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09-17-2018, 09:05 PM   #1
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The Problem with 3rd Party Plugins

Hey all,

I wanna raise an issue I have from time to time, partly to educate some of those that are perhaps blissfully unaware, but also possibly to reach out to those with superior knowledge of 3rd party plugins and the possible advanced methods I have overlooked that may assist in regards to syncing images.

When I do photography for myself I like to snap anything and everything. Have a quick peep at my Instagram to see what I mean, it's quite a varied profile; Eddy Summers (@eddysummersphotography) ? Instagram photos and videos

When I choose to edit one of my own images I often let my mood dictate where the edit goes, typically it runs through a flow such as this;

LR (Basic Edits) > PS, for better cloning and adjustment brushwork or more advanced brushes such as Colour Replacement Tool etc, for adding Layers in preparation for... > 3rd Party Plugins such as DxO, Topaz, Nik Collection > Back to PS for opacity adjustments of the 3rd Party Plugins and or selective masking of said 3rd party plugin > Save and back to LR for last minute basic adjustments if necessary, or straight to Export.

When doing your own work in your own time, and at a rate of perhaps 1 photo every other day, this is a tolerable and quite often enjoyable approach. Where this process falls over (and the point of the thread) is when doing a batch job of even say 8-10 photos whereby you want all the images to contain a similar vibe/feel, which means the above approach pretty much needs to be done for each and every shot. The exception is that the first stage 'LR (Basic Edits)', this part can be 'synced' so that the rest of the images contain a similar exposure and tone/colour to the rest, but after that initial stage there doesn't seem to be a way to sync.

You can't for example do this;

LR > PS > Plugin > PS > LR > Sync.

The changes made via the plugin are not something that LR can handle and apply to lots of other images in a set. Drat.

A friend recently gave me VSCO Mobile Presets to try out, I thought this was yet another plugin, however I was surprised to see that these 'film like' effects/tones are integrated into LR. This means if I choose a certain VSCO preset, I can tweak it in LR and then sync that 'vibe/look' to a heap of other shots, thereby vastly speeding up the editing process. Sure I may still need to visit PS for other stuff (occasionally), but overall I gain quick consistency with a more unique look across a set, that's a good thing!

Anyway, I just thought I'd share my ramblings, perhaps I'm missing a key stage and that perhaps even after visiting a plugin such as DxO I can sync the effect across a range of images, but I don't think that is possible.

I'm also curious to know other than VSCO if there are any other 'addons' that are actually intergrated into LR rather than be a 3rd party plugin?

Cheers,

Bruce

09-17-2018, 09:23 PM - 1 Like   #2
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VSCO is really just a Preset for LR. It's not really a Plug-In. There are a lot of companies that sell presets similar to VSCO. SLR Lounge sells an entire system of pre-sets Lightroom Presets
09-17-2018, 09:44 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote
VSCO is really just a Preset for LR. It's not really a Plug-In. There are a lot of companies that sell presets similar to VSCO. SLR Lounge sells an entire system of pre-sets Lightroom Presets
I guess somehow I have skipped over the whole 'Preset' thing and went straight to plug-ins... woops

It certainly has it's perks, the ease of syncing for a start.

One thing that has me a little stumped however. Take VSCO for example, when you apply a preset, I pay close attention to any of the sliders on the other side (of LR), to see what changes, and thus give me some control over the preset applied. What I'm seeing however is that with VSCO Mobile Preset 2, the changes are all made in the 'tones', or rather specifically Hue, Saturation and Luminance of the colour spectrum. This I find difficult to tweak, because there are just basically so many variables.

With PS and using layers, once the plugin effect is applied, once back in PS you can even simply just change the Opacity of that plugin layer to change the intensity (quickly and easily) of that effect.

What would be a good way of trying to control some of the effects of these LR Presets then (without popping off to PS as that kinda defeats the purpose of this thread point)? I mean I do note that VSCO gives a 1/2 way point of the preset, which is handy, I have already once (which took too long) adjust one of those presets to being 3/4 lol (ie take the full value changes and the half way value changes, and change all the markers/sliders to being half way between those two points... Zzzz...)
09-18-2018, 06:46 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
What would be a good way of trying to control some of the effects of these LR Presets then
I would try to stop using presets for a while, and learn how to create the effects you want yourself, using the parameters. Then once you have found combinations you like, you can create your own presets for ease later...but have a firm grasp of how it does what it does, so you can quickly and easily go to the relevant slider if a tweak is needed. The added bonus is that your images won't look like everybody else's, and nerdy togs won't s****** into their coffee when they spot xyz preset.

edit: erm...so s.n.i.g.g.e.r is a type of laugh, not a swear. Seriously?

09-18-2018, 07:25 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
I guess somehow I have skipped over the whole 'Preset' thing and went straight to plug-ins... woops

It certainly has it's perks, the ease of syncing for a start.

One thing that has me a little stumped however. Take VSCO for example, when you apply a preset, I pay close attention to any of the sliders on the other side (of LR), to see what changes, and thus give me some control over the preset applied. What I'm seeing however is that with VSCO Mobile Preset 2, the changes are all made in the 'tones', or rather specifically Hue, Saturation and Luminance of the colour spectrum. This I find difficult to tweak, because there are just basically so many variables.

With PS and using layers, once the plugin effect is applied, once back in PS you can even simply just change the Opacity of that plugin layer to change the intensity (quickly and easily) of that effect.

What would be a good way of trying to control some of the effects of these LR Presets then (without popping off to PS as that kinda defeats the purpose of this thread point)? I mean I do note that VSCO gives a 1/2 way point of the preset, which is handy, I have already once (which took too long) adjust one of those presets to being 3/4 lol (ie take the full value changes and the half way value changes, and change all the markers/sliders to being half way between those two points... Zzzz...)
Presets can make for a good starting point. I have two of the film packs from VSCO, and I probably use 2 or 3 of the presets that I have modified from time to time. Open up your curves and watch how they change as you switch presets. Instead of using the sliders I find it easier to adjust the curves.
09-18-2018, 12:04 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by victormeldrew Quote
erm...so s.n.i.g.g.e.r is a type of laugh, not a swear. Seriously?
Auto Forum Nanny software. Sheesh...
09-18-2018, 01:27 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by victormeldrew Quote
I would try to stop using presets for a while, and learn how to create the effects you want yourself, using the parameters. Then once you have found combinations you like, you can create your own presets for ease later...but have a firm grasp of how it does what it does, so you can quickly and easily go to the relevant slider if a tweak is needed. The added bonus is that your images won't look like everybody else's, and nerdy togs won't s****** into their coffee when they spot xyz preset.

edit: erm...so s.n.i.g.g.e.r is a type of laugh, not a swear. Seriously?
I hardly use presets generally speaking (in LR), as I stated it's used initially more with correcting Exposure (I shoot -0.7ev most times). Sometimes the Auto tone preset can help get me to a starting place that then needs further tweaked, sometimes it's wildly wrong. Sometimes I just got it right in camera and Auto tone would be way off from the look I want, so I feel I have my grasp and knowledge of the main slider group (Exposure, Shadows, Whites, Blacks, Highlights etc) firmly achieved.

Clarity I leave mainly to Topaz, I use selective clarity boosting via Topaz+PS. Adaptive Exposure is also a nice look, and again that's via Topaz+PS. I don't really mess with the tonal colours in LR but can see now how those are the sliders responsible for analogue and film 'vibes'.
But whatever I typically choose 3rd party plugin wise, it's always tweaked, and even after the fact then often dialled back via opacity masks/layers in PS. I don't think I have ever really used a single preset and thought "yup that's the look I want" and hit 'ok' I was talking to someone else actually how I found it bizarre that most presets for plugins seem to be so extreme, that they always need dialled back and therefore I'm wondering why they are so overly strong with that 'look'. His reply was that they'd always prefer to have it too much and be able to dial things back than the other way around. Fair point.

I doubt much of my work will look like anyone elses, I mean I can often use multiple 3rd party plugins to get my look (time consuming), for example using both Nik Analog Efex Pro 2 along with Topaz Adjust 5 and finish off with VSCO (all tweaked as well).

QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote
Presets can make for a good starting point. I have two of the film packs from VSCO, and I probably use 2 or 3 of the presets that I have modified from time to time. Open up your curves and watch how they change as you switch presets. Instead of using the sliders I find it easier to adjust the curves.
That's how I feel. Presets are starting points. In my 3rd party plugins I have a heap of tweaked presets that I have saved (and named) as my own presets. I will pay more attention to the curves section in LR, it's something I don't normally mess with. Isn't it just a visual representation of the main sliders (Exposure, Shadows, Blacks and Whites etc), or is it separate? I'll have to check if messing with the curve line changes the sliders up top, but I don't think it does does it, it's something else entirely isn't it? I best go educate myself on Curves tool now
09-19-2018, 08:57 AM   #8
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I lost my preset collection when I changed computers and mostly it was the best thing that ever happened to me. You are right though about the time used in doing everything from scratch and for a pro, this would be intolerable.

09-19-2018, 09:02 AM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by kernos Quote
You are right though about the time used in doing everything from scratch and for a pro, this would be intolerable.
Doing everything from scratch on every image would be a monumental waste of time. Doing it from scratch a few times, then creating your own presets for use later is the opposite. It teaches you how everything in that preset works, what effect it has and what tweaks will be needed to any future correct issues. Then when you apply your preset later, you won't spend an hour trying to find what it is that's creating a particular problem with that image, you'll just go straight to the slider and done.
11-08-2018, 12:19 PM   #10
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Once I start batch processing, I limit the extra steps and 3rd party software as low as possible. But, there are ways to make things work consistently.

For instance, if I was using Nik software to get a special effect (say out of Silver Efex, Color Efex, etc), I would work through my process on one photo in the batch I am working on, but as I finish each software in my process I would save a preset for that step and then reuse that preset for the rest of the images in the batch. This is slightly different than just creating generic presets that you will use forever (although there is nothing wrong with doing that). I tend to edit by mood, so it isn't unusual for me to create presets that I might only use for one batch of photos and perhaps never again (or perhaps tweaked in the future).

Once I've gone through one photo, I can just go through each photo and apply the presets I created for photo 1 in each plugin. It isn't as convenient as selecting a group of photos in LR and then applying a preset or syncing edits, but it is better than editing each one individually.

Additionally, when you use a program like DxO, you can select a whole group of images for editing all at once like you can in LR, too. If I was only going to work in LR and DxO, I might export all the images in LR to a new Tiff or Dng (so the LR edits are in the file) in a working folder. Then in DxO, I would just browse to the folder and select all the images for your edits there. Keep in mind that DxO is just another broad Raw Editor rather than a specialized plugin. It might be easier to work with it outside of the LR plugin for efficiency.

Finally, I would be tempted to work through all the 3rd party steps with a set of Tiffs in one folder unless you know you can get through the whole process with a DNG and non-destructively. You won't be able to easily go back to an intermediate step, but if you are working off of plugins, you can start off a new export from LR if needed.
11-08-2018, 04:44 PM   #11
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Presets are just moving the Lightroom sliders for you, they don't do anything you can't already do in the program.

Plug-ins are additional executables that have code to do other things or alternatives to the way in Lightroom (a different algorithm to get rid of noise, for instance).
6 Days Ago   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by emalvick Quote
Once I start batch processing, I limit the extra steps and 3rd party software as low as possible. But, there are ways to make things work consistently.

For instance, if I was using Nik software to get a special effect (say out of Silver Efex, Color Efex, etc), I would work through my process on one photo in the batch I am working on, but as I finish each software in my process I would save a preset for that step and then reuse that preset for the rest of the images in the batch. This is slightly different than just creating generic presets that you will use forever (although there is nothing wrong with doing that). I tend to edit by mood, so it isn't unusual for me to create presets that I might only use for one batch of photos and perhaps never again (or perhaps tweaked in the future).

Once I've gone through one photo, I can just go through each photo and apply the presets I created for photo 1 in each plugin. It isn't as convenient as selecting a group of photos in LR and then applying a preset or syncing edits, but it is better than editing each one individually.

Additionally, when you use a program like DxO, you can select a whole group of images for editing all at once like you can in LR, too. If I was only going to work in LR and DxO, I might export all the images in LR to a new Tiff or Dng (so the LR edits are in the file) in a working folder. Then in DxO, I would just browse to the folder and select all the images for your edits there. Keep in mind that DxO is just another broad Raw Editor rather than a specialized plugin. It might be easier to work with it outside of the LR plugin for efficiency.

Finally, I would be tempted to work through all the 3rd party steps with a set of Tiffs in one folder unless you know you can get through the whole process with a DNG and non-destructively. You won't be able to easily go back to an intermediate step, but if you are working off of plugins, you can start off a new export from LR if needed.
I think I follow the general jist of what yer saying. I do similar in that when I use Topaz plugins I too save presets that I might use only for that batch of editing and never again, but Topaz can be helpful in a way that it recalls last settings used, so you don't even really need to click on that saved presets, the sliders are where they were last left before exiting.

I didn't know that about DxO (batch editing). I did a 30 day trial and launched it via PS always, it wasn't overly apparent from that portal that batch editing could be achieved. Perhaps I never launched DxO standalone which could do these batch edits. Interesting.

However, launching 3rd party plugins is only the beginning, usually there can be a heap of masking that is also applied, it has to be a file by file approach when doing masking etc. Using Nik Collection for example, it creates a layer for you, it expects the user will want to reduce the overall effect (opacity) or do some masking, which then just adds to the tedious editing nature.

I recently discovered VSCO Presets for LR, I aim to buy the Film Essentials pack and give that a whirl. I have just come back from school camp and took a good few hundred shots over the 3 days, I'm aiming to process all these without stepping out of LR (or at least minimise that as much as I can).

QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
Presets are just moving the Lightroom sliders for you, they don't do anything you can't already do in the program.

Plug-ins are additional executables that have code to do other things or alternatives to the way in Lightroom (a different algorithm to get rid of noise, for instance).
Yup. It was a question I asked ages ago because I was somewhat perplexed that if LR could SEE and have the changes in plugins APPLIED then why could it not put two and two together and try and sync that applied change from a 3rd party plugin to other files that have not yet visited that plugin. I mean I could understand why that might be the case if after visiting the plugin LR couldn't show the changes, something was lacking in the editor to see those changes, but that's clearly not the case. Shame.
6 Days Ago   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote

Yup. It was a question I asked ages ago because I was somewhat perplexed that if LR could SEE and have the changes in plugins APPLIED then why could it not put two and two together and try and sync that applied change from a 3rd party plugin to other files that have not yet visited that plugin. I mean I could understand why that might be the case if after visiting the plugin LR couldn't show the changes, something was lacking in the editor to see those changes, but that's clearly not the case. Shame.
Well, it doesn't see changes to the file. Watch it next time ... it exports the file to a TIFF, sends it off to the plugin that does its own stuff in a new window LR's not even aware about (nor should it, it's somebody else's code), and brings it back in as a new file.

Last edited by clackers; 6 Days Ago at 05:12 PM.
6 Days Ago   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
Well, it doesn't see changes to the file. Watch it next time ... it exports the file to a TIFF, sends it off to the plugin that does its own stuff in a new window LR's not even aware about (nor should it, it's somebody else's code), and brings it back in as a new file.
Yeah you're quite right.
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