- Red Giant Software – Magic Bullet PhotoLooks – $199
- Magic Bullet Coupon code to save 10%: STUCK10
Magic Bullet PhotoLooks Review
This is another fun and easy tool in my arsenal of post-processing weapons. It’s extremely easy-to-use for beginners and can give your photos a very nice feel.
This is a plugin that works with Photoshop, Lightroom, and Aperture. It installs like pretty much every other plugin, and you use on an existing photo that just seems to be missing “something”. Maybe your photo came out a little boring… maybe it did not “feel” the way it did when you were there… or maybe you just want to convey a special mood to the viewer that was not there at the time you took the photo.
Above is a good example of the interface and power. To the left are a bunch of different preview thumbnails. I found one called “Unbloom”, clicked on it, and then it very quickly rendered the big version of it to the right.
Instagram for your Computer
This seems like a strange thing to say, but it’s not that far off. And, in that, I mean that if you have a photo that is not all that exciting, simply adding some of these effects give it a totally different feel. I don’t completely understand the effect myself — because you would think that a bad photo is a bad photo either way. But, there is something about this “vintage” or “retro” look that can take a plain photo and make it interesting.
Where PhotoLooks Fails
I had a little difficulty in getting a good result when I had a boring blue sky in the original photo. Note this is only a small percentage of the photos, but I still had difficulty finding one of the filters that looked good. You can see an example of this below in the Globe Theatre shot.
How Magic Bullet Photolooks works
It’s very simple, but there is a layer of complexity should you wish to delve deeper.
Once you fire up the filter, it presents your image right in the middle of the screen. When you move the mouse over to the left side of the screen, the “preview thumbnails” drawer pops out. Simply clicking on the thumbnail will make that effect appear large and in charge on the main photo. Simple!
If you want more control, you can move the mouse over to the bottom or the right side. Essentially, the basic simple method above performs a number of different actions, colorations, curves adjustments, and all sorts of things. You can further adjust this by double-clicking on the individual effects and making slight adjustments. Chances are, however, that you’ll never need to do this because 1 of the pre-canned 100 effects will make you pretty happy.
Above, you can see the detailed control panel appearing on the right whenever the mouse moves over to that side of the screen. As opposed to the left side of the screen, this is where you can add even more granular effects to your creation.
The Look Theater
One of the simplest ways to get an idea of the possibilities is to launch the “Look Theater”, which simply cycles through one look to the next. You can lean back in your chair, sip tea, and then just choose the one that strikes you.
Above, the “Look Theater” at the top allows you to watch a slideshow of all the various effects. You can just keep watching until you see one that strikes your fancy. The effect shown above is the “Basic Warm” filter that gives everything a bit of an orange glow.
PhotoLooks in Action
Here are a ton of screenshots of the product that give you a really good idea of the incredible range of the filters…
Above is the “Dream Look Sharp” filter. It adds a very nice glow feel to the photo, which I had already previously altered in Photoshop. One criticism is that the drawer often covers up the large photo, and there is no way to move it over to the right. I’m often clicking on a thumbnail and then letting the drawer slide back so I can see the full-screen result.
Above is the “Multi Grad Cool” effect that gives it a slightly different feel. Sometimes the effects are pretty similar, so it is hard to choose. But, really, this is a good problem to have.
Above is the before photo of the cat. When you start to move your mouse over the right side of the screen, the drawer of effects appears on the left side of the screen. It’s all a big game of cat and mouse, you see. (sorry)
Above I have selected the “Mishandled Negative” filter, which is a subtle effect that adds a bit more color and punch.
Above is the effect of the “Miami” filter, which is the same filter you see on CSI: Miami when that soulless redheaded detective says something campy like, “Looks like what we have here…[dramatic pause as sunglasses are whipped off]…is a ceramic cat that’s got himself one hell of a hairball.”
Above is the amazing “Star Filter Tight”. I am always impressed at this filter even though I have never used it on a final photo! It takes the lights and gives them this crazy star flare effect. This effect would be great if you are taking photos of musicals, gay fashion shows, or anything with a lot of gay people who want to be extra fabulous.
Above is the “Buffalo” effect, which made things even more dark and moody. When I think dark and moody, I think “Buffalo.”
Above is the “Telecine Net Warm” filter. It’s a subtle effect that adds a bit of Christopher Nolanesque mood to the scene.
Above is the Globe Theater shot that I mentioned earlier in the review. As you can see, the sky came out kind of interesting, but I’m not sure I’m too happy with it. None of the other 100 filters worked well for me on this one either.
Above is the “Basic Cool” filter that really added a ton of color and saturation. I love the effect here and think it added an otherworldly quality to the shot.
Above is this little angel with the “Blockbuster” effect. It adds bloom and diffusion, giving everything a bit of a nice glow. People often ask how I make my photos “glow”, and these sort of diffusion effects always go into the mix.
Above is another example of the “Mishandled Negative” effect, which you may remember is the same one we used on the cat. You can see how the effects look quite different based on the photo that is used.
Above is the simple “Sharp” filter that tightens up all the edges. It doesn’t add any coloration, although you can always do that if you wish by adding in the other special effects from the right drawer.
Magic Bullet Photolooks Coupon Code
If you are looking for a good PhotoLooks Coupon Code, use STUCK20!
Magic Bullet Looks and Quicklooks
If you think this looks cool, you should try it on your videos! They have a very similar product that is also fun and easy to use. For more, see my Magic Bullet Looks Review.
Magic Bullet Quicklooks sample
Below is the video after I have applied Quick Looks. It’s basically the same product as above, but it works with video.
Any questions about the nature of these reviews? Visit my Ethics Statement. It’s all quite simple! Another little caveat here is that Stu Maschwitz, who made the program, is a friend of mine…but I was using Red Giant products before we became friends in person