Along with a little commentary of the future of image editing software.
The evolution of RAW processing software begs the question: Are we seeing the downfall of the Image Editing Package, or its gradual absorption? If not, the lines of what a Digital Asset Management (DAM) tool and a full-blown pixel-based editor can and cannot do are certainly blurring.
Consider the above series of photos:
The left-most image is the middle or ‘correct’ exposure of a bracketed sequence taken at Split Rock Lighthouse. The image management tool took care of initial modest adjustments before handing it off to an HDR processing tool producing a tone-mapped version you see in the second image. Further reprocessing of the tone-mapped image yielded image three. Image three was sent out to a third-party plug-in for further enhancement producing a very passable image number four (right-most).
The finished photo at left was produced without ever technically finding its way into a pixel-based editor. The image wrangling tool has become a Swiss Army Knife, either doing it all or facilitating it all. Import, Adjustment, Outputting to HDR, Processing, Output to Plug-ins, Processing, export to File and Printing were all handled by a single application.
Notice that no manufacturers were fingered and no applications named in this short exercise. It doesn’t matter who you are or what product you produce. If you are a DAM tool and you can’t facilitate editing you are likely doomed. If you are a pixel-based editor without robust file management functionality, likewise, you are likely doomed. The imaging public, particularly photographers, have too many options now. We can have our sorting and edit too!
Enjoy the sun peeking around the cliff at Split Rock Lighthouse and its before and after journey.
Rikk Flohr © 2009