Sunday, August 31, 2008

Tiffen Dfx Digital Filter Suite

Known for its glass optical filters, Tiffen has taken some of its most popular filters and translated them into digital equivalents.
By Kim Castleberry Published in Plug-Ins
Tiffen Dfx Digital Filter Suite
Known for its glass optical filters, Tiffen has taken some of its most popular filters and translated them into digital equivalents. Tiffen's Dfx Digital Filter Suite offers an enormous array of options for postprocessing creativity. And this suite of tools goes far beyond approximating common glass filters—you can simulate up to 1,000 different filter effects, reproducing the look of specialized lenses, optical lab processes, film grain and more.

Available as a standalone application or as a plug-in, the full version includes a range of warming and cooling filters, Rosco and GamColor gels, HFX diffusion and grad/tint filters, gold and silver reflectors, star filters, and cool special effects like Night Vision, Infrared, X-Ray and different black-and-white looks. You can choose from the Complete edition or a pared-down Select version.

The plug-in works with Adobe Photoshop, Elements and now with Apple Aperture 2.1. Both versions can process 8- or 16-bit images along with featuring more than 90 individual filters and thousands of customizable presets.

The layout is intuitive and straightforward, making it easy to switch and add filters to your images without referring to the manual. Even better, all of the tools are visible. So your image takes center stage, and below it are tabbed categories of the different filters and effects, which are presented as thumbnail previews of the picture on which you're working.

On the left side, you can layer filters on top of one another and choose different variations or use the Parameters tab to create a customized version on the right. With the masking tools, you easily can apply a filter to just a selected area.

View/Compare

The View/Compare icon specifies which layer is shown in the Viewer. When enabled for multiple layers, the Viewer's Side-by-Side, Split or A/B Comparison viewing modes become active.

Batch Processing

Process multiple files using the current setup or a previously saved setup.

EZ Mask

This is an easy-to-use, interactive masking tool that can isolate almost any object in an image, even hair or reflections. EZ Mask estimates the transparency value for every pixel in the image, based on a small sample of foreground and background pixels marked by simple strokes on the image.

Favorite Filters


Black Diffusion/FX gives a silky, smooth look to textured surfaces and hides facial blemishes and wrinkles, while maintaining a clear, focused image. This creates a diffused image that doesn't look like it has been shot through a filter. Gold Diffusion/FX has the same effect as the Black Diffusion/FX filter, but infuses special warmth by adding a soft, golden tint to shadows.

Day for Night is a special-effects filter that simulates a technique used for shooting exteriors in daylight made to look like they were photographed at night. It basically involves underexposing by two to two-and-a-half stops and using a filter to provide a lavender-blue tint that mimics twilight. This effect creates a moonlight mood.

Bleach Bypass is a film-lab effect where the bleaching stage during the color processing of film is skipped either partially or completely so the silver is retained along with color dyes. The final result is a black-and-white image superimposed on a color image. Bleach Bypass images have increased contrast and reduced saturation, giving a pastel effect.

Cool Mist is a popular movie effect that creates atmosphere by softening excess sharpness and contrast in combination with a cooling filter. It generates a "pearlescent" halo around highlights.

Gels are a fun way to liven up an image. Photographers use these colored filters in front of lights to create mood. You can use gels to add interesting light to a background, create art effects in your images or just use them to correct odd coloring in a portrait.

Estimated Street Price: $199 (Complete); $99 (Select).

Contact: Tiffen, (800) 645-2522, www.tiffen.com.

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