Yesterday I posted a color and a black and white image of the Breakwater Hotel on Ocean Drive, South Beach Miami. As I’ve mentioned before, for my Ocean Drive series I took a 4EV bracket for each image, -2EV, 0, +2EV. After some adjustments in Lightroom 4.2 I then merged these in Photomatix 4.0.2 and brought all four layers into Photoshop CS6 for finishing. I pretty much follow the Trey Ratcliff approach of layer masking and blending to get something close to what I want and then I finish with a plugin. Why plugins? Because they’re way faster to an end point that endless layer manipulation in Photoshop! When you cost the plugin and compare that to your time, it’s generally a no-brainer.
These past few days I’ve been working with a beta evaluation copy of onOne software’s Perfect Photo Suite 7. I’m just sticking with the Perfect Effects 4 and Perfect B&W 1 modules for now and I’m using them from within Photoshop CS6 rather than from within Lightroom or stand-alone.
I’ve played with applying textures in the past but most of my textured images have been produced on my iPhone and posted to Instagram. However, I just wanted to see what they would do so I opened the texture presets on the left hand panel of the onOne screen and selected one. What’s great about the onOne plugins is that the you can preview all of your adjustments before committing them, and even when you commit them, each adjustment is on it’s own layer so you can go back and change your settings up to the point that you ‘Apply’ your changes. If you launched the suite from inside Photoshop then the adjusted image is placed back in Photoshop on its own layer so you still have total control of your image!
I thought the first texture I picked was kind of ‘meh’ but then on the right hand panel you have all these other controls on the effect. I switched the type of texture to ‘metallic’ and adjusted a few sliders to get the color image below. This was the ‘happy accident’ I referred to in yesterday’s post and I was quite pleased with that result. I then took that image into Perfect B&W 1 to produce a black and white image. I adjusted the black and white points, the tone curve, and the paper and silver toning for the first black and white image below. I then took that result back into Perfect Effects 4 again and applied the ‘crumpled paper’ texture to get the third image below.
So over the last two days I’ve posted five versions of the same image. From start to finish my total processing time for all five was less than 30 minutes which I think is a pretty good representation of how a solid plugin like onOne Perfect Photo Suite 7 can help you lend your own twist to your images but without feeling chained to the computer. After all, most photographers I know prefer to be out shooting than post processing.