NOTE: As always, I only recommend products I truly love. I also fully and honestly disclose that when you purchase from these links and use my code, I receive a small percentage of the sale. But seriously, there is NO obligation here! It’s FAR more important to me that you know I’m only sharing my opinion – that I do love these products – and if they float your boat too, here’s a way to get them at a discount. That’s the spirit of this whole thing.
OK, so… I’ve shared my experiments with them in the past… but now, after months of working with both Intensify Pro and Tonality Pro, I’m able to sum up what I like about them and how I use them consistently.
This is NOT intended to be a hard core, geeked out, every-single-detail sort of review. It IS about what I’ve found useful – and what you might find expansive about these two unique plugins from an artistic point of view.
NOTE: These are Mac-only products. Sadly, nothing for Windows yet!
What The Heck Do They DO?
First, here are the visual cliff notes on what Intensify and Tonality Pro actually do, using one simple image for comparison:
I get asked a lot about my photo processing. About whether I have tutorials on how I do it. About whether I offer presets for any of it. I thought I’d aim today’s chat towards a bit of that.
And BTW… I like saying “chat” or “conversation” more than “post”. Truly, I see you all in my mind’s eye when I write – and I honestly never think that I’m posting to you. What does that mean, anyway? I’m talking to you. And I love it when you talk to me too.
OK. Had to get that off my chest.
Back to the question at hand. Typically, I’ve found it difficult to do tutorials on what I do, at least in the overall, since I approach each photo like an original creation and don’t batch-do ANYTHING. I let each image talk to me (sometimes I talk to it too. Don’t judge me!) and then I try to tell our story. How do you teach that?
THAT SAID… what I’m going to share with you today IS something I can wrap my head around well enough to share with you – and perhaps make a difference in the expression of your special view of the world. It involves Macphun Software and their special suite of plugins.
Oh yeah, fair disclosure: I use both Photoshop tools and a variety of plugins in my processing. Some people think you’re cheating or something if you use plugins and aren’t some kind of elite Photoshop master wizard. I beg to differ! Plugins for me have always tickled my imagination into new directions, enticing me into see, think and feel in new ways that I wouldn’t have otherwise. (You know how I love that!) So I’m a fan of using them AND using Photoshop tools all in the same brew… and could use an entire post for each one. But today, I’m focusing on Macphun. I processed this one in Tonality Pro:
Anything can make you want to try something new artistically. Anything! That’s why you have to keep your eyes, ears and heart open. Oh and try not to judge. (no, I’m not talking about myself on the latter – whatEVER gave you that idea?)
Well, this is a new piece… quite different from my norm.
Finally! I get to share something I’ve been working on for weeks, but NOT able to talk about until now!
Macphun Software’s Tonality Pro plugin/app just launched last week. I was lucky enough to get to play with the software during the Beta process … and I’ve fallen in love with it!
Black & White Is My Home
My photography roots are in the darkroom… a looooong, long time ago. Black and white photography taught me the basics at such a deep level that it’s STILL what informs my composition, storytelling and artistry. So, Tonality Pro is a huge full circle experience for me.
The mind-bendy thing is that it doesn’t just do monochrome. It allows you to work selectively with color in ways I’ve never experienced before. It is truly mind-blowing! I don’t usually write reviews… but I’m working on one for this baby!
I have to admit that I’m still learning more and more about what all we can do with Tonality Pro… but I thought I’d start sharing it with you by taking 3 photos, processed 3 simple, quite different ways… just to give you a little flavah-flav of what you can do with this awesome plugin.
OH! And if you do decide to give any of the Macphun products a whirl, use the code KHUTT for 10% your purchase.
(at this time, it is only available for Mac users. I’m hoping for a version for Windows users in the future!)
It’s that feeling I get when I manage to re-imagine my own view of the world in my art. Of course, that’s always easier said that done!
Take photo processing for instance.
Personally, I have a set of colors, tones, textures and overall feeling I love to create in my photos. It’s all good – and is part of a “signature” that has evolved and defined itself over time. It’ll probably re-define itself many more times too!
Seeing Things Differently is Good
But sometimes, I’d like to expand my view. Get out of my same-old, same-old. See differently. Try some new tools.
Like anybody, I have a vision for what I want; a dream. A few dreams actually. And I’m in action to allow them to spring to life. I thought I’d share how it sometimes comes through my photo processing, since it sometimes takes you places you didn’t expect.
I’m going about this vision-to-life process differently than I have in the past. And it’s causing me to access parts of myself I’ve only ever heard about, but never truly experienced. At times it alternately feels hot, messy, deep, uncertain, mysterious, inspired, unusual; also guided, lit from the inside-out, jubilant, a revelation, awe-inspiring, joyful. How’s that for bouillabaisse? I processed this image one night when I was in a particularly grapple-y mood : (you can click on it for a larger view)
During my recent trip to Nashville, TN for Sony’s DI event, testing the new Sony mirrorless cameras… we visited the famed Ryman Auditorim. Home of the original Grand Old Opry. It’s got quite a history – and an unmistakable vibe when you walk in the door. I could’ve stayed there all day!
We were given super special access, which I’ll talk more about in a future blog post. But today I wanted to go through a process I did on one of the photos from there… and offer you a preset download of one of the filter sets I used. I got this idea from one of the comments on my Google+ page, where a fellow named Matt Kaiser asked if I’d made a preset out of the NIK Analog Efex Pro filter wards the end of my process – and if I’d be willing to offer it for download. I thought that would be fun… so you can find that at the end of this post, by clicking on the small version of this image. It’ll download straightaway.
But I decided to do a bit more here, since I did a number of things to this image beside Analog Efex Pro and didn’t want to lead anyone astray.
So, first of all, here’s the finished image, taken with the new Sony A7r, with the 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 lens (which will be available only as part of the kit):
To see, hear, smell, taste, feel, express, envision new realities in new ways is absolutely key to the artist. Creative. Photographer. Human dwelling upon Planet Earth at this time.
But to do that means Change. Yeah, capital C. Whether you’re a regular human or an artist human… that is sometimes challenging. Well OK, it’s always challenging. Especially when you’re comfy. But as artists, we must always be on wary watch for the icy clutches of “habit”. True for art – and for an artfully lived life.
I’m engaged in an ongoing creative experiment. It’s about shifting myself into new way of thinking – and living. Maybe “more expanded” is a good term for it. I’ve been at this in my personal life for awhile (OK, my whole life has been about this sort of thing!)- now I’m actively taking it new places in my photography. I walked you through one late evening adventure of it on this earlier post.. For this post, although I’ve got 3 photos to show you – I’m not prepared to tell you exactly how they happened. Note to self: get better at floating around in these right brain zones and still take notes! But I do have some thoughts. And they start with this photo… a jpg of the original RAW:
I showed you a photo that happened kind of by accident – but was definitely an “inner game of processing” breakthrough for me here. When I came out of “the zone” and looked at my Photoshop layers, thinking about what prompted each one, it wasn’t a process I found easy to describe. Which is why I wanted to try! I have no idea if this is useful to y’alls, but this is basically how it went.
I was honored and thrilled when Brian Matiash as me to do an episode for his Perfect Inspiration series at OnOne Software. I’ve posted the video tutorial portion below… and of course, you can find the whole thing at the link I just gave. There were a handful of us he that asked to create episodes. The rest of were weekly episodes he created himself. This year-long series has been positively inspired. Better said, Brian Matiash is positively inspiring! In everything he does, he gives back. He gleefully brings people along for the most wondrous ride of learning all things photography. It’s his deepest passion, the thing he could do 24/7 and never call it work. Brian’s such a great friend and I was just so pleased to contribute to his utterly fantastic project. There is a wealth of inspired information over at Perfect Inspiration… all for free! So go on, what are you waiting for? Get over there and start soaking it all in. 😀 Through the magic of the internet, the video portion also appears here: (backstory below)
"Love your blog. I stop by for the photography, I linger for the philosophy."
Kelley Morgan, Portland OR
"A beautiful mind will produce beautiful results. And to say the least, yours is a beautiful mind! Thank you for your wisdom and your inner "speak," as they both produce true art from the heart …"
Joe Hudspeth, Prineville OR
"Thank you Karen. A wonderful story but only the tip of the iceberg, the bigger part below the water is all the thousands of photographers you have inspired to chart their own journey, I know as I am one of them."
"Karen, thank you for the wonderful two day post. Your insights are truly thought provoking. I have never been a teacher, nor will I ever be, but to see someone see the light is a wonderful moment. Thanks again."
"As usual, another terrific story. I’m glad I found you but I have to be honest. I didn’t find you on Google + but did on Scott Kelby’s “The Grid”. Thanks for the inspiration in both images and by the pen/keyboard."
"Gads-what a girl! Thanks for the story, it is beautiful."
"Awesome story Karen — I loved reading about your life transformed. Of course I loved the photography theme and the geek in me is forever curious about the power of tech and the power of social platforms. But … for me it is the arc of lives transformed that inspires. Thank you so much for sharing. See you on G+ and in the Arcanum!"