TopazLabs vs. Nik vs. Imagenomic

Leftyplayer

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I use Lightroom and Photoshop for post-processing and editing. I'm looking to speed things up/ make my life easier. There seem to be some decent plugins available.

I'd be using them for editing portraits. I find that what i work on the most is trouble skin (pimple-y HS seniors, red-skin tone on newborns, smoothing wrinkles on middle-aged women), and doing color corrections. On some shoots, I also find myself needing to do a lot of masking (hate that part!). Then there's the usual sharpening, reducing noise, adding fill-light, boosting contrast, color pop, etc. Not all needs to be handled by a plugin, obviously, but something that helps the process would be great.

Conversely, am wondering if for the skin issues, the Florabella Retouch & Makeover action set may do the trick (though to be honest, I don't like the lack of control in commercial actions and the few actions I've collected I find heavy handed - but it is an option and the Florabella website sure makes it look easy and comprehensive).

1. Go for one of the plugins or the Florballa action set?
2. Which Plugin would you recommend for my intended use? - TopazLabs vs. Nik Software vs. Imagenomic Portraiture/DeNoise.
 

cgipson1

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Most of the actions available are a joke.. aimed at the MWAC / babyshooting crowd that has very little knowledge.

the question is: Do you want control.. or do you just want to click a button and hope that works?
 
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Leftyplayer

Leftyplayer

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the question is: Do you want control.. or do you just want to click a button and hope that works?

I'm used to doing things manually myself (setting up some of my own actions when it's a repetitive task), so I'm very used to a lot of control. Yes, I want to maintain as much control as possible while still enjoying some tools to make thing easier and faster. Sounds like the Actions are out (I was not feeling strongly about them, but didn't want to be close minded). Which of the Plug-ins would you kind folk recommend?
 

Derrel

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Some of the world's TOP portrait and wedding shooters rely on an EXTENSIVE set of Photoshop and or Lightroom actions and pre-sets. People like say, Doug Gordon, who has an average session of around $3,800...rely on actions and pre-sets. The key is speed, efficiency, and easy adjustment. I looked at the Florabella set you inquired about. You'd be smart to drop $119 on that. Florabella Retouch Photoshop Actions - Florabella Collection Photoshop Actions

I looked through the site; I saw a LOT of very nice "looks" there...really nice.

$119 is nothing. I blew that on toys yesterday for my kid. People will drop $2499 on a new 70-200 and $3k on a D800 and $5k on lights, so what's $119 on a workflow tool? I spent $149 at the grocery store Friday...I dumped $43.99 into the gas tank right after that...

It's no longer the twentieth century, and people EXPECT a lot of the light, gauzy looks. If you can shoot decent files in the field or on-location or in-studio, you can process them any number of ways, and create a lot of different looks. The key is to get software that works FOR you, and not worrying about how you arrive at the final result. How much time can one afford to waste doing repetitive, mundane, brain-dead tasks over and over and over and over again, when there are modern, automated ways to achieve the same results, or better, in a few seconds? Five minutes per file? Ten minutes per file? How many files an hour can you process?

Watch a few of Doug Gordon's on-line presentations, and you'll see that actions and presets are not "Your Grandfather's pre-sets and actions."
 

cgipson1

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I use the Imagenomics Portraiture... has a pretty wide latitude of what you can do for a portrait. Highly recommend it!

What Derrel says about some Pro's using actions and presets is totally true...but what he didn't mention is that those actions were either created by the pro for a specific purpose or look, or are a heavily customized commercial action. Most of the actions available are aimed at newbie photographers.. usually in the baby / child / senior portrait realm. You can see a lot of these actions on Facebook... and Instagram is popular with the same set of photographers.. for their "professional" work. Many of the actions are even created by people that have not been shooting long.. and decided that this was an easy way to make money off of their slightly less knowledgeable peers.

Hopefully you aspire to better images than many of these actions are capable of.

I believe all of the software plugins you listed in the subject line have trials available... I would suggest you try them and then make a decision as to which one you prefer.
 

cgipson1

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Here are some of the actions Doug Gordon uses. These were designed by Kevin Kubota...selected as one of the Top 10 Wedding Photographers in the World, by the editors of America Photo magazine.. Kevin has been sponsored by Adobe, and by Nikon, as one of the Nikon "Legends Behind The Lens", and is a PPA Craftsman. Not exactly a Facebook MWAC. Nor are his clients. I love broad, vague put-downs of entire ways of working.

Photoshop Products - Photoshop Actions, Borders, Textures, Templates, Books, and Tutorials | Kubota Image Tools

Here is Kubota's blog
The Kevin Kubota and Kubota Image Tools Blog

Hardly Florabella, that is for sure. And know.. your depiction of me is neither correct, nor flattering.

I'm am curious that you are allowed to make silly cartoons of people, and make fun of them that way... and yet verbal "cartoons" are forbidden?

Even the image of you is not accurate, based on images of you I have seen...
 

Derrel

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Your character is taken directly from an on-line photo of you. Same pants, same shirt color, same hair, same height...huh...maybe you had your photo Photoshopped? Certainly it never saw the touch of an Action or a Pre-set!

Why is it that you can dish,dish,dish, and constantly rant and rave against all these faceless "newbies" and "MWACS", and "Facebook pros", for months on end, but you seem to come unglued at a bit of friendly ribbing?
 

terri

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Okay guys, can we not derail yet another thread?

Derrel, Charlie has a point. There have been a couple people who have not liked your cartoon renditions, so please remain sensitive and take them down if people ask you to. Thanks!

Charlie, Derrel has a point. You've surely seen his cartoons all over the forum, so it should not come as a surprise if one gets directed your way. A sense of humor would serve you well here. If you think all your rants against the groups he mentions here are the equivalent of "verbal cartoons".... um, no.
 

Derrel

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I'll remove his cartoon rendering....which is the SAME rendering that he forwarded to a friend of his yesterday on Facebook...

Apparently he thought he looked fine yesterday in cartoon form, as long as he was forwarding it to a friend of his on Facebook, from my Facebook page, but not today...

This is the very FIRST time I have heard a single word about anybody not liking their cartoon rendering...either in open forum, or via the PM system.

EDIT: Oh heck with it..I just deleted the entire reply. The idea that Actions and Pre-sets are useless is one that anybody is free to promote.
 
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The_Traveler

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In response to the original questions, I use the Nik Color filter set, although many/most of them are much too heavy handed and need to be dialed back a lot.
I use the Imagenomics Noiseware a great deal and like the versatility of the retail version.
I also use Portrait Professional; it is powerful and it has enough versatility to pay for itself if you do portraits.

If you want to send me a jpeg of a pimply senior I'll return the Portrait Professional output.

Lew
 

jowensphoto

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I like Paint the Moon actions. Sure, they are heavy handed, but from what I've seen in other "action packs," they are incredibly customizable.
 

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