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Author Topic: Filters, plugins, etc.  (Read 7656 times)

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« on: May 24, 2014, 09:16 »
0
Was wondering...anyone use plugins like the Google Nik Collection to make their photos pop?  Or do you just edit with your own artistic vision?


Beppe Grillo

« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2014, 09:37 »
+1
I edit with my artistic vision using Nik plugins.

mlwinphoto

« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2014, 13:44 »
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I edit with my artistic vision using Nik plugins.

Well said. 

I do my initial PP in Lightroom which takes care of most of my images.  If I want to add to what I've already done or feel I can do something better I take the image over to one of the Nik plug-ins depending on my needs.  Silver Efex Pro is the best B&W conversion software I've ever used, Viveza with it's U-point technology is terrific for localized adjustments, Color Efex is very useful for further enhancements and creative effects, etc.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2014, 14:30 by mlwinphoto »

« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2014, 06:33 »
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Oh yes.
I do filters. I have actions for photoshop based on topaz and a lot more that add pep and pop to the images.

« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2014, 13:00 »
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Actually I can hardly imagine to work without the Nik Filters. I use them regularly (Color Efex Pro, Dfine most) and these filters are IMO the best on market.

Beppe Grillo

« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2014, 13:58 »
+1
Actually I can hardly imagine to work without the Nik Filters. I use them regularly (Color Efex Pro, Dfine most) and these filters are IMO the best on market.


I completely agree with you, except about Dfine as I find Noiseware much better (if you don't use the presets).
Did you tried it?
http://www.imagenomic.com/nw.aspx

Tutorial here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_zSYzPDboo

« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2014, 14:49 »
0
Actually I can hardly imagine to work without the Nik Filters. I use them regularly (Color Efex Pro, Dfine most) and these filters are IMO the best on market.


I completely agree with you, except about Dfine as I find Noiseware much better (if you don't use the presets).
Did you tried it?
http://www.imagenomic.com/nw.aspx

Tutorial here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_zSYzPDboo


Thank you Beppe, I'll give it a try!

« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2014, 01:31 »
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Love the Nik filters. Use them to make stock photos pop and also for a lot of my more artsy and experimental work - they're great for a little tweak or a lot.

Just tried OnOne Software's Perfect Effects and that was nice too. I also have played around with programs such as Plastic Bullet which I like, but the Nik filters are my go-to choice. I like being able to make the work my own rather than using a formula someone else has developed, which is what the Nik filters enable me to do, so I agree with Beppe's assessment.

Also second mlwinphoto that Silver Effex is amazing. I had a couple of portfolio reviews in Manhattan last year and had some black and white photos in there. Everyone who saw them - from museum folks to magazine editors - got excited that I was shooting with film and were surprised to find out they were digital. Really exceptional program. Print them on Ilford true black and white paper and they're like what I used to produce in the darkroom.

« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2014, 02:18 »
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Im using http://vsco.co/film, love it!

Beppe Grillo

« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2014, 02:27 »
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Actually I can hardly imagine to work without the Nik Filters. I use them regularly (Color Efex Pro, Dfine most) and these filters are IMO the best on market.


I completely agree with you, except about Dfine as I find Noiseware much better (if you don't use the presets).
Did you tried it?
http://www.imagenomic.com/nw.aspx

Tutorial here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_zSYzPDboo


Thank you Beppe, I'll give it a try!


The power of this filter is in the possibility to manage the noise by frequency, tonal and color range, seeing immediately the result on your monitor.
For example with the right settings you can remove more noise in the dark areas (where it is generally more visible) without alter the details in the highlights, or remove it in some zones with more noise related to some colors more than other, etc.
The changes are very reactive so the use of the plugin is very easy and intuitive.

« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2014, 02:31 »
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I mess around with many of them.
I have the VSCO films 1-5 for lightroom, though for stock I don't find them that useful.
For bright vivid landscapes I would recommend film pack 4. The Slide film pack.
I have the Nik software Pack but don't use it much, I think because I was using Rad Lab
http://www.gettotallyrad.com/radlab/breakdown/ [nofollow] first and got used to using that.
Then I purchased, http://www.alienskin.com/exposure/index.aspx [nofollow]
which I now use the most, I find this one the best, personally for me.
Both the rad lab and alien skin exposure both have free trials, I'd recommend giving them a go, especially Alien skin Exposure.

« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2014, 03:13 »
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I love both Nik and VSCO (and VSCOcam for mobile).  Unfortunately, though, I find my images with VSCO get knocked back a lot - which is a pity, I love the grainy analog film look, but they typically get knocked back for (surprise) grain and lighting problems (even if I add a little note about what effects have been applied).  I do see quite a lot of analogise images in the "vintage" category in Shutterstock, but I think I will park trying to get these through until got more "standard" images

« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2014, 07:47 »
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This is an interesting thread for me because I really don't use filters except high pass.  I've been going to the various links and reading up on what's offered.  Sounds like it's another learning to really do it right.  I have tried filters in the past but they seem to always over do it, probably because I need to take the time to learn the software, so I end up following a manual online tutorial.  I bet Seas Locke has this stuff nailed being associated with Disney and animation.

Beppe Grillo

« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2014, 08:59 »
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Mantis, if you use high pass you will love the "Tonal Contrast" of Nik Color Efex Pro.
I was a fan of high pass technique too, but now I use it rarely because the Tonal Contrast in  Color Efex Pro gives me a lot of more possibility and flexibility.

And if you find that the filter over do (I tend to exaggerate too, sometime), as you will work on a new layer you will always have the possibility to adjust the layer opacity to have a better control of the result.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2014, 09:01 by Beppe Grillo »

« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2014, 11:16 »
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And if you find that the filter over do (I tend to exaggerate too, sometime), as you will work on a new layer you will always have the possibility to adjust the layer opacity to have a better control of the result.

Totally agree, that's the secret. And of course the U Point technology (by NIK),which allows to control the effects very precisely.

« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2014, 19:43 »
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Mantis, if you use high pass you will love the "Tonal Contrast" of Nik Color Efex Pro.
I was a fan of high pass technique too, but now I use it rarely because the Tonal Contrast in  Color Efex Pro gives me a lot of more possibility and flexibility.

And if you find that the filter over do (I tend to exaggerate too, sometime), as you will work on a new layer you will always have the possibility to adjust the layer opacity to have a better control of the result.

Thanks, Beppe.  I may give it a try.  Is it a photoshop plug-in?


« Reply #17 on: May 27, 2014, 02:00 »
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Nik filters all the way for me. Although they're hosted in PS Elements 10 in my case, I hardly use PS for anything except straightening, cropping, cloning and tagging since I got the Nik tools. I use Viveza (contrast, structure) and Dfine (noise) on just about everything and frequently use Color Efex to add a bit of pop.

Although not always suitable for stock, the new version of Analog Efex is pretty good too - much better than the original version anyway. Still a bit of a resource hog though...

Hobostocker

    This user is banned.
« Reply #18 on: May 27, 2014, 03:57 »
+1
the dirty little secret is that modern plugins are so good they're killing the reason to pay crazy amounts of money for the top lenses.

matter of fact, you can shoot with a decent Sigma or Tamron lens and make wonderful images if you're good at post-processing, no one will be able to spot which lens you used, actually i can also push the DOF in a way it wouldn't be possible even with the most expensive F1.2 lens, i can also add a second DOF perspective wherever i want, i can add shades and dark points and so much more, nothing of all this would be possible even using the top lenses or the top cameras and i laugh at the idea of the lens-freaks and pixel peepers wasting crazy money on overhyped gear.

modern photography is ALL about photoshop, not about gear.
adapt or die.




Beppe Grillo

« Reply #19 on: May 27, 2014, 05:23 »
+2
the dirty little secret is that modern plugins are so good they're killing the reason to pay crazy amounts of money for the top lenses.

matter of fact, you can shoot with a decent Sigma or Tamron lens and make wonderful images if you're good at post-processing, no one will be able to spot which lens you used, actually i can also push the DOF in a way it wouldn't be possible even with the most expensive F1.2 lens, i can also add a second DOF perspective wherever i want, i can add shades and dark points and so much more, nothing of all this would be possible even using the top lenses or the top cameras and i laugh at the idea of the lens-freaks and pixel peepers wasting crazy money on overhyped gear.

modern photography is ALL about photoshop, not about gear.
adapt or die.

Sure I do not agree on 3 points:
- "plugins are so good they're killing the reason to pay crazy amounts of money for the top lenses" - A bad lens + plugins is never as good as a good lens + plugins.
- "decent Sigma or Tamron lens" - Some Sigma lenses are better than some best Nikon or Canon one (the 35 mm f/1.4 and the 105 f/2.8 Macro for example), so I will not call them "decent", and they even cost less.
- At last "modern photography is ALL about photoshop, not about gear" - Photography has always been about photographer and it will not change so soon Photoshop is only an instrument.
Give Photoshop to my cat and we will see :D

__
You should consider too that what is good or acceptable today for microstocks will probably not be good enough tomorrow.
So what is better to buy bad gear today and an other bad gear tomorrow, or good gear you can use today and tomorrow?
After I have bought a better camera and better prime lenses my global rate of acceptation has grown significantly.

« Reply #20 on: May 27, 2014, 07:28 »
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Love Color Efex 2 with pro contrast filter.

Hobostocker

    This user is banned.
« Reply #21 on: May 27, 2014, 08:47 »
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Sure I do not agree on 3 points:
- "plugins are so good they're killing the reason to pay crazy amounts of money for the top lenses" - A bad lens + plugins is never as good as a good lens + plugins.
- "decent Sigma or Tamron lens" - Some Sigma lenses are better than some best Nikon or Canon one (the 35 mm f/1.4 and the 105 f/2.8 Macro for example), so I will not call them "decent", and they even cost less.
- At last "modern photography is ALL about photoshop, not about gear" - Photography has always been about photographer and it will not change so soon Photoshop is only an instrument.
Give Photoshop to my cat and we will see :D

__
You should consider too that what is good or acceptable today for microstocks will probably not be good enough tomorrow.
So what is better to buy bad gear today and an other bad gear tomorrow, or good gear you can use today and tomorrow?
After I have bought a better camera and better prime lenses my global rate of acceptation has grown significantly.

of course you won't go far with bad lenses but all you need is a decent mid-range lens to make good saleable photos, the difference between the top-range nikons and zeiss compared to mid-range sigmas or tamron are very small anyway, only a photographer will notice.

photoshop is indeed just a tool but nowadays it's becoming more important than the camera and the lenses and this factor is always downplayed because of all the well known marketing reasons and BS.

besides, since anyone can buy your same gear it's even more obvious that it's in the post processing that you really make a difference from all the other snappers, most of what you can do today with PS is simply unachievable with studio lights, lens filters, and whatever other hardware gear.

people must realize our world is now oriented on DSPs and digital processing in general, it's no more locked into a perimeter made of film rolls and lights, digital manupulation opened up a whole new universe and this is just the tip of the iceberg of what will come and what will be the norm pretty soon, traditionalists who are still ranting and raving about Rangefinders or Fuji Velvia are definitely a thing of the last century and should better shut the F up once and for all, it's 2014 for F sake, we're going to shoot in 60MP soon and having computers powerful enough to make real-time post-processing on huge files.

so, in this context, the role of the photographer will become even more important in my opinion despite the whole doom and gloom discussions we often read here and elsewhere.

cameras and lenses instead are doomed to become cheaper and taken for granted and this is already true unless you need the fastest gear for sport or wildlife or whatever.







« Reply #22 on: May 27, 2014, 16:09 »
+1
I agree with Beppe that even the best plugins won't compensate for a bad lens. They will enhance a good picture but won't salvage a poor image.

I use occasionally NIK Tonal contrast in their Color Efex Pro plugin. It's quick, but sometimes it introduces slight amount of noise that needs to be cleaned up after. 

 
« Last Edit: May 27, 2014, 16:13 by LesPalenik »

« Reply #23 on: June 27, 2014, 21:34 »
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I agree and disagree at the same time - An excellent camera and great glass give you more to work with and the ability to shoot photos without the need for extensive post - but the filters available today can turn a good photo shot with a moderately decent lens - and even a quick snap from an iPhone - into a great image if you have the skills and the patience. What I love about the various filters is that you can really let your creativity and imagination run wild - but I wouldn't scrap my best gear.

And I have to say, though I have some expensive Nikon glass, I have a 50-500mm Sigma "Bigma" that I bought refurbished for around $900 that is sharper than even my Nikon 24-70mm, known for being one of the sharpest out there. I can shoot handheld at its full limit of 500mm (at a fast speed since it is not a VR lens) and get some incredible shots. Many of my shots that sell again and again were shot with that lens.

Tonal contrast works great as long as I turn off sharpening and noise reduction in LR (my usual first step for tweaking WB, exposure, etc) or turn them off in Camera RAW if that's where you start, and then use Define. Any slight softness comes right back with RAW presharpener (if you need it) and if you've gotten rid of the noise, tonal contrast won't bring it back. The key is to get rid of any noise before you do any contrast/sharpening adjustments, otherwise you're sharpening the noise, and making it hard if not impossible to get rid of it further along in the process. The other key is that most of these filters are too much at 100% opacity - you need to tone them down - sometimes tweaking an image with tonal contrast at 15% can make the difference between a good photo and a great one - other times I'll used 7 or 8 different filters in Color Effex alone- some globally and some just on a couple of points - to get what I want.

I get the occasional rejection for "overprocessed" but most of the time, even if I add textures and wild effects and not just tweaks to bring out the best in a realistic photo, they make the cut, at least at a couple of agencies, so why not have some fun?
« Last Edit: June 27, 2014, 21:42 by wordplanet »

« Reply #24 on: June 28, 2014, 19:06 »
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Hi Guys

thank you for excellent thread and comments. I was so impressed with your comments that I just purchased the Nik Collection, however I have a minor problem.

Where do you find the filters? In the little box that comes up within PS, it says: 'to add filters to this view, mark a filter as a favourite by clicking on the star icon next to the filter name within the filter interface".

I tried looking through the website but couldn't find anything - maybe I missed it. So I thought it might be easier asking you.

Thanks :)

Ed

« Reply #25 on: June 28, 2014, 19:07 »
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Was wondering...anyone use plugins like the Google Nik Collection to make their photos pop?  Or do you just edit with your own artistic vision?

Yes.  I use Nik Collection and OnOne on occasion  I also edit with my own artistic vision - it's all about what looks good to me.

« Reply #26 on: June 28, 2014, 21:35 »
+1
Hi Guys

thank you for excellent thread and comments. I was so impressed with your comments that I just purchased the Nik Collection, however I have a minor problem.

Where do you find the filters? In the little box that comes up within PS, it says: 'to add filters to this view, mark a filter as a favourite by clicking on the star icon next to the filter name within the filter interface".

I tried looking through the website but couldn't find anything - maybe I missed it. So I thought it might be easier asking you.

Thanks :)

You actually have two choices

1. Go up to the very top and click on Filters, then scroll down almost all the way and you'll see Nik Collection - highlight that and you'll get the options.

2. You'll see a little gray box on the right - it might be closed up and just be like a little toolbar line in which case you hit the little box to open it. It will show you all the filters and you double-click on the one you want to use.

You can also access them all from LR. Have fun!

« Reply #27 on: June 29, 2014, 00:45 »
+1
Hi Guys

thank you for excellent thread and comments. I was so impressed with your comments that I just purchased the Nik Collection, however I have a minor problem.

Where do you find the filters? In the little box that comes up within PS, it says: 'to add filters to this view, mark a filter as a favourite by clicking on the star icon next to the filter name within the filter interface".

I tried looking through the website but couldn't find anything - maybe I missed it. So I thought it might be easier asking you.

Thanks :)

You actually have two choices

1. Go up to the very top and click on Filters, then scroll down almost all the way and you'll see Nik Collection - highlight that and you'll get the options.

2. You'll see a little gray box on the right - it might be closed up and just be like a little toolbar line in which case you hit the little box to open it. It will show you all the filters and you double-click on the one you want to use.

You can also access them all from LR. Have fun!

Ah!! Thank you, thank you !! I didn't realise that there was a new item under the PS filters drop down menu - silly me :)

Thank you once again .. and it looks fantastic !! Great plug-in ... thank you again !!

PZF

« Reply #28 on: August 03, 2014, 10:37 »
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Any views on Perfect Effects?

« Reply #29 on: August 07, 2014, 01:33 »
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D'oh. Senior moment = accidental post. Can't find a way to delete it now. Sorry!

« Reply #30 on: August 07, 2014, 03:35 »
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I see that you already have Nik. Anyway, here is great article from Jase :

http://blog.chasejarvis.com/blog/2013/04/four-great-ways-to-get-the-look-of-film-in-the-digital-darkroom/

I use Nik, VSCO and Exposure 6. I have to say Exposure 6 mostly, VSCO only if I dont need edit in PS, and NIK from time to time :D


PZF

« Reply #31 on: August 07, 2014, 07:56 »
0
Does anybody use Perfect Effects? Any good?


 

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