Category Archives Plug-ins

 

Trinity 5sm

1. An Early Morning Shoot for my Book “The Great Indoors”
It’s hard to believe this amazing church is right here in the US — it’s the gorgeous Trinity Church in Boston. I found out about it just two days before I arrived in Boston (many thanks to my assistant Lynn), and we were able to get access to shoot it.

The only chance I could get to shoot it, was early in the morning right before my seminar in Boston (which for someone who likes to get to his seminar very early, was a bit worrisome to me, but it was walking distance from the convention center, so I went for it). The folks at Trinity Church were amazing (thank you Donna!) and I had such a great time shooting, and learning about the history of the church, which was built in the 1800s.

I took a bunch of shots (including the one you see above, taken with a Canon 5D Mark III with an 11-24mm super wide-angle lens. Shot down low on a 3-legged-thing travel tripod, with a Really Right Stuff Ballhead.

I’ll share more shots from the Trinity Church as soon as I get done editing them (the one you see above was only edited in Lightroom – no plug-ins or anything fancy — just my “Seven Point System.” 

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2. Call for Entries: The Photoshop World Guru Awards
If you’re going to the Photoshop World Conference 2016 in July this summer (July 19-21st), you’re invited to enter your images and designs into the prestigious Guru Awards competition. You can submit images for judging for free (this contest is only open to registered Photoshop World attendees, which is actually a good thing, because your chances of winning in a category are amazingly good!). There are a number of categories, from retouching to photography; compositing to illustration among others, and you can enter up to three images total. You can get all the details right here. Good luck, everybody!

https://youtu.be/iIZ4xU4V3HU

3. You’ll Laugh. You’ll Cry. You’ll Kiss 56-seconds Goodbye!
Check out the trailer (above) from just-released class on the now totally free Google Nik Collection of plug-ins for Lightroom and/or Photoshop. I’m getting such great feedback on the class, and I hope you’ll give it a look (if you’re not a KelbyOne member already, sign up for the 10-day free trial and you can watch it right now). Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/234VYGd

Secret title on old paper

4. The hidden advantage of Lightroom’s built-in HDR
I shared a short clip from that Nik Collection class about Lightroom and a hidden advantage you get when you combine your bracketed images in Lightroom (and it’s not what you think). If you’ve got a sec to check out the video (it’s short), jump over to LightroomKillerTips and check it out.

That’s it for today, folks. Hope you have a great weekend, and we’ll see you next week!

Best,

-Scott

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On the heels of Google last week making the entire Nik Collection of plugs-ins absolutely free, I’m doing a online class that will release this Thursday (March 31st) that not only teaches you how to use the collection, I show:

(1) How I use them in my workflow
(2) Exactly which ones are my favorite filters and presets
(3) Which ones I don’t use at all (and why)
(4) Which one, if I was stranded on a desert island, would be the one I couldn’t live without and why
(5) All sorts of little tips and tricks that will help make your experience faster, better, and more fun.

I’ve been saying for years that for so many pro photographers I know, they will tell you that the Nik Collection is their secret weapon — so if you’re a KelbyOne member, I hope you’ll check out my brand new class coming this Thursday.

Again, a big tip of the hat to Google for making these plug-ins available to us all for free, and here’s hoping upon hope that while it looks unlikely, that if there’s a major update to either the Mac or Windows OS some awesome engineer might update it (perhaps on his own, as some rogue engineering doing good outside the walls). Then he or she could be the new hero of “The Resistance.” [vague Star Wars reference].

Full Details coming Thursday
Don’t forget to come back on Thursday to get the direct link to the class — can’t wait to share this with you!

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Hey, did I mention I’m teaching my full day seminar up in Boston on Wednesday? Hundreds of Boston area photographers are already signed up, but it’s not too late for you to come, too!

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OK, not everybody, but I was surprised to see how many people were complaining after Google’s awesome announcement that they were making the entire Nik Collection of plug-ins for Photoshop and Lightroom, available for free download. FREE!

Of course, there are lots of questions after this announcement, so let’s do a quick Q&A on the topic to take us into the weekend.

Q. What is the Google Nik Collection? 
A. Here’s how Google themselves describe it:

The Nik Collection is comprised of seven desktop plug-ins that provide a powerful range of photo editing capabilities — from filter applications that improve color correction, to retouching and creative effects, to image sharpening that brings out all the hidden details, to the ability to make adjustments to the color and tonality of images.

Q. So, you use these plug-ins?
A. Absolutely. Daily. I’ve been telling people for years that the Nik Collection is the pro photographer’s secret weapon.

Q. So let me get this straight — Google takes this amazing plug-in collection, which they were selling for $149, and they announce it’s now free, and some people are already hatin’ on them?
A. Oh, Absolutely. Welcome to the Internet, where lots of people are literally just waiting to be outraged about something. I’ve always said if you stood on a street corner and passed out free $100 bills, you could literally count the seconds before someone came up and said, “Are you kidding me? Where am I going to break a $100 bill? Can’t you give me five $20s instead?” 

Q. Like, what kind of stuff are they saying?
A. Stuff like: “So if I bought it in 2015, I’m f#@$d right?” or “…bit pissed as i paid full wack just over a year ago and not even partial refund. Will be the last google product i buy if they just keep giving things away”  or “Very disappointed, I bought it in 2015. Nice you make it free but you should refund your previous licenses.”

Q. Haven’t they had the use of this software all this time, before it was free?
A. Yes.

Q. So why are they so mad?
A. Apparently Google didn’t have five $20s. (see my answer to the 3rd question above).

Q. Isn’t this awesome that they’re giving this incredible plug-in package away for free?
A. I think it is. A lot of folks who could never afford it will now have access to it. I think that’s awesome!

Q. Does this mean that future updates for this collection have ceased?
A. Based on what I’ve read, I absolutely think that is the case, but I haven’t confirmed it with anyone inside Google yet.

Q. So, what if I download it today, and then there’s a major Mac OS or Windows update down the road and then it doesn’t work anymore. Will Google do an update to fix it?
A. Not as best as I can tell, so use it today and enjoy it for as long as it works.

Q. But that’s not fair!
A. You’re right. You should ask Google for your money back from that free download. Oh…wait…

Q. What if I bought it back in February? 
A. Google said they are automatically giving full refunds to anyone who bought the collection in 2016.

Q. Are you certain about that?
A. The older I get, the more I realize I’m not certain about anything, but that’s what they said in their post.

Q. What if I bought it back in December and I missed the cutoff?
A. Then you only had to pay $37.50 a month to use it until now, which for this suite is totally worth it, but that is still kind of a bummer. I’ve bought stuff the very week before it goes on sale. It happens, but you’ll get past it.

Q. Can’t I write angry comments about how unfair that is?
A. Absolutely, and you should use a lot of cuss words!

Q. Will that help?
A. Not one bit.

Q. Will Google ever release a Nik Collection Version 5?
A. I would love that, but based on their post about why they are making it free, it seems fairly clear that their desktop plug-in days are over (that was my take on it anyway). However, if they do one day come out with a new version, I imagine they would charge for it; I would definitely buy it, but I imagine it would be worth it.

Q. So, do you know something secret here?
A. I do, but it’s not about version 5. The secret stuff I know is about the supposed 1969 Apollo moon landing, and the plane that never crashed into the Pentagon, and the JFK assassination, but I’m not at liberty to say, because they’re watching me. They’re always watching.

Q. Were there any nice comments on Google’s announcement post?
A. Thankfully, there were many tucked in and around the whining. Some very grateful folks, and I was happy to see that.

Q. What was your favorite?
A. This one from Ray Akey:

“Funny to see all the reactions on this one. Free software is good for everyone, no matter what, especially when it comes from a company known for their excellent plugins because a lot of shareware and freeware is crap! Personally, I have only used SilverFX and it is a pretty nice piece of software. I’ll glady download and check this out. Thanks Nik and Google! Whiners: Poo!”

Q. That guy rocks, right?
A. Right! I love his attitude.

Q. So, where can I download the free Nik Collection?
A. Here’s the link.

Q. Should I write a mean comment here on your blog for taking the side of the non-complainers?
A. Believe it or not, there are bigger fish to fry in the world today than you complaining that somebody is getting something for free that you had to pay for a year or two ago. Instead, you should be happy that a good thing happened to a lot of photographers all over the world through this gift from Google. If you bought it beforehand, you should be thankful for the time you got to use it and how awesome it made your images look; you should not expect that Google will ever provide a free update to this free software, but know that you’ll still be able to somehow carry on.

Be thankful that there are brilliant geniuses that created this software in the first place, and that Google is so successful they can give it away to us for free, and instead of focusing on the negative side of things, why not take a deep breath, be glad you’re alive; enjoy your weekend, and we’ll see you back here on Monday. :)

Best,

-Scott

 

OK gang, two quick things:

(1) You know my new strict rule; if a company offers us (you, me, my readers, etc.) a “This Weekend Only” deal, it has to be a real killer deal, and it has to be exclusive to the readers of this blog (not just another regular discount they offer just anybody).

(2) I’m only letting companies offer these deal if I know them, and think their products rock (even though I know that his somewhat limits how many companies I’ll be able to get to do deal for you like this).

This week’s deal has both: an exclusive deal, never offered before, on a kick-butt product. The deal is on a group of six Photoshop plug-ins called the Topaz Photoshop Bundle.” The star product in this bundle (in my mind anyway) is Topaz Adjust—which I featured in my Gonzo Gift Guide this year—and it, by itself, it worth the price alone, but you get five other plug-ins as well.

Here’s the deal:
They are offering you guys, “This weekend only” the bundle of all six plug-ins at $119.95, which is $60.00 off their regular price of $179.99. They swear this is the biggest discount they’ve ever offered, and that’s exactly what I was looking for—their biggest discount ever.

To get this special deal, you’ll need to enter the coupon code SCOTTKELBY at checkout

To learn more, watch the video above (I snagged it from their site), which talks about the plug-ins, and I can’t speak for them all, but I use Topaz Adjust all the time, and it so rocks!!!! (I learned about it in the first place from other readers of this blog).

Disclaimers
This deals ends at 12:00 Midnight EST this Sunday. Also, this deal cannot be retrofitted on previous purchases or extended past the firm weekend deadline, so in short; no whining.

Thanks much to the Eric and the gang at Topaz for offering such a cool deal.

suite5-awards-boxes

Hey gang—the huge success of last week’s MPIX.com deal really paid off, and we’ve been in contact with a number of companies who are willing to give you guys a “This Weekend Only” special discount.

This week, the fine folks over at OnOne Software are offering readers of my blog $200 off their new “Plug-In Suite 5” which includes the most recent versions of their award-winning Photoshop Plug-ins:

  1. Genuine Fractals for resizing
  2. Mask Pro for removing unwanted backgrounds
  3. PhotoTune for color correction
  4. FocalPoint for selective focus
  5. PhotoTools and PhotoFrame for amazing photographic effects

The suite is regularly $599.95, but until this Sunday (Nov. 22nd) at midnight EST you can take $200.00 off using the following Coupon Code:

PSINSIDER

Thanks to Mike Wong and everybody at OnOne for making this smoking “This Weekend Only” Deal available to my readers!

After my review here on the blog of the Lucis Pro 6 plug-in (link), I had a number of readers asking if I had tried the Topaz Adjust plug-in, as they felt it gave a similar high-contrast look for a fraction of Lucis Pro’s nearly $600 price tag (Topaz Adjust sells for $49).

So, I downloaded the Topaz Adjust Photoshop plug-in a few months ago and have been using it when I got the right type of image to edit, and I wanted to share my thoughts on the plug-in and give some examples.

DISCLAIMER: If you hate this high-contrast, under saturated, over-sharpened looking effect, please just skip this post altogether.

Initial Thoughts
When I first started using Topaz Adjust, it was still on version 2 and while I liked the effects themselves, the interface was….well….it needed some work. Luckily, the latest version (version 3), is a big improvement when it comes to Interface issues and most of my gripes from the previous version have been addressed.

While I know that both Lucis Art’s plug-ins and Topaz Adjust do numerous effects, what people seem to be buying these for primarily is the extreme contrast, almost illustrated, hyper-sharp look that’s so popular, so I’m going to focus on that area of the plug in.

The Results
Taking the plug-in through its paces:

topaz-1

First, let’s look at our unretouched original (above), then let’s open the Topaz Adjust plug-in (shown below).

topaz-2

The resizable filter window (shown above) has a number of presets along the left side, and it has a decent-sized thumbnail so you can see a preview of how a particular effect will look before you even click on it. (You click on the thumbnail to apply a look. You can scroll through the effects and see them applied in the larger preview window using the Up/Down arrow keys on your keyboard, which is very handy.)

If you find a preset you like, you just click OK, and the filter is applied (it took 24 seconds to apply the filter on a 12-megapixel image on my MacBook Pro laptop).

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The image above has the preset “Psychedelic” applied, which I thought looked fairly close the same effect you’d get with the Lucis Pro filter.

topaz-4

The effect seemed a little over the top, so after I applied it, I went immediately under Photoshop’s Edit menu and chose Fade, then I lowered the intensity to just 60% (as seen in the image above).

If you want to tweak the settings, there are a row of tabs under the main Preview window where you can tweak the Exposure, Detail, Color, and Noise.

Once I saw how the effect looked, I thought it would be interesting to see how the Topaz Adjust effect compared to the Lucis Pro plug-in look, so I went back to the original unretouched image and tried the Lucis Pro 6.0 plug-in (shown below).

topaz-5

Here’s the Lucis Pro 6.0 Interface window. I lowered the Enhance Detail amount to 60 and clicked OK.

topaz-6

You can see the effect looks fairly similar (shown above). I also wanted to compare the effect using the same image I had used in a previous article (the image is of rapper 10-Minute).

topaz-7b

Here’s the original image (above), right out of the camera.

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The image above has the Lucis Pro 6.0 plug-in applied at that same setting of 60.

topaz-8

Here’s the same original image but with the Topaz Adjust filter applied (using the same Psychedelic preset). You can see the obvious green color cast on this image, so I hit “undo” and then went back to the filter to tweak the settings.

topaz-9

Here’s the same filter with just one setting tweaked: I clicked on the Color tab and lowered the Adaptive Saturation amount to zero. How did I know which slider to adjust? I didn’t. I just dragged each one back and forth until I found one that did it. I know—pretty high-tech, eh? ;-)

The Bottomline
While the underlying mathematical algorithm in the Lucis Pro 6.0 plug-in will probably produce a technically better image with less noise, they both create a somewhat similar effect. However, in my opinion there are three big advantages that the Topaz Adjust plug-in has that really tip the scales in its favor big time.

  1. The affordable $49 price tag. That’s nearly $550 cheaper than the Lucis Pro 6.0 plug-in. Yikes!
  2. The fact that it doesn’t require a hardware dongle (like the Lucis Pro plug-in does), is huge. In fact, the whole hardware dongle thing with Lucis Pro is a deal killer for me right off the bat, and I know a lot of people feel the same way.
  3. The thumbnail previews, and ability to toggle through them live, is a big advantage and makes the tool that much more usable.

Thus far, the plug-in has performed flawlessly for me (not a single problem on two different machines), but as I mentioned; it’s not the fastest plug-in in town. That’s really shouldn’t be an issue, unless you’re applying this look to a few hundred photos (and I’m praying you don’t).

NOTE: The most common way I use this plug-in, is to duplicate the layer; apply the filter on this duplicate layer, then hide this layer behind a layer mask (Option/Alt click the Layer Mask icon), then just reveal the effect where I want it by painting in white with a soft-edged brush.

While both plug-ins will do much more than I’ve outlined here, if you’re looking for this particular look, and you want a plug-in to do all the heavy lifting for you, it’s hard to beat what Topaz Adjust offers at such an incredibly affordable price.

You can download a free fully-working trial version from the Topaz Labs website, and give it a try yourself.

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