AfterShot Kickstart Guide

Tips, Tricks, and Results
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AfterShot Kickstart Guide

Post by afx »

Some hints for reoccurring questions....

Setting up your defaults:
Each raw converter is different. You need to play a bit to get to the settings you like. Maybe adjust vibrance or apply a bit of an S-curve...

And then there are general defaults that usually need changing:
Things that usually need adjustments are:
  • Autolevels/Autocontrast: The thresholds are a bit aggressive, use 0.01 instead of the default 0.2
  • You might want to increase the default sharpening.
Once you have found your personal default settings, right click on the thumbnail of the image where those settings are applied and then use "Settings->Save as RAW default setting..."
Or if you have raw file from several different cameras that differ widely in their setup needs, save settings explicitly for those camera types.

Note, these settings are applied only to images that are not in the DB yet or for which no AfterShot XMP exists yet.
To switch other images to your new defaults use CTRL-R.

Batch queues:
Make sure your JPG queues are set to switch to sRGB if they are meant for online viewing.
If you set up queues that downsize images 50% or more, set up some output sharpening in the queues to counter the blurring effect of downsizing. Also for downsizing of web images, keep the quality at 85% or higher. Below that it might be a bit ugly for the pixel peepers.
Your old batch files from Bibble 5 can be copied over and will still work but need a little editing:
Just change the "name" tag to "name-en" (or use other suffixes as appropriate for your language setting instead of "-en").

Print Queues:
Make sure to set the appropriate printer/ink/paper profile.
For PDF queues use sRGB.
The preview does not perform soft proofing, it is only useful for checking the layout, not the colors.

Do not play with the library before you have found your own image defaults.
(Otherwise you might have to redo images later....)
Start in file system mode initially when exploring the program.

In contrast to other programs, AfterShot can search and work with all open catalogs.
Therefore you do not need to stuff all your images into one catalog.
Import stuff in logical chunks (Year, project)
As catalog generation is easy, you might want to use temporary catalogs for projects and other catalogs for archives.
ASP no longer supports copying files into catalogs. It only supports referenced files.
It will always have the complete path name in the catalog window.
I strongly suggest keeping files in a well structured directory tree on disk.
There is a little icon in the top right of the catalog page that looks like stacked folders.
It lets you toggle recursive view of the current catalog directory.

Catalog refresh is currently not that brilliant.
You can do a re-import for new files and you can reload the metadata from the context menu.
Preview generation of very large image sets (especially with JPGs and TIFFs) can be a bit crashy.
Switch off the preview generation in preferences to get around this and then generate previews explicitly on the folders you work on via ALT-P.
Also when using catalogs be sure to have the option to generate AfterShot XMPs for catalogs turned on in the preferences. A good insurance for hosed catalogs....

Editing multiple images:
You can not edit image parameters for multiple images at once like in Bibbe4 for architectural reasons.
Use "Selective Copy" (SHIFT-CTRL-C) and Paste instead.
Rating, tagging and color coding as well as applying keywords via the keyword and keyword sets tools works on all selected images (unless you are in Multiview mode).
Use Copy Sets (see preferences) to copy all meta data including rating and tagging, but not image adjustments.
(Generating copy sets for often used copy operations is highly recommended, for example "Sharpening&Noise Reduction", White Balance, Crop)

If you do not have a US keyboard, some of the default shortcuts (like for the magnifier) are not very useful.
Remap to your needs in preferences.

Check out Bernd's keyboard mapping hints in the Bibble blog which also apply to ASP: ... ayout.html
Highly recommended.

UI customization
The customToolsUI.txt UI hack to change the tool tabs still works, see ... -tabs.html and

The AfterShot code is identical, no matter where it was bought or in which language.
The language can be switched in preferences and requires a restart to get activated.

Installing plugins
Get your plugins here:
Plugins (azplug files) are installed via the "File->Install Plugin" menu.

They will end up in the Plugins subdirectory of your Bibble user directory which is usually one of the following:
Windows: [user home dir]\AppData\Local\AfterShotPro
Windows XP: [user home dir]\Local Settings\Application Data\AfterShotPro
Linux: ~/.AfterShotPro
Mac: ~/Library/Application Support/AfterShotPro

Dealing with crashes:
If AS keeps crashing at start, it tries to complete an action that has lead to a crash and crashes again while doing so.

Typically this can be cleaned up by deleting the cache (the directory named cache in you AS user directory)
But if that happened while in library mode or import, it might be the DB.
Deleting the DB can clear that.

To ensure that your meta information is not lost should you loose a DB, use the option Preferences->General "Allow AfterShot .xmp generation for photos in Catalogs"

B5 Settings compatibility
Your old Bibble 5 settings are mostly compatible with ASP. But:
  • The CM engine and rendering are different, so the images will not look the same.
  • If you rely on plugins that are not yet available, their settings will be lost when the XMP is re-written by ASP.
  • The crop an straighten tool work a bit differently internally, so you will need to re-crop all images that where straightened.
  • Sharpening currently works in RGB, so you might get less optimal results in AfterSHot than from Bibble sharpening. Use the excellent Wavelet Sharpen Plugin instead.
Lens calibration
If you have a lens that is not yet in the AfterShot calibration database, here you can find instructions
on how to easily generate the correction parameters yourself:

Changes B5->AS
Some more changes in AS over B5:
  • Autolevels was moved further up in the pipeline so it is less sensitive to changes.
  • Catalogs are now by reference only.
  • Plugins have access to EXIF information
  • Double clicking on an image will zoom to 100% with the cursor position centered
  • Watched Folders are gone
Look profiles and color management
The look profiles of Bibble 5 are gone. They have been part of the Kodak color management system that Bibble 5 used.
As the Kodak CM lead to several image quality problems it was dropped and with it the look profiles.

For many people the images will look more saturated then with Bibble 5.
Turn off Vibrance if you had it on by default in B5.

AfterShot uses linear ProPhoto RGB as its working space. In contrast to Bibble 5 it can not be switched.
You can set any output and proofing profile as needed.

Note: Soft proofing currently only works with RGB profiles, not CMYK profiles.
Note: AfterShot will not read JPGs or TIFFs with gray-scale profiles, it only supports RGB profiles.

Migrating keyword sets
Keyword sets are now localized. They reside in the user folder in locale/en/ (again, substitute for your language setting (de,en,fr,it,ja,nl).

Log File
AfterShot writes a log file name AfterShotPro.log in your user directory. It often contains useful information when trying to diagnose problems.
The location of your user directory (and other interesting tidbits) can be found via Help->System info.

Reporting bugs
Use the Monkey:

Please do not post comments in this thread but only other tips for working with ASP.
For discussing individual points of this topic, please set up a new thread.

Send bugs to the Monkey // AfterShot Kickstart Guide // sRGB clipping sucks and Adobe RGB is just as bad
Bibble since 2005 // W7 64 on quad Phenom // Ubuntu 14.4 on quad i7 and dualcore AMD // Images
Posts: 1675
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:38 pm
operating_system: Linux
System_Drive: N/A
32bit or 64bit: 64 Bit
Video Card: FirePro 4900
Monitor/Display Make & Model: NEC PA301w, ColorMunki
Location: München

A Workflow example

Post by afx »

Here is an excerpt from "The Bibble Survial Guide" that gives a sample highlevel workflow. As far as I can see nothing in AS is different from Bibble when it comes to the basic workflow, so this all still applies.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
First, get your images from the memory card to the computer. This is
accomplished easily with the Download batch queue. Adjust this batch
queue to your needs for file and directory naming, and then you have
a rather efficient download mechanism (you could even add a second
copy target to generate backups at the same time). You should not
delete the source images during download. This prevents images from
getting lost if something goes wrong. It's better to explicitly reformat
the card later, when you are sure the images are safely on disk.
If you shoot specific environments often enough and also import into
catalogs, you might want to apply a metadata preset in the download
queue during the catalog import to have the appropriate information
already loaded.
If you name your download queue "0Download" it will always be the
first queue in the popup list for selecting the queue. "How Do I Organize
My Images?" (p 131) has a sample download queue definition that uses
rename variables to put the images in their proper place right away.
If you plug in the card reader or card after Bibble is already running,
Bibble might not show you the drive letter or mount point of the card
in the file browser. Using the right-click menu and then selecting "Refresh"
allows Bibble to rescan the list, and you should see the card.
Right-clicking on the card and then selecting “Send to batch” is recursive,
so you do not need to navigate to the actual image directory on
the card.

Note: Some rather silly Linux implementations will not show you a mount point
for the card, as the mount point is on a “hidden” directory in your home
directory (~/.gfs) and Bibble does not display folders that are considered hidden in the
browser. This can be worked around with symbolic links into that folder or by
setting up explicit mount points for your card reader.

After Bibble has downloaded the images from the card, go to the image
directory in the file browser. Depending on the number of images and
the performance of your system, preview generation can take awhile.
While you can start working on the first image right away, if your machine
is not powerful, working is quite a bit smoother after preview
generation finishes.

Cull & Rate
Assuming the previews were rendered, we now start the first culling
process. We recommend that you fold away the browser pane on the
left side to have a larger preview space. Depending on your working
style, you will primarily either use keys or the mouse to drive this process.
Using a custom keyboard layout as referenced in "Efficient Keyboard
and Mouse Use" (p 91) is the most efficient way, but as this deviates
from the default keyboard layout, it takes awhile to get used to.
Give it a try; it is worth taking the time to become accustomed to using
the custom layout.
Hint: Check ... ayout.html for a custom keyboard layout
Go through the images, using your own scheme to reject (hotkey <,>),
mark to keep (hotkey <.>), assign stars (number keys function as
hotkeys), and assign color labels (you need to assign hotkeys yourself;
there are none set as shipped). Here are some hints.
  • Instead of immediately deleting images that are not worth keeping,
    mark them as rejects (using the <,> key) and delete all of the rejected
    images at the end of your session. This is much more efficient than
    individually deleting files and makes it easier to reconsider. If you
    want them out of your sight immediately, consider filtering on non-rejects
    during the culling session, which will hide all rejected images.
  • Assign stars to the "keep" images that stand out (for example 1: OK
    image, memory value; 2: very good, can be shown outside the family;
    3: outstanding, needs publishing).
  • Use color labels for tagging images into groups that need more or
    less post-processing.
Using the magnifier is quite helpful at this stage to quickly judge
sharpness of key parts. Using hotkeys to toggle 100% view can be
helpful. If you have sequences of shots that you need to compare to
find the one that works best, use the multi-view function and lock the
zoom (the lock icon at the bottom next to the multi-view icon), so that
you can simultaneously zoom in on all images in multi-view.

Note: Remember, while in multi-view mode, only the current image is tagged or
rated, even though multiple images are selected. This allows you to
rate/tag/reject individual images while comparing them in multi-view
(see also "Multi-view" (p 85)).
After you are done, filter on rejects (make sure you have no image
selected (use <CTRL+D> or click between two thumbnails) or the current
image is a reject, so that the resulting thumbnails list really contains
only rejects), and then select all (<CTRL+A>) and press the <DEL> key.
The deletion will use the system trash can, so if you have deleted too
many images, check the trash can to bring them back from the dead.
Now that we have reduced the number of images, applying metadata
or other settings will be faster, as there are fewer images that need to
be dealt with.

Apply Metadata
During this stage, you might want to switch from image preview plus
thumbnails to a thumbnails-only display (and, potentially, enlarge the
thumbnails), to have quicker access to the thumbnails.
Now that you only have images that you want to keep, you could apply
the basic metadata that is common to all images in that directory. Use
presets to load specific default metadata sets that you need often, or
just set location, keyword, and whatever else you need on the first
image, and then use selective copy (<SHIFT+CTRL+C>, use the Advanced
tab, and check that only the metadata you want copied, but not the
rating, is selected), or use a custom copy metadata copy set and then
select all (<CTRL+A>) and paste (<CTRL+V>). The basic metadata is applied
to all the images in that directory.
During this stage, copy sets can make the application of project-specific
metadata more efficient by restricting the metadata to a specific subset
that you need to copy.
Next, apply the image-specific metadata. This is often the same for
several images in a sequence, so you might want to employ the above
method again, but for a smaller group of images.
When dealing with keywords only, you can just select the images and
enter the keywords in the Keyword tool. In contrast to the other metadata and image settings,
keywords can be simultaneously applied to all selected images in the Keyword tool.
If you think you can do without that step, think again! How will you find
your images again in five years, after you have shot thousands of images?
A bit more on this topic can be found in "Image Management" (p 131).

Individual image adjustments come next in the workflow. As you already
have looked at them in the previous step, you will have a feel for how
similar they are. You might even apply some settings like Noise Ninja
or a different look profile to all images after you have adjusted the first
image. At this stage, using selective copy becomes indispensable to
transfer image adjustments from one image to another. Copy sets and
presets can be quite useful here, as well.
Start adjustments with the white balance, since it is the basis for
everything else. Then, get the exposure right, either using the Exposure
slider (rarely needed), Fill Light, or Curves (Auto Contrast is useful here)
and possibly Highlight Recovery. Next, fix up blemishes with the Heal
& Clone layer of the Layer tool. Then, check the geometry, use
Straightening if needed, and apply a crop, as needed.
From there, it all depends on image content. Are selective adjustments
in layers needed? Is additional sharpening needed?
Using the tools discussed in "Judging Changes and Comparing Images"
(p 85) is very helpful at this stage to compare different renditions of
the same image. If at one stage you want to experiment with a black
and white version, for example, press the <INS> key to generate a new
version from the current image.
The new version will not have the complete edit history. If you continue
working with the master and use the version as a reference image,
you still have the whole edit session history of the image.
Use multi-view to compare different versions of an image. For example,
if you want to compare two film emulations in Andrea (Nostalgia in AfterShot), select the first,
press <INS>, select both images, multi-view, and then modify the film
type in the master. After you are done with the comparison, delete the
What happens if you decide you want to keep the version and not the
master? Use copy and paste to transfer the settings of the version to
the master before you delete the version.

Catalog Import
Now that everything is fine and dandy, you might want to import the
whole project into a catalog.
Select all the images and use the context menu, or use the context
menu of the folder the images are in to select the catalog import.
Using referenced files (advanced) is highly recommended. See "Image
Management" (p 131) for more details.
Note: AfterShot only uses referenced files anyway

Depending on your intended output, you might just hit the hotkey for
the queue you need; or switch on soft proofing, which is discussed in
"Bibble Color Management" (p 34) first to check whether the result still
looks fine when converted to your printer profile, for example. If you
edit on a wide gamut screen and produce JPEGs for online viewing, it
is advisable to soft proof to sRGB, as the average screen will have a
reduced gamut compared to what you are using and there might be
Usually output is trivial after you have set up your queues. Make sure
you have visited "Batch Queues" (p 102), where the details are explained.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

That should get you going...

Send bugs to the Monkey // AfterShot Kickstart Guide // sRGB clipping sucks and Adobe RGB is just as bad
Bibble since 2005 // W7 64 on quad Phenom // Ubuntu 14.4 on quad i7 and dualcore AMD // Images