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Thread: Software & Plugins Opinions?

  1. #1

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    Software & Plugins Opinions?

    Hi, I was just looking for opinions on the subject of Photographic software and plugins for the likes of Adobe Photoshop. Software I no is next to the camera the one piece of equipment you cannot do without but do you feel that this side of photography has gone on free fall? There are so many options out there for the photographer as far as software goes, it’s like going down in quick sand, and as for plugins for the likes of Photoshop there are even more, you have offerings from the likes of OnOne, Akvis, Auto FX Software and many many more. On the PluginsWorld site there are over 20 pages of Plugins.
    My main questions are, do you think plugins are value for money? Do they do as good a job as yourself in manipulating a photograph in say Photoshop? Are they just being turned out by some companies trying to make a quick buck?
    What do you think about them good or bad? Or do they just make you lazy when it comes to the final product you want to create THE PHOTOGRAPH?
    Thanks
    Russ

  2. #2

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    Re: Software & Plugins Opinions?

    Hi Russell,

    I don't use any plugins or 3rd party software. For the most part, I find that I can do all I want just in Photoshop (and feel that I'm more knowledgeable about Photoshop because of it), and additionally, I feel I can usually do a much better job hand-retouching portraits over what can be achieved using more specialist packages like Portrait Professional.

  3. #3

    Re: Software & Plugins Opinions?

    It really depends on what you are trying to accomplish, Russell what your skill level, time and technical abilities are. Whether you are into art photography or recording the world as it is.


    I have used Photoshop for many years and have begun using plugins in the last couple of years.


    My first choice of post shoot adjustment program is always Lightroom rather than Photoshop. I use Photoshop for special things such as portrait adjustments, changing backgrounds, etc. However, there are wonderful plugins that produce fantastic effects, make life easier and one can, of course, use them in conjunction with Photoshop. That said, there are a limited amount that are really useful for what I want to accomplish, which is to convey the feelings, sense of place and emotions that I had when I took the photo.


    Yes, “everything” can be done in Photoshop, but other programs have much to offer, in particular saving time for effects that would take hours using PS instead of minutes using a plugin. Additionally, Photoshop is not only for photos but used by graphic designers. It is often like using a Maserati on a hiking trail to pick up a liter of milk.


    My favorite and most used at this time is “Topaz” plugins. Topaz allows for Adjustments, Lens Effects and HDR tweaking that are cumbersome doing these via Photoshop. The lens effects are wonderful because they produce photos as if special lenses or filters were used. Plugins are much less expensive than photo lenses or filters and they are also lighter.


    Other programs for denoising or producing B & W images such as those from “Nik” software are also very useful producing results as if one had used particular types of film, some of which are no longer available.


    Portrait programs have their place, but have to be used very carefully to not make people look like plastic dolls. The “Portraiture” plugin only adjusts the skin at this time, so you still must do the eyes, hair, etc. via Photoshop.


    Photoshop has a high learning curve and many people, who do not have the patience, are not into learning such a complex program or cannot devote the time to learn PS properly, get very frustrated. You see them posing questions on CiC and all over the net, spending hours of their time and still not satisfied with the results.


    We use digital cameras and computer programs as well as many labor saving devices in the modern world to make life easier, save time and money as well as produce fantastic results.


    Many very skilled professionals use plugins these days. Why would we amateurs not use them?


    Most plugins allow you to try before you buy, often for at least 2 weeks or a whole month. You have nothing to lose to at least check out their galleries.


    Topaz: http://www.topazlabs.com/


    Silver Effex Pro2: http://www.niksoftware.com/silverefexpro/usa/entry.php


    Portraiture: http://www.imagenomic.com/pt.aspx

  4. #4
    Mark Lawrence's Avatar
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    Re: Software & Plugins Opinions?

    Viana hit it right on the nail took the words right out of my mouth.
    Try before you buy.
    Cheers

  5. #5

    Re: Software & Plugins Opinions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Lawrence View Post
    Viana hit it right on the nail took the words right out of my mouth.
    Try before you buy.
    Cheers
    Yes, but really make a commitment to actually use the software. I know a "professional" photagrapher who has had Lightroom in the box for over 3 years. He does hours and hours and hours of painful Photoshop work, because he is not very skilled at it. I just don't get it.

    All of the listed programs are very intuitive and the learning curve is far less than PS.

  6. #6

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    Re: Software & Plugins Opinions?

    Hi, Thankyou for the input, I have tried the Topaz plugins and they are very good, my only concerns, if you can call them that is there are so many options out there, for the novice photographer it must seem overwhelming at times.
    Russ

  7. #7

    Re: Software & Plugins Opinions?

    Quote Originally Posted by russellsnr View Post
    Hi, Thankyou for the input, I have tried the Topaz plugins and they are very good, my only concerns, if you can call them that is there are so many options out there, for the novice photographer it must seem overwhelming at times.
    Russ

    That is why there are presets to get one started. Topaz Adjust 5 has just come out. Really looks excellent. It is a free upgrade.

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