I'm considering buying some plug-ins to use with Photoshop CS6 (still weighing up trying to streamline my post-processing somehow or simply outsource all or most of it).
I really want something quick and easy to use, but that also produces incredible results.
I've been browsing a few plug-ins and am seeking feedback from those who have used them (and before anyone suggests I just download the trials and play with it myself, I'm severely limited in terms of ability to sit at a computer for any decent length of time at present due to a bulging disc, so am simply after some insight before I, most probably, do just that when I can).
I love the look of Totally Rad's Pro Retouch 2, perhaps in combination with Radlab also? All thoughts appreciated.
But I also love the look of Nik Software's Silver Efex Pro 2 and Color Efex Pro 4.
Would it be overkill to get all of those (double-ups in what they do anywhere?) if and when I can afford to do so?
If I go the Nik Software way, I may well get the Complete Collection as I think Define 2.0 and Sharpener Pro 3.0 could be useful. Has anyone also had experience with these? I'm wondering how Define 2.0 stacks up against Noise Ninja or Imagenomic's Noise in terms of noise reduction?
Finally, has anyone used Alien Skin's Blow Up for enlargements? Is the sharpness of the image maintained on really big enlargements? Would it be suitable for fine art landscapes and the like?
Thanks in advance everyone!
Dec 28 12 07:05 pm Link
Salem, Oregon, US
i use radlab and silver efex all the time. along with exposure from alienskin. topaz has some filters as well as onone. lots of choices.
if i could only have one i'd probably stick to radlab
Dec 28 12 07:25 pm Link
That's great - just the kind of feedback I'm after
Dec 28 12 08:04 pm Link
Los Angeles, California, US
I've been using Color Efex Pro 3 for a few years and love the convenience it provides my workflow.
I do batch processing of anywhere between 50 - 200 images at a time and usually use more than one or two of the Color Efex Pro filters in combination with each other. It handles my files flawlessly.
I have not upgraded to Color Efex Pro 4 yet, because everything I seem to need is found in 3
Dec 28 12 08:09 pm Link
Los Angeles, California, US
I use Silver Efex Pro. Very very useful. For some reason I'm having trouble getting it to work with lightroom (I probably installed it wrong or something), but for photoshop cs5 it works wonders.
BTW, if you're a student get Nik's student discount. You'll save a bunch of money.
Dec 28 12 08:15 pm Link
Thanks Ken and Shane, I am tempted to get both the Totally Rad and Nik plug-ins. Would love to have them all! It's just a matter of money ... and whether I need them all I guess.
Shane Noir wrote:
Wish I was! Would have saved a fortune on PS CS6 too!
Dec 28 12 08:17 pm Link
Salem, Oregon, US
if you get radlab check out the downloadable recipes and recipe packs.
i at least try radlab on almost every image. there's one called sugar rush that is like a vibrance filter and works great for amping up senior portraits without nuking the skin tones. and some of the b&ws are very nice, too. you can stack the filters in radlab so you can come up with your own unique combinations. as much as any plug-in i own it seems like radlab was made by someone who understood the needs of a portrait photographer.
Fred McKie wrote:
Dec 28 12 08:58 pm Link
Do these cost extra or are they included in the plugin purchase price? What do these allow you to do?
Dec 28 12 09:44 pm Link
Greensboro, North Carolina, US
Alienskin Blow Up is amazing. Of course, the quality of the source image is important, but you really can blow up your average raster image to billboard size without loss of quality.
Not sure how it works, but I know that it's definitely a proprietary technology. I've heard that Adobe tried to emulate it in CS6, but failed. So give CS6's built-in blow up tools a try first. You might get lucky.
Dec 29 12 11:15 pm Link
Tommy Charles wrote:
Certainly sounds incredible. I think it would definitely be a worthwhile plugin to have!
Dec 30 12 03:22 am Link
Atlanta, Georgia, US
I have the Nik Software stack and use Color Efex Pro 4 currently, with Viveza 2 and Silver Efex Pro the most.
The tonal contrast filter in Color Efex is awesome, its a standard part of my workflow. I'm not too fond of the HD Efex Pro as I tend to prefer Photomatix when I add a touch of HDR or do landscapes. I also like the De-Noise filter from Topaz better than Dfine.
But when it comes down to it, it's all about the right blending and opacity to gain the effect you're after from a filter.
Jan 04 13 03:32 pm Link
Billings, Montana, US
Ken Marcus Studios wrote:
Except for Detail Extractor --> Does a stunning job recovering blown highlight details.
Jan 04 13 04:06 pm Link