DxOptics have made two of their programs free for the whole of February. DxO Optics 8 is the first decent program I have had which will handle the RAW files from my Canon 70D. (Unfortunately my copy of Elements 10 is too old.) DxO Optics 8 is not the latest version but the free download is fully working. The program can also download files to suit a vast range of lenses as its main purpose is to compensate for any aberrations in the lenses you use. It covers a whole range of cameras and will also work with non RAW files, e.g. jpg, though not all facilities are usable with those. There are no layers or masks that I can see. Photos can be cropped but the main thing is to be able to tweak and get the best from photo files. Possibilities include reducing noise on high ISO photos, improving sharpness, contrast, adding a single photo HDR effect. There are built in presets or you can do your own thing and save new custom presets for future use.
This screen grab gives a taste of what the program did with a rather washed out RAW photo taken in dull weather:
There are versions of the program for Mac and for Windows. Modified files are saved with a different file name plus an extra file of about 8K which contains information about the mods you have made so the next time you load it the old mods will automatically be applied. You can then continue from where you left off.
The second offering is Viewpoint v1 which seems very effective at straightening out photos which have distorted perspectives. For example close views of tall buildings which end up tapering as you look up the building. It is also designed to work with wide angle lenses. This program is rather a large download. I've only had a very brief play with it as yet.
If you want more information and are interested in these programs then nip over to DIY Photography HERE.
Obligatory Snow Shots
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