Photo Editing

Creating with ZPS X

Last week I explored more features of Zoner Photo Studio X (ZPS X).

This image scanned from a 1998 transparency of a man fishing at Dee Why in Sydney, Australia was my starting point.

1998.01 – 35 – Dee Why © Brian Rope

Whilst exploring the features, I used a few of them to create something very different from it. I looked at Layers, Adjustments, Masks, Cropping, Rotating, Selection Tools, and some Effects. I explored various Tools, including Gradient and Radial Filters, and Retouching. I looked at ways of varying exposure, contrast, white point and black point. My familiarity with most of those features in other software meant that, for those, it was pretty straightforward to use them in this package. The features I have rarely used elsewhere took a little more work on my part but none of them were difficult to understand.

I examined the ease of creating contact sheets, documentation photos, and portfolio presentations – and exporting them to PDFs or to a variety of image formats. I was most pleased to see the extensive range of image types that I could have used, including not only the common JPEG, TIFF and PNG formats, but also the less used such as AV1F. I was also pleased that I could quickly change the image profile to one of those I use when printing to various inkjet paper types.

I used the create feature to make a contact sheet and explored making postcards, calendars, collages, canvas prints, videos and photo books. All of that is straightforward and easy to learn. Also, whenever you start a new project, you are immediately shown what the prices are for the available sizes

Whenever you need help, you simply click the ? at the top of your screen and choose the ZPS X online manual or the Getting Started option (also online). The ? menu is also where you find technical support and system information – or check for updates.

So, what did I create from my starting image? This:

Dee Why Fisherman © Brian Rope
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My Photography, Photo Editing

Editing with ZPS X

In my first blog piece about Zoner Photo Studio X (ZPS X), I started by saying I’d recently installed it and suggested it was likely to take a long time for me to explore all of its features. I finished by saying that I’d best get started on my explorations and that, from time to time as I learned, I would post another piece about it here. Well, it has taken too long, but here is my second piece about it.

Firstly, I quickly learned to create copies of images before I processed any of them, so as to avoid possibly overwriting the originals when I didn’t want to. That, of course, is a smart way to operate regardless of what editing software you are using. Anyway, I set up a folder called Zoner, then copied a few existing folders of RAW images into it giving myself a selection of images to work with. The next thing I learned was that, after doing some editing, I couldn’t overwrite my starting file because the Nikon RAW image format is not supported for saving. No problem though, clicking OK in response to the message telling me that instantly brought up a set of options, including TIF, JPEG, PNG, gif and various other common formats to select from.  I could also choose to save it in Truecolor or in Greyscale. That gave me a new file to continue working on whilst the original RAW file remained in the folder.

I then explored a series of adjustments options, including such things as levels, curves, colour enhancement, sharpening, blurring, and vignetting. Using them was, for me, completely intuitive – and you can preview the results before saving and overwriting your file. Another option is to use a list of effects, including mixing channels, creating oil painting or pencil drawing looks, cartooning, and even turning a high-quality image into a degraded old photo looking as faded, scratched and aged as you wish.

Making use of a selection of the available features mentioned, I quickly created new versions of two of my images. Not once did I need to refer to the online manual. I started with these very ordinary RAW files taken during a recent visit to the small country village of Sutton in New South Wales, Australia:

and created these framed cartoon versions:

Yes, I know there is nothing remarkable about those created images; but making them demonstrated to me that it is quite simple to use ZPS X without needing to refer to the manual. Not that looking at a manual is a problem – I’ve no doubt there will be times when I need to (or should anyway). In addition, there are regular notifications about new articles on Zoner Photo Studio’s ‘Learn Photography’ school, so there is a heap of material that users can source to assist them on their journeys. This school is not just about learning to use ZPS X, it’s about everything – starting from the basics, like beginner’s tips, cheat sheets and mastering your camera.

Using ZPS X, you can convert to or assign an ICC profile, resize your image, adjust the canvas size, overlay text, overlay an image, and much more. And all of this is in the one dropdown menu: Edit. That’s before I even start looking into the other six dropdown menus in the manager module: Acquire, Information, Organize, Create, Publish and View. After I explore all of them, there are 3 more modules to work through – Develop, Editor and Create. I’ve already taken a peek at the Create menu and noticed there is the facility to create photobooks, postcards, calendars, collages, contact sheets, videos and more. What was I saying about how long a thorough exploration would require?

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Photo Editing

First look at Zoner Photo Studio X

I’ve very recently installed some new photo editing software on my PC. Zoner Photo Studio X (ZPS X) is available free for your first month of using it, after which you can pay monthly or yearly for a subscription. The software package offers free pre-sets (and, of course, you can create your own), a free 20 GB of Cloud storage and can be used on an unlimited number of your devices. You can work on an unlimited number of computers without having to pay for a separate license for each one. And for a small extra fee, other members of your household can also use ZPS X.

EISA (Expert Imaging and Sound Association) has named ZPS X the Best Photo Software of 2021-22, saying “This innovative photo software offers a wide range of user-friendly features. Along with being a fully featured raw converter, it provides easy photo editing with layers and masks, while the retouching brush and faces tool are perfect for enhancing portraits. Zoner Photo Studio X also manages your photo catalogue, allowing you to browse by date, shot location, keywords, or folders. The continuous updates and use of artificial intelligence are also very advantageous for users. Zoner Photo Studio X combines features that usually require several programs from other vendors at a very competitive price.”

But hey, I’ve been using another very well-known software package for what seems like an eternity, so why would I even bother looking into something else? Well, quite simply because the opportunity to do so presented itself.

It will no doubt take me some time to explore the features, but right now I’ve noticed many with familiar names or purposes to those I am used to – including Layers and Masks. I’ve also noticed that it supports various RAW formats, that it can be used to create videos, that you can use it to create photo books and order them directly, and that you can create calendars, canvas prints, postcards, collages, and more. There are modules for making panoramas, 3D images and PDF slideshows. You can even have fun with photo editing to make your very own caricature – Zoner’s Learn Photography website has an article explaining how.

Actually, I may never explore every available feature; after all I’ve often said I’ll still be learning things about my current software when I depart this world! But ZPS X comes with an online manual, easily accessed by pressing the F1 key on your keyboard, so that should help enormously whenever anything is not intuitive.

So, I’d best get started on my explorations. From time to time as I learn, I’ll post another piece about it here.

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