With all the Lensbaby fun of late, I went in search of ways to enhance the Lensbaby experience and stumbled across the Kubota Lensbaby Action Pak! For those not familiar with Kubota actions, they’re purchasable groups of photoshop actions (very popular with studio, event and wedding shooters) which provide you with quick, easy and repeatable adjustments with the click of a button. Based in Bend, Oregon, they’re just down the way from me so I decided to get in touch with them and they were very gracious to let me play around with their Lensbaby Action Pak which includes 15 actions tuned for image files taken with various Lensbaby optics. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and while I never have a problem rambling on and on, I will let the image examples show off what these actions do. Starting with the original image taken with a GF1 and the Lensbaby TT + Composer / double glass optic and on through each of the included 15 Kubota Filters:
While for certain images, shot with certain Lensbaby optics may look gratuitous next to each other, the actions have different effects depending on which optical and lens combos you use. (Don’t tell anyone, but the actions work and look great on images not taken with Lensbaby optics also!) The Lensbaby Action pack is available for $39, downloaded from the Kubota website here: Kubotaimagetools.com (Photoshop is required for the Kubota actions to run).
Have a look at some of their video tutorials here as well to see these actions in, well, action!
When purchased, the Kubota Actions are controlled via the included Kubota Dashboard which is a cool way to quickly access and apply, cache and streamline your actions.
While I am a big fan of sharing and helping each other out as far as actions and presets go, I have to admit, so many of the Kubota actions are far more complex and finely tuned than I’m likely to come up with on my own or find for free elsewhere. There are a few sites from which I would justify spending money on Photoshop actions, and the Kubota actions are one of those few. I had a chance to play around with some of the others involved in the other packs and I feel that they would be a great purchase for anyone wanting to streamline their processing (I particularly liked the ‘viva la vintage’ set and the ‘A2 – modern chic pak’ which included the very cool Lord of the Rings actions), especially wedding shooters and the like where time spent processing thousands of images means less time shooting or managing a business. For those situations, the cost is pretty easy to justify in my mind, or should at least be considered as these actions are sweet, and can make good images look great.
For some other fun, free Photoshop tricks and tips try these articles:
Free Photoshop Contrast Pop Action!
Selective Color in Black and White processing
Digitally Aging your Images (Vintage processing techniques)
The Eyes Have It! (enhancing the eyes)
Still here? If you’d like to sign up to get new articles via email, simply enter your email address in the field at the top of the page! Thanks for reading through. – Tyson
Very cool and thorough review. I just purchased this pack and I use it for all my Lensbaby shots.
I know, it’s a great set of presets eh?
Do they have any presets that make blurry nature shots look intentional? Artsy, even 😉
I can see that using presets is a great idea, esp. for portraits, probably some still life’s and even some landscapes. I would have a really hard time picking a favorite out of the 15 tho some are much more attractive to my eye than others.
Can also see that if you had something “particular to say” that these or other presets, for that matter, would be a way of adding distinction to an otherwise meh! shot. Anyway, interesting as always, Tyson.
I’ve not had time to go through the hundreds of presets they offer, but I wouldn’t doubt they had some type of “I meant to take a blurry artistic shot, see!” type action 🙂 If I find it, I’ll certainly have hundreds more ‘keepers’ in my library. As for the Lensbaby collection, a few of the actions were developed specifically to work with certain Lensbaby optics which tend to render shots certain ways (ie: the plastic or double glass optics, as examples) and would be more “noticeable” so to speak if you were to run them on shots that used the stated optics I would assume. Like so many things Photoshop, the tools available, used to varying degrees can produce a multitude of results. Running multiple actions, modifying the blend modes and masking them into our out of shots could further diversify any set of actions. Of course, that gets us back to the “how much time and energy do you want to spend on post processing” question, so it is all relative when push comes to shove. Houses can be built with a handsaw, nails and a hammer, but often, newer, more efficient, or “creative” tools are implemented to do the job. At the end of it, you still have a house, but sometimes there are tools that can add flair for visual distinction or interest, or make for an easier job overall. Just depends on how you want your house to look at the end of it, and how much time and effort you’re willing to put into it. If a non powered manual film camera is the manual tool, digital cameras are the self correcting laser levels, or pneumatic hammers of the digital imagery world as it were while Photoshop is like a cool architecture CAD program that can take your 4 walls and turn it into an architectural masterpiece I guess.
Alas, I am no architect though, but hope to become one in the future 😉
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Ty for a great review, just what I was looking for 🙂