The new plugin and application from The Plugin Site recreates traditional film effects and allows users to enhance their images via presets and manual adjustments.
Photographers just can’t seem to get enough of applications and plugins that give their shots the look of photos taken with traditional film stocks and lenses. A number of products are available to meet this demand, such as Alien Skin Software’s Exposure, Digital Film Tools’ Film Stocks or Tiffen’s Dfx Photo, not to mention Instagram and its many clones.
Harald Heim is well known as a veteran developer of such Photoshop plugins for photographers as ColorWasher, FocalBlade, LightMachine and NoiseControl, which have in common dense functionality at a modest price. His latest release is ColorStyler, which ambitiously seeks to reproduce the workflow of color film photography, all the way from shooting a photo, to processing it in the lab and then framing the end result.
The process is built around 20 effect types and 600 editable presets, which embody the visual attributes of color films, lens filters, lab effects and photo papers. The presets allow users to perform such tasks as colorizing; manipulating brightness, contrast, color and saturation; masking certain image areas; adding soft focus and glow effects; simulating film grain; adding special effects; and framing the image. A nice touch is that the plugin provides modes for inexperienced, intermediate and advanced users, the latter of which makes it possible to gradually add and tweak effects.
As with earlier Plugin Site releases, ColorStyler provides three preview tab sheets for quickly comparing and adjusting three versions of the image at the same time. A Navigator tab sheet makes it possible to quickly scroll the preview image, while the preview zoom can be set between 6% and 3200%. Fifteen types of histogram help users tweak images without damaging them. A new Curve tool allows users to visually and precisely adjust brightness, contrast, color and saturation in the shadows, midtones and highlights. Also new is a Masking Brush tool that provides tight control over which image areas ColorStyler changes and which it keeps untouched. Finally, it’s worth noting that ColorStyler supports multi-core CPUs to speed rendering and can be used as a smart filter in Photoshop.
ColorStyler for Windows Photoshop can be purchased from The Plugin Site for $69. A standalone/Lightroom version is also provided at the same price, while a bundle of both versions is priced at $89. A trial version is available for download, with a Mac version currently in development.