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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Gadget Bag: Plug-Ins For Nature Photographers

These specialized software plug-ins give you a lot of power in easy-to-use packages

Labels: GearMore GearGadget Bag

This Article Features Photo Zoom

gadget bag Vertus Fluid
Mask 3
Click on a thumbnail in Aperture, then open a Google-powered map in Übermind’s Maperture. Navigate to the spot where the image was captured and click again. There—you’ve just geotagged the image by adding the latitude and longitude coordinates to the EXIF metadata. Once geotagged you can display your images on a map by using Aperture’s “Show on map” feature. You also can upload your geotagged images to Google’s photo-sharing service using Übermind’s Aperture to Picasa Web Albums export plug-in. Images that have been tagged by using Maperture will be displayed with a badge in the image viewer. Those that have been geotagged by other means will show a slightly different badge. All in all, it’s a great way to organize a set of images that were all captured during a visit to a national park, for example. For Aperture only. Free download.

Arguably one of the most difficult and time-consuming image-editing tasks—especially for newcomers—is extracting the subject and knocking out the background. Enter Vertus Fluid Mask 3. It’s as close to an “automatic cutout” engine as you’ll ever see. Using a variety of Brush tools to define the subject, you simply paint the edge, and the software will determine what to include and exclude from the selection. Vertus has perfected powerful edge-detection and edge-blending technology that can quickly and easily isolate seemingly impossible subjects—like wisps of smoke, floating feathers or even hair. Seeing is believing, and to that end, Vertus offers a free trial version (download from their website). Estimated Street Price: $149 (full version, Photoshop only).

Other Plug-Ins Of Interest To Nature Photographers
There are too many plug-ins to cover in a single article. In this Gadget Bag, our goal is to show you some popular and useful options for nature photographers. Here are other plug-ins you may want to look into.

Alien Skin’s Bokeh
for Photoshop allows you to decide focus after you’ve taken the shot by selectively blurring areas of the image, which draws the eye and heightens mood. Estimated Street Price: $199.

Nik Sharpener Pro 3.0 for Aperture and Photoshop provides the ultimate in sharpening, with options for image size, viewing distance, paper printing and printers. Estimated Street Price: $199.

Nik Software’s Viveza with innovative U Point technology selectively modifies color, exposure, tonality and other factors for fast enhancement with great results. Estimated Street Price: $249.

onOne’s Essentials 2 for Apple iPhoto and Photoshop Elements has a collection of tools for blurring (iPhoto), resizing, correcting color and removing backgrounds (Photoshop), among others. Estimated Street Price: $69.

Alien Skin Software
(888) 921-SKIN

Auto FX Software
(800) 839-2008
Nik Software
(888) 284-4085

onOne Software
(888) 968-1468
PictureCode (Noise Ninja)

(800) 645-2522

(206) 633-1167

(877) 55-VERTUS


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