Sunday, July 5, 2009

Something NEW from AutoFX

We interrupt our regularly scheduled program for an update.

I have been trying to figure out how for nearly a week exactly to write this. I want to tell you about the newest addition to the Auto FX stable: an update to its highly successful Mystical Tint, Tone and Color line.

I have been trying to work out where to start. Why? Because it’s daunting, that’s why.

This is a freaking HUGE program. We’re talking 60 individual filters spanning everything from a “genuine blow you out of your socks” Portrait set, to a single stroke HDR component set.

There are filters that add a perfect blending of light and atmosphere like “Afternoon Sun” to an utterly astounding…and I choose those words very deliberately because I mean STUNNING set of Smoothing filters.

So you see my quandary. Where do you start? There’s no way to cover them all here.

Let me start this way: go DIRECTLY to and download the demo and play around…oops…I mean make a meaningful examination of these filters. The demo allows you to load your own photos. But you can’t save your work, which is a bit of a bummer. Many companies let you have fully functioning software for a month. I would guess that once you see what this set does you’ll have no problem buying it.

Once you start working with them – indulge yourself and go deep down the rabbit hole to start blending different effects to achieve some amazing graphics.

The image at the top was a relatively uninteresting black and white shot. This shot encompasses several filters. There’s my absolute favourite: “Afternoon Sun” blended with three other filters to achieve a wonderfully lit, perfectly shadowed image.

The great thing…I mean the REALLY great thing…about these effects is the way they work together. You can stack them, change their layer order, work with their opacity until you get the precise effect you are aiming for.

If you do Portrait work, you will be fighting to get your wallet out for the Portrait filters alone. These eight filters were designed in concert with working portrait photographers and it goes light-years beyond any other filter set available.

Enhance hair, eyes, smooth skin…even enlarge features on your subject.

This set alone more than justifies the price if you do portrait work. The time saved and the glossy pro effects will pay for the whole set within just a few uses.

As with other AutoFX software, it’s not plug and play stuff. You’ll have to take some time to sit down with the manual and learn how to use it. But we are talking time and money well invested.

Here’s an overview:

COLOR EFFECTS: There are sixteen of these designed to add new dimensions to every photo. The star of the set for me is “Afternoon Sun.” It’s a lighting effect…it’s a mood setter and it will blow you out of your socks when you apply it to a black and white photo. A sample is at the top of this column. It HAD been a relatively uninteresting black and white. Afternoon blew it into a whole ballpark.

TINTING: These are six filters that add subtle touches to your image. Used properly, they will create a professional sheen on your shots. You really have to take time to look these over and learn how to use them properly.

TONAL EFFECTS: These blow contrast magic all over your work. The star of this set is High Key Blast. This trendy treatment is being done badly all over the place. This filter makes it easy to achieve something amazing. Add a little grain and you will be astounded at the effect you can achieve in just a few keystrokes. There are eleven of these filters.

There are two filters: a Polarizing filter and a Graduated Filters.

There are four Sharpening filters.

There’s way too much to summarize in a review or ten reviews.

This is a five star offering, a blessing to working pros, artists and photographers.

It’s not cheap: the full version is $249 USD and an upgrade will run you $129 USD. But these are professional quality effects and if you’ve been kicking around Photoshop as long as I have, you know you get what you pay for.

Is it worth the price? Have a look for yourself. The demo’s free. At least you owe it to yourself to take a look at this set.

Cliff Weems of Auto FX told me they are working on an update to Mystical Lighting which, as I have said before, is one of the most useful filter sets anywhere.

We’re looking forward to seeing this one too.

So go.

Go now.

Download the demo.

Have I ever steered you guys wrong?