Topaz Studio First Look

What the open beta says about the next Topaz product

Like probably most of you, I’ve recently been playing with the Topaz Studio public beta. As someone who owns the full collection of Topaz plug-ins, I’ve been paying attention mostly to what the Studio does for me that the plug-ins don’t. Topaz Studio is quite different from the plug-ins—a bit more like the next generation of photoFXlab. But does it do enough to make me willing to pay for another Topaz venture?

Unlike some popular editing software, Topaz Studio makes no attempt to manage your files. It offers neither a browser nor a catalog solution; it’s up to you to know where your files are and to manage them. It does, however, offer a complete workflow for editing your images and adding a variety of effects, along with masks, blend modes and layers to keep the non-destructive workflow edits fully customizable.  It will open your raw files, as well as JPEG, PNG, or TIFF in its standalone version, and acts like a regular plug-in if you invoke it through Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom. You can run it as a Smart Filter in Photoshop, or choose Edit In Topaz Studio with Lightroom.

The features in Topaz Studio emphasize workflow and effects presets constructed from multiple individual adjustments, much like the presets you find in Texture Effects. The Workflow menu covers the more common editing methods, such as “Detailed Architecture” or “Perfect Portrait.” The “More” adjustments section contains a separate menu for each adjustment to be added in any order, or to use in addition to a workflow. The Effects menu works just like it does in Impression and Texture Effects, providing a list of categories to search for effects, previewing them in the sidebar thumbnails, and providing the customary edit button to enter the editing workspace with the chosen effect. Most of the other tools are shortcuts to basic adjustments, as well as to quick editing workflows for the first basic edits you usually perform.

Menu Contents shown
From R to L: Workflow, Adjustment, and Effects menus (not all fully shown)
Quick Edit and tools interface
Icons for basic editing tools, the Workflow and Adjustments menus, as well as quick access to the most common adjustments and basic editing workflows are always available. Shown above is the workflow if you click on the Quick preset.

I think its fairly clear from  looking at the main features in Topaz Studio that its design is intended to leverage the power of the presets they’ve already been offering us through their filters. At the same time, it speeds up the process by creating workflows that combine many of the features that are currently found in their separate plug-ins, such as adding a Radiance adjustment created from their Glow filter, with a Texture adjustment from Texture Effects, and a Precision Contrast adjustment from Clarity, perhaps. If you don’t own some of their filters (or any of them), you still will be able to use many of the more popular features contained in them through these adjustment layers. And if you do own their filters, you can use the Plug-Ins menu at the top to take a copy of your image directly into a filter to gain access to the full power of any of the plug-ins, while still using the simplified workflow approach in Topaz Studio.

Showing thumbnail previews and Edit panel
To the left is the thumbnail view for presets in the selected category. This feature should be familiar to anyone who has Impressions, Glow, or Texture Effects. To the right are the editable layers that constitute the selected effect. If an adjustment layer is neither free nor purchased, it shows up with the effect, but without the sliders that allow for more customization of the settings.
Image Tray can hold many images to blend with each other
Images open into an Image Tray. Any image can be duplicated or duplicated as a new image with all the current active edits applied (using icons in the tray not shown). Although the images in this example are from the same original, an Open icon in the tray also allows you to open different images in order to blend them, similar to using the multiple exposure option in Topaz Texture Effects. Note that the image on the far right was created in Topaz B&W Effects 2 run as a plug-in to Topaz Studio on a duplicate of the image first edited with a Studio workflow.

There’s of course a trade-off to using Topaz Studio to run their more powerful filters—unlike running them individually on Smart Object layers, you can’t later on edit the results non-destructively, re-entering the plug-in merely by double-clicking on its Smart Filter name. However, while you’re in Topaz Studio and working with multiple versions or any other images, you can use the Image Layer feature right then and there to blend results from Topaz filters with each other or with an image you edited solely with Topaz Studio.

The Image Layer interface
A very nice feature in Topaz Studio lets you blend image layers, so versions that have been edited for different qualities can continue to be adjusted before leaving Topaz Studio, or completely different images can be blended as desired.

When I first started looking into the use of Topaz Studio, I was feeling hard-pressed to find a good reason to invest any of my time, let alone my money, in yet another standalone/plug-in image editor. Topaz Studio in particular appeared too simplified to offer much, since even the individual adjustments aren’t as powerful as the full plug-in filters, whether Clarity, or ReStyle, or Texture Effects. However, the more I explore Topaz Studio, and the more images I throw at it, the more I’ve come to feel this simplification of features is an asset, not a liability. The basic editing workflows are very well designed to cover a wide variety of images, and are especially welcome in my workflow when I’m editing the numerous snapshots I have taken or had given to me, like the bridal image I’ve used for these examples. It may not be the ideal application for your very best fine art images, but if we’re honest, most of us have plenty of snaps that we don’t want to spend hours editing. We would, however, like to quickly and easily make them more interesting to look at or better memories to hold. And being able to use our Topaz filters with Topaz Studio makes for a very powerful combination that goes well beyond the quick fix for a snapshot, providing us with a creative adventure.

Results from Topaz Studio modified in Adobe Photoshop
Although the Topaz filter B&W Effects 2 wasn’t run as Smart Filter, but inside Topaz Studio, the image can of course still be modified in Photoshop to alter color, texture, and tone as desired.

Topaz has recently announced that the basic version of Topaz Studio will be free. A small collection of basic editing adjustments will be fully customizable, while the remainder won’t include their sliders unless you purchase the “pro” version of the adjustment separately. From what I can tell, the Effects and Workflow presets that include adjustments you don’t own will produce results, but only Opacity, blend mode, and masking is editable. I won’t swear to this, of course, since this is still beta and anything can still be added or removed. And since this still IS a beta, I won’t go into any discussion of bugs or other feature limitations. I am, however, increasingly aware of the place this application could have in my day-to-day workflow.

Student Debt Art Journal page for Democracy
Student Debt, from my Democracy art journal series, used a photo art action and several textures to blend the old photo of Stanford University with the lower half from Mischief Circus, including several art dolls from Xquizart. The unifying color and textures could have been even more easily added if I’d had the Topaz open beta when I made this.
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Restoring Trudie Ann Part 8

Tinting with Duotone, Tritones, and Quadtones

In earlier Trudie Ann tutorials, I talked about some of the more common ways to tint a B&W using Adjustment layers, split-toning with Camera Raw, and even using a Channel Mixer adjustment layer. From the stone age of Photoshop comes colorizing with the Duotone Mode. Duotones are used in print jobs to blend two or more spot colors, one per printing plate, making it possible to give the illusion of more complex color while only using two inks. Since you pay by the number of plates used on the press, duotoning is a way to save costs.  In Photoshop jargon, Duotone Mode also covers using one ink that isn’t Black (Monotone), or three inks (Tritone), and even four inks (Quadtone). Although these were expected to be spot colors used for printing, they don’t have to be. You can use Duotone mode to tint an image that is going to be output as an RGB image on your inkjet printer.

Menu for Duotone Presets
Photoshop ships with several Duotone Presets to get you started.

Because of the way Duotones work, I recommend creating a flattened duplicate of your image in a new file before converting. Then convert to 8 bit mode, next Image> Mode> Grayscale, and finally Image> Mode> Duotone. Because Duotones aren’t adjustment layers or Smart Filters, unless you work on your file in Duotone mode, you won’t be able to re-edit it. However, while you are in Duotone mode, simply choose Image> Mode> Duotone again to make any changes you want. When you exit the dialog, History will update to say Duotone Options.

Menu path to Duotone Mode
After converting a flattened duplicate file to Grayscale, choose Mode again in order to access the Duotone dialog.
History States show duotone edits
After you close the Duotone dialog, you can still edit your duotone settings even though it isn’t a Smart Filter on a Smart Object layer. Choose Mode> Duotone again and the dialog will open to the current settings. Simply edit and exit once more.

Once you open the Duotone dialog, you can  get a head start with a Preset, choose how many colors you want to work with (up to four), click on the color swatches to add or change colors, and click on the Curves thumbnail beside each swatch to apply more or less of the color to the tonal range.

Tritone with dialog
A typical Tritone calling for Black plus two Pantone inks, with the darkest color at the top, the lightest on the bottom.

The Duotone dialog expects you to apply the darkest color at the top, and the lightest color at the bottom of the stack. Grab hold of a color’s curve at top right and pull it down to keep that color out of the darks. Raise the bottom left point up to add more of a color to the lights, and pull the middle of the curve down to add more color to midtones, or up to remove it from the midtones.  Following the expected order makes it easier to anticipate which color will affect which tone. You can, however, edit any curve any way you like.

Dialog demonstrates not following the recommended order for color values.
This Quadtone uses colors chosen from the standard Color Picker. The lightest color isn’t the last color.

Since you’re telling Photoshop how much total ink to use in any given tonal region, you’ll quickly see that you’re affecting both tone and color. By adjusting the curves for each color, you adjust the image values at the same time. Duotone Mode is one of those features that’s a lot easier to use than to explain. Once you get in there and start tugging on the curve with a strong dark and a light bright color,  you’ll see how the curves  for each color work to both add color and contrast to your image. It’s not that different from setting the balance slider in Camera Raw’s Split Tone feature, except you’re adjusting the blend and the brightness more precisely, as well as potentially for four colors. While your document remains in Duotone Mode, you can also add a few types of adjustment layers to modify the tones in the image further.

Different curves affect the image's contrast
How you shape the curve determines how much ink is applied to a given tonal range in the image. Because duotoning was designed for inks on a press, the Curve’s tonal range is reversed from the RGB Curve. The preview makes it easy to see the effect while you adjust each curve.

Add Adjustments panel

Curves dialog in Duotone Mode
A few adjustment layers that control the tonal range are available while in Duotone Mode.

If you Save the result as a preset while in the Duotone dialog, you can easily Load it for future images.  To save the entire document in Duotone Mode, choose Photoshop EPS with 8bit TIFF in the Save As dialog.

Photoshop EPS menus
Top, find duotone presets in the Application’s Preset folder. Bottom, preserve Duotone Mode for later editing by saving as a Photoshop EPS (default settings shown).

When you’re happy with your duotone, drag it into the original document while holding down the Shift key to make it align perfectly with the original image. Remember that once you’ve converted back to RGB, you’ve committed the duotone and won’t be able to edit it again in the Duotone dialog. However, if you edited the image on a duplicate layer, you’ve protected your original file.

By now, you should be getting the idea that there are more ways to color a cat in Photoshop than seems necessary, but each method has its strength. Duotones for RGB files are more a legacy method than commonly used nowadays, but they still provide a way to do the job with a tremendous amount of control by taking advantage of the precision Curves offers, particularly when you start creating Tritones and Quadtones.

Trudie Ann tinted with a Tritone and a Quadtone
A Tritone (right) and a Quadtone (left) were used to custom tint Trudie Ann.

Restoring Trudie Ann Part 7

Learning to use the Channel Mixer Adjustment Layer

Before the days of the Photo Filter and B&W adjustment layers, Channel Mixer was often used to create a grayscale image that was more expressive than the standard conversion, to tint images, and to create stylized looks for photos. Today Photoshop provides us with easier (though not necessarily better‚ methods to create B&W from color or to tint a grayscale, but it still can create some of the best stylized looks—and much more easily than you might think. It helps to start with the easiest adjustments, though, to get the hang of how the Channel Mixer works.

The Channel Mixer adjustment layer mixes the amount of each channel used to change the hue and brightness of your image. If you’re using it to convert to B&W, it’s straightforward. Simply check Monochrome and you’ll work with the three channels in a single tab—you choose how much of each channel to use, and can get rid of a noisy blue channel altogether by setting it to 0%, while still producing a good monochrome image. To keep the same brightness as the original, the three source channels combined should equal 100%, but you don’t have to make it equal 100% if you want something lighter or darker. If you don’t have a third party plug-in such as Silver Efex Pro or Topaz B&W, the Channel Mixer is still a great way to make better conversions than simply choosing Mode> Grayscale, plus the ability to save presets makes creative B&W’s a one click process.

Default B&W conversion compared to Channel Mixer adjusted conversion
It’s easy to blend channels to create a better B&W than the default conversion (top) generates. Use none of a noisy channel to clean the image, and adjust the Constant slider to adjust the brightness.

When you want to play around with color, there’s so much more to do. The Red, Green, and Blue channels in your image are the target, and you adjust each one by mixing together all three channels as your source. For instance, the Red channel’s output can be 100% Red, 0% Green, and 0% Blue, so no change in the target channel from the source. However, you could make the Red slider something less than 100%, and add to it some of the source Green and Blue channels through their sliders, to get quite a different result for the Red Channel alone. Rinse and repeat for the Green and Blue target channels (or for Magenta, Yellow, Black if CMYK). You can even use negative percentages of any source channel to invert it before adding it to the target channel.  And just to be really confusing, there’s also a Constant slider. This slider will adjust the brightness of the target channel, with positive values making it lighter, negative darker. and even very slight adjustments have a strong effect on the outcome.

Difference in adjustment using the Constant slider
(Top is original image) Adjusting each target channel by blending the source channels  together can change the color and luminance significantly. The Constant slider also affects color and luminance. Results can be unpredictable (or serendipitous) if you’re not an expert in channel blending.

I have always found creating color with the Channel Mixer difficult to predict, and I normally choose another method when tinting a B&W. However, there are two uses for Channel Mixer  when working with color that make using it worthwhile. First, if you want to quickly create an old-fashioned B&W hand-tinted or faded print look, add a Channel Mixer adjustment layer, check Monochrome (which converts it to a standard grayscale), then disable Monochrome to add back a bit of color using the sliders. To keep most of the image in grayscale, use just one of the color channels. To make the entire print color, but faded or hand-tinted, use some or all of the channels to adjust the effect until you have a vintage look you like.

Tinted rose after converting to monochrome
Create a hand-tinted look using just a single channel to bring back only a very little color.
Old house treated with vintage look
Create a faded “vintage” print with the enable/disable Monochrome method, then using all the color channels to influence the fade.

To get a good start on creating a look to save as a Color Lookup Table preset, try the Channel Mixer on a color image. Be sure the color image is a flattened Background layer in order to save the adjustments using File> Export> Color Lookup Tables. Then simply play around with the sliders for each target channel to find a nice look for an image. Remember that small changes to each channel will make a significant difference overall. If the photo is typical of many others you take, you’ll be able to stylize your photos simply by adding a Color Lookup adjustment layer.

Progression of image while creating a new look.
Create a stylized look by adding a Channel Mixer adjustment layer above a “Background” image layer.
Menu and dialog used to create a Color Lookup Table preset.
Save the new look as a Color Lookup Table, giving it a descriptive name to make it easy to find in your list of Color Lookup presets.

All in all, the Channel Mixer is still a very versatile adjustment layer. Channels are the source of every image, and being able to target them in this completely non-destructive, re-editable fashion makes this adjustment layer worth taking some time to get comfortable with. If you know exactly how you want to change the color and tone of an image, it’s not usually the first adjustment layer to reach for, but if you’re in the mood to experiment and be open to a little serendipity, Channel Mixer fits the bill.

Trudie Ann tinted with Channel Mixer.
For Trudie Ann, I created yet another stylized “tint,” perhaps to use in a lavender and old lace heritage scrap page. I can easily adjust it later to be in greater color harmony with the created page.

The Hunt for Brushes

Creating custom brush sets for easy retrieval

A couple of friends and I are taking the online Photoshop Artistry Fine Art Grunge course, and brushes are often used to help us create this style of image. These brushes are mostly what traditional artists call stamps. You don’t drag with the brush to paint, but simply click in place on your image. Photoshop ships with some, and you can find such brushes everywhere on the web.

The course provides us with quite a few brushes, and one friend was having trouble installing and finding her brushes, even though she’s used Photoshop for several years. As I walked her through the process of loading and accessing her brushes, I thought again that, yes, it is very confusing to have so many panels and proxies that use brushes, all needed for different tasks at one time or another. Perhaps I’ll take each panel in turn one of these days, trying to explain it all. No doubt I’ll learn even more myself by attempting to make sense of it. I think it just grew organically and was never part of anyone’s 5-year plan.

Too many brush panels
All these panels are used for working with brushes. The Brush Presets panel shows the last-used brushes right below the Size slider, which does make it easy to find a brush you just used.

But this time I want to talk about finding those brush sets bought or found on the web, and now we have to try to recognize them in the Brush Presets panel (or one of its proxies). They all get thrown into one “drawer,” one right after the other with no separation, no means of identifying them if the teeny Thumbnail preview isn’t good enough (and it’s not), or if you can’t remember what “Sample19” or “Grunge3” looks like in use when you’re in List view (and I never can). Everything about the Brush Presets panel, except for the nifty last-used section,  discourages us from experimenting by making it so hard to find anything we liked ever again.

Views of Brush Preset panel
Whether you use the List view or the Thumbnail view, it’s often difficult to identify what brush you’re choosing.

So when my friend said, “There are too many brushes to find anything,” I not only sympathized because I can never find anything either, I also tried to think of what we could do to help ourselves—at least until hopefully Adobe addresses this problem. Anything to encourage us to use the brushes in our scrapping, our art journaling, our fine art grungy fantasy creations. What sprang to mind involved more work than I wanted to do, but isn’t that often the way? I’ve created custom sets for Layer Styles and Swatches before, and I keep them separate in their respective panels by adding a White swatch at the beginning of every palette, or the No Style style at the beginning of every set of Styles. That way I know at a glance where one set stops and another begins, and I have my favorite glitter styles separate from my favorite metal styles or my favorite shadow styles.

Stlyles panel organized
Inserting a No Style between Style sets makes it more obvious when one type of style ends and another begins

I’ve never done this with brushes for the silly reason that there isn’t a No Brush brush—but, I remembered, there is a ‘No’ symbol in the Custom Shape Symbols library that ships with Photoshop. I can make a brush from any shape; all I have to do is create the shape in a document, say 300 pixels square, and then save it as a brush (Edit> Define Brush Preset). Pop into the Preset Manager (yes, it shouldn’t have to be this involved), and save that new brush as its own brush set—so that’s what I did.

Brush made from Shape
A custom Shape can be saved as a Brush
Preset Manager panel
Brush sets (which can consist of a single brush) are saved via the Preset Manager panel

Now any time I want to create a custom brush set, I first load the ‘No’ brush preset, then add the brushes I want to be in the set. I name the ‘No’ brush something descriptive to identify the set, and save them altogether with my descriptive name. And if I want all the brushes that Anna Aspnes, for example, put into her “DifferentStrokes7” set, I can first load the ‘No’ brush into the Brush Presets panel, then her complete set, and I can still tell the set apart from any other brushes I’ve loaded without having to save it altogether first.

Organized Brush Preset panel
With the No symbol separating custom brush sets, I can find the type of brush I want to use more easily.

Now I not only can find the brushes I want in the Brush Presets panel more quickly, I don’t have to slow down my computer keeping so many loaded.  I simply had to spend some TV watching time creating my favorite custom sets. For this image from a Photoshop Fine Art Grunge challenge assignment, I was better able to locate the splatter , grunge, and edge brushes I wanted, and the project was a lot less frustrating to complete.

PS Artistry Grunge Image
Created for the Photoshop Artistry course, I used several brushes  in “To Every Season,” and my head didn’t explode trying to find a splatter brush when I wanted one.

 

Know Your Photoshop Presets

Create a Preset “Previewer” for your photos

Recently Creative Live had their Photoshop Week with professional instructors such as Chris Orwig and Ben Willmore. Creative Live, if you don’t already know them, streams free classes on a variety of subjects that creatives are involved in, and sells access to those classes afterwards. Even though I’m reasonably advanced in Photoshop, there is always some feature I’ve forgotten to take advantage of, or a way to use it that I’ve never thought about. Ben Willmore had a tip for creating a file with presets applied to an example image. I’d once had a plug-in for Photoshop actions that used previews I created so I had some idea what “ACF6A25” did before I ran the action. I knew having previews could save a lot of time; I simply hadn’t remembered to take the time to create those previews.

So one evening while watching Dr. Who reruns, I decided this was just the right amount of mindless activity that let me both relax with the TV and do something useful. I chose to catalog the presets for the Color Lookup Adjustment layer. That’s one I don’t use very often, mainly because I never can remember what “Fuji F125” is going to do to the different colors and tones in my image. Color lookup tables—abbreviated as either CLUTs or LUTs— are common to the film industry, and can be used to mimic film or darkroom techniques with just one click. Chris Cox from Adobe created starter files to help us make our own LUT presets that anyone with a Creative Cloud subscription can get, and I’ve had a bit of fun doing just that. (Choose Help > Browse Add-Ons, and look for them in the Photoshop free section.) But why am I trying to run before I can walk?—the shipped presets were designed by professionals and all I have to do is figure out what type of photo each works best with. Making a preset “viewer” turns that time-consuming effort into quick work.

Screenshot of ExportColorLookupSample
Creative Cloud subscribers can pick up free sample files from Chris Cox that demonstrate how to create your own LUTs.

I picked a landscape almost at random. The way this type of file gets created, I can later easily swap out the landscape I used for any other photo. I created my standard 10×8 file and dragged the photo from Bridge into the file to set it as a Smart Object. If you want to keep your file size reasonably small, you can resize a duplicate photo to a smaller size before dragging it in, but if you have a size photo that you commonly work with, I’d suggest you take the file size hit and retain the actual size. It will make it easier for you to work with this file later on.

After adding one Smart Object, I copied the layer (Cmd/Ctrl-J) 3 times. I dragged the topmost layer to the far left position, using Smart Guides  to show that I was keeping it aligned (View> Show> Smart Guides, or Cmd/Ctrl-U). It also helps to hold down Shift after you start dragging—drag sideways and then hold down Shift, and the file can’t move up or down on the page. Drag up and then hold Shift, and the file can’t move left or right on the page.

Files about to be distributed
Three files are stacked on the left; one file is aligned with them to the right.

I next selected all four Smart Object layers in the Layers panel, then clicked on the Distribute horizontal centers icon in the Options bar to get all 4 layers to space themselves evenly between the first and last photo. After creating one row, I duplicated the entire row and moved it below the first, and repeated this process to fill the page.

Screenshot of Align icons

Image of 4 distributed images
Horzontally distributing images across a document

Next I added a Color Lookup Adjustment layer to the first photo. I used the icon in the bottom of the Adjustment Layers panel to clip it to the photo so it would only affect that photo (or press Cmd-Opt-G/Ctrl-Alt-G), and then applied the first preset. I renamed the photo layer in order to see at a glance what preset corresponded to each photo, but of course, you could also just open the Adjustment layer to see the name. If there are more presets than you have layers in your file, save the first file, then immediately save it again with the same name and “2” to indicated it’s continued from the first file. This time you’ll edit the exiting Adjustment layers to apply new presets. When all of presets have been used in your file(s), you can simply delete any extra layers.

Color Lookup Properties
Select the icon at the bottom left to clip the Adjustment layer to the layer below.
Example of Smart Objects with different presets
After creating a Preview file, you can see at a glance what each Adjustment layer preset will do to this image.

The reason for using a Smart Object becomes evident when you want to see how these presets will affect a completely different photo. All you have to do now is right-click on the photo’s layer in the first file and choose Replace Contents from the context-sensitive menu. In the dialog that opens, navigate to the image folder you want, select the photo you want, and click Place. Because your example photo is a Smart Object that you copied many times, all of your Smart Objects will be updated to show the new photo you chose with all your Adjustment layers still intact.

Menu with Replace Contents
Right-clicking on a Smart Object layer displays the Replace Contents command.
Smart Object contents replaced with another image
Use the Replace Contents command to display a different photo with the same presets applied to it.

Do this with each file for that Adjustment layer’s presets that you have. If your replacement photo isn’t the same size as the original, it won’t fill the layout exactly the same, which is why I suggested you stick as closely to your typical photo size as possible. Any scaling you do to the original Smart Object is remembered and applied to the replacement image. You can see that if you use a small photo and don’t scale it, then replace it with a large photo, which also won’t be scaled, the large photo won’t fit. And vice versa. Scale a large photo down, then use a very small one, and it might wind up so small after scaling you can barely see it. I didn’t say this was the perfect Preset Previewer, but it’s a lot better than not having any Preset Previewer. You might even want to make one set each for horizontal and vertical orientations. The more you do up front, the more useful the files will be in the future.

Swapping contents with the wrong size
If you replace a Smart Object’s contents with an image that has very different dimensions, you’ll have to manually resize each Smart Object to fit the space.

This setup works great so long as your presets are added with Adjustment layers. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work with any of the 3rd party plug-ins that I have, such as Topaz, Nik, or On1 Perfect Effects. These plug-ins always see the whole document, even if each layer is mostly empty after you scaled the original Smart Object. Borders and vignettes follow the document, not the Smart Object layer. Fortunately, unlike Photoshop they all have a way to preview their presets on your current image. However, like playing scales on the piano before playing the piece, creating preview files of presets for some of your plug-ins can help you know what to look for when using the filter presets. But demonstrating that is for another time.

3rd party borders don't fit
Adding a border inside a 3rd party plug-in (such as On1’s Perfect Effects shown here) to one Smart Object in the document doesn’t work.