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

Is a plugin a sin?

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  #1  
Old 11-13-2013, 04:58 AM
Martin B Martin B is offline
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Is a plugin a sin?

Hey guys!

Totally new here and this is my first post so bear that in mind if I accidentally offend

I'm a photographer who has an interest in retouching (as another string to the bow), and I've been practising for 2 years now, trying to incorporate the proper techniques (split frequency, pixel level dodge & burn etc). In this time I've come across a few plugins for skin retouching and natural curiosity has had me try them out. Rubbish! Plastic skin etc.

Now, I'm just wondering if, as professional retouchers you would deviate from the path of intensive hours-long dodging and burning IF there was a plugin that could cut out some of the work?

The reason I ask is, i was told about a plugin - Totally Rad Pro Retouch 2.0 - by a friend. Rolled my eyes as per usual but tried it out. Really surprised. Seemed to get me from stage 1 to stage 5 in 10 minutes with all skin looking really good and toned and with a small amount of d&b to do to bring it somewhere near very decent.

Now, I'd prefer not to unintentionally rubbish the techniques that have got retouching where it is and I can spend 8 hours on an image trying to get it just right. And I enjoy it. Just wondered if you thought cutting a few of them hours out was a good idea or a cheap shortcut?
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Old 11-13-2013, 06:15 AM
genf genf is offline
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Re: Is a plugin a sin?

Hi, and welcome to the forum!

To answer your question, I believe there is nothing illegal about using an external plugin for retouching work (provided that you pay for it...).
As long as retouching is your hobby, your main drive should be quality and fun. If you can save a few hours while keeping the same quality, why not? But if the plugin results are worse, then you should stay away.
The reasoning is different when retouching is your job, and work hours count. You may decide to compromise a little on quality if the job gets cheaper and quicker done. All depends on the requirements and expectations of your customer of course.

Just my five cents...
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Old 11-13-2013, 07:13 AM
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Benny Profane Benny Profane is offline
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Re: Is a plugin a sin?

The problem with plug ins is that you will be just as dumb about how to actually do the work in five years as you are now, because you relied on, essentially, an action somebody else spent a lot of time creating. And, when Photoshop 12 is released in 2023, probably the plug in doesn't work on that OS, or maybe this plug in company is defunct because the guy who started it sold out to some other company because he wanted to go live on a beach somewhere for the rest of his life.

It's good to know the basics.
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Old 11-13-2013, 07:20 AM
Martin B Martin B is offline
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Re: Is a plugin a sin?

Thanks guys.

I like your point Benny! I already know the basics and am at a fairly good level of retouching without blowing my own trumpet. Only because I've put the hours in practising and researching techniques. I suppose the hardest thing is knowing when to stop.

It just seems this plugin can take hours off the job and i wondered if using a plugin as part of the process would be obvious in the final product of a high-end retouch?
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Old 11-13-2013, 08:23 AM
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Benny Profane Benny Profane is offline
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Re: Is a plugin a sin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin B View Post
It just seems this plugin can take hours off the job and i wondered if using a plugin as part of the process would be obvious in the final product of a high-end retouch?
I haven't seen one yet, but, when I do, that's when I stop thinking about making a living in beauty retouching.

Of course, "high end" is a relative term. Most wedding and portrait photographers would benefit from present plug in products. Cover of Vogue? Not yet.
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Old 11-13-2013, 08:24 AM
skoobey skoobey is offline
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Re: Is a plugin a sin?

I am still training, too, but in my experience, most of the things theses "skin smooth" plugins do, can be achieved with an action, as it is mostly based on blurring the underlaying layer while keeping the high frequency intact.
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Old 11-13-2013, 09:31 AM
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Tony W Tony W is offline
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Re: Is a plugin a sin?

Benny makes some very good points in particular knowing the basics. And as genf said knowing your customer requirements and the standards required.

From what I have seen on the website cannot say that I would want to spend $89!

From what they say these are a series of PS Actions so why not create your own set of actions and save some money .
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Old 11-13-2013, 09:46 AM
Martin B Martin B is offline
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Re: Is a plugin a sin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony W View Post
From what they say these are a series of PS Actions so why not create your own set of actions and save some money .
I'd love to create some actions to help me but I've been that regimental in learning the proper techniques that I wouldn't even know how to shortcut the process!
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Old 11-15-2013, 07:55 AM
Pics2 Pics2 is offline
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Re: Is a plugin a sin?

Totally Rad Actions (TRA) are aimed at wedding photographers. Wedding photographer needs to edit thousands of pictures in short time and these kind of actions come in very handy.
These are not Vogue cover pictures and nobody expects them to be.
The reason I use them on my wedding pictures and the reason I paid dollars for them are
- I don't know to make them.
- Even if i did, it would take me too much time to do so. Actully, TRA are cheap.
But, Martin, this is the wrong place to fave actions. It's like opening thread about Nikon on Canon's forum.This place is meant to help us learn retouching skills and it's doing great job at it. Actions are doing exactly the opposite. There is a great place to discuss wedding photography actions called DWF.
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Old 11-15-2013, 08:11 AM
skoobey skoobey is offline
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Re: Is a plugin a sin?

P.S. You'll find that what time it takes for you to get a good result is going to get less and less. Simply because you'll develop your skills further.

Also, there is no plug-in for local color adjustments, nor is there an plugin for local density, so it may even mess the image up, where you least expected it to.
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