While both posts are specific to Photoshop, the first one (Working with Blend Modes) is useful for people using other layer- or effects-based apps with blend mode options, like ON1 Photo RAW, Skylum’s Luminar, and Alien Skin’s Exposure X3, among others.
(See our Bookmarks post from last fall for more about Julianne, and why we think she’s worth following.)
DxO Labs has released its first version of the Nik Software plug-ins since acquiring the suite last year from Google. Nik Collection 2018, provides compatibility with the current versions of Photoshop CC, Lightroom Classic CC and Photoshop Elements, and includes 64-bit support for both macOS and Windows; there are no other new features. According to a company spokesman,
“It was necessary to recover and recompile source code that had not been maintained for a long time in order to make it compatible with the latest versions of Adobe products and the latest Apple OS updates. This is a first step that allows us to start afresh.”
The seven plug-ins included with the Nik Collection—Color Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro, HDR Efex Pro, Analog Efex Pro, Viveza, Dfine, and Sharpener Pro—perform color and black and white effects, selective color editing, noise reduction and sharpening to your images. Originally created by Nik Software, the plug-ins were acquired by Google when the company purchased Nik in 2012, and were left to languish as Google’s photo priorities changed. (Google originally sold them for $150, and ultimately made them free, but as time went on, they became incompatible with newer versions of the CC apps.)
If you’re using adjustment brushes inside Lightroom (Classic or CC) or Adobe Camera Raw, check out Matt Kloskowski’s latest video tutorial, Advanced Brush Settings in Lightroom and Photoshop, which talks about how to use the Flow and Density settings to get better targeted adjustments during your editing sessions. Matt’s explanation of why you want to play with those (rarely discussed) settings is spot-on, and he even includes a sample file for you to follow along with his edits.
Matt is one of the best post-processing and photography instructors out there—as well as an excellent photographer, workshop leader and all-around good guy—and he’s worth following, especially if you’re inside the Adobe ecosystem. He regularly posts great short videos on his site and his Facebook page, and his Photoshop System and Lightroom System courses are the best comprehensive video courses in the market.
The Photoshop Automator Action Pack has been updated for Photoshop CC 2018, and you can buy the latest version at RobotPhotoshop.com. This is a collection of Automator Actions that allow you to drive Photoshop from Apple’s Automator on Mac OS X. If you’ve never used Automator before, it provides a simple, drag and drop mechanism for creating complex automated workflows. Of course, Photoshop has its own Actions built-in actions facility, but Automator lets you build automations that include other applications, in addition to Photoshop. What’s more, with the Photoshop Automator Action Pack you can build workflows that include branching logic – different operations can be applied to different images based on their size, orientation, bit depth and more. If you’d like to experiment with Automator, a free version of the Photoshop Automator Action Pack is also available at RobotPhotoshop.com along with lots of tutorial videos.
There must be a million websites devoted to photography (Google says as much), ranging from gear coverage to portfolios, photo news, opinions, business, learning, and more. Given the nature of this (yet another) photo site, I have to pay attention to more than I probably should, but most of you probably have a few that you check from time to time. If you work within the Photoshop and Lightroom post-production world, I have one that you should add: Julieanne Kost’s blog over at Adobe.com. Julieanne is an evangelist for Adobe, and her 2006 book, Window Seat: The Art of Digital Photography & Creative Thinking, is a beautiful, thoughtful meditation on creativity, and one of the books I always have close to me for inspiration. It is unfortunately out of print, but you can still find used copies here and there, and, if you have an iPad (or Mac), you can purchase an ebook version for under $5. (She also recently published Passenger Seat, a tutorial-based book designed to help you develop your own photographic project.)
November 9, 2012 by Ben Long & filed under Reviews
To me, one of the most unexpected byproducts of digital photography is that it has rekindled tremendous interest in film processes of one kind or another. Alien Skin’s Exposure 4 plug-in for Photoshop lets you explore all sorts of film processes without ever having to soak your hands in noxious chemicals. I recently spent some time with the latest version, and was pleased to find that it remains an excellent option for users who want either a specific traditional film look, or any kind of analog, or grunge process. You can read my entire review here.
February 25, 2012 by Ben Long & filed under Features
In most of your image editing endeavors, you probably find yourself striving to achieve more contrast in your images. This probably leads you to crank up black points, and make sure your whites are as white as possible. There are times, though, when less contrast will give you a better image. I first covered this idea in 2005, in this article. Recently, the subject came to my attention again, as I decided that the best way to handle an image was to dramatically reduce the contrast. This time, I took a different approach to solving the problem.
The Photoshop Automator Actions v5.0.3 Updater is now available. This package updates delivers numerous bug fixes and tweaks, and adds Lion compatibility. Available for CS4 and CS5, the update is free to all users of both the free and Pro versions of the Photoshop Automator Actions Collection version 5. Updates are available here.
For this updater to work, you must have a copy of the version 5 package installed. (Obviously, you’ll need to install the updater package that matches the version that you have installed, either CS4 or CS5, free or Pro.)
February 11, 2011 by Ben Long & filed under Features
The last step of any photo workflow is to sharpen and output. If your final goal is an image for the web or email, then output simply means resizing and saving your image. If your final output is to print using an online printing service, then you’ll need to follow their size, resolution, and format specifications very carefully. Similarly, if your final destination is your own desktop printer, you’ll also need to set size and resolution before you print. While choosing size is pretty simple – you just resize the image to the printing dimensions that you want – choosing a correct resolution is a little trickier. In this article, we look at exactly what you need to consider when choosing a resolution for desktop inkjet printing.
A photographer friend recently sent me this extraordinary collection of color images shot during the Depression. One of the things that’s fascinating about looking at them is that we simply are not accustomed to this subject matter being in color. It’s a fine example of McCluhan’s “medium is the message” idea. Your choices of black and white or color, grungy or sharp, saturated or muted – all of these have a huge impact on the reaction the viewer will have. For film photographers, many of these decisions are determined by film choice, and the ability to choose specific films to achieve a particular look or feel is one of the great advantages of film shooting. Alien Skin Exposure, a sophisticated film-simulating Photoshop plug-in, gives this same power to digital photographers. Read more »