Mason I've know Mason Hladun for several years.  He's a friend and an extraordinary glamour photographer with an uncanny ability to turn out very unique and I dare say often erotic glamour imagery.  With 40 years of photography and 30 years of marketing experience he's worked on four continents and had exposure with many cultures.

He expanded his photographic pursuits to include people and portraiture in 1999, and since can be found in his 'Shattered Glam Studios'  providing modeling portfolios, fashion displays, and discrete glamour sets for individuals and couples.  Published internationally his portrait and product work can be viewed at:  www.shatteredglamstudios.com and www.sysoftcomm.com. I'm thrilled he's now part of our Bangkok Images review team along with Craig Lamson, myself, and Tom Tweedel.

 

Imagenomic  Filters

No body is perfect and that truism is no more apparent than in the world of Glamour photography.  In the Glamour world the subject is paramount and more times than not the ideal rather than the real. We want to see an expression of perfection in which flaws have no place and are not suitable for the audience. I shoot beautiful women, or at least need to make my clients as beautiful as possible.

Mine is hardly a special environment and my workflow is rather simple. I shoot for print, ultimately outputting work in the CMYK color space and use the world of the internet in support of my core needs. I shoot JPEG in the sRGB color space and do so with a Nikon D-200 which supplies an image suitable for a 12” x 18” which translates to an occasionally needed two page, double truck, spread. I work with images I produce as well as images produced by others to supply my print needs which manifest themselves in an American page size magazine.

I run an Adobe shop and have done so since the first release of Photoshop. I am currently using the CS4 suite which does an excellent job for me from concept to production. With a common user interface Adobe provides a complete solution for my needs in all medium necessary.  Since the acquisition of Macromedia, now even the familiar features of Flash for motion graphics and Dreamweaver for web development are included under a common feature and data interface.

As you might imagine I am always interested in plug-ins and add-ons to my workflow which will make the final image the best I can produce.

A couple of years ago I became aware of a very special suite of plug-ins from a company called Imagenomic.  After an easy install, under my Filters option in Photoshop I am presented with an Imagenomic selection leading to three distinct filters.

 

Noiseware

Noiseware is a global noise reducer I use mostly for my location work. I particularly enjoy shooting at night and can find noise in the shadow areas of the shot. Noiseware quickly and efficiently removes the noise and miscellaneous artifacts I find in my digital night shots.

 

Real Grain

The Real Grain filter is one with perhaps the most deceiving name. Adding grain or digital noise is certainly possible but so is a wide range of toning and tinting. The filter is equipped with a myriad of presets that will surely delight the experienced film photographer and darkroom process enthusiast. My use is primarily for B&W conversion and process toning.  When I have a need for stylizing an image for a particular purpose I am confident that I can find most options within Real Grain and seldom need to look elsewhere.

 

Portraiture

Portraiture is the best filter I have found for general skin treatments. I say this without equivocation as I have tried all manner of procedure, action and filter to produce images that delight my clients. At the end of any process undertaken for business the only thing that matters is whether or not a client will buy. In short, Portraiture helps make money.

 

Before/After

As you can see results may be dramatic as well as pleasing

 

As you probably noted in my early paragraphs, I am a simple photographer and don’t like to over complicate things. More often than not my final product is a 9” x 12” image (4:3 aspect ratio) in the CMYK color space. My camera is set to fine JPEG in the sRGB color space.

Once transferred to my computer I use Adobe Bridge as my virtual light table and select images for work from there. My first step in Photoshop is to create a work layer upon which I will do my initial fixes using the clone and heal tools.

If I need to do any color balancing or tonal control I will create or import an adjustments layer. The next step is to resolve the aspect ratio differences between the camera’s 35mm format (3:2) and my desired 4:3. A crop decision is required at this point and if my crop area is smaller than my frame I will use Genuine Fractals to resize the image before making the actual crop.

With these steps completed I have a 9” x 12” image file saved in TIFF format at 300 dpi. It is to this image I will apply the Imagenomic Portraiture filter. I’ve always appreciated the user interface and use the vertical split frame option showing me a good before and after preview. While the original version of the user interface, still in use in Noiseware Pro and Real Grain, was clean and functional the new one seen in Version 2 of Portraiture is sublime elegance.

Of course all the new features are available but one can literally start at the top and circle clockwise around the preview and complete their setup. This setup “cycle,” in short order, becomes unnecessary because after one selects and becomes comfortable with a preview scheme, a rendering option, output and masking preferences changes are generally unnecessary.

The preview function offers a full screen and two splits as standard. A user may select a single screen or split comparisons in horizontal or vertical orientation. Bracketing is also available with a host of options for deviation. One may select between fast and accurate previews which further tune the time the program takes to yield the preview image.

For the studio shooter where environment is controlled and repeatable things become even easier. The highly adjustable variables of Detail Smoothing, Skin Tones Mask and Enhancements may be set and maintained as custom presets which will work with predictable results. Once the basics of producing a sellable image are established, the time saved may then be used for more interesting artistic expression.

Within the Skin Tones Mask bank of controls two helpful visual aids affect Luminance and Hue. A virtual area map allows for the selection of luminance and has meant to me I can select a finite range of tones correlating with my subject’s skin within the image. Hue is controlled with a simple slider and further contributes to the selection of skin tones and the effect of the filter upon them.

 

Before/After

Before/After

 

Portraiture offers a set of options within an Enhancement bank where variables such as Sharpness, Softness, Warmth, Tint, Brightness and Contrast may be tweaked in degrees to most anyone’s delight.

As with most things, a little bit may mean a lot and this is certainly the case with Portraiture. I have three basic presets in the Detail Smoothing bank; a little bit, a little less and almost nothing. For the majority of my images my middle setting will suffice. It is easy to get carried away in the quest for lovely skin but too much of a good thing can lead to a plastic feel without a believable natural look.  In the studio setting where ISO’s are low, F-stops moderate and exposure speeds high some post processors will find the minimal settings amazing.

 

Lady in Red

Lady in Red

 

A helpful feature in Portraiture is the ability to have effects applied in a new layer. In shots such as the one on the left applying the filter to a new layer leaves open the easy option to erase areas exposing the subtle details and texture of the fabric contained in the original layer below.

Not unlike the other filters in the suite, Portraiture is complete with a variety of presets which may establish the basis for many photographers’ work. Once tweaked and tuned to an individual’s liking, the recipe may be set as a custom preset to be used again and again.

In summary, Portraiture is an essential product for people shooters. Through a variety of tools and controls Portraiture provides a photographer a wealth of options of how an image might be presented to a client. While providing a wide latitude of possibilities, Portraiture may be well tempered to provide a set of predictable results to the studio shooter.

 

Steve's Comments

Imagenomics Portraiture is a very intensive package and I must admit with other commitments I didn't get nearly the seat time I would have liked to have to fully review this product.  Because of this I'm totally deferring to Mason's vast expertise with this specific product.

I did get in over 20 hours of use and there is no denying this is one of the top products in it's genre available.  I've used Imaginenomics competition for years and I'm well versed in it's use, and eventually I want to do a side by side comparison of most features.

I will continue to use Imagenomics and gain the requisite experience necessary for a meaningful review comparison.  I estimate as early as next February we'll publish this comparison.

Thank you Mason for your great review, and thank you to Imagenomics for their support duringt his process.

Steve