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Photo Retouching "Improving" photos, post-production, correction, etc.

Is a plugin a sin?

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  #21  
Old 11-29-2013, 07:54 PM
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holgaman holgaman is offline
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Re: Is a plugin a sin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flashtones View Post
The photographers have their purists as well; many eschew strobes or staged lighting, preferring only "available light" -- meaning only the light that already exists. But the legendary photojournalist, W. Eugene Smith, retorted "Available light is any damn light that is available! " Meaning, he'd use whatever tools were at his disposal to get the shot he wanted.

I say use whatever "damn" PS tools give you the effect you desire, be they plugins, actions, etc.

The only downside is that if you start retouching outside of your personalised machine you may find you're lost without those devices. If you do buy the actions be sure to decode what they're doing by running them step-by-step from the action pallet so you know how to recreate their effect on your own. Then you have the best of both worlds, the convenience of their use and the understanding of how they work.
Great points Flashtones (I've been a fan of yours for some time). I think it's common for some to discount any and all plugins. I think it's assumed that the full effect of any plugin will be applied to the entire image, which doesn't have to be the case. I've made actions that split a particular plugin effect into luminosity and color layers so I can tweak and apply as little or much as desired to where ever I want. There are bad plugins and good plugins. I think it's possible to use even a bad plugin to achieve great results if applied judiciously. Benny does have a good point about learning PS and not relying too heavily on plugins, but there are also a lot of variables to be taken into account and applied that can make a job easier and quicker without degrading quality or flexibility in the future. It's all about choosing the right tools. A professional home builder doesn't use just a hammer, hand saw, and brace and bit because modern tools will enable him to be more efficient and accurate - he gets the job done quicker and turns out a better product in the end. On that note, if someone isn't skilled in using the newer tools, they probably should learn the basics of how, when, and why. I view plugin effects as a 'serving suggestion', giving me another option I may not have thought of and giving me the opportunity to modify to what the picture is telling me it needs.
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  #22  
Old 11-30-2013, 07:57 AM
vincent prior vincent prior is offline
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Re: Is a plugin a sin?

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Originally Posted by AKMac View Post
"Portrait Professional" is a misnomer. It's not for retouchers - it's for people who are not retouchers.
"Not so", its a very good aid to retouchers, used with layermasks in photoshop, you can get excellent results ,? why spend a lot of time on something ,that you can do faster ,and with just as good a result in another software, i use photoshop a lot, but i am not a slave to it, its all about getting the job done in the end.
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  #23  
Old 11-30-2013, 08:00 AM
skoobey skoobey is offline
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Re: Is a plugin a sin?

I can tell from my own experience, that by spending a lot of time practicing, you don't learn the program any better. You acquire your own taste! And that's one thing plug-in can't help you with!

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Originally Posted by vincent prior View Post
"Not so", its a very good aid to retouchers, used with layermasks in photoshop, you can get excellent results ,? why spend a lot of time on something ,that you can do faster ,and with just as good a result in another software, i use photoshop a lot, but i am not a slave to it, its all about getting the job done in the end.
Because if you're a beginner, and you need to know what you're cooking, rather than dealing with "already made" recipes, plug in is a microwave dish.
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  #24  
Old 11-30-2013, 09:32 AM
vincent prior vincent prior is offline
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Re: Is a plugin a sin?

"Bravo" , the microwave dish then, after all said and done, its only another tool in the aid to retouching, there is no set rules to adhere to in retouching ,if it gets the results then use it ?.
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  #25  
Old 11-30-2013, 10:09 AM
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AKMac AKMac is offline
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Re: Is a plugin a sin?

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Originally Posted by vincent prior View Post
"Bravo" , the microwave dish then, after all said and done, its only another tool in the aid to retouching, there is no set rules to adhere to in retouching ,if it gets the results then use it ?.
The argument that a method is ideal "If it gets the results" is perfectly sound provided the method doesn't limit the quality of the result.
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  #26  
Old 11-30-2013, 12:04 PM
SZStudio SZStudio is offline
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Re: Is a plugin a sin?

Photoshop itself is a plug-in for Lightroom LOL
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  #27  
Old 11-30-2013, 04:51 PM
klev klev is offline
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Re: Is a plugin a sin?

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Originally Posted by vincent prior View Post
"Bravo" , the microwave dish then, after all said and done, its only another tool in the aid to retouching, there is no set rules to adhere to in retouching ,if it gets the results then use it ?.
I can give you a good reason. Typically people fool themselves into thinking the results are equivalent if applied correctly. If you use one of those plugins, you'll notice that certain things are toned down. If you don't like hair on a cheek, it's not totally replaced. It's blurred in with something else to a degree. It's just that going from one to the other over a few seconds of rendering time can fool a lot of inexperienced individuals. The end results can be quite different though, especially if it has to be displayed larger than a thumbnail.


Most people who are starting out overdo things immensely. That is why such a tool seems to save time. What they often do not realize is that if you are very targeted, skin often doesn't need a lot of work. If every last pixel has to be toned down in some way, you either added too much contrast or sharpening when processing the original image. Why not handle that baseline before it becomes a problem? I have yet to see an opportunity where it would have saved me any time, especially if I have to do a lot of masking anyway just to make it work. Even if I wanted to use that, I could write a better plugin myself.
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  #28  
Old 11-30-2013, 07:37 PM
Flashtones Flashtones is offline
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Re: Is a plugin a sin?

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Originally Posted by holgaman View Post
Great points Flashtones (I've been a fan of yours for some time).
Cheers mate. And me of yours!

Quote:
There are bad plugins and good plugins.
And there's also that Photoshop itself is lacking in certain areas. For instance, noise reduction. PS's is really weak. One can do much better from a plugin or raw developer. Ditto for detail/micro-contrast enhancement, which Topaz can do much better than PS.

For skin, I'm not opposed to using Portraiture. But I don't use it for pores, I use it for blotchiness, such as rosecea. And on a separate masked layer as a smart filter. One can do similar work with PS alone using degrunge, inverted highpass, frequency separation, techniques, but I like the masking Portraiture does on itself without all the edge blurring of inverted highpass.

But seriously, when one does critical work, and builds up layer upon layer, each blended with masks, blend modes, opacities, etc, who cares what filter/tool/raw developer such layers were derived from? In this case the plugin is not used as a replacement for photoshop but merely another tool in the menu. People who don't know how to use a plugin with discretion probably can't be counted on to use the clone tool, curves, highpass (or any other built-in PS tool) with discretion either, so what's the difference?

In the end we're judged by the quality of our work and our price/speed/value at delivering it. And above technical proficiency, we're paid for our taste, sensibility and judgement. When the work is good, it's good. Does anything else really matter?
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  #29  
Old 12-01-2013, 01:29 AM
klev klev is offline
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Re: Is a plugin a sin?

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Originally Posted by Flashtones View Post
And there's also that Photoshop itself is lacking in certain areas. For instance, noise reduction. PS's is really weak. One can do much better from a plugin or raw developer. Ditto for detail/micro-contrast enhancement, which Topaz can do much better than PS.
There are a lot of tools and blending modes that to me are almost archaic. It still seems to use an inverted gaussian filter for unsharp masking. If the color management wasn't so restrictive, they might be able to use a different resampling algorithm, such as lanczos. Then there's screen. If the math was all linear you could get something similar but more predictable with add (similar to linear dodge in photoshop). I think part is just that it's such a large codebase. I've never used Topaz. What do you like about it? You mention micro-contrast, but that's not always a good thing. It can cause blocked up areas, when all that's often necessary is some method of abstraction. The eye gets too board when there's no change. Even a bit of tiny noise can keep it moving. I've had a lot of cool ideas for this stuff, but I never seem to get around to working out all the math or coding them.
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  #30  
Old 12-01-2013, 10:00 AM
vincent prior vincent prior is offline
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Re: Is a plugin a sin?

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Originally Posted by AKMac View Post
The argument that a method is ideal "If it gets the results" is perfectly sound provided the method doesn't limit the quality of the result.
That's true ,but then there would be no point in using it if it limited the quality of the result.
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