DFT reFine Software Plug-in Review

Who is it for? The reFine plug-in from Digital Film Tools is designed for photographers, videographers and editors who have the support of Adobe Photoshop , Adobe Photoshop Elements, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, Apple Aperture , Adobe After Effects CS5 and up, Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 and up, Apple Final Cut Pro 6, 7 and X, Apple Motion 5 and Avid editing systems.

What are the feature highlights? reFine can decompose an image into three detail layers: course, medium and fine.
You’ll get….

Sharpening and detail enhancement
Edge-aware smoothing useful for removing skin blemishes
Hyper-realistic sharpening and smoothing effects
Course, Medium and Fine detail adjustments
Cartoon, pencil and pastel effects
Layering system for multiple filter application
Sophisticated but easy-to-use masking tools
8-/16-/32-bit image processing
Multi-processor acceleration

Downloading and activating the software was a bit frustrating, but once you visit the dft Support Center, you’ll get all of the answers easily. I had to do a Windows Manual Install to have it show up in my Photoshop CS5 Filter, but that was done with ease. You may also need to disable your anti-virus and/or firewall software prior to activation.

The program is easy to utilize, but be sure to visit the pdf Users Guide and tutorials for all of the details. It has a well organized visual interface with everything being just a mouse-click away.

Applying Effects to the Image

View all the Presets together or choose a specific Preset from the drop-down menu. You can then easily choose from the predefined Presets or you can quickly reFine each Preset with the Parameter slider bars all in one layer or create multiple layers and view and adjust each separate effect in each layer. You can also easily apply one or more of the Mask methods of EZ Mask, Gradient, Paint, and Spot. Quickly create your desired filter effects in the individual Mask Layers of each of the multiple layers.

I took a rather colorful and playful photo and started to have some fun with reFine.

Original Image

© 2011 Marla Meier. All Rights Reserved.

The first image below is utilizing 2 additional layers. I used Sharpen and Cartoon and adjusted the Parameters to my liking with the slider bars. It does create a fun look.

© 2011 Marla Meier. All Rights Reserved.

Then for the image below, I took the same image and combined layers of Cartoon, Pencil and Pastel effects. Again, I adjusted all with the Parameter slide bars. As I was working in the program, I actually thought of pre-school children learning their colors—pick the crayon that matches the color in the image and then color to brighten the image and make it come to life.

© 2011 Marla Meier. All Rights Reserved.

And last, I gave Masks a try. In the first layer I sharpened the entire image minimally and then isolated the green crayon using Masks and added cartoon to the background of the Mask Layer. In the second layer I applied the pencil effect to the foreground of the Mask Layer. You can just keep creating individual layers and masks until all selected within your image is how you want it to look.

© 2011 Marla Meier. All Rights Reserved.

Though refine is limited in applications, it’s still user friendly and fun, and gives you some flexibility to be creative at a low price.

by Marla Meier, Editorial Director

All written content (and most images) in these articles are copyrighted by the authors. Copyrighted material from Apogee Photo Mag should not be used elsewhere without seeking the authors permission.

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