AfterShot Pro 3

AfterShot Pro 3
Standard Tools

Corel's AfterShot Pro 3 is the latest version of Corel's raw editing software package.

I need to admit that when I first tried out the original version of the program I was somewhat underwhelmed.  It wasn't that it didn't produce great results - my problem was two fold.

In the first place, I admit that I really didn't understand the product and secondly I was a Photoshop and PaintShop Pro snob.  

Now it's probably a good idea to examine your firmly held beliefs from time to time because they may not always serve you.

With AfterShot Pro my erroneous belief that only Photoshop or PaintShop Pro should be used with an image was destroyed by a talk from a guy who is a real life Photoshop guru - an expert through and through.

What he said in the course of the talk was that software like Lightroom and by extension, AfterShot, are true photographers packages and that the tools and techniques in Photoshop and PaintShop Pro are far more complicated than necessary.

His talk got me thinking and when I got home I tested out his theory - and you know what - the great points that he made were supported by my testing.

A bit of history

Before becoming AfterShot the product was a well known and popular application for raw conversion and image management know as Bibble. Bibble's superpower was flat out processing speed and multi-platform (MAC, Windows and Linux) capabilities.

In 2012 Corel purchased Bibble and have continued to improve, develop and expand the product and now it's version 3 which includes some great new features.

The main competitor is Adobe Lightroom, a very well known, very well established product with a large and loyal following, both amateurs and professionals. 

Rather than get into a long and complicated discourse on how the two programs compare, click here for a really great comparison.

Suffice to say if you're looking for a fast and effective image management and modification product then AfterShot may be exactly what you're looking for.

Benefits

  1. Speed through raw files (from one to hundreds of raw files - or any format, for that matter) - this is the fastest software on the market.
  2. Install the product on a Mac, Linux or PC with the same licence key - so you get multi-computer use for one price.
  3. Intuitive, easy to understand photo modifications.
  4. A large and growing range of plug-ins (Many free and some paid) submitted by the AfterShot community - plug-ins by photographers for photographers.
  5. No need to import your mages because you can work directly from your computer file structure plus you can import images into a catalog if you wish.
  6. It's free to try and when you decide that you love the program then you pay a one time fee for the licence.


AfterShot Pro 3

This is a screen capture of the primary ASP 3 main window.  It may look somewhat intimidating but if I can figure it out then you can as well.  Let's take a closer look at the screen ...

Left Side 
Library, File System and Output

Library

It isn't necessary to use the Library tab but it can be very useful.

All of your photos can be imported into the Library and then stored in catalogs.  The Catalogs can be such things as vacations, special events - anything that's important to you.

What this will become is a fabulous and comprehensive photo management system that is searchable in a variety of different ways.

This is useful when you've got an enormous number of images because you can search them according to a variety of different criteria ...

  • Links to original master files (path information and file information).
  • Metadata for image searching and browsing.
  • Image adjustment settings, and a complete editing history.
  • Previews and thumbnails.

The small grey arrow at the top of the panel will close down or open up the Library/File System/Output tab.  The keyboard shortcut to Hide/Un-hide the left panel is L.

File System

If you're a Windows user then the File System tab will be totally familiar.

Everything on your computer is visible in a tree structure.  

If you're the type of photographer who takes some shots and reviews them before they end up at their ultimate destination then this is probably the best view for you while the Library is better for archiving.

If you've been downloading your images into the Windows file structure for years  then perhaps you want to stay with the familiar.

Output




This tab is exactly what the name implies -  you can select how the file(s) will be output.  

The choices are either Printing or Batch Output.

As you can see, there are a variety of different options available for each option.





Top Left

The first three icons (from the left) are the views - Thumbnail, Standard and Image.  

Thumbnail fills the active area with thumbnails, the Standard view has a row of thumbnail and the selected image in the Image area and in the Image view just the active image is visible (no thumbs).

Here are the three views (without the right side adjustment panel).

The "Name" field and the arrow are sorting options.  Images can be sorted according to one of thirteen different options, including a Custom Option.

The next option is a Filter that allows one to sort based on ratings (Stars, Colours or Flags).

The last icon on the top right is the "Edit with ..." link.


Top Middle

The stars and the color swatches are rating and sorting icons. Rating stars can be applied to any image and different colors can be applied to different categories of image - these ratings are entirely up to the user.

I cannot imagine anything more useful if you've got a huge number of images and you've taken the time to rate and categorize your images.

Next up are the Flags - the first is to Flag as a pick and then Flag as a reject.  The third Flag clears the Flags.

The little arrows - rotate clockwise or counter clockwise.



Top Right

The first icon and Drop Down refer to the Layers that are available in AfterShot Pro 3.

The Magnifying Glass allows for up close inspection of an image.  Simply click the magnifying glass and pan around.  

The little right facing arrow brings up the Slideshow and all of the options available.  The Slideshow will cycle through all of the images in the folder according the the criteria you set.  It's quite neat and makes it easy to view all of your images without clicking to open and closing them one-by-one.

The last little arrows are Full Screen.


Bottom Left

The set of tools on the bottom left of the screen are ...

  • Hand Tool - for panning around the image
  • White Dropper Tool - click on a white spot in the image for color correction.
  • Crop Tool - brings up the Crop dialogue.
  • Straighten Tool.
  • Red Eye Tool - the size can be adjusted.
  • Blemish Removal - brings up the Layers Palette and creates a Heal/Clone/Blemish layer on the image.
  • Clicking on the last icon adds a new Adjustment Layer where you use one of the Circle, Polygon, Curve or Brush Tool on the image. 

Bottom Right

These are your Zoom and Fit Tools - they are self-explanatory.


Bottom Right - RGB

The first two numbers and the color swatch is the position of the cursor and the color under the cursor.

The next three numbers are the RGB values under the cursor.

The next icon is Soft Proofing - it allows you to see how the end print will be on-screen rather than using a sheet or paper.

Next up is the Toggle Multi-Image view followed by the Lock Position and Zoom button.

The last icon is the Clipping Warning icon.   Values below the Shadow Warning level and above the Highlight Warning level will be highlighted when Clipping Warning is enabled.

Right Panel

The right side of the panel is where the majority of the adjustments will be made.  From top to bottom, the different adjustment modes are ...

  1. Standard - histogram, basic adjustments and presets.
  2. Color - curves, color correction, coloor balance, white balance and color management.
  3. Tone - exposure adjustments.
  4. Detail - sharpening, raw noise, Perfectly Clear noise removal,lens correction and mirror and invert.
  5. Metadata - metadata, keywords and keyword sets.
  6. Watermark - watermark.
  7. Get More - camera profiles, plugin manager and image presets.
  8. Plugins - free and  purchased plugins.

Each one of these panels has multiple, effective adjustments available.  They will be discussed in other tutorials.

AfterShot Pro 3 Standard Panel





The Basic Adjustment panel provides all of the most commonly used and understood image adjustments.

It's quite possible that you could use this panel exclusively in AfterShot Pro 3 because it's so comprehensive.

AfterShot Pro 3 Curves Panel





There's a lot contained in this panel including both a curves and a levels adjustment. 

Below is a great Color Correction, Color Balance and White Balance

AfterShot Pro 3 Tone Panel




The Tone panel lets you access controls that let you fine-tune image tone. All the tools are organized in the Exposure section. 

Many of the same controls are also included in the Standard tab. 

AfterShot Pro 3 Detail Panel








The Detail tab on the Tools panel lets you access controls that let you ...

  1. Sharpen.
  2. Blur.
  3. Adjust noise.
  4. Apply lens corrections or distortions.
  5. Add effects, such as vignette or color inversion.

AfterShot Pro 3 Metadata







The Metadata tab contains tools that let you view and edit the metadata associated with your images.

This metadata includes camera data, EXIF and IPTC data, as well as information that you add to your files, such as keywords, star ratings, and captions.

The controls are organized into three sections: Metadata, Keywords, and Keyword Sets. 

AfterShot Pro 3 Watermark





Make your own watermark - which is an identifying image or pattern - for your images.

 

AfterShot Pro 3 Get More










Select your camera profile, choose plugins (free and paid) and buy one, or all, of the different presets available.

AfterShot Pro 3 Plugins












All of your plugins live here.

If this comprehensive photo editing program seems like something that may be of interest to you - here's a link to the free trial from Corel.

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SBI!