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  • What PS can't do?

    Hi all!
    Quick question, do you use any 3rd party add ons that you feel you need because they do something PS won't do?
    I looked at onone and I don't see anything I would use. I looked at NIK and while Silver Efex Pro 2 and VIVEZA 2 look like a lot of fun I'm just not seeing them as necessary. Am I missing out?

  • #2
    Re: What PS can't do?

    I have to say that having tried all three plugins that NIK Silver Efex Pro is the best I've found for black and white conversions.

    Topaz has a pretty good equivalent to the old program Buzz that we "artists" used to use.

    OnOne, however, was a HUGE and expensive disappointment!!! Despite numerous complaints and one-on-one visits with OnOne personnel, the program kept crashing my computer. The last time I installed it, after advice from OnOne (mind you), I had to get a whole new computer. I have since talked to OnOne people who said that the particular version I used was known for having problems and that in subsequent versions the problems have been fixed. Nevertheless, I'm not going to invest in a program with a dicey track record and risk losing again. That said, I've heard people who really like OnOne for gigantic resizing and extractions.

    Not that I've answered your questions in my rant, but I believe NIK and Topaz are both good products and worth the investment.

    Janet

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    • #3
      Re: What PS can't do?

      Photo stitching is a huge weakness of photoshop, at least as of CS4... I haven't needed to upgrade, but I haven't heard of any new stitching functions. I use Hugin for anything like that. Far more control.

      For RAW development, you should take a serious look at Darktable, that's an open source raw processor that is far more powerful than anything Adobe is currently offering. It's native to Linux, but there is an OSX port that is active, no one has bothered with Windows porting. The program operates naively in LAB, which is much higher quality and offers all kinds of radical selection tools that are more precise than just a paint brush thing. You can use many different blending modes along with blend if functions to isolate, modules can be duplicated for multiple instances, etc... It's open source, but the developers are aiming it squarely at professionals and the development has been regular and rapid. I'm using it for my commercial clients when shooting composites, they offer a unique live view overlay tool that helps with lining up shots. It's an incredible program.

      Edit: I just realized you were looking for Add-ons LOL... well in that case... I've heard Perfect Resize 7.5, formerly Genuine Fractals, is a must have for blowing up images.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: What PS can't do?

        Janet, I'm usually worried when I see massive ad campaigns by a company ie. Onone. Makes me wonder why word of mouth isn't working for them. So your rant did really help, user feedback is what I am looking for and yours is enough to make me maybe take a closer look at Topaz and Nik and stay clear of Onone.

        Cardmaverick, No, addons are great but stand alones interest me too. Anything that can do things better than PS. I know there are some things that other programs can do differently, I'm just not aware of any that do anything clearly better.

        Darktable sounds like it rocks! Unfortunately, I'm a PC guy. I've always thought that PS does a decent job with stitching and HDR but, I will say NOTHING makes my hard drive grind like stitching a large panorama in PS.

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        • #5
          Re: What PS can't do?

          Originally posted by cardmaverick View Post
          The program operates naively in LAB, which is much higher quality and offers all kinds of radical selection tools that are more precise than just a paint brush thing.
          What's that mean (operates in Lab I assume you mean natively)? There's no such thing as a Lab capture or output device, the raw has to end up in some RGB space at some point. So there's a conversion from RGB to Lab, and that's useful because?

          I agree some people edit naively in LAB (it has it's uses but has been greatly over sold too).

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: What PS can't do?

            I use almost the whole Nik product suite: ColorEfex Pro, Silver Efex Pro, Sharpener Pro, Dfine, and sometimes Nik HDR Pro.

            I use Viveza very seldom, I prefer working in Lab color for landscapes and between Lightroom and Lab color I seldom need Viveza.

            I also use OnOne Perfect Effects, it has some really nice capabilities.

            For HDR I use Photomatix.

            For enlargements I use Alienskin Blowup (great product!).

            For photo-stitching I use Photoshop but I'm actively looking for another product that can work when Photoshop does a bad job, and it does fairly often for me.

            I use Lightroom for a lot of things like color enhancement, then I go into Photoshop.

            Photoshop does all these things but plugins do a lot of things better or more they make things easier than Photoshop does.

            For photo-stitching I use Photoshop but I'm actively looking for a better product to use when Photoshop does an inadequate or bad job, which it often does for my images.

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            • #7
              Re: What PS can't do?

              Hi Robert, thank you for the detailed response. Right now I'm obsessed with B/W conversion. Between Onone's free presets ( I have not tried their Perfect Black and White) NIK SilverEfex and Alienskin's Exposure 4 by far my favorite is Exposure 4. I was surprised, I expected NIK to be better but I'm finding I really like the attempt to duplicate standard film and that gives me at least an idea of the starting point. Also, NIK just makes my system drag and it takes a long time for the process
              to work.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: What PS can't do?

                Hi CrazyFly1,

                Thanks for the insight. I didn't know that Exposure has black and while film presets included. I need to try a couple more beside Nik Silver Efex, although Nik does a great job. Between Lightroom and Nik I get a nice range of black and white treatments depending on the image, so more variety would be even better. Altogether over time I've counted up to 30 different plug-ins I've used, plus lots of hand-tweaking.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: What PS can't do?

                  Originally posted by crazyfly1 View Post
                  Hi Robert, thank you for the detailed response. Right now I'm obsessed with B/W conversion.
                  You should watch this free video and then ask yourself if you can’t do what you wish with the tools you have (at least ACR or Lightroom):

                  http://mulita.com/blog/?p=1244

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: What PS can't do?

                    I'm starting another thread with samples of pics processed with exposure 4 for anyone who's interested.
                    Last edited by crazyfly1; 02-27-2013, 08:00 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Re: What PS can't do?

                      Originally posted by andrewrodney View Post
                      You should watch this free video and then ask yourself if you can’t do what you wish with the tools you have (at least ACR or Lightroom):

                      http://mulita.com/blog/?p=1244
                      I ordered this video and am looking forward to it. Thanks for the link. Looks good.


                      If CrazyFly wants to do generic black and white conversions with a good range of adjustment techniques then ACR or Lightroom can work. If he's really "obsessed" with black and white conversions like he says, especially with a range of specific film types, then ACR and Lightroom may or may not not do the job for him for long. The main reasons being:
                      • Color Response. Each type of film (Kodak Tri-X, Agfa APX, Ilford HP, etc.) has its own unique response to colors and renders colors into grays differently.
                      • Contrast. Each film has different contrast, and in addition also has different contrasts in its highlight, midtones and shadows. Some films have the long part of their response curve in the midtones, others do in their highlights or shadows.
                      • Grain. Each film has it's own grain structure, unique to it.
                      Neither ACR nor Lightroom supports different films, they just do a generic conversion to black and white, then you're on your own. Trying to create individual, accurate color response / contrast curves plus grain for each B&W film in ACR or Lightroom is a LOT of work -- if you could even do it accurately, which not many people can.

                      There is another factor as well -- feel. Each software package (Nik, Topaz) has its own unique rendering of Tri-X 400 for instance. They don't render Tri-X 400 exactly the same way, just like raw processors don't render raw files exactly like another raw processor does. They don't even render their default black and white conversions exactly the same, neither does Lightroom or ACR render exactly the same as Nik's default generic rendering.

                      I've worked on B&W images of mine where Nik did the best job (most of the time, actually), where OnOne did the best job, and where Lightroom did the best job (usually not).

                      Not to mention Nik has that fantastic U-Point technology, where you can pick a shade of gray (or a color), expand the selection circle, and within that selection circle only that shade of gray and shades close to it will be changed. Saves tons of time compared to masking

                      What I typically end up doing is rendering the black and white through Lightroom and Nik and comparing them, then finishing the image up in Photoshop or maybe trying OnOne depending on the image and the effect I want. Black and white is very custom so it's generally better to have a variety of rendering tools for it unless one tool genuinely does meet your needs.
                      Last edited by RobertAsh; 02-28-2013, 09:04 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Re: What PS can't do?

                        Robert, I attached 3 pics. One is the Tri-X 400 preset in Exposure 4. One is a preset (not plugin) of Tri-X 400, the collection can be had free here...http://www.presetsheaven.com/presets...for-lightroom/
                        And the 3rd comes closer to the second which is Exposure 4's preset for Tri-X 400 pushed 2 stops. You are right they are very different.

                        I looked at Topaz B&W and NIK Silver Efex Pro 2 and I'm not seeing where there is a preset to create a specific film. Is it there and I'm just not seeing it?
                        Attached Files
                        Last edited by crazyfly1; 02-28-2013, 03:56 PM. Reason: Edited photo attachment

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                        • #13
                          Re: What PS can't do?

                          Is the girl Monica Potter?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: What PS can't do?

                            Originally posted by crazyfly1 View Post
                            Robert, I attached 3 pics. One is the Tri-X 400 preset in Exposure 4. One is a preset (not plugin) of Tri-X 400, the collection can be had free here...http://www.presetsheaven.com/presets...for-lightroom/
                            And the 3rd comes closer to the second which is Exposure 4's preset for Tri-X 400 pushed 2 stops. You are right they are very different.

                            I looked at Topaz B&W and NIK Silver Efex Pro 2 and I'm not seeing where there is a preset to create a specific film. Is it there and I'm just not seeing it?
                            CrazyFly, these are great examples, thanks for sharing.


                            Technically #2 (the middle one) isn't directly comparable with #1 and #3 because it's simulating Tri-X being pushed 2 stops. For an accurate comparison, either:
                            1. #2 should simulate normal processing, not push-processing or
                            2. #1 and #3 should simulate being pushed 2 stops also.
                            But the difference between #1 and #3 is very noticeable, assuming both products were left at their default values. #3 has noticeably better shadow detail.


                            I still need to buy Topaz, but in Nik SilverEfex Pro 2, here's how to see all their film presets:
                            1. Go to the right-hand panel
                            2. Look for the FILM TYPES section
                            3. Click on the small arrow beside FILM TYPES to expand that section
                            4. Right below FILM TYPES you'll see a drop list with the word Neutral in it
                              • Neutral means "Nik's generic default black and white conversion."
                            5. Click on the downward-pointing arrow beside the word Neutral. That will show you the list of films you can simulate.
                            You can float your cursor over each film and see the change to your image in real-tim. Very cool!!


                            Below Neutral you'll see 2 sub-sections. Click the small arrows beside them to expand those sub-sections:
                            • Grain: Controls and fine-tunes grain
                            • Sensitivity: Customizes color sensitivity (it reads the colors in your original image and adjusts the gray values for each color with that color's slider)
                            That entire right-hand panel is worth exploring. There are many very useful controls there to customize the look of your image. Plus you can save your adjustments as Custom presets and create your own look for a variety of images.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: What PS can't do?

                              Sorry but I don't buy this 'conversion matches film' idea unless someone can illustrate this scientifically. That would mean shooting the film type, doing a good job scanning the film (which itself has a major effect on the reneging) then taking a digital capture at the same time as the film was shot and processing such the two technologies very closely match.

                              IF I had a dime for every time I've seen a preset, plug-in or otherwise that says it produces Velvia or Tmax etc, when there's zero proof this process produces anything other than what someone wants to call a match, I'd retire. Cranking up Vibrance and adding some grain or noise doesn't make something captured digital equate to Velvia. If you, the image creator feels it does, great. But that's purely subjective.

                              And as someone that started shooting film 40 odd years ago, I find it funny and odd that people today want a film look. I spent a long time in a conventional darkroom, mixing exotic chemicals to process TechPan so a 35mm printed big would look like maybe it was shot 4x5 (which I also shot a ton). I guess it's just waxing nostalgic.

                              If you want TriX pushed 3 stops (can't fathom why), shoot TriX and push it 3 stops.

                              There is another factor as well -- feel. Each software package (Nik, Topaz) has its own unique rendering of Tri-X 400 for instance.
                              Enough said, it's totally subjective and begs the question, which is 'correct'?

                              Comment

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