*Who the @#$! needs film? Comparing film to film replication software w/ @alienskin

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(*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…

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*Topaz Impression 2, a major upgrade to a radical digital painting conversion program. w/ @topazlabs

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Summer is upon us, and so too are the deals and updates showering us with their bounty.  If you’ve been around for a little while, you may have seen my article written after getting to beta the original Topaz Impression.  (spoiler: I loved it).  Now, Topaz has released Impression 2 with new tools and filters, and get this, it’s free for those of us who bought the original Impression.  If you’ve not yet updated, or you’d like to give it a free trial, you can go directly to Topaz Labs Website HERE.  If you’d like to buy it, use this link, and input “2IMPRESS” at checkout to get the normally priced $99 program for 40% off ($59.99!).

If you’d like to see more from me, and read more about why I love Impression, c’mon in…

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*Times, they just keep getting better. @alienskin offering total package for 30% off through end of June!

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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.

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*Fun with Topaz, featuring Billy Burg! Also, Complete Collection 40% OFF w/ @topazlabs

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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.

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*Topaz Impression and Glow, both 25% off w/ @topazlabs

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Need a little artistic inspiration?  Try running one of your images through Topaz Impression, a beautiful paint and mixed media plugin and/or Glow, Topaz’ deliciously surreal fractal effect plugin.  These two offerings are both on sale for 25% off right now by using the code TOPAZART at checkout over at Topaz Labs HERE.  As always, Topaz offers full free trials for those interested, and I’d highly suggest checking them out if these effects suit your style.  You can download those free trials directly from Topaz HERE.  If you like them, jump on this sale before it disappears.

Come on in to see some more examples and thoughts on how and why I use these two awesome pieces of software in my own work.

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*@Topazlabs ReMask Prime?! A powerful standalone quick selection app for Mac users + FREE GIVEAWAY! (not an April Fools Joke)

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Firstly, this is not an April Fools ruse.  I am giving away activation codes for this new software:) Technology can be embraced or ignored, it can be celebrated or feared, or it can fumble somewhere in between all those things.  I myself, really enjoy much of what is on offer, especially as a photographer.  I totally appreciate those that take a purist approach, but for me, I love playing with digital imagery using various software applications, and here my friends, is a very cool, very affordable piece of remarkable software.  Enter, Topaz ReMask Prime (click here to see in in the Mac App Store).  A fully functional, standalone desktop version of the irreplaceable ReMask software.  If you already own ReMask and run it as a plugin for PS, you’ll probably not need a standalone version (although, I’m starting to see a benefit), but for those who do not, this is a very cheap way to see the power of ReMask in all its glory.

Come on in to see some info and examples from Topaz ReMask Prime, a new standalone app built on the standard ReMask plugin…

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*Topaz DeNoise 6! New, on sale, reviewed and compared to DeNoise 5 w/@topazlabs

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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…

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