Over the years I collected a number of different photo editing software and plugins. Each one has its strengths and I use them all depending on how I think it will fit the photo I’m working on. But how much is under my control and how much is due to the combination of SW I choose?
The best way to have an idea about this is to process the same image on all different SW and see how it differ between each other.
My goal with this photo was to make all those cracks and peeling paint on the door stand up. So lots of saturation, contrast and sharpness.
I started with Canon DPP. An old friend from the period where I was experimenting on getting everything done in the camera. I would use Canon DPP to tweak withe balance, crop and contrast/saturation. I know this editor gets overlooked but we should not underestimate it. It has very useful features and it’s free!
The result is quite amazing for this free software. Without any plugin, layers or brushes I was able to give the photo the tone I was looking for. If I have to correct anything I would reduce the contrast a bit and increase brightness.
Adobe Lightroom CC
I then moved to a very good SW, Adobe Lightroom. It is amazing, but I find myself favoring all other editors before Lightroom. I think is because of the heavy toll it takes in CPU and that it doesn’t fit my particular workflow. But, this is a test so I put my reservations aside and made this 2nd version.
I didn’t used any presets, so all adjustments were done with Lightroom tools. I did some selective adjustments and tried to push saturation with the individual color adjustments. I think overall it lacks punch.
Adobe Camera Raw + Photoshop CC + Google Color FX Pro
I then moved to my current favorite editor. Photoshop through Camera Raw and Google Color FX Pro plugin (former Nik)
Using Photoshop and Google’s Color FX Pro is very easy to push the limits to the end I was looking for. However blacks are too dark; it could have been better with less contrast.
DxO Optics Pro 11
And finally I used this less known program but very capable and with the best noise reduction and lens correction features out there. DxO, a German company well known by its lens and cameras testing but also authors of DxO Optics Pro and Film Pack plug in. Here’s the result.
I did not use DxO Film Pack plug in and looking at the result I should have. The sharpness is not there and the colors are too dull.
The photos that are close to my goal are Canon DPP and Photoshop+Color FX Pro. One comes free with Canon cameras and the other, well you know..
I think is fair to say that with more time I would have been able to produce closer results on all editors. But this means the two selected will make me do things faster. Which is good.
Based on the result, Canon DPP is the winner in this test. Simple tools that takes little time to edit and produces the result I was looking for. And it’s free!