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