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Image Processing and Workflow RAW, DNG , TIFF and JPG. From Capture to Ready for Publish/Display. All software and techniques used within an image workflow, (except extensive retouching and repair or DAM).

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  #1  
Old January 19th, 2007, 09:44 PM
Dave See Dave See is offline
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Default FOSS folk like Linux, etc.

Hi ho,

Who amongst you runs Free/Open Source Software--like David Coffin's dcraw--or FOSS applications on Linux or some other FOSS operating system?

Ray West read in my posting elsewhere that I use FOSS apps and utilities on Linux. He had an idea to start a thread on the "diy aspects" of RAW and post processing using FOSS, so could we get a show of, ah, replies from those interested, and those already using it?

rgds,
Dave
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  #2  
Old January 19th, 2007, 10:59 PM
Erik DeBill Erik DeBill is offline
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I.... used to. I originally did raw conversion, gamma and initial rough adjustments using dcraw and ImageMagick. I then did curves in Cinepaint, final sharpening and printing from Gimp. All on Linux. Cinepaint, especially, was painful, but was necessary to get 16bit color depth while doing curves adjustments (which is where it matters most). I had to restart after every 2-3 images, otherwise it would crash - usually when I went to save.

I quit everything but the printing when I got a 20d and the interpolation algorithms in dcraw started introducing horrible artifacts whenever I had an image that was really sharp (blades of grass looking like sickly blue-green candy canes, etc). David Coffin recommended I blur my images to cover for it. I switched to Bibble Pro, but printing from Bibble Pro was bad so I kept Gimp/Gutenprint for that.

Then I did some very careful test prints, which convinced me to drop Gutenprint as a print driver - I got a Mac Mini and started using PS Elements as a RIP. Then I noticed that the Mac Mini was faster than my Linux box (which was 5 years old), so I switched from Linux entirely.

If not for the trouble with dcraw and the 20d I might have stuck with the Linux workflow, but that experience helped me realize that I was no longer interested in spending the time necessary to keep up with the bleeding edge (which 16bit color really was on Linux). Hopefully things have matured a little more since then.
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  #3  
Old January 20th, 2007, 03:11 PM
Dave New Dave New is offline
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I was a Linux user (and strong advocate) for almost ten years, until my interest in photography was re-awakened by the advent of affordable digital cameras, and archival inkjet printers.

I tried to make my peace with the GIMP, et al, before finally moving to a Windows XP laptop platform based on Photoshop. I'd say that the single biggest hurdle for me on the Linux platform, was the almost complete lack of support for a color-managed workflow.

To this day, I still don't believe that X (the underlying graphical engine for all the various desktops flavors on Unix/Linux platforms) supports the use of ICC profiles, or the ability to calibrate your monitor. I'm aware that there were some workarounds within the GIMP, but the whole experience was one of pushing a rope.

It's really a pity, actually. Linux continues to make great strides in useability as a desktop platform (my major former use was as a 32-bit embedded software development platform, which it excels at, using the GNU cross-compiler toolchain), but until certain 'killer apps' such as Photoshop (and important to home business users, programs like TurboTax, Quicken and Quickbooks) are ported to run directly (not poorly via WINE, thank you) on the Linux platform, it will still be considered an also-ran in the desktop marketplace.

This is getting to be all the more crucial, as initial reports of Microsoft's impending Vista operating system release indicates that it is taking a decided nasty turn, bowing to pressure from major media moguls, to deny users' basic fair-use rights through various beefed-up DRM mechanisms.

The price of Vista has jumped considerably, which is designed to force users to go to the hardware channel for upgrades (buy a system, get Vista bundled for free).

Think you'll just 'sit this one out' and skip Vista upgrades? In a couple of years, Microsoft will be announcing the 'sunsetting' of Windows XP (meaning that no security patches or upgrades will be available). They are already curtailing support for older OSes in their newer developer kits, forcing all application vendors to abandon anything older than the XP platform in their next software releases. Photoshop CS3, due out the first half of 2007, while not run on anything older than XP, forcing a lot of users to abandon working Win2K systems just to get the latest Adobe Raw Converter camera support.

All of this is making the new batch of Intel-based Macs look better all the time. But, abandoning an operating system lock-in (Windows) in favor of a complete platform lock-in (Apple) doesn't appeal, despite the Mach kernel (Unix-like) underpinnings of the latest Mac OS.

What's a digital photographer do, especially one that might be classified as a 'serious hobbiest' that doesn't have an unlimited budget for software and hardware upgrades?
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  #4  
Old January 20th, 2007, 04:20 PM
Tudor Caradoc-Davies Tudor Caradoc-Davies is offline
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Hi,

I too was a dedicated Linux user and tried dcraw. Then ran Windows programmes using Crossover Office, for Raw conversion (C1Pro, BreezeBrowser) and editing (PS 7), but found:

not colour managed, not 16 bit
GIMP printing was difficult and unsatisfactory, and does not support the latest Epsons (4800 and 9800)
my productivity seemed to drop seriously due to wrestling with technical issues such as unfriendly software, compiling a new module, and "dependency hell"

However, Bibble Pro and Lightzone (beta 2.0) run on linux ...

I now run a dual boot box using LZ, C1Pro, BBPro, Qimage and CS2 on Win2K, lots of backups, and the linux system (Kubuntu) to make backups to a linux-formatted disk (paranoid ?) Productivity is high, and no plans to upgrade any software at this time.

My main concern is, as mentioned, above that new software requires a more modern OS, and that software which runs on Win2K (RSP) is bought out by big players and incorporated into products such as CS3 which require a newer and expensive OS. Is this the future for LZ ?

So I am enjoying a fast and stable system and will be reluctant to change unless there are compelling reasons.

It puzzles me that the various Mac OS's are variants of unix and are colour managed, so it can be done. Is there no demand for a variant of Linux which is colour managed and supports new printers and friendly software ?

Regards,

Tudor.
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  #5  
Old January 20th, 2007, 06:04 PM
Dave See Dave See is offline
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Wow... that's a lot of experience you all have expressed there!

Some interesting pieces from all of your posts thus far + my current experience may provide a clearer picture(sorry!) on the subject of FOSS and digital imaging.

Personally, I too may shift to an other OS, especially for the colorspace and calibration issues some of you mentioned... but for now, and for the last 15 years FOSS has been my computing platform. I run CEntOS on the server, Fedora on the desktop.

Erik, I have a similar workflow... and dcraw has been doing OK... but I'm new to this, and have not printed larger than 5x7 of an all digital image, yet ;). Nice suggestion to blur the artifacts! Holy cow! That kind of "fix" would put me off dcraw too.

David, you do bring up interesting points about software and hardware constraints. FOSS has those too, as almost all of you pointed out the shortcomings of GIMP and maximum 8bbp.

All of you comment on how poor a desktop experience FOSS offers, yet merely programmed or server tasks are good to great. I would concur that X11 and calibration is weak--although I have got xcalib and lcms working, I've not bought the hardware calibration widget, yet--and that GIMP, while good for web/digital only image processing, is really nowhere near CS/Photoshop. Thus far, I've used monica for monitor gamma correction; recompiled ImageMagick with lcms support; bought the pro license to VueScan--a couple years ago, for my film scanner--and this supports many RAW formats too; and I also bought the Joe Holmes "Sampler" of ICC profiles to play around with the odd profile I could find...

...after initial experiences with VueScan, C1LE, UFRaw, RawTherapee, etc. I realized it was too soon to be in the digital equivalent of a darkroom. Yes, I know "the negative is the score. The print is the performance"-AA... but, as I mentioned in my intro post, I want to make good captures first and not foster bad habits in RAW and post with "Auto Levels" and other WB corrections. Not that this is a "Bad Thing"(TM), to use "Auto Levels", or AWB! It took me a while to learn about ISO400 film and what aperture and speed to use... a lightmeter? Heck, that's just one perspective ;)

So for now, I am hacking BASH to process batches of RAW and DNG files. When I find some keepers among them... then I'll devote more effort to the digital darkroom.

I will follow up with my tools, hardware and software, versions and the inevitable "glue" of hacks needed to get some sort of result! Erik has me wanting to find artifacts where I did not see them before... even if I find them, I'll still be pleased to have learned to see them at all!

Thanks for your posts... are there any other FOSS-using folk?

rgds,
Dave
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  #6  
Old January 22nd, 2007, 01:51 PM
Erik DeBill Erik DeBill is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave See
All of you comment on how poor a desktop experience FOSS offers, yet merely programmed or server tasks are good to great. I would concur that X11 and calibration is weak--although I have got xcalib and lcms working, I've not bought the hardware calibration widget, yet--and that GIMP, while good for web/digital only image processing, is really nowhere near CS/Photoshop. Thus far, I've used monica for monitor gamma correction; recompiled ImageMagick with lcms support; bought the pro license to VueScan--a couple years ago, for my film scanner--and this supports many RAW formats too; and I also bought the Joe Holmes "Sampler" of ICC profiles to play around with the odd profile I could find...
I had good luck calibrating my monitor under Windows (using an Eye One), then using the profile under Linux. I believe Bibble, Gimp and Cinepaint all supported loading profiles. It's not like Windows or Mac where you set it once at the OS level (there's a way to do that, but almost nothing checks it yet). Instead you set your profile in each app, and the apps handle it.

There was very minimal support for calibrated printing. I was just about to give that a try when I realized how badly Gutenprint was mangling my colors. Full story and comparison images here.


Cinepaint gives you true 16bit color (it supports 32bit/channel, actually). It's an offshoot of Gimp, so the interfaces are very similar. I didn't like the sharpening tools as much, but it's quite functional if you want to do your manipulation in 100% free software.

Bibble and Lightzone are both commercial, but both run on Linux (Lightzone unofficially, but with the blessing of the authors). Both do 16 bit and are very functional.


Quote:
...after initial experiences with VueScan, C1LE, UFRaw, RawTherapee, etc. I realized it was too soon to be in the digital equivalent of a darkroom. Yes, I know "the negative is the score. The print is the performance"-AA... but, as I mentioned in my intro post, I want to make good captures first and not foster bad habits in RAW and post with "Auto Levels" and other WB corrections. Not that this is a "Bad Thing"(TM), to use "Auto Levels", or AWB! It took me a while to learn about ISO400 film and what aperture and speed to use... a lightmeter? Heck, that's just one perspective ;)
Interesting. I found that the thought I had to put into converting and adjusting my RAW files after I took them forced me to think about my pictures and kept me from just taking lots of throwaway snapshots. As I would adjust them, I'd be thinking about the picture, what I liked and what I didn't. It helped me improve my photography faster.
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  #7  
Old January 20th, 2007, 06:14 PM
Sean DeMerchant Sean DeMerchant is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tudor Caradoc-Davies
My main concern is, as mentioned, above that new software requires a more modern OS, and that software which runs on Win2K (RSP) is bought out by big players and incorporated into products such as CS3 which require a newer and expensive OS. Is this the future for LZ ?
Yes. All software will move forward with the development tools.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tudor Caradoc-Davies
It puzzles me that the various Mac OS's are variants of unix and are colour managed, so it can be done. Is there no demand for a variant of Linux which is colour managed and supports new printers and friendly software ?
SGI had/has it in Irix. Solaris once had a Kodak solution. This leaves me thinking the issue may be lack of demand. I think if a FOSS desktop shell were to be easily used by the average consumer then I think issues could be handled. Running GIMP on OS X or XP with a calibrated display should hopefully give you the OS'es standard color management and a dash or repeatability. But without the market or the tools already being there I cannot see it being a profitable venture.

I think FOSS does well with some programming tools (languages, servers, ...), but I just have not seen anything appealing from it in terms of accomplishing non-computer oriented goals. XP or OS X have the tools and their GUIs are way faster yielding a more productive experience. And productivity is what consumers want from computers. They do not want control, they want it to work.

some thoughts,

Sean
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  #8  
Old January 20th, 2007, 04:19 PM
Sean DeMerchant Sean DeMerchant is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave See
Who amongst you runs Free/Open Source Software--like David Coffin's dcraw--or FOSS applications on Linux or some other FOSS operating system?
I run Cygwin as a command line shell (this made Windows 2000 a viable platform by circumvenint MSFT's retarded shells). I use Subversion for version control (mostly code and a small number of images). I have MySQL running (and other DBs).

I like many FOSS apps and tools, but when it comes to images, FOSS sucks. No color management, 16-bit support sucks, RAW conversion is inconvenient for art (I want WYSIWYG not a command line), .... The tools are simply not there and I do not see a group of programming geeks with a socialist leaning taking the time to produce the tools that meet my needs for nothing when they cannot even produce a usable desktop shell to compete for the desktop space as they all tend to require training or a geek to use productively without breaking stuff.

This is not to say that a *nix server farm is not viable (I prefer *nix servers to Windows servers). But my desktop shell will run on an OS that supports the apps that meet my needs so I can work on photography and not programming.

You might look into ImageJ which should be technically viable if ackward to use (it is aimed at medical imaging IIRC). Albeit, ImageJ is not FOSS, it is public domain (no license whatsoever).

Art is simply someplace that FOSS and OSS simply fail and tools that interupt the artistic process are not particularly valuable IMO.

In short, I regularly use FOSS, but not for imaging as it simply is not on par with the proprietary tools and the last I checked it was not on par with decade old proprietary tools.

all the best,

Sean (who does actually like FOSS, but only where it works better for him)
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