Shorter than I thought...
First Impressions...The non-destructive editing really opened my aperture and I like this idea, why everyone doesn't do this I don't know as it seems really a no brainer. Right away the speed at which the program imports and exports images is amazing, not just single images but multiple images and whole files of images. First impressions are looking good.
I'll add at this point that the program has a steep learning curve but I'll talk more about this later on. If you are looking for an easy way out then this won't be the program for you so you can save your eyes and stop reading now.
However, for the rest of us who are interested in the capability's of this program and it's features, I'm right here to tell you that it's pack with a bunch of em'. Okay so that ain't good English but I'm excited, cain't hardly keep my finger off of the shutter button! You have full control over exposure levels and tint all the buttons you've come to expect and where the detail really comes out is in some of the finesse ability's of the sliders. Take the chromatic aberrations bar it allows you to adjust between four different colors, Red/Cyan & Blue/Yellow, most of the tools available have multiple adjustment options like these.
Where ASPro really shows its strength over the competition happens to be the layout of the menus, options and tool. There are tabs and menu's on all four sides of the workspace and all of the tool tabs much like LR have there own collapsible and pinable bars such as the Histogram and Basic Adjustments to the Curves tool and Lens Correction tools. All of these tools are very easy to work with and the work flow at this point is very fast paced and I found that it didn't take anytime at all to feel very comfortable, for awhile I almost thought I knew what I was doing.
Before I start tearing this program apart, which I wanted to do more than once, I thought to mention that there is a nice double click feature to reset my sliders just like LR and also I liked the fact that the Lens Correction Menu was as extensive as I've seen in any program thus far. I found some of my lenes that are many years old and go back to the film days. The list just keeps going on and on. Kudos points there.
As I mentioned I really found myself beginning to get frustrated with the program only when I wanted to work with a few tools, such as the curves tool, any adjustment made with ASPro however minor a move you think you are making will have huge effects within the image. So if you're use to certain setting with most of the other software programs, you have to scrap those go-to-numbers and settings that you may be already use too.
Another problem mouse users will face is the sudden and constant change in you image and for no apparent reason. I was having this issue then when I would go through my sliders I noticed that some of the setting where changing. No the program doesn't have ghosts and ghouls, even though I swore that it did at one point. Upon further investigation I found that the movement of my mouse wheel was causing my sliders to change even when I was not directly over them. This quickly became annoying, but with my Wacom tablet I had no problems, its just for those mouse users that this will be an extra workaround, one that shouldn't be found in today's computer programs. It just reminded me of trying to use a computer in the 90's, sometimes.
There where a couple of other issues that I became frustrated with during the import and export phase, while the speed was blistering and amazingly fast getting the settings I wanted proved to be troublesome. This no doubt relates to the steep learning curve I was referring to earlier and will come with time.
Fast Import and Export Speeds
Quality fine tuning availability within the tools
Can work in layers, much different that PS layers, but still layers
Presets available to use and create
Lens Correction options
Easy to navigate, may be due to my LR5 experience
Solid fundamental program built on a quality foundation which has been around for years and it shows
Steep learning curve
Lasting Impressions...I knew coming into this that I'd have a steep learning curve, the program is designed that way and in all fairness I knew I wouldn't be able to grasp fully what was really going on until later, and I must say it will be much later. But this really did provide for a true crash course experience and a great way to write a blind critique.
There are lots of good features and even some great ones, I found myself frustrated at times when I knew I shouldn't be. There are just some things that do not make sense and would have been far better off leaving out of the program all together, like the healing and cloning tools.
I'm amazed at how many features are in this program for $30 and that sounds like a bargain. I'm always looking for a good deal. Still yet I just don't know if I'd rather put that money toward something a little more in price, instead of dealing with some of the quirks. Still it's only $30 and that's better than nothing, I'll definitely have more control over my image, but I can't say the same about my temper...
Keep in mind that my final score takes into account this is only a Camera RAW software tool.
Final Score 7.5 out of 10
AfterShot Pro Link