Re: [OM] Topaz Studio 2 artistic explorations

Subject: Re: [OM] Topaz Studio 2 artistic explorations
From: Wayne Shumaker <om3ti@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 04 Oct 2019 11:52:23 -0700
At 10/4/2019 11:11 AM, Bill wrote:
>I think folks that use prefab actions are just plain lazy, and perhaps not all 
>that creative. And I don't think the guys with the jackhammers were making 
>fine tuning adjustments to improve the faces. They were just following orders 
>and trying to get it done without falling to their death and making a living. 
>But if you wish to take the lazy mans way out, that's your choice. 

On that comment I can't help but quote from CTein's latest email newsletter.
(and yes it was all in Bold):

CTEIN'S COLUMN (#20) ~ Laziness

Last week I reviewed Topaz Labs' SHARPEN AI on The Online Photographer:


I think it's worth giving it a read, even if you aren't interested in this 
particular program, because I do a better job of explaining what the current 
level of machine learning is about and what it does than I've done in these 
columns. If you want to get a clearer sense of what that's all about, give it a 
quick read. At least the first half.

But that's not what I'm writing about this time. It's about a comment that got 
me thinking. One reader argued that it would have been better to remake the 
photograph I illustrated the article with, rather than having software fix it. 
I pointed out that:

(1) I am not David Attenborough (if only) and...

(2) Wild ospreys do not perform on command. At least not for me (see #1).

(3) I was on a boat with my Family, ten other people who I dearly love and who 
all love me, so I'm not going to tell the one piloting the boat (not me) to 
stop it for as long as it takes me to get the photograph I want, BECAUSE I WANT 

I thought that would put an end to it, but no, said reader had to come back and 
"clarify" their remarks. (A word of friendly advice ? when you find yourself 
feelingg the need to "clarify" a previous remark you've made, consider that it 
is more likely that the people you're arguing with entirely understood your 
point the first time and do not agree with you.)

It seems they were concerned that such clever programs would make people lazy.


Well, there are certainly people out there who consider working harder to be 
inherently more virtuous. I am not one of them. I can think of only two reasons 
why people make photographs ? to achieve some professional goal or for the 
sheer enjoyment of it. In neither case does "laziness" enter into the equation; 
it is an inappropriate moral evaluation.

I am quite happy to do things the "lazier" way if it gets me the results I 
want. In fact, I seek out those lazy ways. I can accomplish more and have more 
fun doing it. So far as I'm concerned, those are moral virtues. Not hitting 
myself over the head with a brick because it will "build character" or 
whatever, that's a good thing.

I daresay most of my writing career has been built on looking for laziness and 
finding ways to pass it on to my readers. My very first magazine article, way 
back in 1975 (OMG, prehistoric!) was about how to build an adjustable level for 
a few bucks to use for aligning the stages and easel of an enlarger. That was 
an important thing in the darkroom days if you wanted to get prints that were 
in focus. There are ways to do it without an adjustable level, but they are a 
lot more difficult and take a lot longer. Right from the get go, my mantra was 
"Here's something that will make your life easier."

I'll go a step further, a big step. I would argue that the whole point of 
civilization is to make our lives easier, so that we can achieve more (or even 
the previously impossible) with less work and less pain. Laziness is not a sin, 
it's a virtue.

Which doesn't mean there is anything wrong with wanting to work hard or even 
enjoying it. Some activities even make that an inherent part of their appeal, 
like competing in marathons or iron athlete competitions. But not most.

At this point someone is thinking, "But what if everyone were lazy, all the 
time. Things would go to hell." True. But everyone isn't. And not all the time. 
"What if everyone..." arguments don't cut it when they are contraindicated by 

And, for that matter, by me. I like figuring stuff out. That usually means 
work, sometimes hard work. I taught myself dye transfer from scratch, because I 
wanted that print quality and because I didn't realize there were people out 
there who would teach me. Consequently, through trial and error ? oh my, a 
whole lot of errors ?â?? I ended up becoming an expert on the craft. Good for 

You know what I did with that expertise?

I wrote a five-part series of articles for one of the major photography 
magazines, "Dye Transfer Made Easy." Okay, maybe it was never exactly easy, but 
I made it a hell of a lot easier. I made it accessible to a whole new 
generation of printers by providing a path where they didn't have to work 
anywhere as hard. In the grand scheme of photographic things that is far more 
important than my individual artistic accomplishments.

If that's not virtuous, I don't know what is.

But, you know, the-sin-of-laziness is not a new complaint. Hard-working 
photographic purists complained about the introduction of light meters, 
auto-exposure in cameras, auto-focus in cameras and lenses, and even motorized 
film advance. Each and every one of those was somehow, in some way, going to 
ruin photography. Not so I've noticed.

My strong suspicion is that, millennia ago, there were conversations that went 
like this:

Ancient guy: Have you heard about what the kids are doing these days? They've 
got this thing called the "wheel." It's just going to encourage laziness.

Other ancient guy: You are so right about that. Pulling a sledge has always 
been good enough for me. It gave me a strong back and arm and leg muscles. It 
built character. I had to WORK for my portage!

Ancient guy: Testify! We're going to end up with a flabby, gutless generation 
that has no appreciation for the true value of transportation.

Other ancient guy: Now I'm hearing that some of these wheel-addicts are even 
demanding something they call "roads."

Ancient guy: Will the madness never end?!

If you disagree with me on this, that's okay, just don't disagree too, ummm, 
well... strenuously.


Thank you, thank you, thank you, you've been a lovely audience. We'll be here 
all week. Don't forget to tip your server on the way out.
Options: http://lists.thomasclausen.net/mailman/listinfo/olympus
Archives: http://lists.thomasclausen.net/mailman/private/olympus/
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