Remember that really cool feeling of camping out in the dark room, focusing and projecting your image onto photo sensitive paper? Watching your creation materialize before your eyes in the developer as you lightly rocked the chemicals back and forth, only to see your final image come to life for the first time? I do. It’s what sparked my love affair with photography, and if you never got to experience that, I think you should try to find a local community college or community space that still has enlargers, and give it a try. Now, fast forward… Do you remember me telling you about Digital Silver Imaging and their unique, digital silver gelatin printing process? To quickly summarize, DSI (find them here) has a process that takes your digital files, and exposes them like a negative, onto photo sensitive paper, and develops them in photo chemistry producing a beautiful, museum quality, archival print. The beauty and depth of a digital file, with the organic analog feeling of a silver gelatin print, is a very cool, very harmonious and nostalgic thing. Well, I’ve been back in contact with those fine folks, and after some delightful conversation surrounding the next step in actual mounting of said beautiful prints, this is what came back to me…
Have you used Topaz Glow yet? If not, please go to Topaz’ website HERE and download the full free trial of the newly updated, and not quite yet publicly available Glow 2. It’s okay, we’ll wait. Free upgrade (as is Topaz’ awesome policy on every update they offer) and available on sale for 30% off using code “GLOW2” at checkout for new users (normally $69.99 on sale for $48.99). There are a few effects in the digital photography realm that are instant attention grabbers. The Glow effect is one of them.
Glow 2 will not be officially released until Tuesday the 16th, but as a Topaz affiliate, I’m able to share the release with readers early. Go HERE, and you can either try or buy Glow 2.0, 5 days early.
I was a giddy fan when Glow was originally released, and it provided me with a true (and superior) alternative to Fractalius, being a Mac user. So much so, that my original article Fractalius for Mac needed to be updated to replace my designed effect through Topaz Clean 3, to Topaz Glow to replicate the effect for us Mac OS users. Since then, I’ve had a ton of fun with Glow, and find even more pleasure using the free update in Glow 2.
C’mon in to see more…
(*this article was originally written for, and appeared on the Alien Skin blog, by me, HERE.)
Put out your torches, and put down your pitchforks. I love film. I shoot film, and have a freezer and fridge full of it from 35mm Kodak Gold and Ilford Delta, to 120 Tri X and Portra 160 NC. The question I’ve struggled with though, is why? Why do I still shoot film? It’s expensive to process, ridiculously tedious to digitize and even with expensive drum scanning, still doesn’t reach the depth and range of modern digital files. Well, the answer for me has been nostalgia, the feel of the image, and the ability to take a step back, and focus on shooting in a more organic way that coincides with my initial falling in love with photography in the first place. A beautiful reality though, is that through software, and remarkable sensor technology, we can quickly and easily replicate the look of film if we want, taking care of one of those (my) criteria.
This post is not meant to be any more than a personal experiment in which I’ll look to answer this question for myself when using my go to digital solution when wanting to help analogize results within my digital reality and workflow because, while I may not need film, I sure do love to replicate the look and feel of it. C’mon in…
Hello dear friends. Long time no see! I’ve been so wrapped up with the launch of the Nauti Straps stuff (and all the work from the ‘real’ job) that my blogging has suffered. For that I am sorry. Good news though! For those who’ve been waiting for a sale on Exposure X, Alien Skin has been working toward combining all of their photo apps into one super monster of a program, for a while now, and it now lives in the Exposure X Bundle. First it was a beautifully integrated Bokeh module into Exposure (while Exposure stayed the same price), and now, with the release of the Exposure X Bundle, it has added Blow Up 3 and Snap Art 4, all as a super group of software. You can see more info on all, download free trials or go for the gold and buy it over at Alien Skin software’s website HERE.
I’ve certainly shilled at length for Alien Skin in the past, but c’mon in for a little on why I use, and don’t ever want to get by without, Exposure X.
I’m sure you’re getting sick of seeing me ramble on about Topaz plugins, so let’s try something new here… My friend and fairly frequent contributor, Billy Burg has shared with us, some of his results using a couple of his favorite Topaz plugins and insight into his process.
It so happens that Topaz is running a couple of pretty substantial sales right now as well. As mentioned last week, Glow and Impression are available individually for 25% off by using the code “TOPAZART” via Topaz Labs HERE, which runs through the end of May, but now Topaz has decided to go full bore and offer the complete collection, yes all 17 products, for 40% off (normally $499, now $299) using the code “SPRINGSUMMER2016” at checkout via Topaz’ website HERE!
Now, here’s another cool tidbit for those of us who’ve already invested in various plugins, if you sign in at Topaz Labs with the email address/account you created to download software, your account will automatically deduct the plugins you’ve already purchased from the complete collection price, and using that same SPRINGSUMMER2016 code, you can get the remaining plugins for 40% off! Of course, you can always download full, free trials via the link above too, and give any or all of these killer plugins a try before deciding to buy or not. This sale runs through Sunday May 22nd, so you have a couple of weeks to try them out and decide.
Come on in to see more of Billy’s befores and afters.
Topaz has just released version 6 of their DeNoise software. It may seem like I’m plugging a lot of software of late, but it just so happens that the software that I have chosen to use is getting updated, and offered on sale which is pretty awesome.
I have used most all noise reduction (NR) plugins out there over the years, and while DAM software like Lightroom and Capture One do a good to decent job for a lot of NR tasks, I have never found better noise reduction anywhere than I have with DeNoise. So, what has changed with version 6? I’ve been testing version 6 against version 5 all week to see if I can really tell where they’ve improved it, and I feel that comes in the way of interface primarily, a huge boost to developing, saving and grouping presets specific to cameras, and further allowing those of us using this plugin to streamline our workflow when batch processing.
Topaz DeNoise 6 is on sale now, $30 off through March 20th HERE at Topaz Labs Website for $49.99 (normally $79.99) or as a FREE UPGRADE (as seems to always be the case with Topaz) for DeNoise owners! Use code “NOISEFREE” at checkout to get the sale price, and do so knowing that future upgrades will very, very likely be offered as a free upgrade as well. You can always try it out for free too. You can download a full free trial HERE if interested to see if it makes sense for you.
I chose DeNoise years ago because it beat the pants off of NIK Dfine for me (especially when correcting for noise banding), which I’d switched to after using Noise Ninja for years. I’ve yet to see anything outdo DeNoise, and the new version is an upgrade to an already stellar program.
If you’d like to see a side by side comparison between DeNoise 5 and 6, along with my thoughts on what has been improved upon, come on in…
I’m a long time user and fan of Exposure along with all the other Alien Skin products having originally researched and purchased Exposure back in version 3, so Alien Skin doesn’t have to do much to impress me. I’m already convinced and know how useful and enjoyable Exposure is, and has been for me over the years. Preacher:Choir.
If you’ve spent much time on my blog over the years, you’ve probably seen me review just about every release they’ve done over the last half decade or so, and I’ve even connected with many of you that have found me because of my involvement with reviewing and sharing tutorials using Alien Skin software, or having done some articles for their blog based on specific techniques I use Exposure for in my own workflow.
If you use Exposure, Snap Art or Blow Up, I’m guessing you already have a good idea about what these programs bring to the table, and if you’ve not yet upgraded to Exposure X, I’d highly suggest downloading the trial to see the new, non-destructive RAW editing workflow and feature additions along with beautifully customizable workspace tools. For those that have not yet gone down this ever enjoyable rabbit hole, now is a great time to kick the tires on some seriously killer software.
Alien Skin has their winter sale going on, offering 30% off of any and all Alien Skin products new or as upgrades for current users at Alienskin.com HERE.
The current offerings and sale prices are as follows:
Exposure X ($149 – on sale for $104.30, upgrade for $69.30)
Snap Art 4 ($99 – on sale for $69.30, upgrade for $48.30)
Blow Up 3 ($99 – on sale for $69.30, upgrade for $48.30)
Photo Bundle (incl: Exposure X, Snap Art 4 and Blow Up 3) normally $299 on sale for over 50% off at $139.30!!!
Eye Candy 7 ($129 – on sale for $99.30, upgrade for $55.30)
The sale is on now, through next Wednesday, March 2nd, so you’ve got a week to give these programs a free trial. You can see all the programs, and find the free download links via the product pages HERE. Come on in for more of my thoughts and experiences with the Alien Skin software programs.