I was really impressed with Conny’s retouching tookit. I am all about efficiency and simplicity. Most of my workflow consists of tools that Conny has in his toolkit. My favorite one was smart liquify, which allows you to liquify in a nondestructive manner. Before seeing this, I didn’t even know it could be done. I can vouch for this toolkit because it has all the tools you’d need for a serious workflow.
I absolutely love Conny’s Toolkit. I personally used to avoid pre-made retouching actions and scripts because I found they try to automate all the work for the retoucher but ultimately achieving bad results. Conny’s Toolkit is meant for a high end retoucher who works on all the intimate details of images themselves, but helps make their workflow more efficient and accurate by introducing actions and scripts I never thought possible. Though he offers many great tools, my all time favorite feature is the Gradient Map Maker. It makes making gradient maps so much easier that it has completely opened up the tool for me. I now use this script for virtually all my images and I feel silly for working as long as I did without it. I highly recommend any serious high end retoucher to try it out!
It’s not our creative nature to be lazy, but to be efficient. I tried a lot to speed up my work flow. Built my own set of actions, created actions for my personal brushes and setups for the clone tool and healing brush, but it was just a compromise. The actions palette wasn’t that great to work fast, ’cause as you know it’s not that well structured. You lose time seeking through all the different actions.
I was so happy to find the Retouching Toolkit. Everything I need is well organized in this little panel. Wether I need my brush for Dodge & Burn or I want to set up a Frequency Separation. It’s right there.
Every little feature by itself is well-conceived. You will have access to all the settings you want to choose and which correlates your workflow. Boom. You’re ready. Forget about the mathematics behind your Inverted Highpass. Set the first setting you need, the rest happens by magic. You need different setups for your radius? No problem, just run the button twice and you will get your sets. Even renamed with your settings.
My personal highlight is the Smart Liquify. After you have tweaked the liquify tool, you want to change something in previous layers? Just do your changes and update your Smart Liquify. It’s that simple. Thank you mates. You rocked my workflow.
Nov 17, 2014 – View original article here
A few months ago, I was offered the opportunity to review Conny Wallstrom’s Retouching Toolkit. It’s a collection of fast scripts accessed by a sleek panel to make life easier for professional retouchers.
What’s clear right away is that this kit is put together by someone who has spent untold hours on setting things up to edit hundreds to thousands of portraits and fashion shots. In a nutshell, 80% of what you need is right there in the panel, including cropping guides, preset brushes for cloning and healing, and staged layer groups for frequency separation and dodging and burning. I’m just getting used to the check layers, which are there to help you visualize your corrections and edits in different ways. More on that in a bit.
It’s important to realize this is not a plugin or magic button for any corrections or special effects. Instead, Conny’s Retouching Toolkit is aimed squarely at professional and advanced users who rely on powerful techniques being applied quickly and uniformly each and every time. This is a serious efficiency boost that can save you minutes on each retouch. That may not sound like a lot, but if you’re working on a catalog while the model is still on the set, those minutes count. And they also count when you’re churning through dozens or hundreds of images for a variety of clients.
What this toolkit does is place layers and groups into your document, pausing only long enough for you to dial in settings as needed. The layers are set up for specific tasks, and include things like locking movement, blending modes, and in some cases advanced blending characteristics. Adjustment layers come preloaded for things like dodging and burning, and their layer masks are already filled with black, so you just have to gently paint in your corrections.
Other features might seem even smaller, such as placing a blank layer and naming it ‘Healing’. This only saves you a few clicks and key strokes, but believe it or not, I really appreciated the fact that I didn’t have to stop to type in a layer name when working on removing some wrinkles from fabric. The power here is that you can hide every panel except your layers and the Toolkit, but still have everything you need. Decluttering your workspace is far more valuable than you think.
Two gems here are the Gradient Maker and Average Color. The Gradient Maker gives you a fast way to build up maps for correcting color, especially in skin. Select however many values you want after you’ve done a basic balance and color correction, and it builds a gradient map that you can use to smooth out uneven makeup or skin color. Average color lets you select a region, reduce it to the average color (duh) and returns a value for that color as the name of a Color Fill adjustment layer with advanced blending. Again, use this for local corrections or for applying an overall tone to your image based on a sample color.
A few other features are available that I have to admit I haven’t really put to the test such as Smart Liquify and Band Pass. I just don’t use these techniques very often right now anyway, but I plan to dig in to them on my next model project.
The going price is about $60 US, and I feel it’s totally worth the cost (disclaimer – I was given a review copy for free, but I absolutely would buy this panel at full value). This is coming from a guy who normally avoids any kind of plugin or panel. The reason I endorse this kit is because it’s not set up to give you special effects or processed looks, but instead to speed up your work. That’s something I am always interested in paying for.
There is a ton going on under the hood, here. These aren’t simple actions bundled together for ease; they’re full scripts that actually take your image content into account. Flexible naming, selectable parameters during the process, and blistering speed for most images all add up to a powerhouse that will pay for itself on your first image.
So there wasn’t much of a story, but I bet you found it interesting.