I recently posted about getting a new photo-editing program for my Linux computer called Corel AfterShot Pro 3. At the same time, I announced I was switching to RAW. I said the RAW photos I edited “show significant improvements over the original files, especially because of the way [the software] eliminated blown-out highlights.” In retrospect, while there were some improvements to the photos, they were very minor. In addition, blown-out highlights are a problem that is probably best corrected by getting a proper exposure in the first place. Whatever benefit I’d get from being able to recover some highlight detail, overall, is minimal.
I’ve found a better solution: shooting in JPEG and using Corel AfterShot Pro 3’s Perfectly Clear feature.
Some background: I had known about Athentech’s Perfectly Clear Photoshop plugin for years. Photographer Ken Rockwell often praised the plugin (now also a standalone program) and used it for almost every photo he posted to his site. I thought it was strange when I first started using Corel AfterShot Pro 3 and saw “Perfectly Clear” was one of the features; I thought Corel just used the same name. But apparently Athentech licenses Perfectly Clear (at least the basic version) to Corel as well as companies like SmugMug and Hallmark. This was great news!
I believe I used Perfectly Clear on every photo I took in my last post. But I was still using RAW, which wasn’t necessary (the files take up way more space — in addition to being proprietary with an uncertain future compatibility). Because Perfectly Clear works on JPEG images as well as RAW images, I can now switch back to JPEG in confidence.
Whether you use Linux or Windows or Mac, I recommend using Perfectly Clear to touch up your photos quickly and effectively.