Macphun

What's the big deal about The Big Deal?

If you're reading this blog, chances are that you are into photography, postprocessing or probably even both. Well, I've got some interesting news for you! There's a new photography bundle out, The Big Deal. I'll immediately cut to the chase: this bundle, which is only available until July 4th, contains photography software, video tutorials, eBooks, Lightroom presets and Photoshop actions. The combined value of all the goodies in the bundle is over $3.000, yet it's priced at $99... and that's really a steal! 

Generally, there's a lot of 'filler' content in these bundles: stuff that you even would not want to get for free, let alone pay for it. But the Big Deal is much more about 'killer content' than it is about 'filler content'.

Let's have a look at what's inside. I won't list everything - there's a full list available over here - just my personal highlights.

Software

Although there's a lot more software in The Big Deal, I've limited myself to my personal top-3:

1. Photo Mechanic 5

More and more high-volume photographers who are using Lightroom, are starting to use Photo Mechanic as a front-end to Lightroom. Instead of waiting forever for Lightroom to build 1:1 previews, they use Photo Mechanic for the culling (selection) of the best images and then import only the selected ones into Lightroom. Ratings and Color Labels applied in Photo Mechanic can be read by Lightroom.

If you're a high-volume shooter, Photo Mechanic is an ideal 'front end' to Lightroom: do your culling in Photo Mechanic and your developing in Lightroom.

If you're a high-volume shooter, Photo Mechanic is an ideal 'front end' to Lightroom: do your culling in Photo Mechanic and your developing in Lightroom.

If you want to speed up your Lightroom workflow, Photo Mechanic is the way to go. In fact, Photo Mechanic only has one disadvantage: at $150, it's more expensive than Lightroom itself. If you get The Big Deal, it's included in the $99 bundle. For some of you, this should be enough to go for the 'Buy Now' button, so I've included one below, just for your convenience :-) By the way, if you want to see a video on how I use Lightroom and Photo Mechanic together and how it could speed up your workflow, check out this recent blog post of mine.

2. Tonality by Macphun

After Silver Efex Pro, Tonality by Macphun is probably the best Black & White software out there. It's got tonnes of presets and what I especially like is that it has built-in layer capabilities: this allows you for example to blend what one preset does to the sky and what another preset does to the foreground

Tonality (Mac-only) has the ability to work with layers inside the application. This lets you combine presets or easily fade their effect.

Tonality (Mac-only) has the ability to work with layers inside the application. This lets you combine presets or easily fade their effect.

Normally, it's about $60, now it's included in The Big Deal.

3. Clarity by Topaz Labs

If you like the Clarity slider in Lightroom, you'll love Clarity by Topaz Labs: it's like a whole plug-in dedicated to creative sharpening effects. It's one of the favorite plug-ins of master retoucher and compositer Glyn Dewis, whose videos are also included in the bundle!

Clarity is normally around $50, now it's included in The Big Deal.

Video Tutorials

There is a plethora of video tutorials included in The Big Deal. Below is my personal top-3. Just as with the software, some of these tutorials cost more if you buy them separately than if you get them in the bundle.

1. Language of Light, Volume 1 by Joe McNally

If you want to learn about off-camera flash, no better source than Joe McNally. I've bought this tutorial myself a couple of years ago and it's worth every penny of its $120 price tag. So this is another example of a tutorial that by itself costs more than the whole bundle itself!

2. Retouching and Compositing Video Bundle by Glyn Dewis

If you're into compositing, British guru Glyn Dewis is your man. I own his book on compositing and it's excellent. I've also seen him live on a couple of occasions and the man knows his Photoshop stuff and he's witty to boot. This bundle contains several of training and again, when purchased separately, would cost more than the whole Big Deal Bundle.

3. Photoshop Training with Dave Cross

Dave Cross is another one of those Photoshop giants. He's got three courses in The Big Deal: one on working non-destructively, one on selections, channels and masks and one on automating Photoshop. 

This is just my personal top-3, but there's also Lightroom training by RC Concepcion, a video tutorial on how to use Photoshop for video editing and lots more. Again, you can see the whole list here.

Presets and actions

Finally, there's a bunch of Lightroom presets and Photoshop actions in the bundle as well, like Lighroom guru Jared Platt's comprehensive preset pack, by itself a $115 value.

Conclusion. Is it worth it?

There's lots more interesting stuff than what I've listed in this post but ultimately, you're the only one who can decide on whether this bundle is worth it or not. What I generally do in cases like this, is have a look at the entire list (scroll down a bit in this link), and check what stuff is in there that I'm really interested in. In this particular case, that would be well over $1.000. So the way I look at it is I get a 90 percent discount on the stuff that really interests me, and I get all the other stuff thrown in for free, in which there will probably be some hidden gems, too!

But that's just me and my rational approach. You could just go and say '$3.000 worth of photo stuff for $99?' That's a no-brainer :-)

Disclaimer:
In the interest of full disclosure: the above links are affiliate links. If you purchase the Big Deal through the links in this blog post, MoreThanWords receives a commission that is paid for by the seller. In other words, it does not cost you anything extra and it helps me pay the bills of running this site and all the free content and videos that are on it. Rest assured that I don't simply advise this bundle because I'm an affiliate. In fact, I have the opportunity to promote bundles like this one quite regularly, but there's a lot of chaff amongst the wheat. So, I only promote the ones that I think are interesting, like this one. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments.

 

 

 

 

The Macphun Creative Kit XXL: over $2000 worth of software for only $129

If you're a Mac user, chances are that you've already heard of Macphun software. 

Macphun creates a number of interesting photo plug-ins for Lightroom and Photoshop. Their plugins can be purchased separately, but you can also get them in a bundle: the Creative Kit. For a limited time (until the end of May), Macphun has a special version of that Creative Kit, called the Creative Kit XXL, on sale. Basically, it's a bundle of the Creative Kit and a bunch of other photography related resources, such as eBooks, training videos, actions, textures and a bunch of Lightroom presets, including an unreleased set of my own!

When purchased separately, the total bundle would set you back over $2000 or €2000. Until the end of May, it's only $129 or €145 - the price difference between dollar and Euro is because of European VAT. In any case, it represents a savings of over 90 percent. And even if you aren't interested in all of the content, there's bound to be enough that interests you to make this killer deal worth your while.

I did the exercise and here's my personal top-10 of software and extras that are included in the bundle:

1.    Tonality CK

This Macphun Lightroom and Photoshop plug-in is one of the best plug-ins for creating great Black and White pictures. It comes loaded with presets for quick results but it caters to advanced users, too. One of the coolest features in my opinion is the fact that you can work with layers and layer masks inside of the plug-in. So, for example, you can combine the sky of one preset with the foreground of another. Or you can add a separate dodge & burn layer or a separate creative sharpening layer and work selectively in those layers.

Tonality is normally €60, but now it's included in the Macphun Creative Kit XXL.

Normal.dotm 
 0 
 0 
 1 
 43 
 248 
 MoreThanWords 
 2 
 1 
 304 
 12.0 
  
  
 
  
    
  
 0 
 false 
 
 
 18 pt 
 18 pt 
 0 
 0 
 
 false 
 false 
 false 
 
  
  
  
  
 
  
    
  
  
   
 
 /* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
	{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
	mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
	mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
	mso-style-noshow:yes;
	mso-style-parent:"";
	mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;
	mso-para-margin:0cm;
	mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
	mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
	font-size:12.0pt;
	font-family:"Times New Roman";
	mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria;
	mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
	mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria;
	mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;
	mso-ansi-language:EN-US;}
 
  Converting this image from a bland to a powerful Black and White was a breeze with Tonality Pro. Thanks to the built-in layers and layer masks, it's easy to combine several looks into one or to add a dodge and burn layer for selectively brightening parts of the image, as I did here with the jacket. By the way, this is the Dutch interface. The App is obviously available in English, too!

Converting this image from a bland to a powerful Black and White was a breeze with Tonality Pro. Thanks to the built-in layers and layer masks, it's easy to combine several looks into one or to add a dodge and burn layer for selectively brightening parts of the image, as I did here with the jacket. By the way, this is the Dutch interface. The App is obviously available in English, too!

2.    Intensify Pro

This is my second favorite Macphun plug-in: as its name implies, it lets you intensify your pictures. Think of it as Lightroom's Clarity slider on steroids. Intensify gives you incredible control over the texture, structure and sharpness in your images. 

Intensify is normally €60, but now it's included in the Macphun Creative Kit XXL.

All it took was one click on an Intensify preset to add more drama and mood to this image. And the sensor dust it brought out? That's an easy fix for Snapheal.

All it took was one click on an Intensify preset to add more drama and mood to this image. And the sensor dust it brought out? That's an easy fix for Snapheal.

3.    Snapheal

This third Macphun plug-in is great for removing unwanted elements like dust spots or power lines from your images. It's more powerful than Lightroom's Spot Removal tool and as such it's a great plug-in for Lightroom users that don't have Photoshop.

Snapheal is normally €50, but now it's included in the Macphun Creative Kit XXL.

4.    Africa with Athena. A photographic adventure.

A video-tutorial on shooting in South-Africa with award-winning photographer Athena Carey and filmed by talented Dutch photographer and filmer Armand Dijkstra (he's the guy that makes some of Joel Tjintjelaar's videos).

Normally € 68, now included in the Macphun Creative Kit XXL.

5.    Frank Doorhof's Live in Boston video.

The Dutch King of Fashion Photography and Training needs no further introduction! There's always something to learn from Frank. Normally €45, now included in the Macphun Creative Kit XXL.

6.    The Essentials of Street Photography eBook by James Maher.

An eBook on the increasingly popular genre of street photography. Normally €23, now included in the Macphun Creative Kit XXL.

7.    Getting Started with Portrait Retouching by Lesa Snider.

A tutorial video on portrait retouching. Normally €57, now included in the Macphun Creative Kit XXL.

8.    HDR with luminosity masks.

A video tutorial by Howard Snyder. Luminosity masks are a great way to have fine control over your images. If you're a landscape photographer, you have to know about them. Luminosity masking is one of the few things I leave Lightroom for and turn to Photoshop. Normally €68, now it's included in the Macphun Creative Kit XXL.

9.    Landscape eBook bundle by Nature Photo Guides.

If you're planning a trip to Iceland or Death Valley, these ebooks will help you get the most out of these places. Normally €57, now included in the Macphun Creative Kit XXL.

10. MoreThanWords Preset Mix Vol. 01.

Yes, that's right. I'm in the bundle, too. I've contributed a set of 20 Lightroom presets that aren't yet available elsewhere. If you like my Colorific Colour Grading Presets or my Black and White presets, you'll love these, too. Normally, they're €20, now ... you guessed it, they're included in the Macphun Creative Kit XXL. If you love Lightroom presets, there are hundreds more in the bundle, including the ones from Contrastly (by themselves another €112 value).

One click on the 'Warm Fuzzy Feeling' preset was all it took to transform this image. The preset bundle contains 20 presets: 10 color ones and 10 black & white ones.

One click on the 'Warm Fuzzy Feeling' preset was all it took to transform this image. The preset bundle contains 20 presets: 10 color ones and 10 black & white ones.

There's loads more than this top-ten, obviously and your top-ten may be different than mine. But a quick calculation taught me that this top-ten alone represents over a €500 value. And 330 of that €500 are extras, so that's not even counting the software. So the Creative Kit XXL might even tempt non-Mac users!

If you want to get the Creative Kit XXL, there's really only one downside: the deal is only valid through end of May 2016. So if you're thinking about it, don't think too long!

This is an overview of the all the extra goodies included in the  Creative Kit XXL  bundle, on top of the actual Macphun of the original Creative Kit, obviously.

This is an overview of the all the extra goodies included in the Creative Kit XXL bundle, on top of the actual Macphun of the original Creative Kit, obviously.