what one-step Photoshop plugin do you use/recommend?

Discussion in 'Graphics Programs and Photo Gallery' started by Janmc, Feb 11, 2008.

  1. Janmc

    Janmc TPF Noob!

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    hello! :)
    There seem to be so many different options of plugins out there these days for post-production. Which Photoshop plugins do you use and highly recommend? Especially when you work with a LOT of photos at once and want stellar results each time? What have been your favorites?

    If not a plugin, do you use any other kind of stand-alone software for this purpose?

    Editing to add:
    I am mostly interested in portraits and photographs of people in general, so specifically interested in software that you consider the best for portratis specifically!
     
  2. kidchill

    kidchill TPF Noob!

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    Ummmm, you may already know this, but forget the plugins and learn how to do it yourself. I think I d/l'd a couple of 3rd party plugins, but I haven't even installed them. Some say to setup macros, but everything I do is by hand and based on what happens to the image, so I can't see using them either. If you want, do a google search for photoshop plugins and maybe put free in there too. I think the only time I would really use plugins is for some kind of after effect that I wouldn't want to bother learning, or couldn't take the time to figure out on my own. If you get used to the program your workflow speed will increase immensely, especially if you use the quick keys.
     
  3. CalebPhotographer

    CalebPhotographer TPF Noob!

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    I personally wouldn't recommend a plug in.. Photoshop has what you need to improve a photo right out of the box.

    If you're looking more for portraits, the best things that I can recommend would not be one step, but could help you out a lot.

    The first tip would be to adjust your levels. (Image>Adjustments>Levels...)

    Hold down your alt/option key to start, and then click on the left or right tab, and your image should turn completely black or white (If you have the preview box checked) Move the slider to the right or left until you just barely start to see a change in your image. Then do the same for the other slider. This will help to balance out the highlights/shadows and colors in your photo, if I'm not mistaken.
    [​IMG]

    The second tip would be on how to airbrush a photo. I found a good tutorial, but it had an offensive photo as the example.. so to spare you, here is the text:

    - Open your file in photoshop.

    - The first thing you'll want to do is remove any blemishes on your subject. Using the Heal Brush or the clone tool, get rid of any obvious marks. The Heal brush is the easier tool to use, simply select a small brush size and color on your blemish. The Heal tool pulls color from around the blemish to 'blend' it in.

    - Next, copy the working layer and apply the Dust and Scratches filter by going to Filter > Noise > Dust & Scratches. Use a small radius and an even smaller threshold (often 0). Your subject should look almost 'creamy' like it's been airbrushed way too much.

    - Next apply a Gaussion Blur to the layer that you applied the Dust and Scratches Filter to. This removes any blotching spots or 'banding' in the photo. Again, a small blur (a pixel radius of 2 or 3 should work great).

    - Now, add a bit of noise by selecting Filter > Noise > Add Noise. You just want to add a tiny bit of texture to your subject so a small setting, about 1% and Monochromatic should be enough.

    Remember all these settings for the filters are just guides. Play with the sliders on your own to achieve your desired effect. File resolution plays a big part in how much or how little you apply each filter. Ok, back to it.

    - Add a layer mask above the layer you filtered and fill it with solid black. It will look like all your filtering work has been deleted but that's not the case. The layer mask layer is merely hiding (or 'masking' as the name implies) the image and the original image layer below that is being revealed.

    Here is where you get to 'airbrush' your subject by painting on to the layer mask to reveal the filtered layer below.

    - Select the brush tool with a good size brush while making sure the foreground color is white and begin to paint on areas you would like smooth, like skin, while keeping the detail of things that need it, like hair, lips, eyes, etc. If you make a mistake, simply select the eraser tool and and erase what you just painted over.

    After this you should have pretty much a finished photo, but you can make further minor adjustments by doing the following.
    - If the skin color is a little off in the photo ( like sunburn or too white) you can create a new Adjustment Layer to adjust the overall Hue of the photo. Select Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation. Adjust the Hue slider to correct any color imbalance in your photo.

    - You can create another new Adjustment Layer by selecting Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Photo Filter. Choose a Sepia tone of around 40% to dull down the brighter colors in your photo a bit.

    - To change or enhance your model's eye color you can create a new layer and follow the steps at the tutorial here: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/293010/how_to_change_eye_color_in_a_photgraph.html

    - You can sharpen your original layer by selecting that layer and going to Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask and use a low setting for the Radius and Threshold and play around with the Amount slider. The key here is to enhance the detailed areas just a touch and not too much so that the photo looks unbalanced.

    I would recommend the heal brush over clone stamp. Clone stamp is hard to work with.


    Hope this helps you out!
    If there's anything else that you need help with, try typing "Photoshop Tutorials" into google, and you'll get loads more help than you would probably get in here.

    - Caleb
     
  4. CalebPhotographer

    CalebPhotographer TPF Noob!

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    You could try being a little more helpful... :scratch:
    People come to the forums and you tell them to go away and look in google...
     
  5. dkf10425

    dkf10425 TPF Noob!

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    Neat Image is always good to have. Also Power Retouche Pro is good too. And for those instances when you have to make an enlargement through resampling rather than resolution reduction, Genuine Fractals does the job rather nicely. Photoshop does a terrible job resampling, that's why I love Fractals.
     
  6. kidchill

    kidchill TPF Noob!

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    I wasn't pushing you to google, but you're kinda vague....You asked what plugins should I get? Well there's probably thousands of them out there....What do you want to do? You got plugins for skin tones, color correction, B&W, the movie 300 effects, blah, blah, blah....I actually was trying to be helpful. I think the other guy that posted how to edit was on the same road I was. The thing is, you gotta know what you want to do. If you want to make your photos pop, and we all do, you gotta figure out how to do that. The point I was trying to make is that plugins should not be relied upon to fully edit your pics, they're mainly used as a supplement to what you've already done....Does anyone else understand what I'm saying?

    It may benefit you to search for tutorials and first learn the basics and then worry about after-effects and plugins...If you want some good tutorial links, I can help with that!! ;)
     
  7. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Neatimage for noise reduction is about the only plugin I really use. but mainly for Landscape and Architecture work.
     
  8. digital flower

    digital flower No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have been using a couple of them. One set I downloaded for free called Flaming Pear. It has a Koyoto color filter that is really cool. I have used a few others off the list, but a lot are useless for straight photo processing, more for graphics work, I think.

    The second set is a trial offer from NIK Color EFEX Pro 2.0. The give you 4 filters and I have used the Graduated Blue and the Brilliance and Warmth plugins. I think I am going to spend the $99 US and get the full set.

    I don't use them on every photo but they are nice and fun to have for some photos. I am using them with CS2.
     
  9. MichaelT

    MichaelT TPF Noob!

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    We use Auto FX all the time for making boarders on images. It's very a very quick way to spice up wallets for seniors and give a cool look to photographs used in marketing materials.

    Otherwise, actions are the king of our PhotoShop operations.
     
  10. Janmc

    Janmc TPF Noob!

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    thanks for all these replies!
    Actually I already do lots in Photoshop manually (levels, curves, airbrushing, black&white conversions, color correction etc etc). Oh and I LOVE neatimage which I have as well. I use the clone tool a lot cause I am stuck with an older version of PS that doesn't have the healing brush (I am upgrading soon), but the good thing is I am very comfortable with the clone tool.

    My question was probably more in terms of what (if any) plugins or actions or anything out there do you use to save TIME...

    Lets say you have shot a bunch of photos. Many of them pretty good. Well, yes you can go into each one individually and perfect it manually until kingdom come. But what if you have 100 of them to work on? Or even 50? Are there any tools basically that you use that saves you time over doing something manually EACH time?

    Obviously there is no such tool that just automatically creates a masterpiece from your photo with one click. But if it makes what you do creatively easier/faster to use - especially when working with LOTS of photos, I am just wondering if there are any products, or steps you have loved and highly recommend?
     
  11. dkf10425

    dkf10425 TPF Noob!

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