I have been a professional designer for over 20 years and make a living using software that has evolved over that time. And while I love the way C1 renders RAW files, I have to say that my most frequent criticism of the software surrounds this very issue. Essentially, it forces you to think and work the way it wants you too. Which turns out to be just non-intuitive enough to cause the kind of detour from simple that I've just encountered. For the record, I admit pilot error. I haven't studied enough. Still, having successfully mastered many other professional level software programs, it makes me wonder if Phase isn't being blind about their file management approach and therefore missing out on a much broader market for C1. The awkwardness inherent in their approach is the single largest reason I don't recommend it more often to those in search of photo processing software.
I'm with you, and many if not most users as you can see from most threads with criticism.
You will have the certified techs and such related floks that rely on C1... as Digital Techs protect their interest$. I too went through it, but I don't work as a DigiTech. I just want to be fluent with the sw, BUT, like I said, if you don't use it, you lose it.... It ISN'T like riding a bike!
Odd thing is that C1 makes a business out of making users take lessons in using the software. Until they let this extended reach and relation in business go away and have more interest in expanding the user reach by simplifying, they gain from this "locked in" way of working. Then once you do take the lessons, then you can graduate to be a "certified C1 pro". This also helps lock in their rental interests as the renter can provide a digital tech capable of using C1, etc. I think they fear that if they make C1 easier to use and more access able, they will lose the exclusivity? I don't spend time thinking why, but I do know that until they shift their interest away from this, they have no reason to make it easier to use. This is not a new application. Its been around for over a decade. They had it right in the beginning up to version 3.78~(etc..?>), After that, they revamped it and made a mess out of the way it works. With the mess they certainly have made great improvements with the RAW developer itself. With the addition of the catalogues, was even worse.
I would be happy to pay full for C1 if they made a version that behaived like the 3.78 version with the DEVELOPING abilities that v7 has...I know some readers responses..."You can have it both ways..etc". Yes you can. Write software based on some form of standards users are familiar with.
I use it sporadically and less so now, so I too have to make this shift each time I use it, and its always a time waster with confusion and a relief to finally start shooting.