This might be the most interesting comment from the Editing Software post, which came in rather late in the day from Camilo Polymeris. Camilo points out that not having one program do everything would be a-feature-not-a-bug:
I prefer small, light software that does only one thing and does it well, and am perfectly fine with using one program to organize, one to develop, and one to edit photographs. Plus a bunch of smaller tools to do specialized stuff like panoramas, perspective correction, or HDR, if that is your thing.
In fact, that makes most sense to me. In part it might be my UNIX background, where that approach is standard, and in part the conviction that it leads to overall more flexible and powerful environments, by allowing each user to select the tools that fit his or her workflow the best. So, more than one tool to dominate them all, I would love to see more open intercommunication standards, so each of us can chose their own manager, developer and editor and they still would work nicely together.
Of course we have something approaching this with plugins, although many of those are add-ons to what are already supposed to be full-featured programs. (The more successful plugins then seem to be appropriated by the mother software like the Blob smothering its enemies). It might be interesting to see a "program" that was essentially an empty framework for open-source editing apps that anyone could provide, from which each user could then pick and choose. I don't know enough about it to know how viable such an arrangement might be. It sounds more 21st-century, at least.
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Featured Comments from:
Dave: "I wanted to comment on the original post but didn't have the time...I think we can look at electric guitar for an example of where things might head with image editing software. Guitarists have relied on various effects pedals to modify their tone since the dawn of amplified music. With the digital revolution various guitar effects companies came up with all-in-one digital effects pedals. These all-in-one devices were kind of like Photoshop in that they were designed to be a one stop signal processing solution. However, now that the dust has settled from the guitar digital revolution, most guitarists still use multiple pedals. To get a signature sound a guitarist might use a mix of vintage pedals coupled with some newer digital effect. Guitarist have a very diverse set of tools to choose from. I'm hoping that photography is headed in the same direction."
SerrArris: "I am also following the for-each-purpose-one-program approach. That makes my collection of tools kind of large, but I can work very comfortably that way.
- Fast edit and finalizing from 16 bit TIFFs—Fixfoto
- Batch processing—Irfanview (Fixfoto could also do that, but I am used to the Irfanview GUI for that matter)
- RAW Conversion—DxO Labs and Filmpack
- Noise reduction (not used any more)—Noise Ninja
- Printing—Photoline (Cheapest program that can use ICC profiles)
- Multi layer edit, dodging and burning—Gimp
"As said, I am confortable with that approach. In fact, the complete software package did cost me less than $400 (with DxO being the most part of that), spread over years. And all the software runs on my outdated Thinkpad T61! Amazing."
Stmpjmpr: "I agree that separate, focused tools would be ideal, but it in order to maintain one of the main benefits of apps like Lightroom and Aperture, nondestructive editing, some standards would have to emerge that communicated the effects of the application as instructions instead of rendering the image with the effects applied. Given that this is a technologically huge hurdle, and that the vendors wouldn't agree to any presented solution that didn't put them at the center (witness RAW formats), we're probably stuck with applications that are too monolithic."