Making It Picture Or Portrait Perfect; Pro Gear Portrait Imaging Software Page 2

Better Teeth & Skin Through Software
Those software geniuses at Image Trends (www.imagetrendsinc.com) must never sleep. Their newest products include PearlyWhites, a Photoshop compatible plug-in that automatically whitens and brightens teeth or white areas surrounded by flesh tones. That's why PearlyWhites may also whiten other areas such as the sclera of the eye (a good thing) and jewelry (makes it sparkle) when they are surrounded by flesh tones. Unlike most plug-ins, PearlyWhites does not have a user interface; it simply and automatically whitens teeth.

ShineOff is another interface-less Photoshop compatible plug-in from Image Trends that automatically removes the shine from skin. Sometimes, the cold white light from electronic flash will produce an unnatural-looking shininess on portraits. ShineOff automatically transforms faces and skin areas to create a soft and natural-looking appearance by looking for and eliminating the flash's glare and other light source highlights on human skin. The plug-in does not remove luster from the lips or the sparkle from teeth or eyes. Both PearlyWhites and ShineOff plug-ins are available right now for Microsoft Windows for $49.95 each, but Mac OS versions of both plug-ins are promised really soon now.

Better Photoshop Actions
Analysis is a set of Photoshop Actions from PanosFx (www.panosfx.com) for Adobe Photoshop CS2 and CS3. The set consists of 11 effects (with 23 variations) that convert an image into a number of elements such as the inner pages of a book, a book's cover pages, individual photos, and filmstrips. After running the Action, the original photograph is presented as a combination of these elements. All layers are placed within a group for you to manipulate to suit your preferences. The Actions are optimized for landscape-orientated images but I converted a portrait of Zoe into a square and it worked for me. The set costs $9.99, and Panos promises a Photoshop Elements version will be released "soon."

If you're looking for free Actions, Panos has two new ones. The "Alpha Edges" Action uses Photoshop's built-in filters to create 12 different edge effects. The other freeware is the "Rule of Thirds Cropping" Action. This tool shows the Rule of Thirds grid on your photo. You can then rescale and rotate the grid and the Action will crop and straighten the photo, if necessary.

Bigger Files? Bigger Memory Cards
Some shooters prefer small (now defined as 2GB) capacity CompactFlash cards but I like 'em big for a couple of reasons: First, it's a fact of life that higher resolution cameras produce bigger files so that 2GB memory card won't hold as many files as it used to. Second, most D-SLRs these days offer the choice of shooting raw plus JPEG at the same time. True, some twin-slot D-SLRs such as the Canon EOS-1D Mark III let you shoot raw to one memory card and JPEG to the other, but few of us have that option. Instead, we get 'em on a single card and that's why bigger is better.

SanDisk's (www.sandisk.com) 16GB Extreme III CompactFlash uses Enhanced Super-Parallel Processing to produce read/write speeds of a minimum of 20MB/second. A card this size lets me shoot monochrome images in JPEG format for clients while also capturing a color raw file at the same for when they change their mind.

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