As always, I get comfortable in my workflow then something new comes along that I didn't know I needed. This can of course be a good thing as long as we aren't closed minded to change. Today I'm going over an awesome new feature of the new NBP Freqsep Control update version 2.1.
Full disclosure, I am an ambassador for NBP plugins, so I obviously use these products however I wouldn't endorse a product that I don't honestly use and believe in for my workflow.
What It Is
Freqsep Control is a frequency separation panel that gives us a lot of control over how we do our frequency separations. Rather than running an action, we are presented with a bunch of options. The original info on this panel can be found here.
The unique features of this panel is that you have three options for the type of frequency separation, a Gaussian Blur, a Median Filter, and a Proprietary algorithm called Super Surface Blur which is a modified version of a surface blur, geared specifically for this purpose and to run quickly.
I've been using this panel exclusively in my workflow and have found it to be very useful. Now on to one of those things I didn't know I needed.
The 2.1 Update
This update for Freqsep Control primarily adds the ability to choose between a few different options when running your frequency separation.
To better explain those, the way my workflow and many others is to use a layer in between the high and low frequency to softly paint on some sampled colors from neighboring areas to the area we are working on. This has been the standard way for quite some time with most all frequency separation processes.
The new options give us that same option which is named default. Then we also have available Body Parts, which creates several layers in between the high and low and names them according to commonly retouched body parts. This is more of a workflow time saver and a way for those of us that are super picky about staying organized to quickly do so while adding the ease to adjust opacity of your corrections restricted to specific areas.
The third option in the settings box is my favorite and is a big time saver for me because it adds three ranges of luminosity masks for me automatically right as part of my frequency separation. I leave this setting on 99 percent of the time now. This allows me to paint transitions that are restricted to the referenced luminosity range. So I am able to paint shadow transitions while leaving the highlights and midtones alone. This is totally one of those things I didn't know I needed and now I wouldn't know what to do without.
What I Like
I love the ability to save time by the panel creating these layers for me. Adding the luminosity masks is a huge thing.
My finished image looks similar to how I would have done it before but the difference was how many steps I needed to get there.
What I Didn't Like
I would like an option for post layer creation, such as automatically selecting a layer to begin working without having to move over to my layers panel and pick one. However this of course would be difficult to do since each retoucher might do things in a different order, and that only gets increasingly more complex now with the new layer options that version 2.1 brings us. So it's unlikely to be a possibility. This is also getting super finicky, I'm very OCD about every extra click in my workflow.
Where You Can Get It
You can buy the panel for $30 here.