As a photographer and printing professional who's been shooting since 1978, I have used and reviewed many products. I recently found a trio of software editing tools that not only streamlines my workflow, but has become the core of my editing process for digital images and older, scanned-film photos.
My business focuses on two areas. I produce fine art pieces and manage a full-time business that offers printing, matting, and mounting of fine art. Over the years, clients have asked me to improve their photographs. Enhancing images alone can be a full-time business, so I could have only taken on this additional work with editing software that produces the results I want rapidly and easily.
We work with images from digital capture and from film (scanned images). Last year at PhotoPlus Expo, we came across an editing software suite from Imagenomic that gives us beautiful results with all of our files. The trio of Photoshop plug-ins includes Noiseware for noise and artifact removal; Portraiture for skin retouching; and RealGrain for film grain and finishing effects.
Each filter works on a broad range of images and provides a range of results. The filters are easy to use, and I was up and running almost immediately. The plug-ins work through Photoshop (CS3 and earlier) and are compatible with PCs and Macs. Noiseware, Portraiture, and RealGrain are sold individually or can be purchased together as a suite.
It Starts With Noiseware
As a rule, the first thing I do when editing any image is open the processed RAW (digital) or TIFF (scanned) file and look for dust and sharpness. This is especially important when working with scanned images or early photo files produced when the digital technology was not as good as it is today. I create a background copy and run Noiseware to restore image fidelity by eliminating digital noise and unwanted artifacts. Noiseware lays the groundwork for my future edits.
I save the Noiseware-adjusted layer file and name it accordingly. When I need to tweak additional images while maintaining a consistent look, I pull up similar profiled photos and adjust them as a group. Next steps usually include Portraiture and/or RealGrain.
Portraiture for Complexions Plus
Portraiture is Imagenomic's newest software. When it comes to working on complexions and surrounding areas, Portraiture is great right out of the box. Skin defects and blemishes are automatically smoothed with a single click. Other details, such as eyes, hair, and clothing, remain unaltered. The filter's default settings are super; the software also gives me the option to run an edit at my saved settings. I do a lot of hand-coloring, and this plug-in allows me to create fantastic layered skin masks.
For the photo of the woman at the Dallas Arboretum, I initiated edits using Noiseware Pro to smooth the skin tone, then saved that layer. Her complexion was in good shape, but the light balance was a little off. I applied Portraiture to even out the coloring and up-close texture. As I make any change, I name and save the layer.
RealGrain Real Helpful
RealGrain, the third plug-in of the suite, adds the look of grain to a digital file and gives subtle shadow gradations and colors that are more natural when working with B&W, split toning, grain balance, and color fine-tuning.
For the 35mm image "White House Ruins," shot in the early '80s with Tech Pan film, I scanned with a Nikon 9000 and cleaned up the new file with Noiseware Pro. In earlier silver prints I had produced of this image, I had sepia- and selenium-toned them. I wanted a similar look when I converted them to digital, so I used RealGrain to add texture and color effects.
I run at least one Imagenomic plug-in on every client job, plus many of my own photos. The software trio revives the glory and luster in many old shots and also in photos that would require too much manual effort to fix (i.e., photos taken in poor lighting or with less-than-flattering light for skin tones). Imagenomic plug-ins give me a new lease on creativity and a chance to experiment.
Take a look at "Jaine's Grocery." This photo was taken in 1979 in Alviso, California, a small town on the edge of the San Francisco Bay. I've applied the filters in various settings and combinations to effect several looks. I start by scanning the photo and running Noiseware. Most of the pop and coloration come by applying the RealGrain filter as the next step. This version is just one I show clients. RealGrain provides excellent control over B&W conversion and split toning, and conveys a real filmlike effect.
The Imagenomic suite saves me a lot of editing time. The products do a superb initial global fix, and I can edit in moments with beautiful results. It motivates to open up new avenues of creativity and give new luster to old friends.
For more on Imagenomic Noiseware, Portraiture, and RealGrain, visit www.imagenomic.com.