Monday, January 4, 2010

10 Essential Plug-Ins For Pro Results

Plug-ins provide fast, fun and effective ways to get stellar results from your image enhancements.
By Dave Willis Published in Plug-Ins
10 Essential Plug-Ins For Pro Results

Exposure 2

With simulation of popular film types from Kodak, Polaroid, Fujifilm and more, Exposure 2 from Alien Skin Software offers more than 300 presets for digitally reproducing the appearance of your favorite film stock styles. Exposure 2 applies the size, shape and color of film grains to shadows, midtones and highlights separately, automatically adjusting grain size to the image size at the same time for optimal results. You can adjust grain, saturation, softness, sharpness and other features for customizing looks, and effects can be applied nondestructively through Smart Filter compatibility in Photoshop. Exposure 2 also offers a variety of other film-style processing effects, including Infrared, Push Processing, Cross Processing and toning in a dozen different types, like blue, sepia, selenium and others. List Price: $249.

Fluid Mask 3

Digital masking during the editing process provides a way to isolate and extract certain areas of an image. It’s an effective way of performing selective adjustments without changing the rest of the image. Fluid Mask 3 from Vertus makes very fast selections of an image through a variety of edge-detection techniques, including analysis of patches, contrast and textures. Fluid Mask 3 has been designed to work well even with commonly difficult areas like hair and tree branches, and you can use sliders for fine-tuning edges. Intelligent Blending will use the width and character of an edge to automatically determine the shape and add feathering unique to its characteristics. New in Fluid Mask 3, you also can make selections based on Color Workspace and Color Sampler tools. List Price: $149.

Genuine Fractals 6 Professional Edition

Genuine Fractals 6 Professional Edition from onOne Software is the go-to plug-in for resizing images to poster sizes and beyond. Fractal-based interpolations provide upresing of image files to sizes as large as you wish, with results at more than 10 times their original sizes before there’s a noticeable loss in quality. Genuine Fractals offers control over texture, sharpening, film grain and more, and there are more than 60 document size presets for selecting the optimum dimensions of your resized images as you work. The Gallery Wrap feature creates extended margins for printing directly to canvas-stretch-type frames. A Tiling feature allows you to make large prints from small printers by dividing enlargements into puzzle-piece images that can be reconfigured into a large print, and there’s a built-in batch-processing engine for applying settings to more than one image. Genuine Fractals 6 Professional Edition is also compatible with Lightroom and Aperture. List Price: $299 (Professional Edition); $159 (Standard Edition).

PhotoTune 3

PhotoTune 3 from onOne Software offers fast image optimization with simple-to-understand and easy-to-execute enhancement. Image editing can be performed in only a couple of steps, thanks to the PhotoTune Wizard, which walks users through the optimization process. In the Pro interface, there are more advanced controls for photographers who would like a more hands-on approach, with tonal, sharpening and color tools. New in this version of PhotoTune, Dynamic Range Correction provides a single click for HDR enhancement of tones in order to salvage blown-out highlights while maintaining detail in shadows. Black-and-white conversion has been added, and an improved SkinTune mode automatically color-corrects skin color in one click, plus Smart Object compatibility provides a nondestructive workflow with Photoshop for changing enhancements if you need to later. PhotoTune3 also offers integration with Lightroom and Aperture. List Price: $159.
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