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Slightly OT: Acorn an alternative to Photoshop?

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David Mathis
Slightly OT: Acorn an alternative to Photoshop?
on Jun 13, 2014 at 5:37:45 pm

While waiting for Resolve 11 to come out and an update to Motion or FCP X, was wondering about getting Acorn as an alternative to Photoshop. Currently have Pixelmator but the destructive workflow is a drawback. Still a nice little application otherwise. Acorn looks to have an attractive price and from the reviews, seems to be very solid. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Just curious how well it fits into a Motion and FCP X workflow.


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Massimo Alberto Croce
Re: Slightly OT: Acorn an alternative to Photoshop?
on Jun 13, 2014 at 11:23:01 pm

I sue GIMP, it s free and open source.

Massimo Alberto Croce
Video Editor, Colorist, Pro Tools Editor
massimoalberto.croce@gmail.com


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Gary Huff
Re: Slightly OT: Acorn an alternative to Photoshop?
on Jun 14, 2014 at 12:46:00 am

[Massimo Alberto Croce] " I sue GIMP, it s free and open source."

I have played with GIMP...man is it rough. The UI is definitely nothing that I would call "user friendly".


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Bret Williams
Re: Slightly OT: Acorn an alternative to Photoshop?
on Jun 14, 2014 at 5:59:30 am

Is GIMP non-destructive? And by non-destructive I assume he's talking about smart objects. Geez I hardly bother with those I'm so used to doing it the old way. But even Photoshop Elements, which is 90% the same as Photoshop, doesn't have smart objects and it'll run you close to $100. Pixelmator is where it's at for me for one reason - it can export as PSDs.

However, I've found my old CS5 Photoshop is still better than Pixelmator, so I'm using it while it still runs.


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Gary Huff
Re: Slightly OT: Acorn an alternative to Photoshop?
on Jun 14, 2014 at 1:56:36 pm

[Bret Williams] "I assume he's talking about smart objects."

Smart objects? I always thought "non-destructive" meant layering? I try to keep my Photoshop work as non-destructive as possible, so that's how I always did it. Am I missing something not working with smart objects?


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Bret Williams
Re: Slightly OT: Acorn an alternative to Photoshop?
on Jun 14, 2014 at 2:19:06 pm

Yes. Smart objects allow you to apply live filters like After Effects.

Pixelmator has layers and a subset of PS layer effects (which I guess would also be called non-destructive) so I figure he's talking about smart objects.

For example you can copy a vector object in Ai, and paste it in PS as a smart object, allowing you to add live filters or rescale it at any point.

But heck, I hardly ever use them. So used to doing stuff the hard way from 15 years ago.


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Gary Huff
Re: Slightly OT: Acorn an alternative to Photoshop?
on Jun 14, 2014 at 2:49:37 pm

[Bret Williams] "But heck, I hardly ever use them. So used to doing stuff the hard way from 15 years ago."

I mostly do a lot of healing brush and curve tweaking, so I tend to isolate the area I am working on in a new layer and then I can toggle it on/off. I occasionally use filters, but it would be nice if a smart object could take a filter and apply it down through the layers to the original. I'll have to play with that.


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Lance Bachelder
Re: Slightly OT: Acorn an alternative to Photoshop?
on Jun 14, 2014 at 6:48:49 pm

You can kind of think of Smart Objects like pre-comps in AE. They can contain any number of layers etc and remain "live" and editable until rasterized. I use them a lot in graphic design - for instance when I do a credit block on a movie poster or DVD sleeve I normally create them as a Smart Object so I can re-size or change them without rasterizing and they appear as one layer in my project.

Lance Bachelder
Writer, Editor, Director
Downtown Long Beach, California
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1680680/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1


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David Mathis
Re: Slightly OT: Acorn an alternative to Photoshop?
on Jun 14, 2014 at 6:56:43 pm

Never thought of a smart object as a pre-comp like in After Effects or a group in Motion but that is a very good explanation. How well does Motion handle a smart object? I remember reading somewhere that Motion can have issues with multiple smart objects.


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Peter DeArmond
Re: Slightly OT: Acorn an alternative to Photoshop?
on Jun 15, 2014 at 6:54:51 pm

This review is a year old, but it provides a nice comparison of Pixelmator and Acorn:

http://mac.appstorm.net/reviews/graphics/clash-of-the-image-editors-acorn-v...



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Rich Rubasch
Re: Slightly OT: Acorn an alternative to Photoshop?
on Jun 16, 2014 at 1:33:07 am

Why not just run Photoshop CS6? It will most likely be the best image editing software that is perpetuity for the next decade.

Why the fuss over an image editing software? Use Photoshop.

Our issue is when a client provides a layered Photoshop CC file that is not backwards compatible with anything we might have.

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage
Founder/President/Editor/Designer/Animator
http://www.tiltmedia.com


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Herbert van der wegen
Re: Slightly OT: Acorn an alternative to Photoshop?
on Jun 20, 2014 at 7:13:15 am
Last Edited By Herbert van der wegen on Jun 20, 2014 at 7:33:32 am

I am surprised no-one mentioned Photoline yet - I switched from Photoshop to Photoline some time ago, and it offers a mostly non-destructive workflow: adjustment layers, layer effects, true vector layers (unlike Photoshop), non-destructive liquify and warp layers (which can be stacked), and much more.

The way layers work in Photoline is actually an improvement over Photoshop. Each layer can have its own custom image mode (no need to switch image mode), layer opacity can be set from -200 up to +200, layers can be instanced, and these instances update in real-time when changes are made to the original source layer or layer group. Externally referenced file layers are supported in the newer betas - which update in real time when changes are made to them externally. And adjustment layers can be grouped in a kind of "super" adjustment layer to keep the layer stack clean and nicely organized.

And each bitmap layer can have a custom size and resolution independent of the main document/image setting (and their own image mode).

The way layer masks are implemented completely blows Photoshop out of the water: you can have as many as you need/want per layer, group them, combine vector, text, bitmap layers in layer masks as you see fit! And best of all layer masks behave like regular layers, so they can be instanced as well - meaning one source layer can act as the main control mask for many other layers.

And layer adjustments/layer effects even work with layer masks!!!

RGB, CMYK, Lab, Greyscale and monochome layers are supported - with the first four supporting 8, 16, and 32 bit per channel. Multi-layered EXR files can be loaded and exported - something Photoshop lacks. Full non-destructive raw photo editing is supported.

Other things that are very useful to have: multi-page document support - loading pdf files with many pages and Photoline acts as a pdf editor. The ability to edit Lab curves for layers without the need to switch to Lab mode. The newest betas support spot colours and overprinting. Support for Mac and Windows (with a Wine option in Linux). The installation file is a mere 20~30mb(!). Photoline can be installed on a portable disk or usb stick. The GUI is completely adjustable in terms of brightness now. 32bit and 64bit versions. Classic Photoshop plugin compatible. Photoshop psd file import even keeps most common adjustment layers intact, as well as the layer effects. And it runs rock-solid.

Coincidentally, I also tried Acorn a while ago - it just cannot compare to Photoline. Neither can Pixelmator, PS Elements, Gimp. Photoline can compete with Photoshop in terms of image editing. Fair is fair, though: one thing missing compared to Acorn and Photoshop is the lack of a scripting interface.

The two main things missing in Photoline compared to Photoshop are the video editing and 3d options. The painting tools are up to a level of Photoshop's older brush engine. I combine Photoline with Krita (free open source) for digital painting. Krita is arguably a real improvement over Photoshop's painting features.

Also, Photoline has an interesting app link option: image editing tools and software can be hooked up through this app link to Photoline, making it possible to send a layer (or even a layered document) to an external application, edit, and send back to Photoline with the changes. Through this link I use Gimp as a kind of plugin.

I apologize for raving about PL, but it is a great Photoshop alternative - and very affordable too. The beta is open to any registered user.

/*----------------------------------------------------*/
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