I found a good way to explain why Sagelight exists. That is to say, the reason it was started and one of the main goals behind its creation.
“I just want to take my pictures,” she explained. “I don’t want spend my time with all of that clicking and things.”
This was a comment I heard yesterday when I was chatting with someone I run into from time-to-time when I go get coffee — I’m definitely a coffee addict.
To me, this represented exactly one of the things I’m trying to accomplish with Sagelight — to make powerful editing easy and accessible — that is to say, meaningful editing, beyond just removing some red eye or a simple balance, but something that expresses your creativity, bringing out your vision of your picture as much as the picture states itself.
The conversation started with, “So, how’s that Adobe class working out?”. She explained a while back that she was taking a class that was going to teach to her all adobe products, such as Photoshop, Lightroom, and so-forth.
I hadn’t talked to her for a while, so when I asked how it went, she said she quit the class because it was just too complicated — she explained that she didn’t want to go into image processing professionally, and that she just wanted something to help make her images look better without all the work involved.
How Sagelight is Different
I’m not knocking Lightroom or Photoshop, really, because I hate to do that — I don’t like knocking the competition as much as I like to explain the differences. I feel that with version 4, with the Vibrance, Definition, Power Curves, and the other features such as Dynamic Masking, and Undo Brush, etc. that there is more than enough to make Sagelight a different and competitve product as well as separate it into a different class.
The main idea here is really that Sagelight is an editor where you can get the same results with a lot less effort. You can be an expert and take even more advantage of Sagelight’s powerful functions, but you don’t need to be — it is specifically designed to fit your experience level and to help you reach new ones.
The reason her statement got me thinking about writing this blog entry was because it speaks to the original reason I started Sagelight: to introduce the idea of creative and artistic image editing to people who don’t realize you can do it not only without being an expert, but at your pace — if you want to do a little or a lot.
An example from experience (which also shows my true colors as a computer geek)
Ok, I’m about to be a little geeky here (in a different direction anyway), because sometimes things are best explained from our experiences, and my experience is in the programming world.
It’s like Windows programming. Just the phrase used to make me shudder. Now, I really find it quite compelling and interesting — not Windows programming, per se, but the idea of programming in powerful environment. That’s because I understand it, so I’m no longer afraid of it, and the more I know means the more I can do — for example, did you notice that I put shadows on a number of windows in Sagelight lately? Well, I know how to do that and now that I have the library code written, I can do it for all windows as easily as I can for one.
But, I’m a professional. So, what about people who don’t want to become professional programmers?
This is the heart of my example.
When Visual Basic came out, I didn’t like it. It’s weird. It’s strange. It’s BASIC, which most C++ programmers will tell you (because we’re all pedantic about it) is not worthy of a powerful GUI-based OS like Windows.
But, it also changed the game. It flattened the learning curve for non-professionals; for those who don’t want to know every little thing about programming like I do — for those who want to put out and even sell their work, but don’t feel the need to invest their time into every little detail of how things work under the hood.
Relating it to Sagelight
Here is where I draw a direct comparison to Sagelight — Out of necessity (some contract or another), I learned how to use Visual Basic. At first, it seemed too simple, even as if I’d never be able to do anything complicated with it. But, I realized that the main thing it did was to flatten the learning curve. It allowed whoever used it to stay where they were or, with little effort, to grow into more and more advanced skills.
Now, I see non-professionals using Visual Basic that do things every bit as complicated as those done in C++, because they were able to grow into more advanced concepts naturally, through a seamless progression, as opposed to having to learn everything more-or-less at once as you do with C++ or even, gasp, assembly language (a good part of Sagelight is written in SSE2 & SSE4 assembly language).
Getting back to the main point..
The issue, for me, is that it’s the same scenario — people who want to do the same things professionals do, but don’t want to have to go to school or otherwise spend all that time studying the concepts — because they aren’t looking for a publisher to publish their work — they just want to have fun and express their creativity. Besides, we’re in a world now where you can do professional-quality work easily, and then post it on Flickr for the world to see.
Sagelight’s concept is exactly the same. So, when I heard her say, “I just want to take my pictures. I don’t want to spend my time with all that clicking and things.”, I realized — yes, this is exactly what I’m trying to do, to make it an easy and enjoyable process — less a schoolroom and more a painting class.
So, what did she do after she dropped out of the class? She transferred to a wildlife program so she could use her camera more.