4 Replies Latest reply on Jul 11, 2011 11:57 AM by Digital Ambience

    Plugins Worth it, or not?

    Digital Ambience

      I actually did search this out a bit on the forum, and wanted to elborate a bit more on what was said.


      My question is in regards to retouching plugins, both the lighting kid and the skin retouching/models kind. I've seen plenty advertised, but the results make a me skeptical.


      Someone else posted a similar question on here, and a respondent referred them to Katrin Eisman's Photoshop book. Now I own this book, and apply many of her techniques to my own work.


      However, as a frelance retoucher for professional photographers, I've had one in particular complain that I need to purchase some wedding retouching plugin (I can't remember the name of the guy it's named after.). Apparently, her plugin allows her to whiten teeth and smooth skin in one to two steps.


      I persoanlly find the skin to be too soft, but she insists it would save me time (and her money).


      Not wanting to overcharge my customers of course (I'd lose business), I am wondering IF THERE ARE ANY decent skin softening and overall retouching plugins to save time, or are they all poor exscuses for doing it by hand?


      Just as a general guideline on how I'm doing, I retouched a set of twin babies with blond, whispy, fly-away hair and their parents, a set of 30 high-resolution pics in about 2 hours. Mainly hair tidying and teeth/eye whitening (on the babies) as well as general facial retouching on the parents.


      Is this approx right to shoot for, or should I be finding a way to speed things up?





      Digital Ambience Photos

        • 1. Re: Plugins Worth it, or not?
          acresofgreen Level 4

          I sometimes use Portrait Professional to fix up close-up family portraits and I get good results in less time than if I did everything manually.   I do get rid of spots and such in Photoshop first though.  You can increase or lower the strength of the different adjustments (for teeth, skin, hair, eyes) separately from within the plugin, so you have good control over the overall result.  You may be just as fast doing everything manually, I can't be a judge of that.   For photos that are not facial close-ups I lke to use OnOne Software's PhotoTools. There are some great wedding presets, and all presets can be tweaked to one's own preference. I recommend that you test the free trial versions of various plugins to see how they work for you.

          • 2. Re: Plugins Worth it, or not?
            BOSU BABU Level 1

            I am of opinion the more you know about the application itself, less  you will wanting to depend on plugginns .Recently I purchased a star filterplugginn just because I donot know How to do it in photoshop.


            For skinsmoothening I donot purchase the pluginn because I can do it in surface/smart blur in filters.


            I donot think you need to purchase teeth whitener pluginn bacause u can do it comforatably by using brightness adjt tool as a whole (keeping in teeth in mind) and then inverse the alpha channel and next paint(unmask) with white brush on the black alpha channel over teeth to make them bright.


            Some time back I read about screen(blue or green) remover and could build action myself for green screen remover and with color contamination remover in refine edge my action is complete. I donot need to purchase pluginn for screen remover.


            Had I not purchased The photokit plugginn  some years back ,would not have gone for it at this juncture because of the features available in CS5 with userfriendly interface.


            Onone freepresets for both photoshop & Light room are the best and I feel they are doing service by offering them free.But again their skintune can be best manipulated in PS itself.their focal point can be easily managed with in PS with lens blur either by erasing with history brush enabled or by placing original layer over the lens blurred image and selectively masking a part.Their Photo frame can be dispensed if u can purchase masks for small amount in market(Which I did).I agree Onone interface for frames is so nice and comfotable in handling and I purchased their suite just like  I purchased Adobe PP CS5 though I donot use Aftereffects or Sound booth or Flash.


            I want to convey my point that the need for purchase of plgginns is dependent on ones ability to handle the application like photoshop. __Bosu Babu
            • 3. Re: Plugins Worth it, or not?
              Noel Carboni Level 8

              BOSU BABU wrote:


              Recently I purchased a star filterplugginn just because I donot know How to do it in photoshop.


              Thanks, Bosu.  That's an effect that's actually quite difficult to do convincingly in Photoshop proper, and it would take a good bit of time at best.  There are other things Photoshop does not provide, for example deconvolution or the ability to open file formats like FITS that Photoshop does not support directly, that can make purchasing (or downloading a free) plug-in worthwhile.


              There's also kind of a middle ground - that of add-on Actions.  Basically, actions are sequences of Photoshop operations that would be difficult or time consuming to put together in sequence every time you need them, and it does tend to raise up your level of thinking while you're doing photo work to work in terms like "Local Contrast Enhancement" or "Reduce Noise in the Shadows" instead of "Mask Edges, Adjust Curves, put a point here, point there, Adjust Saturation, etc.".  Actions sets to do many things can be found online, some free, some commercial.


              Perhaps the most powerful thing is that well-written plug-ins or actions can help save you time to achieve your results.


              There's really no easy answer to the original post here...  Basically you should determine your needs, then evaluate products that claim to meet those needs.  If you find a good match, that makes your work easier/quicker/have higher quality then a purchase may well be "worth it".




              • 4. Re: Plugins Worth it, or not?
                Digital Ambience Level 1

                Well, I think that does help me a bit more. I did look at Portrait professional a bit, and may end up downloading the free trial version. However, I didn't know how good the actual results would be since I hadn't met anyone who's used it.


                All good points to consider and I definitely agree that actions speed up some tasks as well.


                I just wanted to be certain that there wasn't some well-known plug-in or third-party service I didn't know about that everyone was using