Tiffin filters have a long and successful history in the camera world. For years they’ve provided film photographers with the ability to modify their shots at the time of shooting, whether with a polarizing filter to cut glare or fx filters that provided starbursts or other effects.
These days, film cameras are a rare breed. So what’s a filter company to do? Recreate their filters for the digital world, of course! Where the original filters were applied before shooting, Tiffin’s digital effects filters allow near-infinite manipulation of the photograph long after the shot.
Speaking of near-infinite, scroll down for a list of the 125 filters included in this package. Indented at the end are the Blend Modes. These can be applied to further modify any filter’s effect.
The User Guide is 534 pages, which seems a little intimidating until you realize the instructions are pretty unvarying. As given on page 18, the Dfx Workflow consists of eight steps:
- Apply Dfx to an image.
- Choose a filter category.
- Select a filter.
- Try out the various filter presets.
- Adjust the filter parameters to your liking.
- Use masks to limit where the filter is applied.
- Add additional filters.
- Click the Done button to apply the filters to your image.
It’s when you get to steps 3, 4 and 7 it really starts to get interesting. Just cast your eyes down that list above, and decide where to start. There are only 125 different ones to choose between.
Now consider you can apply multiple filters, each with their own presets and available modifications. Then a Blend Mode can be used to further affect the filter’s final effect. You could be here all day! (Night too, even!)
So what does it look like in use? I opened an image my daughter-in-law took in Peru in Photoshop CS5. Then I chose Filter > Tiffin > Dfxv3 and waited a moment for the interface to load (see below).
My image is centered with two sets of controls available. The four at top left are Done, Cancel, Reset and Add Mask. Choosing Add Mask gives initial choices, then a new set of tools appears to work with the Mask.
More tools are along the top of the image. Most have to do with zooming or comparing. The last three are Show Mask, Histogram and Magnify.
There are two thumbnails to the left of my image: Current on top and Original below. As I work through filters I can click Original to view my starting point, and click Current to return to my changes. The close-up view below these thumbnails opens using that last tool icon above the image.
Below these areas is a horizontal list of filter categories. Depending on which category is active, the area underneath populates with versions of my image. Each version previews in miniature what that image would look like when that filter is applied. What a great feature!
Selecting any filter fills the panel to the right of the image with either Presets or Parameters. Presets are variants precreated for that filter. The previous screenshot shows the presets for the Haze filter under Image.
Click the Parameters tab and every variable affecting that filter is available to play with to your heart’s content. Two Parameters are shown below. The one on the left is for the Kelvin filter. Next to it is the Parameters panel for Color Correct. As you can see, you have a lot of power/control.
Masks can be applied to limit the effect of a filter. You define how much is applied where, set the amount of edge feathering and adjust the shape. All of this is done directly on the image. No guessing. When you’re satisfied, click the Done icon (the little gearwheel at top left) and the image returns to Photoshop ready for save, output or further manipulation.
This is quite a piece of software. The interface is simple but very effective, and the tools are first rate. A definite plus for any serious photographer/retoucher.
Tiffin Dfx Filters http://www.tiffensoftware.com/