Art Filter use - Should I feel guilty?

Started Jun 12, 2012 | Discussions thread
sean000
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Re: Doing it yourself has its downsides as well.
In reply to agent888, Jun 14, 2012

agent888 wrote:

So I took the OM-D out last weekend and snapped some pictures. The one below that I took, I used the Art Filter "Dramatic Tones" I think it is called. I really really liked the results, but I somewhat feel guilty about it. I want to be able to produce this sort of work on my own eventually with post processing and what not, I don't want to use art filters as a crutch.

You can learn to do this kind of processing relatively on the computer, but of course mastering many of the different effects takes time. There are a number of approaches to post-processing an image to an final result that is stylized in a dramatic way, made to look vintage, black & white, etc.

  • Using camera settings or art filters in-camera

  • From scratch using only the tools built into your image editor (whether it be Photoshop, Lightroom, Elements, etc.)

  • Using free (or pay) presets or actions and then tweaking them.

  • Using plugins like Nik Silver Efex or Color Efex, Topaz, etc.

If you like the looks but don't like playing on the computer, art filters are the way to go... especially if you shoot RAW+JPEG so you can always do something different with the RAW file if you don't like how the art filter turned out.

If you like to play, then starting with some free presets or actions and deconstructing them is a good way to learn if your image editing software has presets or actions available. You can also look up instructions for how to get just about any look you want on the Web... at least using Photoshop or Lightroom.

Plugins like the ones from Nik (Silver Efex, Color Efex, Viveza) offer their own presets and tools for quickly getting the look you want and then fine-tuning. They aren't necessary, but nice to have if you get really into this stuff.

How do y'all feel about it? Or is this a case of "Take advantage of all tools at your disposal but don't become overly dependent."

Exactly. I think the Do-it-yourself approach also has downsides. More time post-processing and less time shooting. With the art filters you can look at the result and decide whether you like it or not. If it's good, you're done!

Guess I'm afraid to be labeled as one of those people that add a lens flare and sepia and then call myself an artist.

I think it's always good to play with a photo you really like, but you don't want to use a style just because you like the style. It needs to fit the subject or mood of the photograph. I've often spent time playing with a photo in Silver Efex or Color Efex only to decide that it looks best processed in a straightforward way with embellishments. Other times I think adding some drama or a different look really adds something.

I think in this case the dramatic filter adds something. This type of processing works well with dark clouds and weathered monuments or buildings.

Sean

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