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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hi-Tech Studio: Plug-Ins For The Professional

Tools to help you streamline your workflow and get your images into delivery shape quickly and efficiently


This Article Features Photo Zoom

hi tech
Alien Skin Exposure 2
Plug-ins first made their appearance as bolt-on additions for Photoshop. Because certain other image-editing software used the same plug-in architecture, compatibility spread. Later, Apple opened the Aperture architecture to third-party plug-ins, and their proliferation became even more widespread. Plug-ins written for Aperture can’t be used in Photoshop, but many plug-ins are available in either version. Check compatibility before you buy. Some companies offer trial versions, which is a great way to confirm you need the functionality that a plug-in provides without spending money upfront.

Alien Skin Exposure 2
For those who want to give their digital images the authentic appearance of a specific film type, Alien Skin offers Exposure 2. Based on the detailed analysis of film stock, Exposure 2 allows you to digitally simulate everything from push-processed TRI-X to Kodachrome to GAF 500. This exciting plug-in re-creates the film coloration and contrast and, incredibly, it actually reproduces the size, shape and color of the film grain. It’s easy to use, thanks to a large editing window and intuitive user interface. In the version 2 upgrade, 300 presets for film simulation and special effects have been added, and the number of settings has been doubled. Estimated Street Price: $249.

Auto FX DreamSuite Pro
DreamSuite Pro allows you to combine different effects using layers and masks that are preconfigured and included in the set. SmartLayer is a layering system that allows you to combine masking, photos, effects and color-correction layers together in one document. The unlimited undo/redo function has been enhanced, which lets you go back as far as necessary. And hundreds of new presets have been added, enabling you to produce creative results instantly. Estimated Street Price: $199 (includes the Photoshop-compatible plug-in and stand-alone versions for Windows and Mac).

Pearly Whites And ShineOff

You have to love a plug-in when you can look at its name and guess its function. Image Trends took the same direct approach to combat two perennial portrait problems, too. PearlyWhites automatically whitens and brightens teeth. It also can whiten the sclera of the eye as it looks for white elements when surrounded by flesh tones. ShineOff automatically removes the shine from skin and transforms faces and skin areas to their natural appearance. Used together or separately, these plug-ins will make your subjects smile. Estimated Street Price: $49 (each).

Nik Silver Efex Pro
Today, many serious amateurs and professionals alike have discovered that they can create monochrome masterpieces from their color images by using the right plug-in. Silver Efex Pro gives all of that creative control back to the photographer. It includes an extensive collection of film types and emulates each right down to the grain structure, color sensitivity and tone curve. And it offers 20 different preset conversions that can be selected by clicking a thumbnail. You also can create and save your own custom style. Silver Efex Pro uses powerful U-Point technology to deliver the highest degree of control over detail and tonality. The software comes in Aperture and Photoshop flavors and is Smart Filter-compatible with Photoshop. Estimated Street Price: $199.



 

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