Filters….The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

It was 1991 when I began using a computer to enhance my photographic images. Photoshop 2.5 was the industry standard, and, although there were other software programs available (some I liked MUCH better, such as Live Picture) it was Photoshop that was used by all of the agencies, and therefor, used by our studio as well.

Anyone who looks back on those early days, surely can remember the fascination associated with all of the filter options in Photoshop. With a click or two of a mouse, an ordinary image would be transformed into something only our imagination could conceive, but was next to impossible to realize. Until now (then). But, as with all new things, the novelty did wear off. In fact, filters were often scorned by the “true” Photoshop Gurus as being nothing more than a crutch or a gimmick.

Fast forward 25 years. Photoshop CC (2015) is now the latest version, and, along with it’s quite capable cousin, Lightroom CC, the way images are processed is easier, and more powerful than ever before.
I’ve been using Lightroom as my primary post processing software for about 6 years now, only on rare occasions requiring the more powerful Photoshop to achieve the results I sought. Lightroom is, in my opinion, the perfect combination of retouching and archival software. Gone are the days when I would create a complicated photo composing, comprised of dozens of elements, each carefully silhouetted from its background and mounted into a new composition conceived in my sometimes very twisted imagination.

Here is such an example:
statuesque LP tiff

These days, I use my software to enhance my images in a more subtle way, or, perhaps better said, in a less obvious way, for at times, the manipulations can indeed go to the extreme. This leads me to the point of this blog post, finally. MacPhun.

The other day I was browsing the Apple App Store, and ran across an app called “Tonality”, by a company called MacPhun. It is designed to aid in the manipulation of black and white images. Heck, right in my wheelhouse. They offer a free trial period with full functionality (just not the ability to save) so I decided to download it and give it a whirl. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this app, comprised primarily of presets (just like the filters found in those early versions of Photoshop) was pretty cool! Cool enough to spend the $17.95 for the fully functional, licensed version.
So off I clicked, finding my way to the MacPhun Website where I was offered (by a very shrewd marketing department) the opportunity of a lifetime. The Complete Creative Kit, comprised of 6 killer apps guaranteed to take my photography to new heights never before imaginable for the introductory price of $79.99. This price is good only until the 15th of October, which is the launch date for this new “Creative Kit” by MacPhun.

While I am somewhat embarrassed to tell you how quickly I made this purchase, I am equally excited to tell you that, with the exception of only one app (Snap Heal Pro) these programs, which function also as plug ins for both Photoshop CC and Lightroom CC ( As well as Aperture and Elements) are EXCELLENT! Easy and intuitive, these programs offer eye opening alternatives to what can become, standard and uninspired post processing procedures (say that 3 times fast). Sometimes they just point you in a new direction as far as what an image can become, either through the use of their filters, or by going back into Lightroom to re-create the newly discovered “look” or a combination of the two, MacPhun has re-ignited a creative side of me that has been for all too long lying dormant. I’d pay $80 bucks for that ALL DAY LONG.

A brief mention to another app in this Creative Kit. It’s called Noiseless Pro. If you shoot at night, or in low light, and push the limits of your ISO spectrum, you are familiar with the most often, undesirable effects of “noise”. Sure, Lightroom and Photoshop both let you improve the image through use of their slider controls. But MacPhun Noiseless Pro kicks butt! Export from Lightroom into “Noiseless Pro”, and the image will be analyzed and corrected with the results being, for the most part, just right, without any further tweaking required. Really quite impressive.

Untitled

So to be clear, I am NOT being paid for this endorsement, though I wish I were. I just think that when a product or service provides such great results at a reasonable price, it’s worth my time and trouble to spread the word. This is just such a case.

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This entry was posted in Digital Design, Digital Printing, Photography, Post Processing, Scanning Black and White Negatives and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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