A Few Unsung Heroes Of Digital Imaging; Stamps Of Approval Page 2

Still Got Noise?
STOIK's (www.stoik.com/stoik_noise_autofix/index.html) Noise AutoFix is Windows-only software that automatically cleans noise in photos from digicams, camera phones, and scanners. The program's detection, analysis, and filtration modules are statistically designed to provide optimal balance between noise reduction and image detail preservation. STOIK claims, "The noise in digital photos is reduced by 2-3 stops." What that means is that the noise level of the photo shot at ISO 1600 is effectively reduced to ISO 200-400 levels. You can take it out of Automatic mode and shift yourself using controls that allow manual fine-tuning to change noise detection and adjust image detail preservation levels or noise reduction amounts. Noise AutoFix imports 24- and 48-bit color JPEG, TIFF, PNG, BMP, and PSD files and will output JPEG, TIFF, PNG, and BMP formats, all the while preserving EXIF data. A 15-day demo is free; it's $29 if you purchase it.

Artistic Tool Deux
You can have some imaging fun this month with Kevin Kubota's (http://kubotaworkshops.com) Artistic Tools Volume 2. It's a package of Photoshop Actions that contains 50 imaging tools for enhancing, color popping, toning, and glowing, including such hits as Lord of the Rings, Hawaiian Punch, Sing the Blues, and the ever popular Digital Fill Flash. More than most packages of Actions, Artistic Tools Volume 2 encourages the application of multiple Actions to the same image. You can see how each of these Actions work with each other by visiting http://kubotaworkshops.com/pages/actions and comparing before and after photographs just by rolling your mouse over the pictures. Under the after picture, Kubota lists all of the different Actions used in its creation. The bottom line: These Actions let you create custom, artistic-looking images in seconds and come in a package that costs less than $100. Artistic Tools Volume 2 is the most fun you can have since you graduated from the sandbox.

Rainy Day Actions
It's a cloudy Halloween day, the sky is moody and rain has started to fall. You can hear the tippy-tap of the raindrops and see them rolling down your clouded window glass. Didn't happen? You can add the mood digitally with PanosFX's (www.panosfx.com) free Rainy Day Photoshop Actions for Adobe's Photoshop CS and CS2. These Actions make your images look as if they are seen through a window while it`s raining outside. While running the main Action, you're guided through the creation of the effect. A number of stops along the way in the process lets you control the details. When finished you can add more, smaller-sized water drops or a steam condensation effect by running two auxiliary Actions that are bundled in the package. Maybe Panos Efstathiadis is not unsung but he does provide lots of great, free software.

© 2005, Joe Farace, All Rights Reserved