Tiffen has just released Tiffen Dfx  3.0.  You may know Tiffen for their incredible glass filters throughout the years, but what about photo software?  Tiffen has created Dfx 3.0, an incredible filter program engineered to make applying a plethora of filters a breeze.  I met with the folks at Tiffen during Photoshop World.  They were unofficially announcing their product to those who were in attendance.  At first I was skeptical, ” just what the photo world needs, another filter program for lazy photogs”.  I put my thoughts aside for their tutorial and humored them.  After approximately 3 minutes I was sold, I changed my mindset rather quickly when I saw how expeditiously one could mask a subject from the background.  “Just what the photo world needs, a well engineered power house of a filter program solely designed to make every photographer more efficient”, I had to get my hands on this software.

After discussing review and tutorial possibilities, the folks over at Tiffen graciously granted me access to the full version of Dfx.  I had specific concerns in mind when experimenting with Dfx 3.0, how well will it handle HDR images, will it have any benefits to HDR photographers, and most importantly, will Tiffen Dfx make it’s way into my normal workflow?  I ran Dfx through a series of images but was most concerned with how it would handle a normal everyday HDR landscape image and a rugged HDR portrait in need of some post processing help.

I started off my experiments with the infamous Everyday HDR image, the epic shot of the Bixby Canyon Bridge shot from Coastal Highway One.  I have always loved this shot, but have also felt it was missing something.  With the help of Tiffen Dfx, I now know exactly what was missing, some love from a few helpful filters.  I started out by testing Dfx’s noise reduction filters, they have three options, Deband, Denoise, and Deblock.  All of the noise filters were equally helpful, but the Deband filter tended to work best on the Jpeg image I was processing.  I then proceeded to use the Enhancing filter with attention to the blue water.  Moving onward I hit it with a Warm Pro Mist filter.  This filter helped give the image the exact feel I wanted, a warm sunset feel with slightly blown out skies to attract the viewer closer to the focal point.  I finished it off with an Ambient light filter to make the lighting pop just a little bit more, and I was satisfied.  While that may seem like a lot of filters, they applied much quicker than it has taken me to write this paragraph.  My stop watch read 1 minute and 45 seconds, and that was with my ADD of roaming through looking for the perfect filter.

 

Model and lighting from the original image provided by FJ Westcott. FJ Westcott is in no way affiliated with Tiffen or Tiffen products.

After being thoroughly impressed with the landscape processing I thought I would throw something cumbersome at Dfx.  Everyone knows how difficult HDR portraits can be to post process, getting rid of the grime usually takes sampling the original exposure.  Dfx cut through the trials and tribulations of HDR portraits like a warm knife through butter.  I started off once again using the Debanding filter for superb noise reduction.  I then added a mask to separate the female from the background.  Precision masking can be a tedious task, but Tiffen has created an unprecedented auto masking system.  Through a series of green lines to keep your subject, and red line to separate the background I made this mask in less than 20 seconds.  I then applied a window Gobo filter to the background along with a Warm Gel.  I applied a Nude FX filter to the female subject to warm her up a bit and a Diffusion effect to wipe all the tone map grime from her face.  All said and done, this image was processed in 2 minutes and 6 seconds.

The Interface:

The Good:

  • The interface is incredible.  All of the filters are cleverly laid out and have thumbnail previews to make the selection of the perfect filter fool proof.
  • The EZ masking system is bar nun the best I have encountered.  So simple, so accurate, and amazingly helpful it is definitely a force to be reckoned with.
  • Every filter is editable using the parameters tab below each filter.  While Dfx provides you with several presets with each filter, it also gives you the ability to tweak them to your liking.
  • Several hundred filters are included in Dfx with the ability to make them your favorites as you thumb through them making returning to them a breeze.
  • The most recent filter adjustments are saved after the program closes, just in case you need to go back and tweak them.
  • Tiffen offers a stand alone program as well as a Photoshop Plug-in A+ idea right there Tiffen!

The Bad:

  • I have yet to find anything worth noting.  Tiffen has nailed this one.

The Bottom Line:

Tiffen Dfx answered my initial concerns and then some.  Dfx handles HDR images very well, it holds serious potential for other HDR photogs, and I can guarantee it will find its way into my day to day processing workflow.  Dfx makes filter application painless, efficient, and simple.  Why bother spending countless hours trying to make the perfect filter in Photoshop anymore when Dfx puts filter power at your fingertips within seconds?  Tiffen offers the Dfx plugin for Photoshop for $229.95 and the stand alone product for $169.95.  If filter application is a common occurrence for you, the cost is mere pennies for the amount of time you will save in post.  High five from far away folks at Tiffen, EverydayHDR approves!

Blake Rudis
f.64 Academy and f.64 Elite are the brainchildren of Blake Rudis. While he is a landscape photographer he is most passionate about post-processing images in Photoshop and mentoring others.

For Blake, it is less about the art and more about the process. He dives deep into difficult topics and makes them easy to understand through his outside the box thinking.
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