Strange question, I'll try to keep this succinct. I've been shooting for about a year now and am currently trying to learn post-processing techniques. I'm not really into over-stylized images, I like them realistic but "enhanced" It all started when I took a bunch of shots in low-light without a flash, 60D went up to ISO 6400 and everything seemed ok on the viewfinder but predictably they were grainy as all hell when viewed full size. So I started looking into NR within Aperture but that didn't make too much of a difference, so I trialled Lightroom. Had some good features and the RAW/NR processing seemed a bit better, but I went back to Aperture for ease of use. Then I started looking into DxO, then PTLens and Noise Ninja, which led to Nik Dfine and Viveza/Color Efex. As it stands now I'm re-processing all of my old photos, running through PTLens then Dfine then back to Aperture for further adjustments. The question I have is what plugins/steps would you consider absolutely essential in your workflow? Have I gone off on a tangent worrying about fixing noise/lens distortion in otherwise fine photos, or is this something every hobbyist/semi-pro deals with to make their shots look the best they can?