Anything Photoshop or Photography


Image of folk art at the Minsk Library in Belarus

Had a bit of a glitch last week and a blog was missed. Occasionally I will be skipping a week here or there but hopefully I can give you some notice. There is a lot going on in the Photoshop plugin world. Therefore this week here is a run down of recent plugin news and my take on it all.

  • On1 (for website link, see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) has released for free their On1 Effects Standalone 2019 – this contains just the Effects module and can be opened from inside Photoshop as a plugin. Personally I think this is Huge! I would suggest downloading it if you do not have and see what you think of their filter and preset effects. There is no link available for access to the On1 catalog or Develop module, just the Effects module. All the presets and filters are still available and all their brush tools. For me, my computer runs a little hard when using On1 so it helps when all the catalog info is not added – I am a Lightroom user so this is a bit of overkill for me. Smart objects can still be used to save all the settings for further adjustment as before.

Image of a Pink Hibiscus Tree in Maui, Hawaii

The Pink Hibiscus Tree image from Maui above used On1’s Effects LUTs filter called Campari set to 79%, Photo Filter at 58% opacity with Filter Type blue (#25425c), Lens Flare Type Sunspot, and Border using Sloppy Border 19. It is nice to be able to access their filters so quickly and I have always felt their borders are unmatched.

  • Topaz (for website link, see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) released their latest update this week, this time to Topaz Adjust and it is now called Adjust AI. The AI effect can be turned off, set to standard or to an HDR Style. I am finding the HDR Style is interesting. The standard Adjust sliders are still available but they have added Precision Contrast and Precision Detail into the plug-in which adds a lot of extra versatility to the filter. Also available are Split Tone and Grain sections. Note that the presets can be found by clicking on the Blue Back circle at the top over the Navigator window – would not probably know that as it is not labeled. If you own Topaz Adjust, Topaz Detail, or Topaz Clarity already, it is a free upgrade. I will write a review soon on this plugin once I have had a chance to work with it on several different kinds of images. The hotel swimming pool shown below is one I did use it on just to show what it looks like.

Image of a hotel swimming pool in Palm Beach, Florida

One of my main issues with Topaz AI is that there is no way to mask out effects for each of the sections. Not sure why this has not been implemented yet, but I am sure they will soon. Also there is no way to adjust the strength in each of the sections except in the AI section. This image used the Standard AI setting at a Strength of 0.53. No Brightness sliders were used but the Micro Contrast slider was set to 0.26 and Medium 0.34 along with Detail Medium slider set to 0.39 – had to be very careful here as it can over-crunch the image with too much detail. What these settings did do is bring out the reflection in the water very nicely. Split Tone was set to Highlight Sat 0.25 and Hue 0.13, Shadow Sat 0.16 and Hue 0.69, and Balance of 0.26. My image was still too crunchy so the plugin was applied and a black layer mask added. Just the areas needed were painted back. I do believe that the image has that Adjust look to it. Added some elements from PixelSquid to add a little pizzazz to the image and the Brushed Rose texture from the Adobe Paper Texture Pro panel – set to 42% opacity and Overlay blend mode.

  • Just a note that Skylum’s Luminar 3 (for website link, see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) did update recently – mainly improving the catalog aspect of their program. My recent blog (see my Luminar Flex – Exactly What Is It? blog) explains why you should download Flex since the main program will not contain the Effects section of the program in the future.

Image of the grounds at the Harry P. Leu Gardens in Orlando, Florida

The image above was taken at the Harry P. Leu Gardens – I was really just testing the settings on my camera but the tree detail turned out incredible. Thought the image made another good example of using Luminar Flex. I am getting so I really like their filters. The above used Advanced Contrast, Structure, Top & Bottom Lighting, Image Radiance and LUT Mapping using my SJ Darkly Bright preset created in my video here. (LUT files made for PS can be used with Luminar also – just Import from LUT section and go to your .cube folder to load.) No Detail Enhancer used, just Structure. The bird object is my image and the Wolf is from PixelSquid.

  • DxO has released the Nik Collection 2 where 42 new presets were added (there are 10 new recipes for Color Efex Pro, 10 new B&W presets in Silver Efex Pro, 12 new HDR presets in HDR Efex Pro, and 10 new tool combos in Analog Efex Pro) in a new interface. Here is a link to a good review on this program. Regarding the old Nik (Google) Collection of plugins, there is a lot of confusion as to whether they still work. The problem is that the Nik Panel does not work but the filters all work just fine. Since I never used their panel (if using filter as a Smart Object Layer, the panel was not available). Since I always use a Smart Object for their filters, it has not been a problem for me. The work-around is to add a layer mask onto the Nik filter layer and brush the effect in or out on the mask. I have not tried out the newer version, but will be soon. As far as I can tell, the new presets are the major improvement.
  • The image at the top used Topaz Denoise AI which I am finding I really like and am using on almost every image. Usually I like to set the Noise Level lower (used 0.35) and Enhance Sharpen higher (used 0.70) – really works better for me than Topaz Sharpen AI at this point in time. Note that Topaz has now added their AI Clear as a choice in the Select a Model drop-down menu so you do not have to open Topaz Studio to use it.

Well hope this catches everybody up and you get a chance to check out the new things going on in the plugin field. It seems everything always comes out at once! Have a great start to your Summer!…..Digital Lady Syd

2 responses

  1. Ann Mackay

    The number of possibilities in software is quite boggling these days…thanks for this great round-up. Not sure when I’ll ever be able to really catch up though!

    06/22/2019 at 7:22 pm

  2. Thank you for the updates!

    06/28/2019 at 8:16 am

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