Magic Bullet PhotoLooks

Yesterday Red Giant Software announced the release of Magic Bullet PhotoLooks. It’s the same Magic Bullet Looks you know and love, re-engineered for use on high resolution stills in Adobe Photoshop.

In case you don’t know, Looks, and now PhotoLooks, is a creative toolset for giving your images an overall cinematic look. It’s based on the model of an actual camera, with filters, lens characteristics, and film processing tricks. By accurately simulating the physics of light, glass, and celluloid, it creates a fun, creative environment for experimenting with your shots. Start with one of 100 presets, see how they’re put together, then modify them to taste—or design your own and share them with friends.

Longtime Magic Bullet Looks users will recognize the interface, presets, and tools—so much so that they might even wonder what’s new about this new version. A lot has changed under the hood, but all in ways designed not to be noticed. Here are some examples:

  • That PhotoLooks is a native Photoshop plug-in means that not only can you use it directly from within Photoshop, but you can also use Photoshop’s Smart Layers to keep PhotoLooks as a non-destructive adjustment that you can tweak again and again, even after closing and re-opening the file. Aharon Rabinowitz shows you how to do this in the above tutorial.
  • PhotoLooks contains the beginnings of a Color Management solution, so that your color-managed Photoshop workflow will match what you see in the PhotoLooks UI. Future versions will refine and enhance this feature to work with any popular color space you might care to use for your photography workflow.
  • The last one is the biggest change and hopefully the most invisible: The Looks rendering engine has been re-written completely to work on high-resolution stills. While working on your look, you get the fluid, GPU-accelerated experience Looks has always provided, but when you press OK, your look is rendered by the new CPU render engine that can handle the gigantic image sizes common to current-generation cameras. If you’ve used the “secret” stills feature of Magic Bullet Looks, you may have run up against limitations in resolution. That won’t happen with PhotoLooks.

PhotoLooks is $199, or $99 if you already have Magic Bullet Looks or Quick Looks.

What’s fun for me, as the guy who designed it, is to see a whole new legion of creative professionals exposed to the power and creativity of Magic Bullet Looks. Here are some of their impressions:

I am not exaggerating when I say that Magic Bullet PhotoLooks will re-invent the way people think about filters in Photoshop—I have never seen anything like it.

-Deke McClelland, award-winning Photoshop author, and trainer

Another favorite feature of mine is the Look Theater. I get creatively stumped with my photography occasionally, and it is so cool to be able to just sit and watch my photographs take on a new persona without me having to lift a finger.

-Justin Seeley, Photoshop trainer and graphic designer

Magic Bullet PhotoLooks is a fantastic tool, with absolutely no adoption curve.

-Thorsten Meyer, Photographer

To make a perfect look for a photo [using Photoshop’s built-in tools] can be an arduous process of changing levels, curves, diffusion, glows, spot exposure, color correction, vignetting, edge softness, etc. However, the thumbnail for each of the 100+ presets in Magic Bullet PhotoLooks instantly updates to show its effect on your photo making it really easy to compare the effect of each one.

-Jack Tunnicliffe, Java Post Production

You can read more testimonials here.