Secrets of Digital Photography
Nikon eBook iNovaFX Filters
Photoshop doesn't do everything automatically.
So these filters automate Photoshop.
Packed with the eBook is the full set of iNovaFX filters. They're both on the same CD so you can read the book while clicking into other software instantly.
The filters aren't a complete panacea for all that may ail your images, but they get a lot more out of Photoshop than you might imagine. Some of them make things possible that you would probably miss.
They use the full range of Photoshop. They won't work with Photoshop LE or Photoshop Elements or other editing programs, so they must be used with the latest full versions of Photoshop 5 through 6.
Some of the things they do include:
Not trivial, the several versions tackle everything from the slight barrel distortion of the camera zoom at wide angle to the rather pronounced barrel distortion of the WC-E24, the somewhat milder barrel distortion of the WC-E63, and the Extreme (!) barrel distortion of the FC-E8 fisheye when it is used on the camera at tele zoom.
The example here is from a CP5400, shooting a huge painting in the German National Museum. Roll your mouse over the picture to see the effect of removing the barrel distortion.
- The slight pincushion distortion at full tele zoom and with the TC converters is covered as well.
There's even a variation that lets you put in your own number to create a pincushion or barrel distortion correction of your own, "to taste".
- Chromatic Aberration Correction.
When lenses focus an image, it is easy to have different colors in focus at different depths behind the lens. Your eyes don't see the world this way, but even a simple magnifying lens demonstrates this problem. The result is an image that has the Red, Green, and Blue parts of the picture showing at different SIZES!
- These filters selectively shrink or enlarge different colors and crop the results so you get an image that looks right. A sample page here shows how it works.
- Color Correction.
Four kinds of color correction are provided in four series of filters.
- One is a group of filters to fix the color when the camera was set to the wrong color temperature.
A special page here describes that process. Because colors are so tremendously mangled when a camera shoots in sunlight with its white balance set to incandescent, for instance, certain corrections have more than one option so you can choose the one that seems to fit your scene the best.
- Another series lets you warm or cool images to taste, and a variation allows you to precisely tint your images with cyan, magenta and yellow filtration modeled on the CC series of filters used in chemical film camera and darkroom operations.
Most images are helped with the warmer/cooler idea, and finely precise work with the CC-like filters will require careful printing.
- Worst-case lighting problems are also tackled.
Sodium vapor lamps, yellow streetlights, mercury-vapor cold lights, and parking-lot area lights all are high efficiency, low-color-fidelity light sources created for cheap illumination, not pretty pictures.
Pictured: The left side is what the camera could be coaxed to see. The right side is what the image could be coaxed to be with the right iNovaFX filter.
The filters here in the iSodium series attempt to make marginal results look closer to life-like. The distorted spectra of the original scenes are wrestled to the ground, and while it may not be perfect, it's a lot more real (right half) than the camera can achieve unassisted.
- Another set pulls certain faded old transparencies back to reasonably good looking images.
Some transparency film loses the yellow layer to time. The dye fades leaving an image that looks too magenta/blue. This filter attempts to fix it, but since every transparency may differ, expect to finish the recovery with other techniques in Photoshop.
- ISO Boosting.
Here is an extreme example from a 995.
Pictured: The top image was shot at ISO 800. It was shrunk to 240 pixels wide for this page. That reduction process gets rid of a lot of grain and noise.
The bottom image was shot a few seconds later at ISO 800 and EV-2.0!
That's equivalent to ISO 3200!!!
- Then it was recovered using the iNovaFX Photoshop Action filter iSOfix-under2stops which is in the iSORecoverPS6.atn folder of filters.
The reduction here hides a lot of grain and noise, too. But sometimes you just gotta get the shot no matter what.
- Special variations exist for PS 5 or 5.5 and PS 6.
These filters bring out the best-looking results from a digital equivalent of "push" processing. You get more grain, just as you do with film, and the dynamic range is somewhat limited, but you retrieve useful images from otherwise impossible exposures.
There's even a filter that lets you shoot WAY underexposed and fix it later "to taste" in Photoshop.
Try not to hurt your chin when your jaw drops onto your keyboard.
- Vignette control.
Vignetting has been with us since the beginning of lenses. It's that darkening at the edges of an image caused by the geometry of focused light inside the camera. You don't always see it in images but when you do, you may wish it were out of the image. The iVignette series tackles it in several ways.
- Vignetting that is in your face is bannished. You tune it out.
- Vignetting that is desired --and in some images it can really add a lot of warmth and focus to the composition-- you get to tune it IN!
Several variations will make this an often-used effect.
- Long Exposure Noise Reduction.
Photoshop has some noise reducing tricks but these filters go way beyond that. These are the filters that use a "flaw frame" of camera noise, which was made at the same time a long exposure was shot. Shoot an 8-second image, then shoot an 8-second image with the lens cap on, within moments of your original shot. That blank "flaw frame" is your ticket to a nearly perfect image.
Bring them both into Photoshop, and run the filter.
- The specks and spots literally become the templates that pull adjacent color in from surrounding pixels. Quickly and effortlessly, the isolated flaws cause the original to heal, and all its blown pixels, noise, and long-exposure grain melt away.
Over a half-dozen variations let you rescue unbelievably noisy originals. This filter series produces results that also fall into the jaw-dropping category.
Of course, if you have the Coolpix 995 or 885, you have a similar feature built in to your camera. Turn on NR and the camera does it for you. Good feature, that.
- Still, there are times when controlling the output is desirable. Experience with these iNovaFX variations will give you that control.
- Glare Flare Control.
Tiny bright spectral highlights can end up looking like white spots in the middle of black circles. Sharpness artifacts can touch a particular type of highlight detail and make them look artificial. These filters provide several different ways of handling the idea and cause varying degrees of repair and diffusion to sit on top of the highlights.
Pictured: The example here is extreme and demonstrates a more artistic use of the filter.
This is the largest Glare Flare effect at the greatest strength.
- Notice how only the highlights are involved with the effect.
Many of these filters can be tuned to taste after the filter has run its course. And like many of the iNovaFX filters, the results often end up as several layers that invite your continued creative interpretation.
- Hmmm. I wonder what that flare would look like if it were more colorful... Yep, you can do that, too. Color the flare but not the image. It's in the eBook.
- Special Effect Presets.
Photoshop has so MANY effects. It would take a month to try them all. Two sorts of iNovaFX iPS filters are available:
- The ones that present Photoshop's filters in a tweaked, optimized, preset format.
- The ones that use Photoshop's filters in concert with other techniques, even other filters, in more complex orchestrations.
Pictured: Want a good looking, believable, water color painting effect? It took me quite a bit of time to define the right combination of steps to achieve it, and now you can achieve it in mere seconds. This one also falls into the jaw-drop category. Careful now.
A water color image of a water color artist! Now print that on a piece of water color paper...
Some of these filters have a sequence of over 100 carefully arranged steps. Not the sort of thing you are likely to accidentally find.
With this series, in a few minutes, you can try dozens of ideas. Or spend an entire weekend turning your existing shots into walls full of art.
Many filter effects take a complex series of steps involving some very counter-intuitive twists. Some of the FX series take images to places best described as Over The Top. The one-click Oil Painting effect, for instance
- Film Black and White Look.
If you convert a color image to black and white in Photoshop, your means of doing so are many. You can change the image to monochrome by throwing out all the color in the Hue and Saturation control, or you can convert the image into Lab color and keep only the luminance channel.
You could even shoot in B&W in the camera for very decent results.
Unfortunately, while you get a black and white image from each of these operations, you don't get the look of black and white film, which responds to the brightness of colors in a unique way.
Pictured: Take a good hard look at these two B&W images. The one on the top is the original simply desaturated in Photoshop. The one below it has had the iBWfilmFX4 filter run on the exact same color original image without additional retouching. Lots of things from the original now look better in the B&W version. Tones of skin, hair, lips, and even the dark areas of the chair have improved from this complex filter. Now it has the look of a B&W film image. Shadow detail, color interpretation and highlight control have all been orchestrated into the creamy smooth tonal range of Tri-X film but WITHOUT the grain! (There's a version that adds the grain, if you wish.)
- The filters here give 4 generic B&W film looks to your color shots while accounting for the odd spectral changes that many black and white films perform on colorful subjects. As can be seen instantly above, the skin tones benefit dramatically.
(To see the original color image, check the lower SuperFlash page.)
- An additional filter lets you add the effect of a color filter ON THE CAMERA to your image AFTER the shot has been made.
Add this to your color image BEFORE running the B&W conversion filter so you can make the conversion as if you had shot B&W film with a color filter on the camera.
- JPEG Artifact Control.
An image on either camera that is shot using Basic compression will show some of the pixel sized "checkerboard" artifacts of compression near contrasty contours.
- This filter offers definitive correction for the idea with a very keen appreciation for not squashing desirable detail.
You won't need it on Nikon's NORMAL or FINE compressed images, but you will enjoy the effect when printing BASIC-gathered shots.
- Film Dynamic Range Achievement.
On another page I describe this process and show a contrasty example. The example in the eBook is much cooler.
- These filters allow you to shoot those under / center / over trio of images and process the result into a final image with the press of a single mouse button.
And there are SEVEN variations of the idea to help tweak your image.
- Color Denoise.
Simply put, it kills color noise. Run the filter on any shot that shows a noisy red or blue channel and you will be amazed at how much cleaner the result is when compared with the original. On the CD three versions exist in different strengths.
Make your digital images look like images shot on film.
These are graphic borders that surround your images with
- iNovaChrome, a mythical 2-1/4 x 3-1/4 roll film (4 variations including one with pseudo-edge fog),
- 4x5 sheet film (2 variations) or
- 35mm film frame (2 variations).
Pictured: A 3:2 original close-up was simply opened in Photoshop and tweaked to taste. Then the iBorder35.990 filter was run. Automatically, the entire border drew itself around the shot. The filter paused twice to allow me to change any of the border text.
It's a way of framing your shot using the conventions of film and a subtle means of thumbing your nose at those who don't yet accept digital images as being "worthy".
Borders that look like perforated stamps.
- Three sizes with different perforation counts.
Check out the info page on these.
Pictured: My idea of what a nice one-yen stamp might look like if it used my image. But, that's just me.
- iFX. (New, only in V.3.0 and later)
Several things here.
- The iRetNar series achieves results similar to that of NASA's Retinex image processing technique.
Images that you might think were beyond help suddenly perk up into useful shots. Or, take it to new artistic, manipulated extremes.
- The iOldTymie filters create the look of an exceedingly old, weathered photo.
Not just a simple sepia-toned print, but a shot that has aged the paper, too.
- Then there is the iMprove1 filter, which we call the Panacea Filter!
It never met a shot that didn't like it. This filter uses a combination of techniques to sharpen and enhance almost anything.
- iSharpPS6 series improves the sharpness of images shot with either low- or no-camera sharpness.
And it does it without generating "outline" artifacts.
- iFrameAverage -3, -4, -5, -6 let you stack several exposures shot "in-register" and blend them together in interesting ways.
The result is a single image with virtually no grain or noise or artifacts!
- iPolarizeSky. (Only in V.3.0+)
- Polarize your skies without a polarizing filter.
This page tells you more about the filter and how to use it.
The image at right shows a normal exposure in the center. On one side, a real polarizer has deepened the sky. On the other side, the iPolarizeSky filter has done its job to the center image. Which is which?
Clue: When you do this to the same image, no offset shows at the split.
- iFourPrint. (New: 5-megapixel versions in V.4.0)
Save ink, paper and printing time.
Open four full-size images. Click the filter. Immediately, all four shots are grouped onto a single page for quick print-out. US Letter and A4 pages are supported. You can then save the big page or toss it. Making a new page is so easy, you may not need to keep it at all.
- Six variations are here for 2 megapixel, 3 megapixel and 5 megapixel images in horizontal or vertical format.
Each places the pictures in comic strip reading order using the order in which you opened the images.
You can cut the resuting page into four smaller prints or keep them together as a story-telling group of shots on a single sheet.
- iLiner. Major art effects. (New)
Fantastic photo-to-art conversions that create stunning large-scale images with delicious artistic interpretations. Eight variations in five groups.
Here's a page that helps you understand some of the potiential, but your own images are needed to tell the whole story.
I shoot a lot of imagery that attempts to capture an idea. The texture of an autumn tree, the grouping of people in a crowd, the juxtaposition of repeating shapes--anything that appeals to me when I'm wearing my photographer hat.
Often these images lack the poetic touch that moved me to take them. But when I add an iLiner effect to them, a surprising number expand their poetic intent to the point that other people see it too.
Common visions are heightened. Communication gains an amplified visual channel by removing photographic literalness and replacing it with artistic interpretation.
There is another kind of filter in the eBook. One that lets you shoot in any light as if you had put a color filter on the lens of your camera. This one uses your white balance system to trick the camera into behaving like it was looking through a perfect color gel.
This filter is built into the eBook's package.
You take the slip cover out from behind the clear cover, flip it over, and there you have 48 color filters to use with your camera any time you wish. Want to make a Christmas scene look warmer? Pick the amount of amber you want to add, and white balance off the blueish color patch it's "tied" to. The camera thinks does its best to compensate by delivering a more amber result. Instant Holiday Cheer. 12 colors in 4 strengths.
Along with some of the filters and special techniques are high-quality photo files to try them out on. The attempt here is to give you as much experience in as short a time as is reasonable so you can start applying these results to your own images.
In fact, while you are waiting for the eBook to arrive, try this: Go out and shoot a bunch of images that you plan to use with the filters. Gather some shots using the WRONG color balance, for instance. Perhaps a bunch of flowers outdoors but shot using INCANDESCENT white balance. Now there's a test. When you run the iCCSunnyShotIncan.9xx filter on that image your eyes will likely fall out onto your keyboard!
Then shoot some people's faces very close. Don't worry about cropping out hair or collar bones--get into the face. Then run the image through the Complex Art series. Chances are you could start CHARGING MONEY for the results you will get. All the more reason to have a printer that spits out tabloid-size images...
A small field guide booklet inside the package tells you how to shoot for the filter effects in more detail.
Get the eBook. Nikon and Sony versions available now. We have a secure order page that will allow previous Nikon eBook owners to upgrade for low cost, too.
Or you can call direct and order from the publisher by phone or FAX.
Phone:(310) 475 2988 (M-F 9-5 Pacific Time)
FAX (310) 475 9486 (24hrs).
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