Tint, Tone and Color
by: Mario Georgiou, December 2004, send
FX Software, go
to the web site
III or faster, Windows 98/NT/2000/ME or XP, 128MB RAM,
30MB free hard drive space, Photoshop Plug-in Compliant
Host application; OS 9 or higher, OSX native, Power Mac
G3, G4 or G5, 256MB RAM, 30MB free hard drive space
Tint, Tone and Color (MTTC) is the second in the Mystical
Series of plug-ins and applications from AutoFX. MTTC is
a set of predefined effects which can be used to enhance
and apply character to your image. MTTC applies changes
to your images in a non-destructive manner. This non-destructive
process is called Smart Layers and it allows you to apply
and delete effects in combination. You can turn the effects
on and off at your whim and if you decide you don't like
the effect you can delete it from the effects list.
is great for recreating many traditional effects just like
the ones used in traditionally processed photography. As
with all AutoFX products it runs as both a stand-alone
program and a Photoshop compliant, plug-in based application.
If you've used any other AutoFX plug-in applications you
will be immediately familiar with this one and its graphical
user interface (GUI) with all the familiar sliders, Memory
Dots and tools.
in MTTC can be applied to your image using a number of
methods from the global application of the filter to application
on a selected area and application of the filter via an
effect brush. There are a total of 38 predefined filter
effects basically all accessed through 2 buttons: Special
Effects and Presets.
Effects allows you to apply the stock filters which when
loaded can be modified and saved as presets. Every effect
is modifiable and the speed at which each effect is applied
is impressive. One minor issue I have is that the effects
aren't really grouped in a logical fashion but simply thrown
together in the Special Effects menu. The effects can be
categorized into three basic camps as described by the
product name. The Tinting effects include classic photographic
effects such as emulating an antique photo and sepia toning.
You can also use a gradient to deepen the blue in your
skies and another to enrich the greens in foliage. Another
allows you to paint tints onto your photos and images directly
using the Hand Tint effect.
controls are quite powerful and are used to deepen or lighten
the tonal values in your image. These effects can again
be used either globally or selectively and are capable
of some interesting subtleties. Filters include Dark Contrast
and Multiply Darks (which deepens the tones in your photos).
Over Exposed and Under Exposed are fairly self explanatory
as are Restore Details, Soften Details and Tonal Soften.
Effects like Tonal Smooth, Tonal Detail and Tonal Contrast
are great for affecting or enriching the tonal ranges in
The Color effects allow you to control and manipulate
the color values in your images. Many of these effects
can be handled directly within Photoshop but the approach
taken here allows you a little more ease of application.
Effects like HSB (hue, saturation, brightness) Adjust,
Levels, RGB Adjust and Color Mixer are prime examples.
Effects like Warm and Cool are great for changing the color
temperature of your photos. Other color effects include
Washed Out which is great for softening the colors in your
photos and can be used to recreate that soft postcard look.
Soft Posterize reduces the palette to simplify and enrich
your photos. Darken Colors deepens your colors and at the
same time gives you richer tones. Saturate Colors allows
you to increase vibrancy, creating a richer and brighter
look. Soft Saturation softly increases saturation, creating
a smoother but richer color look. Vitality is used to enhance
the color saturation and creates richer and more distinctive
images by booting the contrast as well. Color Bleach is
used to boost highlights and increases contrast at the
same time. The Black and White effect effectively removes
color from your images while allowing you to control the
actual conversion process through the use of color filters
in the process.
The application is comparatively fast and ran trouble
free with only a couple of exceptions. I had several crashes
while trying to load a couple of Photoshop CS PSD files.
I discovered that this is due to text layers in the PSD
and that the problem only occurs when running in standalone
mode. It also failed to correctly import layered Photoshop
files with the filter. I had no problems whatsoever with
AutoFX provides easy to follow, quick start manuals and
free technical support via e-mail. The help manual is available
as a PDF file and there are also help bubbles within the
application which pop up when the mouse pointer hovers
over a button or control. AutoFX also has video tutorials
available on CD and online for this product, but you have
to purchase access to them. However AutoFX have not provided
online user forums for support info and user feedback.
I've found that this method of support is an excellent
route to take, when moderated, as many users will act as
ambassadors for products. It is also an excellent addition
to any knowledge base.
Cons: Would be nice to have a thumbnail preview in the
load dialog. The Brush needs a little refinement. Photoshop
PSD import needs a little work including the addition of
an alert which interrupts the load process to indicate
the presence of unrecognized elements.
Pros: Standalone capability. Fast and easy to use. Very
powerful. Good user interface which is consistent with
other AutoFX Products.
Mystical Tint, Tone and Color is a very cool application
and as a plug-in it performs well. Although many of the
effects can be duplicated by someone well-versed in Photoshop
it becomes obvious that this tool speeds up the process
for many of the effects. The point here is that you don't
need to be a Photoshop guru to use Mystical Tint, Tone
and Color. Even more to the point is that due to its standalone
capability, you don't even need a Photoshop compliant application
to host it. Anyone who takes photographs and wishes to
enhance their photos through the application of filters
will benefit from this product. Highly recommended.
Letters to the Editor are welcome and occasionally abused in public. Send e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org