ACDSee Pro 8 and ACDSee 18 are here! These babies are jam-packed with new features to accelerate your photography management and editing workflow. And by “babies”, I kind of mean the opposite of babies. They’re colossal applications — yet somehow move swiftly and stealthily like great golden eagles!

Check out photographer Peter Pereira’s first look at ACDSee Pro 8.

Let’s talk about customization. When it comes down to it, we’re kind of strange, persnickety creatures. Many of us have a layout in our homes that suits us. Our toothbrushes have their own special spot. Anyone who has had a roommate will validate this.You will never realize how particular you are about your stuff until someone else messes it up. The same may be true for your software workspace layout. If you are sharing your copy of ACDSee with someone else, or if you just find that you like your panes laid out in a certain way, you may find it helpful to be able to save a custom workspace. Maybe it’s for efficiency, or maybe you just like it a certain way because it feels better. You’re entitled.

So, first you need to get things just how you like them. In Manage mode: You can do this by grabbing panes with your cursor and pulling, or clicking the drop-down arrow in the pane’s top right corner and selecting Floatingfloat

Drag the pane’s title bar and hold your cursor over any of the arrows of the Docking Compass. What is a Docking Compass? Check out the arrows circled in red in the image below.

docking_options

When the shaded marquee displays the position of the pane you want, release the mouse button.

shaded marqueenew_pane_position

To return a pane to its previous location, double-click its title bar.

You can resize a pane by holding your cursor over the edge of the pane until the cursor changes into arrows and lines. resize_arrow Drag the edge of the pane to the size you want.

You can also hide panes temporarily by clicking the drop-down arrow in the pane’s top right corner and selecting Hide.

hide

To reveal it again, click View | [desired pane].

Once you have all of your panes the location and size that you want, it’s time to save your layout. Go to View | Workspaces | Manage Workspaces. In the Manage Workspaces dialog box, click Save Workspace. Give your workspace a name. I recommend putting something that identifies it as yours, if you’re sharing the application, or, if it’s a task-based layout, name it based on that. ex) “Cataloging Layout”. It will save you time if you choose a name that immediately tells you what the layout is.

save_workspace_name

Click OK, and click OK again.

To find a layout you’ve saved, go to View | Workspaces. Select the name of your layout.

If you realize you have moved the panes around to the point where you barely even recognize Manage mode anymore , and you really don’t like it, don’t panic.

I Have Made a Big Mistake

You don’t have to remember where things go. You can return the panes to their default position at any time by going to View | Workspaces | Default Workspace.

There you go — right to persnickety behavior granted!

I found this video on lighting reflectors really interesting. Sometimes it’s just cool to see how the pros do it. Get inspired here.

There was a time when I thought that I needed a variety of software to achieve a few simple tasks, even though they were somewhat related. For example, I thought I needed a screen capturing app, never bothering to realize that I can do this in ACDSee.

When you encounter hiccups in your day to day computer use and you need to communicate with the technology expert in your life, when you really want to show your friend, teacher, mom, therapist, etc just what the heck you’re talking about, when you’re too tired or lazy to use your words: a screenshot will speak volumes.

When you are ready to take a capture of any part of your screen, in Manage or View mode, go to Tools | Screen Capture… The Screen Capture dialog will allow you to configure the area you want to capture. You can select between capturing:

  • your current monitor
  • an entire window, or just the content inside of it
  • a region with a fixed size, (which you can specify from the drop-down menu), or a region that you select with your mouse cursor
  •  an object, such as a child window, or a menu under your cursor

select_region

When capturing any area, except for a region, you can elect to include your mouse cursor in the shot by checking the Include mouse cursor checkbox at the bottom of the dialog.

Next, decide on the destination for your capture. Do you want to place it on the clipboard? From here, you can paste it to a new location. Or do you want to open the captured image in your default editor? Or, choose File to have the Save dialog come up after you have taken your capture, at which point you can choose a name, location, and format for the file.

destination

Next, identify how you want to take your capture. Since you won’t want the Screen Capture dialog in your way, you must choose how to initiate the capture. If you want to choose a combination of keys to act as a keyboard shortcut to initiate your capture, enter them in the Hot key area. I chose “P” so that I can press the key and go, “Pow!” If you would rather the screenshot be taken at a designated point in time, you can use the Timer option. Choose enough time to set up whatever it is that you want to capture on your screen.

initiate_capture

To begin, press Start. If you have opted to take a capture of a selected region, drag your cursor around your desired area when prompted. If you opted to use a hot key, enter it when ready.

And, there you go. Find your capture according to where you selected to put it. I saved mine here:

saved_file

Control which areas of your photo are sharp with Digital Camera World’s Depth of Field cheatsheet.

PMZ01.college3.indd

The concept behind, or perhaps the need for, Develop mode can be a bit confusing when you’re first getting into processing your digital photos. I know that it wasn’t intuitive for me. But it’s a pretty sweet mode, so it’s worth taking the time to understand its value. So what’s this Develop mode I speak of all about?

When adjusting your images in Develop mode, the original file is never changed. The changes are saved in a separate file, and are applied each time you open the image. This allows for what we call “non-destructive” developing of your images. It is there to ensure that even if you go very far down a path altering an image, that even if you wind up with something you’re unhappy with, you always have the opportunity to start from scratch, as you possess an untouched original.

When you open a developed image in Develop mode, it displays the settings you previously left them at. This allows you to revisit the image at any time to adjust the previous settings.

So what does this mean for saving in Develop mode? When dealing with a RAW image, you make your changes, then click Done. The image’s develop setting are stored in the XMP file of the RAW and in the ACDSee database. If you’re talking encodable files, such as JPEGs, when you develop an image and press Done, the develop settings are stored in an XMP file, and the original and the XMP file are moved to the [Originals] folder. In Manage and View mode, the image with the changes applied is displayed. The develop settings are also stored in the ACDSee  database. Basically, your original is safely preserved and stored with your changes, and your changes are added every time you look at it.

Ok, now that we’ve gone through the concept, let’s put it into practice. So take an image that you think could use some sprucing, and open it in Develop mode. Apply settings to achieve the look you want.

configure_develop_settings

Now that you’ve got your image just as you want it, press Done. You’ll notice that your options are Save or Save As. Save As means that you save a version of your developed image with a new name or format and switch to the updated image. Maybe you’re generally inclined to play it safe in these cases and use the Save as option. But stay with me on this workflow first. So, press Save. *Cue dramatic music*

But, the next day, you come back to it and … what were you thinking? Your changes do not, er, stand the test of time, and your opinion on them has changed. Well now you’re in trouble, right? The original is gone.

Guess again! The original is preserved. In Manage mode, right-click the image. Go to Process | Restore to Original.

restore_original

Et voilà Your original is back, no harm done.

original

In Edit mode, your original image is also preserved. However, the difference is that with Developed images, you can remove any of the changes you have made, regardless of the order that you added them. This allows you to avoid having to start from the beginning. In Edit mode, everything you do to an image is done on top of the results of the previous operation. If you added a series of 10 different edits, but wanted to remove the fifth edit, it would be necessary to start from scratch. But Develop mode bypasses the issue of an order of operations. You can even change the settings on individual selective adjustments, like brushes and gradients.

Furthermore, Edit mode is destructive, which means if you edit and save and edit and save and edit and save, each save degrades your image quality. But in Develop, your changes are all applied at the same time — you always start from the original.

What Else Makes Develop Mode Worthwhile?

Develop mode really makes a difference in the context of RAW photos. What is a RAW photo? A RAW image straight from the camera is undeveloped — it is merely sensor data. When you take the picture, the camera records all the light levels on its sensor and writes them to a file. It also writes in metadata from the camera, such as white balance settings. This is the RAW data.

When you shoot JPEGs, the camera takes that RAW sensor data and does develop processing on the image using the current camera settings, such as exposure and white balance, which produces the image that you see on the preview window or on your computer. Like a polaroid camera that produces the decent-looking image out directly from the camera, the develop processing is done in the camera and never needs to be done again.

Develop processing has to be done in order for a RAW file to be viewable. This processing occurs automatically using default settings, (based on the settings that your camera wrote into the RAW file, such as white balance), as ACDSee displays the image on the screen. Develop mode allows you to change and customize that automatically-applied develop processing to whatever you want it to be. So imagine you take a photo with the wrong white balance settings on your camera. If you’re shooting a JPEG, you can improve the image, but no matter what, you started out with a blueish image because of that wrong setting, and your ultimate image is never going to be perfect. However, if you shot the same image as a RAW, you can change the white balance settings in Develop mode and your results will be as though you went back in time and used the correct white balance settings from the beginning. You will get perfect results because you are working with the pre-white balance RAW sensor data.

Opening a RAW image in Edit mode does not do the same as Edit mode opens your RAW image with the RAW processing already applied.

It’s worth noting that if you alter an image in Edit mode first, and then take it into Develop mode, ACDSee will prompt that the edits will be lost. Develop mode needs to work with the original pixels, as opposed to pixels that have had develop processing added to them, and then editing.

Develop mode is also awesome for the advantage of develop presets.