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The Kubota Pro Pak will pay for itself in time savings and customer satisfaction over and over again.

Software Review: Kubota Pro Pak from Kubota Image Tools, Part 2

The Kubota Pro Pak is a bundled package of products that contains six of the most popular tools from Kevin Kubota's professional image enhancing tools for Adobe Photoshop. This package includes the four Artistic Series of actions, his Production Tools, as well as his Formula Book which contains 42 separate recipes to get just the look you want.

Kubota Pro PakIn part one, I looked at the four paks that are called the Artistic Tools. In part two, I will look at actions the Production Pak and the Formula Book. In case you are not familiar, a Photoshop action is an automated series of steps that have been recorded to provide an effect or series of effects. Some of these actions are totally automated, others have stopping points that request you to perform some action, usually to paint in where you want some sharpening to occur. In all cases there is a pop-up window that tells you what you need to do.

Production Tools Volume 2

In this Production Tools you will find a variety tools that are geared to getting your images back to your clients much faster through the automation nature of Photoshop actions. There are a variety of tools that come with this pack including ones for making adjustments, retouching, finishing, sharpening, and logo placement.

Like with the other tools, everything here is run from the DASHBOARD. This is a separate panel that contains everything you need to work with all of the Kubota tools. You can filter based on the Pak, or you can use the search facility to find an action based on the name or type of action. This can be very helpful when you are using the Formula Book and are not sure from which Pak particular action exists. They have a video on their Web site if you want to see the DASHBOARD in action.

Kubota Pro PakThe Production tools are set up in sections so as to help facilitate your workflow from beginning to end. The first area is the Adjustments section. Here you are told to make any tonal adjustments and basic color corrections to your image. In this section, you can use actions to reduce noise, lighten your overall image, remove magenta casting from skin tones, paint out shadows, and an action to bring out shadow detail.

There is a retouching action that prepares the necessary layers for retouching portraits. There are instructions for what to do with the layers are displayed as sticky notes. As you can see in the image, when the portrait action is run, the layers are created, and a note explaining what you need to on each one is provided.

There is a section that focuses on finishing your images by creating borders around your image. There is a section that will help you interpolate your image by sizing your image up or down; there are ones that will place your image (either horizontal or vertical) into a matted 8×10 (both 250 DPI and 300 DPI).

There is an action in which you can embed the image filename in onto the image, as well as one that will let you place your logo on to various positions one the image. Finally there is a selection of sharpening actions that automates various levels of sharpening to your image.

Kubota Formula Book

Kubota Formula Book is a spiral bound book of 42 recipes from Kevin Kubota's magic bag of tricks. Included with this book is a companion DVD that contains a video tutorial for each of the formulas that will walk you through the creation of the final image in Photoshop.

Each page contains a before and after image so you can see the results. There is a story behind the image. Many of these are interesting in how the shot was captured and the reason why. I personally liked the one where Kubota is sitting on the trunk of a moving car to capture the image with his feet strapped in the rear passenger seat belts, while the bride and groom are in the middle of a kiss. Oh, and the groom is driving.

All of the metadata on the exposure, ISO, lens type, etc. is provided along with the steps and actions needed to create the image. Another interesting point about this book is that it is set up in such a way that future "add-on Paks" are planned for the future and you will be able to add these to the book. The image below was created using formula number three which is called "Daisy Duke."

Kubota Pro PakWhile the biggest problem with having all of these actions is learning when to use what combination of actions and tools, the Formula book is an enormous help. I like the way it is laid out and professionally done. With the DVD tutorials, it makes learning these tools a cinch. The Power tools, like the Artistic tools, are very easy to use and make a lot of mundane chores automatic.

If you are a professional photographer, especially one who does weddings, portraits, or graduations, you really owe it to yourself to check into the Kubota Pro Pak, or any of the Kubota products for the photographer. They will allow you to get the maximum productivity with the least amount of effort. Even if you only use a small portion of the effects, they will pay for themselves in time savings and customer satisfaction over and over again. I highly recommend this product.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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