Movie theaters are full of comic book action heroes these days. But
Kubota Image Tools can make an action hero out of anyone—or at least a
Photoshop action hero. Most professional photographers are familiar
with the Kubota Artistic Tools, Production Tools and Dashboard tool for
organizing and accessing installed Kubota Actions or any other action
in their Photoshop library. These actions can save many hours of
computer time by automating common imaging tasks.
First a disclaimer: I have used Portrait Professional for years and I love it. Yes, I’ve taught myself in Photoshop how to do all the things that Portrait Professional does, but for the vast majority of my work when a photo contains people, I run the image through Portrait Professional to take advantage of its quick automation.
Every image-enhancement program includes a means of converting color images to monochrome. These range from lowering the saturation to 0%, to channel mixers and color filters. But since the introduction of Nik Silver Efex Pro, photographers who are really interested in extracting the maximum amount of image information and having the most creative control during the conversion have gravitated to Silver Efex Pro.
It didn’t take many years after the introduction of “bokeh” into the vocabulary of photographers for software companies to create programs producing out-of-focus effects in a Photoshop-compatible plug-in. Bokeh 2 builds on the success of the original Alien Skin Bokeh 1 software with many added capabilities, and a significant increase in preview and processing speed.
High dynamic range (HDR) imaging became mired in controversy when it appeared a few years ago, much as color photography did when it first appeared, or photography itself did when the technology became possible. But HDR, like the others, is simply a tool that is available if you choose to use it.
Computer monitor color management is commonplace today among professional photographers who need a consistent, repeatable color workflow. Color management of output devices, such as printers and color labs is becoming more commonplace for the same reasons. It is also easier and less expensive to accomplish, too.
For over 70 years The Tiffen Company has supplied still, movie and broadcast camera operators with innovative and Academy Award winning optical filters. In recent years it has added tripods, camera bags and cases, lighting equipment, flash brackets and other products to its lines.
Lexar Media (Fremont, CA, 510/413-1200, www.lexar.com) recently introduced Professional Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC) memory cards, which enable the capture, storage, and transfer of rapid-fire still images as well as extended lengths of 1080p high-definition (HD) video.
XEquals (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, www.blueSLR.com) is offering blueSLR, a Bluetooth accessory and companion app that lets photographers use their iPhone,
iPod Touch or iPad to remotely control their camera.
One of the true surprises of the digital revolution is the rebirth of
interest in black-and-white, or more properly “monochrome,” imaging.
From fine art photographers to photojournalism-style wedding shooters,
there is a resurgence of interest in monochrome prints.
Alien Skin Software recently introduced an interesting Photoshop plug-in filter called Bokeh. Bokeh is a term that I had never heard before a few years ago. My dictionary defines it as “the visual quality of the out-of-focus areas of a photographic image.” I first came across the term when I was considering buying the Canon 85mm f/1.2L lens and read that it had good bokeh. This doesn’t simply mean that when you open the aperture all the way the background gets dramatically out of focus and blurry, drawing all the attention to the subject. It goes beyond that and considers how the out of focus highlights render, whether the shape of the aperture enhances the look of the blurry areas, etc.
An entire subculture exists that is creating image-enhancement actions for Photoshop users. Entering “Photoshop actions” into the Google search engine returns over 17 million returns. For those unfamiliar with actions, they are an automated sequence of Photoshop effects that, with a single mouse click, creates a final result combining all of the effects into a final image.