I used to use filters a lot. I am speaking of the third party filters that serve as Photoshop plg-ins. As my processing style has changed over the years, I use them less and less.
Yet, I have not discarded them completely. I use them from time to time, but sparingly. As I write I learn that Google has no plans to update the features, or add to, of Nik. This is a shame, because Nik Software really is very good indeed.
I have Topaz, which I don’t use that much these days, unless I want to do something special. I also have DXO. I use DXO View Point a lot for architectural work, and DXO Film Pack from time to time.
I use the Macphun filters from time to time, and I use Luminar whenever I want to do some quick edits of jpeg files. For this, Luminar is outstanding.
I use Neat Image and Macphun’s Noise Reduction Software. Both are really very good.
The things that I use a lot, are luminosity masks, dodging, burning etc
In this image above, I started by creating an Orton like effect. I used a technique that I picked up from Ryan Dyar.
I did some contrast adjustments, and then I used a lot of dodging and burning. I realised that the sky in the upper left hand corner started to become a little discoloured, but what the hell? I like it!
A warming filter. A bit of the sponge tool
Then, Nik’s Analog Pro, to get this effect. Finally, some more dodge/burn/sponge layers.
And finally, noise reduction.
A wee bit of the vintage side of life….