Jump to content
billtils

What's the point of the Develop Persona?

Recommended Posts

The Forum has been very quiet of late so I thought it was time to try and stir things up a bit, and ask "What's the point of the Develop Persona?"

 

You can't download to it from your camera, but whatever you do use for that purpose will almost certainly have a RAW engine + edit capability

 

You can't call a library (DAM) from it to store the developed images (i.e. the reverse workflow from a DAM such as Aperture or Lightroom calling AP as an external editor and receiving the saved edited file back)

 

You can't do much (if anything) in it that you can't do in the Photo persona

 

 

I haven't used it for anything in ages.  What do others use it for?

 

 

 

Mind you, if we had an Affinity DAM module ...

 


Retina iMac (4K display, 1TB SSD, 16GB RAM) OS X 10.11.6  Capture One 10.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some people (not me) don't use a DAM and so need a raw convertor.  I know a lot of professional photographers who use a Bridge/ACR/PS workflow so I suppose the Develop Persona is necessary as a piece of that puzzle.  What AP still lacks is a Bridge equivalent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

coranda

 

Incorporating a DAM was just one part of the questioning - even if you only need a RAW engine (and an editor), if you use Develop it adds a step between what's in the camera and what's being edited, whereas many of the alternatives provide a seamless path from camera to product.

 

(BTW, I'm not dumping on Affinity here, nor am I pushing any particular options, just asking some basic questions and curious to see the answers).


Retina iMac (4K display, 1TB SSD, 16GB RAM) OS X 10.11.6  Capture One 10.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

coranda

 

Incorporating a DAM was just one part of the questioning - even if you only need a RAW engine (and an editor), if you use Develop it adds a step between what's in the camera and what's being edited, whereas many of the alternatives provide a seamless path from camera to product.

 

(BTW, I'm not dumping on Affinity here, nor am I pushing any particular options, just asking some basic questions and curious to see the answers).

Bill,

 

I have wondered the same sort of thing. I suppose the Develop Persona is intended as the equivalent of ACR and perhaps some people would not feel that AP was a "real" photo editor without the ability to adjust the raw image in a similar way to Adobe's ACR or Corel's Camera Raw. Just a guess, but perhaps it is more of a marketing tool than an editing tool.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are people for whom ACR is their only raw convertor and who use no DAM software.  They simply copy the raw files from their memory cards to their hard drive.  For that reason I think it's important for AP to have its ACR equivalent.  This will become particularly relevant if AP eventually takes on some of the current features of ACR/PS.  In particular I'm thinking about:

  • Storing just the develop settings (side car files for example) so that it is possible to develop images without the need to convert them all to .afphoto files which are necessarily very large files by comparison.  Many people don't take most of their images into PS and so they don't need to store psd files as well as raw.  There is currently no equivalent workflow for AP. 
  • The ability to insert the develop settings as a layer so that they can be modified after the image has been edited in the photo persona.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

  • The ability to insert the develop settings as a layer so that they can be modified after the image has been edited in the photo persona.

I think that is a very interesting idea but, since AP does not support layered tiffs, these would have to be psd of afphoto. If afphoto, then users will have to deal with very large image files. If psd, then users will have to deal with the non-interoperability of some of the AP psd files.

 

What do you believe to be the best and most portable way to do this? Adjustment information stored in layers sounds like a great idea, but those adjustments would not be recognized by other software and, in particular, not by Adobe software, and it seems likely that re-writing them might corrupt or totally lose that layer information.

 

Side cars, on the other hand, sounds both doable and more secure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use PhaseOne's MediaPro as my DAM but I've never processed RAW in it.  For that, I've always used Nikon Capture NX2.  Recently however, I tend to use Develop Persona in Affinity.  It does a good job and it's handy to just take the image right into Photo persona for finishing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My apologies for the lengthy post.

 

The concept of a raw converter in the Adobe sense is really a bit strange and mostly exists for historic reasons.

 

As far as I can tell, the reason for the existence of ACR was that back then Photoshop was not very good at dealing with floating point images that represent values below 100% black and above 100% white. As such, performing all the colour correction steps in a separate plugin that has a floating point processing pipeline internally allowed values clipped in one step to be brought back again in another.

 

So for instance values clipped with the exposure correction could be brought back with the Recovery slider, whereas doing it in Levels inside of the main Photoshop would clip those values so that a Shadow/Highlight filter applied afterwards would have no chance at ever bringing those details back.

 

With a scanned image or an already converted raw image, that's not such a big problem since dynamic range is more limited, but with raw images and HDRs and their extended latitude, it becomes a problem. So really mostly a hack on Adobe's part for not having to fix shortcomings in the main application. The downside is that ACR has a much inferior memory management system and thus cannot deal with large images and also breaks down when using lots of localized corrections.

 

A raw conversion plugin could theoretically bring in the raw file as a floating point image (similar to an HDR image) and everything that can currently be done inside of ACR could be done completely inside the main application (possibly with the exception of the camera calibration profiles), again, provided that there is floating point support.

 

The fact that ACR is a separate plugin has created other absurd situations, like tools being available inside of ACR that are not available inside of Photoshop (like Dehaze, Clarity, and so on) or filters that duplicate that functionality with their own UI (Lens Correction for example). Even Adobe got sick of that at some point and recently decided to offer ACR as a Filter inside of Photoshop as well – which has nothing to do with raw conversion any more, but just with making its regular image editing features accessible from within Photoshop.

 

However, in the meantime, this all-in-one approach has become popular outside of just a raw import plugin since it has also proven useful for photo management applications like Lightroom, Aperture and Capture One. It allows quick non-destructive processing of images that don't require the extended complex toolset and workflow of a full raster editing package like Photoshop or Affinity Photo, and it is very useful for processing similar images in batches (like fixing white balance on all images shot under similar conditions). Ironically, then traditional raster techniques like masking with brushes have crept back in, showing us that this strict separation isn't really ideal.

 

But far as I am concerned, tying all of these things to the process of raw conversion has mainly historical reasons and in context of a modern application is kind of limiting.

 

Such an all-in-one environment could simply be an adjustment layer (whether it's tied to a Persona in terms of UI or not) that provides a floating-point processing environment. If the sliders internally were implemented as other nested adjustment layers, all tools from inside Develop would be available individually inside the main application without duplicated code and some features only being available in one place or the other. Inside of the all-in-one system, they would be able work together without clipping artifacts even for 8-bit images since the software would first internally convert from 8-bit to float and back at the very end. That's essentially what happens right now when we enter ACR as a filter or the Develop persona inside of Affinity from a layer.

 

Also, implementing and limiting all the non-destructive masking tools like graduated filters inside a raw converter environment only is also severely limiting since these features would be equally useful inside of a regular raster editing toolset for masking layers.

 

Why not have the main "raw converter" be an adjustment layer, and all corrections produced by non-destructive masking additional Develop adjustment layers? The editing UI could still be a persona instead of a dialogue box.

 

Graduated filters, masking brushes and radial filters could then be made usable as regular masks, even for everyday pixel layers and vector shapes, and, hopefully in the future, we will be able to use vector shapes with variable feathering like most video colour grading applications offer them for masking our adjustment layers (we all spend way to much time filling in shapes with a brush).

 

However, this would require floating point support in the main application if a localized correction should be able to bring back details that were previously clipped. Otherwise the masking would need to be done inside the Develop floating point pipeline.

 

With such an approach, all adjustments done inside of a separate photo management application would then automatically be accessible and adjustable inside of the raster editing environment as adjustment layers, including masking. And the Develop Adjustment Layer could be expanded into individual adjustment layers with one click, opening the door to individual advanced blend options, masking, reordering, grouping, multiple copies and so on for individual steps of the processing pipeline if more control is desirable.

 

I was really surprised to see that Affinity Photo had basically copied Photoshop's approach more or less as-is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Raw conversion is an essential first step in processing any digital image (whether in camera or in post processing) because without raw conversion there really isn't an image in the sense that most users expect.  All a raw convertor really needs to provide is:

 - demosaicing

 - gamma correction

 - exposure adjustment

 

Modern raw convertors offer all sorts of options that, arguably, are not a good idea because best practice is to use exposure control to recover highlight details and do nothing else in the raw conversion.  Subsequent processing requires features not available in raw conversion - in particular, double processing.

 

However, that approach means turning every image into a tiff/psd type file which requires a substantial amount of storage space.

 

So, in an ideal world, raw convertors would have nothing more than an exposure slider for highlight recovery.  In practice, when you have hundreds/thousands of images to process, it's often more convenient to completely process most of them in a raw convertor like ACR and reserve PS/AP for those special images you want to extract the most from.

 

The problem with AP is that its raw convertor must convert all processed images into separate, large files.  ACR makes it possible to store all of the processing in small sidecar files.

 

So what I'm basically saying is that it can be advantageous to have a very capable raw convertor that avoids the need to use PS if it gives you an advantage in terms of compact storage of the raw processing.  But, if the ultimate intention is to load the image into PS/AP for further processing, the raw convertor should have nothing more than a single exposure slider and all other processing should be in PS/AP - which may include offering the traditional raw processing options as an adjustment layer the way PS does.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I read that the devs plan to make non destructive RAW development possible in the future...

 

Or was it just that the RAW adjustment on any pixel layer will behave as a live filter some day.... I don´t know it exactly anymore.


 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, that's on the roadmap but I'm also not sure what that means.  Most raw adjustments (in raw convertors) are actually made after raw conversion, which is why it's possible to load jpegs and tiffs etc. into ACR.  So, I'm not sure whether Serif are planning to follow the PS model and make the raw processor just another adjustment layer or whether they will leave raw processing as the first stage but allow you to go back and change the raw processor parameters and have that ripple through to all of the post raw processes that have been made in the photo persona.

 

Both approaches would probably be useful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...completely process most of them in a raw convertor like ACR and reserve PS/AP for those special images you want to extract the most from.

 

 

 

Just quoting the single part covering more than 80% of my processing with Photoshop CS6! 

Thank you for spelling it out! Yes, it really makes a truly huge difference...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×