Thursday, March 18, 2010

Plugin Showcase: Andrea

One of the unique features of Bibble is our support of non-destructive image processing plugins. These aren’t Lightroom “plugins” which are really just external applications that are launched by Lightroom. I don’t know how anyone gets away with calling that a plugin. Nor are these Aperture plugins, which require the image to be rendered to an internal TIFF and then edited. Although Aperture plugins are actually plugins that run within Aperture, they’re actually not terribly different from the Lightroom experience. Aperture plugins are not non-destructive - the image has to first be rendered so you can’t go back and change white balance or exposure or other Aperture settings after you’ve edited an image with a plugin. Well, technically you can change settings after plugin editing but those changes are applied on top of the plugin edits. Another drawback to this approach (both for Lightroom and Aperture) is that it takes up a lot of extra disk space. When the image is rendered into a TIFF it will often take up a lot more space than the original file.

On the other hand, plugins in Bibble are completely non-destructive, don’t require the image to be rendered into an intermediate TIFF and run in real time just like any of the native Bibble filters. This is better in the following ways:

  • It’s a lot faster - rendering an image into a TIFF is slow.
  • It saves a lot of space - only plugin settings are saved since we’re not creating a duplicate image.
  • More powerful - plugins can run at almost any stage in our pipeline which gives plugin developers much more freedom to do some very interesting things.
Basically plugins in Bibble can do just about anything that native Bibble filters can do. They’re true first-class citizens.


And that brings me to one of my favorite plugins - Andrea. Andrea is a film simulation plugin developed by Sean Puckett for both Black & White and Color films. If you’re familiar with Bibble 4 then you’d have known Andrea by its former name - Andy. What this plugin does is simulate “the exposure of film in a camera, plus optionally a second exposure of film in a darkroom.” Andrea is really the best tool you can find anywhere for creating B&W images. Well, at least I think it is. ;-) If you were a film shooter and had a favorite film or paper then you might find it in Andrea. The free version, which is actually included with Bibble 5, includes a number films and papers while the Pro version includes dozens more.

Editing in Andrea is fairly simple. Although it has a lot of options, most of what you need can be done by just flipping through the Camera Stock and Print Stock popups. Even if you never shot film (like myself) you can easily preview many different looks until you find something that you like. Usually just finding the right film and paper combination is enough for me, but you can also individually adjust the exposure for both the Camera (film) and Print (paper) if needed. Just play around until you get something that you like.

Here’s an example of what Andrea can do for your Black & White images:

Saturation = 0

Andrea - Kodak Imagelink HQ + Foma Fomaspeed Variant III

The first image is just a quick and dirty saturation adjustment - set the saturation to 0 and you’ve got a B&W image. This, however, gives an image that doesn’t really pop - white isn’t really white, black isn’t really black, it’s all fairly gray and drab and lacks contrast. With Andrea I get an image that really stands out - whites are white, black is black and I can get really high, edgy contrast when I want it (and I tend to like high contrast B&Ws).

But not only that, Andrea also works great for color images by applying the B&W response curves to each individual color channel for a full color image. "In this way, you can use the response characteristics of a B&W film for creating colour output." (Andrea homepage, Colour section):

Bibble Default

Andrea - FujiFilm Neopan 100 + Foma Fomaspeed Variant III

The Andrea image adds a nice bit of contrast and saturation - the color of the water really comes alive and the red shirt has a much nicer shade of red rather than a grayish red. It’s somewhat difficult to compare the color images at this size so I’ve included links to larger versions for a better comparison.

The one feature that I miss from Andy Pro is the Color slider. It was similar to the Color checkbox in Andrea but would allow you to adjust how much color you wanted to bring back. This allowed you to only bring back a little bit of color which I liked to use to give a vintage not-quite-B&W and not-quite-color look. So please Sean, bring that feature back to us. :-P

As I mentioned earlier the free version of Andrea is included in Bibble 5 since version 5.0.1 so you’ve likely already got it installed. Just click on the Plugins tab and start playing. The Pro version can be purchased from Sean’s website and you can even set your own price.

Also, there are a lot of very nice plugins being developed for Bibble. I hope that we can showcase some of the other plugins in future articles. For now you can check them out in the Bibble Plugin Forum.

Andrea Website
Larger images on Flickr
Plugin Forum


Mark Tuma said...

Great showcase, it has inspired me to give Andrea a proper look over, and Sean may even get a sale out of it!

claudermilk said...

Andy was my favorite plugin, I am so happy to see it's new incarnation as Andrea in Bibble 5. This was one of my pre-requisites to upgrading.

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