Let me be Perfectly Clear

By Mark

 

A thousand years ago, last fall, we attended the Kelby training in DC. We had the chance to visit with Levi Sim and Rich Harrington from Photofocus who were demonstrating their new editing app. Perfectly Clear.  Originally developed to automate and speed up batch processing of photo shoots, they have released it as both as a stand-alone program and as plug-ins for Lightroom and Photoshop. The interfaces are very different from either program and are intended to be much more user friendly.

I've been very impressed at how well the results work and have been reprocessing some of my favorite portraits.  I've always liked the way that OnOne’s Perfect Portrait worked, but in some cases it was a bit over processed and looked too “retouched”.  So far, I've found it easier to get more subtle results much more quickly and in far less time.  Here are the “After “and “Before” images of what I was able to do to a photo of my sister.   

These adjustments took less than 2 minutes of work. 

The user interface is much simpler and the Presets Panel is really the easiest place to start. 

 They have 2 beginning points for people, Beautify and Beautify+.  Since I’m focusing on portraits for this one; this is what they look like when they are applied.   

Beautify

Beautify

Beautify+   Looks like a bit too much Botox

Beautify+   Looks like a bit too much Botox

You can tell that Beautify Plus really smooths out the skin, perhaps just a bit too much.

Luckily there is a very easy to use adjustment panel.  

The panel gives you precise control over most of the attributes you are trying to adjust. 

In the “Portrait”  sub-panel you can adjust just how smooth you want the skin to appear, how white you want the teeth to be and it will help you find and treat any pimples or other blemishes.

Face slimming is a smarter and much more controlled way to basically use the PS liquefy filter.  It subtly and realistically narrows the facial features.  It can counteract both camera induced and any natural jowls.

Jawline and collar subtly adjusted

Jawline and collar subtly adjusted

The “Eye” panel brightens the eyes and even fixes the Dark Circles and lines around the eyes. 

Dark Circles effect at 0, or off

Dark Circles effect at 0, or off

Voila--No more circles

Voila--No more circles

The “eye enlarge” helps achieve the popular model effect where bigger eyes are considered prettier.   You can easily go too far.

The SW also automates adding in a “catchlight” into your subjects eyes.   This gives them that extra “pop”, that you see in most magazine shots.

One of the things that make Perfectly Clear stand out is something you may not have noticed in these brief descriptions.  Nowhere along the way are you required to find and carefully select any of these features.   They have designed the algorithms to automatically and very accurately find them and only apply the effects in those areas.   Once you have made adjustments that suit you and your style, then you can save them as your own preset.   The software lets you batch process lots of images in the background, which can really speed up your workflow.     Next time, we will look at the other tools for working on landscapes and the tools for working on really dark images.

It’s Alive! It’s Alive!

By Mark

Back in the 28 January blog I was singing the praises of the new features found in the OnOne Perfect Photo Suite 8 while lamenting the lack of updates from NiK software since their purchase by Google.  Well since then there have been two rays of light in the tunnel.  One of Adobe’s Photoshop most engaging engineers/managers decided it was time for a change.   John Nack moved over to Google and is now working on their imagery software. Just two weeks ago, Nik introduced a major update to a previously sort of blah module in the Nik Collection.  The Analog EfexPro2 lets you add a lot of film effects and transforms your images as if they were shot with some very different cameras.  http://jnack.com/blog/2014/05/14/introducing-analog-efex-pro-2-part-of-the-nik-collection/

Like the other members of the Nik collection, you can edit them directly from Lightroom or open the image first in Photoshop.  

The top level menu illustrates the kinds of things you can accomplish. I started out with one of the models from PSW and what is a decent shot.

 The first pull-down menu gives you choices for various types of cameras-ranging from Classic to Toy Cameras, like the LOMO.  

The Wet Plate camera provides some interesting starting points.  Each of the “recipes” allows you full choice to customize via all of the menu alternatives.  You can vary the intensity of each effect.  

The Camera Kit serves as a blank starting point which lets you build up the precise combinations you want.  The Bokeh menu gives you pretty good control of your depth of field.

 I found the frames option fun as it left it looking like an old image from a camera roll.

Some of the features are things we always tried to prevent like “Light Leaks” and “Dirt & Scratches”.   Now I am not a huge fan of Instagram, or at least of a lot of “retro” styles that seem to be popular. 

Kaitlyn--pretty much already retro cool

Kaitlyn--pretty much already retro cool

But you can indeed quickly make your images appear as if you just found that set of prints stuck inside a scratchy envelope in a dusty shoebox left over from the 1950’s. 

All in all, the entire module is interesting and works very quickly. I am not certain that I would use these every day in my work, but some might.  I am just hopeful that this is just the sign of more updates to come.  Silver Efex Pro3 anyone?