The best plugins?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by InfiniteLoopy, May 20, 2014.

  1. InfiniteLoopy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    #1
    I know the best advice is to try them yourself, but I'm wondering what is the preferred plugin suite for post-production?

    The "gold standard" seems to be Nik, which I've used and found good. What turns me off though is that they are owned by Google, who could take them in any direction and whose privacy policy I'm not crazy about. I also find the u-point technology quite useful but sometimes find the shape of the brush (round) quite limiting.

    I've also tried Perfect Effects (the free version), which seems not to have the recognition Nik has, seems a little slower but seems to have more precise selective brush adjustments, though not a simple system like u-point.

    I'm ideally looking for a program that has layers without having to open PS.

    I'd welcome thoughts on this.
     
  2. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

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    #2
    Perfect layers by Onone? Pretty sure you can get a free trial version from their website. It's part of the perfect photo suite.
     
  3. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #3
    You are partly there with Perfect Effects. That is just one program in the Perfect Photo Suite 8.5. The 8 programs in the suite are: Effects, Enhance, Portrait, Resize, B&W, Browse, Layers, and Mask.


    Perfect Effects 8.5

    With hundreds of powerful, one-click, fully customizable effects, Perfect Effects 8.5 makes it easy to bring out the best in your photos. Easy-to-use and versatile tools let you stylize your photos instantly or take complete creative control as you add subtle to striking enhancements to your photos, bring your photographic vision to life, or immerse yourself in freeform creativity.

    Perfect Enhance 8.5

    All the essential tools and adjustments every photo needs to go from good to great. You'll find tools to improve color, tone, and detail along with retouching tools for spot healing, red-eye removal, and removing objects with content-aware fill technology using the Perfect Eraser.

    Perfect Portrait 8.5

    Now you can focus on the art of portrait creation because the most time consuming retouching tasks are automated in Perfect Portrait. Improve skin texture and color, remove blemishes, and enhance eyes, teeth, and lips to create flawless portraits, while maintaining natural and realistic skin structure.

    Perfect Resize 8.5

    Get the highest quality photo enlargements with Perfect Resize, featuring Genuine Fractals® technology, and easily enlarge your photos without the loss of sharpness or detail that you might normally expect. Relied on by industry professionals, you too can create high quality enlargements and showcase your photos at their best—even those taken with your mobile device!

    Perfect B&W 8.5

    Develop stunning photos that recreate the timeless look of black and white master photographers. Use Perfect B&W to add dramatic and elegant looks to your photos and create the many moods black and white photography can evoke, resulting in beautiful and provocative imagery.

    Perfect Browse 8.5

    Quickly get to the images you want to edit wherever they're stored—whether they're on your computer, network, or on a cloud-based storage service. Preview your images side-by-side in a thumbnail grid or in a larger, more detailed view along with important metadata and navigate through them with intuitive keyboard shortcuts.

    Perfect Layers 8.5

    Get a layered file workflow so you can combine and blend images without Adobe Photoshop. You'll have the power to swap faces, create balanced exposures, retouch portraits and landscapes, create layouts and composites, and more—for endless creative options.

    Perfect Mask 8.5

    Create high-quality masks with state-of-the-art tools that help you select subjects and isolate backgrounds for removal. It's surprisingly easy with Perfect Mask's masking technology, powerful brushes, and clean up tools that quickly create an initial mask and let you fine-tune areas for high quality and accurate masks—even around hair and trees and through glass and veils.


    The suite is on sale through May 22. The sale price includes some extra presets and textures. Personally I use the Suite package that acts as plugins for Aperture and Lightroom. Using the Suite's Layers and Mask programs, I deleted PS and PSE from my Mac.

    http://www.ononesoftware.com/products/suite8/
     
  4. nburwell macrumors 68040

    nburwell

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    #4
    While I tried their plugin's and really were not impressed, you can give Topaz Labs a whirl if you're so inclined: http://www.topazlabs.com/store

    Even though Google purchase NIK, I still swear by their plugin's. To me, they are essential in my post processing workflow.
     
  5. Michaelgtrusa macrumors 604

    Michaelgtrusa

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    #5
    The premium version of Perfect Effects might still be free.
     
  6. Commy1 macrumors 6502a

    Commy1

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    Feb 25, 2013
    #6
    I find my most used plug-in is Photomatix for HDR photography. Takes some tinkering, and it's still not updated to work properly with Retina displays for the preview image, but the final product is fantastic.
     
  7. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #7
    You probably already know this... but with U-Point... you are only operating on objects with similar shading/texture of the reference point. Hence... the shape of the brush is generally not that important.

    I tend to think of it as being able to restrict operations from undesired areas rather than applying changes to specific scene elements. Hence, the reason why the shape of the brush is seldom important.

    /Jim

    ----------

    I originally paid $450 for my NIK suite. Once Google purchased NIK... it was $150.

    I am not complaining. It is still one of the best $450 items I've ever purchased.

    /Jim
     
  8. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #8
    I agreed about Nik. I have both it and Perfect Photo. There is surprisingly no much overlap in those two sets of programs. Both are worth the money.
     
  9. InfiniteLoopy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    #9
    Thanks for the replies.


    It looks good but there's no noise reduction like in Nik, is there?

    I can only find the basic version free. Link?


    My experience has been different. Though the U-point is really easy to use, I find that with black and white, I sometimes wish I could "brush in/out" an effect as the subtleties of the shades are still affected. Nik doesn't have brushes/masks like that do they?

    It's not the price really, but the Google-ownership that bothers me. Putting Google's policies aside, having such a pro tool being owned by a consumer-focused company concerns me about its long-term future. Maybe I'm wrong...?

    Maybe that's the way I'll go. I'll wait to see if Apple unveils Aperture X at WWDC.
     
  10. MCAsan, May 21, 2014
    Last edited: May 21, 2014

    MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #10

    Nik has the excellent Dfine program which does a much better job that LR or Aperture. Perfect Photo has a few filters but nothing like Dfine.
    Complete control

    "Dfine lets you adjust contrast and reduce color noise separately, making it easy to control the type and amount of noise reduction applied to your photo.

    Customized to your camera

    Unique profiles are created automatically for each image to ensure that noise reduction is applied only to noise elements so more details are retained.

    Maximize detail

    Add noise reduction only to the areas that need it so you can maximize detail throughout your image. Control points let you remove noise selectively, without using masks."
    "https://www.google.com/nikcollection/products/dfine/

    You can get the plugin license from both companies that will work on Aperture or LR or both. So you can start with the plugins and still have them if you move from one DAM to the other.
     
  11. nburwell macrumors 68040

    nburwell

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    #11
    I never even knew NIK Suite was once $450. I believe I got the suite for $125 when they were running some sort of promotion over a year ago. Best money I spent.
     
  12. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    #12
    If I remember right... The Aperture/LR version was about $300, and the Aperture/LR/PS version was about $500. Both had frequent small discounts.

    /Jim
     
  13. iTiki macrumors 6502

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    Maui, Hawaii
    #13
    Thanks for the tip on this. I have been using Topaz with good results, but this suite offers a few things missing from Topaz or Aperture. $80. seems like a good deal.
     
  14. kallisti, May 26, 2014
    Last edited: May 26, 2014

    kallisti macrumors 65816

    kallisti

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2003
    #14
    I love the NIK software suite, specifically Vivenza 2 for color and Silver Efex Pro for B&W. The U-point technology is amazing. For global adjustments to an image, many programs will achieve the same effect. But often there are specific regions in an image that would benefit from local adjustments and the NIK suite makes this very easy to do without resorting to going to Photoshop and creating masks.

    An example from a recent trip to the San Diego Zoo:

    [​IMG]
    I think the overall exposure is okay but the eyes are too dark and the nose is washed out which resulted in a loss of color which is characteristic of this species. Opened the image with the Vivenza 2 plugin and added two control points, one for the eyes and another for the nose. Boosted the shadows in the eyes and the saturation in the nose. Very quick, easy, and intuitive. Didn't have to create masks in Photoshop.

    Here is the resultant image:

    [​IMG]
    I think it fixed the major problems in the image (though I may go back and try to darken the background next to the right of the animal as I think the colors blend in too much). However, just using this plugin for a quick edit resulted in a dramatic improvement. I love the U-point technology.

    I understand your worries about Google buying it, but I can't imagine using anything else. If it comes down to it, I won't upgrade Lightroom if it ever breaks the NIK plugins.
     
  15. CharlieBrandt09 macrumors 6502

    CharlieBrandt09

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    Southern NJ
    #15
    You guys may have sold me on the Nik software. Plus, I found a 15% code...so that makes it even more tempting.

    Just have to watch some YouTube videos on it.
     
  16. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    Portland, OR
    #16
    The Nik site always had about a billion videos by various artists... basically 1 hour tutorials on how they use Nik. I assume they are still there.

    /Jim
     
  17. kallisti macrumors 65816

    kallisti

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    Apr 22, 2003
    #17
    I recently read a book that really explained how to use the software to its fullest: Nik Software Captured by Tony L. Corbell. Available on iBooks. Very readable and includes great examples for all of the programs in the suite. The U-point technology really "clicked" for me after reading this and I was able to get much more out of the software as a result. Something to consider.
     
  18. CharlieBrandt09 macrumors 6502

    CharlieBrandt09

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    #18
    I;ll have to check it out. I watched some YouTube videos on it, and I started the trial. I am really liking what I've tested out so far.
     
  19. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #19
    Nik's Dfine for noise reduction, Silver Efex Pro for B&W, and Color Efex Pro are hard to beat.

    If you ge the chance, also try the Perfecto Photo Suite 8 trial. Very different set of plugins.
     
  20. Badrottie Suspended

    Badrottie

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  21. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #21
  22. Badrottie Suspended

    Badrottie

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    #22
    I never knew Lightroom have plugins too I always know only Adobe Photoshop for Windows have wealth of plugins. Too bad not many Windows only plugins coming for Mac OS X. I really like Flaming Pears plugins and some others. :apple:
     
  23. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #23
    No plugin can be worth having to go back to Windows. ;)
     

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