For more than 75 years, Tiffen has been the professional photographer and videographer’s “go-to” source for fine photographic filters. Even today, they continue to innovate their glass filter line with the likes of their variable ND filter and their new XLE long exposure filters.
However, unless you are carrying a professional’s large bag of gear, most of those filter effects can be applied after the shoot with software, and Tiffen leads there as well with their Dfx v4 for stills and video.
Note: the only optical (glass) filters that really can’t be truly replicated by software are the polarizer and the neutral density filters, so you might want to continue to carry those for their specialized purposes.
Tiffen Dfx4 Photo Plug-in
If you do your editing in Adobe Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom or Apple Aperture, the Tiffen Dfx4 Photo Plug-in is for you. With 134 individual filter choices, in more than 2,000 variations, you’ll be able to replicate almost every glass filter in Tiffen’s line.
Just a few of my favorites in this latest version 4 are:
Borders – all sorts of styles from slightly diffused to rough to make your own. The first photo is just a diffused white border, while the second had its color picked up from the sky in the image.
Colorize Gradient – colorizes according to the brightness values of the original image
Radial Tint – here I just used one hue with a clear spot but you can do multi-color gradients as well
Cartoon – converts any photo into a simulated cartoon character or object
EZ Mask – while it’s not new, it works even better in this version 4. Roughly trace what you want to keep in green (doesn’t need to be precise) and what you want to mask in red and the software takes it from there.
Notice the hair details it kept. Works on color backgrounds as well. Then drop in a colored background or tint.
And add a gobo design from thousands of included .PNG designs. This whole image took less than one minute.
Note: If you want to cut out the masked object or person and use in another program, look at Tiffen’s special package – EZ Mask by DFT.
Tiffen Dfx4 Video/Film Plug-in
If you edit in Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, Avid or Apple Final Cut Pro, then Tiffen Dfx Video/Film Plug-in is for you.
Similar to the still version, you’ll be getting 131 individual filters and presets for 288 B&W and color film stocks.
Gels were formerly used to color-correct film and with this plug-in, you’ll be able to duplicate the entire Rosco and GamColor gel libraries. Most often used to correct lighting temperatures, gels are still great for setting moods or creating special effects.
Effects like the ones I showed above are all available in video as well. In addition, you can keyframe all the effects including special ones like “Rays” which you’ll see in the video clip below.
I had done an opening for a video about my snowplowing exploits and the opening shot was too boring, so with a couple minutes and the Tiffen Dfx v4, I was able to transform it into something much more exciting. I used a combination of Radial Tint, Cartoon and Rays effects. Check it out.
Disclosure: I was given access to both filter sets to create this review