I love filters. Mainly I love them because they take a lot of the work out of Photoshop. There's nothing better than pushing one or two buttons and getting a result that makes me look like I'm an expert (of course, I am an expert, but every little bit helps). I love filter plug-ins too because usually they mean someone else has spent a lot of time and hard labor so I can get a result that would take me a heck of a lot longer to achieve on my own.
DxO is one company that has perfected the total geek-out approach to
software development. And so when they told me they were making some
new software that would simulate the look of film, it didn't surprise
me that their research included measuring film grain with an electron
microscope. The DxO Film Pack
will likely be out in May is out now, and recreates the results of shooting in
many of your old favorite films, including the likes of Velvia,
Ektachrome, T-Max, and lots of others in varying speeds. You can choose
to include the grain or not, and the program actually takes into
account the size of your image before creating the precise relative
diameter of the grain it's simulating. It's really fun to use.
Another genius idea comes this PMA from Tiffen. I love the idea of a graduated neutral density filter, and I love the idea of popping on a polarizer in the field, but my resistance to doing so is twofold. For one, I'm not quick enough to select them and attach them in time to get the picture I want. And for two, being a software geek, I like to keep my RAW files as RAW as possible, and add any warming or cooling or neutralizing effects after I take the picture. That's why it's swell that Tiffen has placed all of their sweet filters, plus even more, into software. I saw a beta copy today that totally blew my mind. It sounds like they're still figuring out how they'll divide which filters into a Pro standalone version and a plug-in pack for Photoshop and Elements, but they say it will be out in April.