"S. Matthew Prastein" <email@example.com> wrote:
> content here, that PS, and in particular PS 6.0, is the Rosetta stone,
> an essential professional tool for achieving image quality, and
> uniformity, in publishing.
It has a really good colour management system, and that is the best thing
going for it IMO.
> But what about lower-class people like me? I'm an amateur, with very
> modest equipment (an Acer Scanwit 2740S and an Epson 900), very much
> in the learning mode. Should I shell out the $500+ bucks, plus the
> learning time, to get a grip on 6.0?
IMO no. It depends on how picky you are about getting a precise match
between the screen image and the page. But you'll need more than just
Photoshop to do that...
> Will 5.0 LE serve me better, at
> least in the learning phase and possibly for all time?
Maybe, although AFAIK PS 5.0 LE has *no* colour management. It's also
missing quite a few other features.
> And what about the Jasc program? It receives rave reviews in
> popular (i.e. non-professional) reviews, especially in computer
> publications, but I don't recall any reference to it in this list.
> Why not?
Most of the more vocal members of the list are professional photographers
who can justify the cost of Photoshop. Like you, I find it hard to justify,
especially since I live in Australia where it costs over AUD$1300. I have
been using Paintshop Pro since version 4.x, and they're now up to 7.02. PSP
7.02 does most things Photoshop can do, and some things PS *can't* do. I
don't have PS 6.0 so I can't do a direct comparison, but one thing I prefer
in PSP is the page setup facility which allows you to visually place the
image on the page - the lack of a wiziwyg page setup facility in PS 5.5
stunned me considering the price of the program.
One *big* point in favour of JASC in my opinion - they have a newsgroup, and
employees of the company post there and read it. They *do* take notice of
user suggestions. The other people in the newsgroup can be very helpful if
you are trying to figure out how to do something with PSP.
> What capabilities is it missing, that I really ought to have in order
> to do quality work?
1) A high quality CMS. PSP uses the Windows CMS which is "ok" but not
brilliant (others may feel otherwise :)
2) A soft proofing feature. There *is* a soft proofing feature in PSP but
since it uses the Windows CMS, its accuracy is dubious.
3) The ability to uses colour spaces other than sRGB. This may be important
with some colours, but I've never personally found it to be a serious
limitation. PSP was mainly created with editing for the web in mind, hence
there was no need to support other colour spaces. These days however, PSP
7.02 has some great tools for editing digital or scanned photos.
4) The ability to work in 16bit colour. PSP can read a 16bit TIFF file, but
once the file is opened, all editing is in 8bits per channel. I don't think
this is an issue with the Acer, but using Vuescan and my LS30 I can squeeze
10 bits per channel out of the scanner to tweak into a better 8 bit per
Picture Window Pro is another cheap photo editing program which you might
consider in addition to PSP because it *does* support 16 bit editing.
> Put another way, how do I choose software that matches the
> capabilities of the rest of my system, and yet provides a reasonable
> path for future upgrade?
I'd say that the Acer scanner, Epson printer, Vuescan and PSP 7.02 will give
you great results. Stick to sRGB for the colour space and let the printer
do "automatic colour adjustment" and you should get nice prints. On the
other hand *don't* expect to get a precise match between the screen and the
page! Doing "real" profiling and colour management is another whole kettle
PS If you'd been able to take advantage of the upgrade prices when PS6 was
first released, my response may have been different. :)