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Posts Tagged ‘Adobe Photoshop plug in

Product Review: Mystical Tint Tone and Color 2.0

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Article and Images by Diane Berkenfeld

Mystical Tint Tone and Color 2.0 (MTTC) is a major upgrade of the suite of production oriented filters from AutoFX Software. The software comes as a stand-alone application and Photoshop plug-in. Mystical Tint Tone and Color 2.0 is compatible with Windows-based PCs running Windows 2000/XP/Vista and Mac OS X (all versions); the Photoshop plug-in works with Photoshop CS4, CS3, CS2, CS, and Photoshop v.7.0.

Plug-ins like Mystical Tint Tone and Color 2.0 are great because they give you the ability to make enhancements and alter your images creatively in one step—without the trouble of having to spend hours in Photoshop trying figure out how to do so. They do save you a lot of time.

Photographers can use the filters either globally or by brushing on/off the filter effect manually, as well as using tools like the gradient path and ellipse that let you blend the effect across a photo using Bezier based control paths. The new Effect Mask tool blends the filter through special content filters and masks that give a stylized look.

MTTC 2.0 lets you combine an unlimited number of filter effects, and easily delete unwanted layers—as it works by creating a new layer, leaving the original untouched. MTTC 2.0 supports .psd, .tif, .bmp, .jpg, and .png file formats. When you save a file as a Photoshop document (.psd), the effect(s) are exported onto a layered document with full transparency. The software supports Adobe Photoshop actions, layers and last filter commands.

Screenshot of an image within MTTC 2.0. Note the dialog box with the filter options on the left.

In addition to the 60 production filters, the software includes a collection of over 300 instant effect presets.  The software’s user interface is simple to navigate, offering you the option to further enhance the presets, making the effects stronger or weaker. The filters are categorized in groups: Color effects, toning effects, smoothing, lens filters, special, sharpening, HDR filters, and portrait. You can preview either by the full screen or split screen in numerous split configurations.

Cool features:

One of the cool features of the software is that you can stack effects using Effect layers and then save that combination as a Layer Present that can be applied to other images. This allows you to create your own custom library of effects. When you add effect layers you instantly see the changes and can decide right then to delete a layer or not; no need to save the file and rerun other filters.

I really like the software because it allows you to dial back the preset if you feel its too strong, or to increase the effect if you want more of a certain effect. This flexibility means you can make any tweaks within the program—you don’t have to let the filter do its thing and then go to another menu to dial back the effect or run it again to add more strength, as some plug-ins require you to do.

The filters in Mystical Tint Tone and Color 2.0 are realistic looking, and that’s important because you want to make enhancements that are believable. Often you want a subtle effect, so viewers of the image will not be able to tell right away that it was “Photoshopped.”

Some of my favorite filters include the B&W Conversions. The example below is of a portrait that was converted using the Soft Black and White filter. Once you run it, you can change the color filtration used. For instance, for folks who remember shooting B&W film, to get a nice contrast tone in the sky you might have used a yellow or orange filter on the lens, and to get really deep sky tone you’d have used a red filter—well you can do this digitally. Just choose which color filter you want used and you’ll see the effect on the tones in your image. I also love the Moon Glow; the Sharp Contrast results are gorgeous; the Gradient Tinting is cool; and so are the Sepia and Color Tone filters. Many of the filters add vibrancy and enrich the colors of your image and really add punch.

The original image of Michael.

Final image after converting to Soft B&W, with the yellow filtration.

AutoFX provides training videos at: http://www.autofx.com/videos-training/mystical_2_list.html and detailed tutorials at: http://www.autofx.com/tutorials/mystical_2_list.html.

Price and Availability: estimated street price of Mystical Tint Tone and Color 2.0 is $249. Upgrades from previous versions are available for $129. Go to www.autofx.com for more information.

Product Review: Auto FX Software’s Photo/Graphic Edges Platinum Edition v.7

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By Diane Berkenfeld

I’m going to begin the review of Auto FX Software’s Photo/Graphic Edges Platinum Edition v.7 at the beginning—with installation. Photo/Graphic Edges will take about 30 minutes to install, not the five to 10 minutes that the installer says. And it may not look like it is doing anything right away, but be patient because it will install correctly. The software is Mac and Windows-based PC compatible and will work as a plug-in with Photoshop versions 7 through CS4 or as a stand-alone program. on a computer running at least MAC OS X (on an Intel or PPC Mac) or on a Windows-based PC, running Windows 2000, XP or Vista.

This version of Photo/Graphic Edges includes 32 new edge, border and frame effects. With all of the edges, frames, borders and overlays, adornments and embellishments you have thousands of options. For the pro photographer who wants to be able to add edges to a wide variety of images from baby and child photography to teens, seniors, couples and families, Photo/Graphic Edges provides edges, borders and frames appropriate for all. The software also features powerful tools to alter the edges, frames and borders. Many of them can be tweaked in a number of ways, from changing the hue, opacity, and other characteristics.

One of the additions to this version is the ability to add multiple layers to create unique images. You can save these new borders, edges and frames as presets so you can use them again. Photo/Graphic Edges Platinum Edition v.7 includes 300 pre-made layouts and instant effects, as well as the ability to add your own presets. Other new features include new storyboards and the ability to brush on edges. Auto FX Software has also improved the program with the addition of a new rendering engine and interface updates. An example of this is larger content previews. The content collections have also been reorganized so it’s easier to find what you want. And a favorites feature has also been added.

Using Photo/Graphic Edges

The software is simple to use, as a Photoshop plug-in or a stand-alone product, you launch the software, open an image and choose an edge, frame or border. You can add embellishments, adornments and overlays. If you don’t like the edges you’ve chosen, simply delete that layer and choose another. The edges and frames load pretty quickly too, so you won’t find yourself waiting.

When you are done with one image, and want to move on to another, you just open the new image and that automatically closes the first. It would be nice in a future version to have a ‘close image’ choice in the File menu, if only because everyone associates the word with the act of closing a working file.

When working with Edges, regardless of the one you choose, they reshape to fit the dimensions of the photo. When you are working with Frames, the Transform tool allows you to scale and position the photo as you want. There are actually two transform tools, transform frame/edges and transform photo so you can tweak the frame or edges and the photo exactly how you want. Auto FX notes that the Transform tools are dynamic and non-destructive.

Images can be saved as Bitmap, JPG, TIFF, and PSD files, however the software saves the PSD files flattened but with full transparency, so you can’t make any changes among the layers when opened in Photoshop. You need to do all photo editing and manipulation in Photoshop before you import the photo into Photo/Graphic Edges. One other thing you need to be aware of is that when you’re working with an image and Quit out of the stand-alone program, it will quit without asking if you want to save what you’re working with, so just don’t be too quick with your keyboard shortcuts. When you’re working with the plug-in, and Quit, it cancels the plug-in and returns you back to the host program, for example Photoshop.

I love the photo realistic darkroom edges like the filed out film holders, Polaroid film and Polaroid transfers. One of the cool things about the software is that you can add backgrounds for a full layout. Backgrounds include colors, gradients, textures, and more. Many of the frames and edges are for a single image, but there are also two-up and quad frames that can each hold a different photo. You can add text to images as well. There are frames that are designed to look like actual frames, as well as scrapbook style frames, embellishments and layouts. There are also geometric, digital, traditional, artistic, and more modern edges and frames as well as vignettes.

For software that incorporates so much content—a thousands items—you’ll have plenty to browse from, to find that exact frame or edge for your images. Photo/Graphic Edges Platinum Edition v.7 offers photographers such a wide range of options, that practically anything is possible. So much so, in fact, that you should definitely take a look at the manual before you begin, it comes as a PDF file. You might also want to view the free video tutorials on the Auto FX Software website.

For more information, go to the website at www.autofx.com.