mass processing... I would suggest downloading a trial version of 2.6 (not the lasted LR3 beta) and see what you think before handing over your money to Adobe!
     
  9. SeanNeedham

    SeanNeedham Ol' Sparky Honorary Life Member

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    Right, it is a good news, bad news situation with Elements...

    Elements will run quite a few of the scripts using a workround hack, but will not run Actions and some of the plugins, as it is a very closed off platform. Also, you cannot directly install a lot of the plugins (those that come with bundled installers) as they would be looking for a Photoshop CS */ folder, not the Elements folder on the hard drive.

    The biggest problem here is that if the platform was open as it is with the full fat version of Photoshop, a lot more people would use Elements instead of paying up so they aren't faced with the inconvenience of the system as it is.

    Nope, start soon as possible, so you don't have to relearn bad habits, and can get a better grounding in the 'basics'.
     
  10. tenchy

    tenchy Rain maker Administrator

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    Always shoot RAW. Even if you can't process them much now, shoot RAW + jpeg. Later down the line you may be able to go back and make awesome-ness from OK-ness now.
     
  11. limetreepictures

    limetreepictures Active Member

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    Lightroom all the way....especially for workflow! Great overall package, and getting better.
    IMO kicks the ass of photoshop every day of the week.....

    And also agree with above- shoot RAW whenever you can.
     
  12. Jason

    Jason Here a lot Premium Member

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    When I bought my first camera about 19 months ago the first thing I did was switch to RAW format. Never taken a shot in Jpeg.

    I use DPP (free with Canon cameras), GIMP (free with internet connection :) ) and Elements (bought.) I just flick between the three of them depending on what I want to do. GIMP is useful for the stuff that Elements won't do (easily) like cross-processing and curves edits. You can also get some useful plug-ins for Gimp. That trio of programmes does me and I don't restrict myself to one editor.

    Saying that, I am currently messing around with the Lightroom trial and finding it pretty good. Don't think I can justify the 200 quid price tag though.
     
  13. vallis

    vallis Well-Known Member

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    I've said this many times before but I'll say it again; I've been a full-time GIMP user for a number of years and see entirely no reason to switch to any other software.

    As far as I know GIMP does everything Elements does (and and probably more).

    You can import RAW files using UFRaw. Available here
    And you can even run Photoshop plug-ins using PSPI. Available here (probably requires a little research)

    The only downside with GIMP is that it currently only supports 8-bit image processing. This means that the colour palette isn't quite as large which would be a problem for a professional photographer. For the average user this won't be a problem. The whole program is being re-written to support 16-bit colour for the next release anyway.

    Overall, unless you're finding the GIMP limiting in some way, why change?

    V.
     
  14. JabberwockJess

    JabberwockJess Well-Known Member

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    Vallis - that is SO what I wanted to hear! The lack of RAW editor was putting me off because, well, if one has the option to shoot and edit RAW, why wouldn't one? If GIMP has a way of importing RAW files then that's awesome.

    Thanks for the advice everyone!
     
  15. vallis

    vallis Well-Known Member

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    Glad you found that useful.
    I've ranted on about GIMP in quite a few threads on this forum, if you search for my username you should find a fair bit of info.

    There are some good tutorials at http://www.gimp.org/tutorials/ as well and, as always, Google has a world of answers!

    V.
     
  16. sweatysocksnapper

    sweatysocksnapper Well-Known Member

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    +1 for the gimp here - been using it for a fair while now and certainly wouldn't consider changing/buying a replacement. And you know most of the plug-ins for CS4 will be replicated at some stage for the gimp as well.
    Also UFRaw is dead easy to use.

    Plus if you shoot in jpeg + Raw things are very straight forward,
     
  17. paulmag

    paulmag Always on Administrator

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    The gimp is an excellent piece of software especially combined with UFraw and platform independent and FREE.

    I have it on my PC's windows xp , ubuntu and on a usb drive and it dont crash unlike Photoshop.
     
  18. tenchy

    tenchy Rain maker Administrator

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    My 'shop doesn't crash Paul?

    CS2 occasionaly closes on me and so has cs3.

    get some message that xx has closed due to an error.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 22, 2010
  19. forgetmenot

    forgetmenot Well-Known Member

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    Hi I have ben using PSshop CS3 for some time and will probably never upgrade. The downside of PShop is Bridge which is a clunky program which work ok sometimes and not others and is far from a reliable workflow into PShop. I did try elements and it was a waste of time for the following reasons - Its slow, painfully slow, perhaps not a problem for the couple of images amateur, but it drove me mad. I also discovered that if you download a trial it cant be easily removed from your hard drive and is a nightmare. Search forums for cant remove elements!
    I have been using Capture One by Phase One which is available as a trial and is about the same price as elements. Capture One does not do all the PShop layers, history etc but for importing, comparing, Choosing and processing the photo content, its worth a try. Live with it for the 30 days before deciding.
     

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