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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Faster And Easier Image Processing

Software plug-ins make computer work more efficient for nature photographers

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Master the digital darkroom in a day! No, forget about that. How about a few hours? Maybe an hour? I know, that sounds like hype from some late-night, cable-TV advertiser, but such things can be true. How? By using a plug-in. Plug-ins are specialized software that work with another program to run their operations. They offer capabilities that will get you working faster to obtain the best from your images. Typically, plug-ins allow you to do things with images more quickly and easier than the host program can do and, in some cases, they even do things that the host program can’t do. I’ll give you an idea of some of the plug-ins available and how they work for me. All of them are compatible with Photoshop and Photoshop Elements; most are compatible with Lightroom and Aperture, as well.

Alien Skin Software

Alien Skin Blow Up 2
Alien Skin has long been the place to go for effective special-effects software such as its Eye Candy and Xenofex plug-ins. Most nature photographers are more interested in getting the most from an image, however, not adding special effects. Alien Skin has software for that, too.

Bokeh is an extremely useful plug-in that allows you to change focus in your image. Well, you can’t change where your sharp focus is, but you can alter what’s out of focus. This goes far beyond the blur controls in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, and yet it’s also easier to use. You can make natural-looking blurred backgrounds, for example, as well as create special blur effects that emphasize a subject in unique and impactful ways. You even can match effects of special-focus lenses.

With all the information and misinformation about megapixels, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that digital image files enlarge very well. With Blow Up 2, you can enlarge any good image file with excellent results, meaning you can get photos quite close to high-megapixel cameras without spending the dollars on high-megapixel cameras! Blow Up really does give quality results when you need a big blow-up from your original image file. It’s important to be sure your photo technique is precise, however, if you want the best results from Blow Up.

Many photographers have longed for Fujichrome Velvia and other film looks. You may see a lot of formulas that purport to change your images to certain looks, but they can be a pain to deal with. Exposure 2 quickly lets you process your images so that they have the look and feel of film without a lot of hassle. You can match traditional nature photography films like Fujichrome Velvia and Kodak Kodachrome. The plug-in includes more than 300 presets to get you started, with all sorts of looks, including black-and-white, plus you can tweak any effect with your own adjustments.


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