Compositing in Photoshop comes in many forms, from product and portrait enhancement to fantasy-style images. Every digital artist will have their own workflow, as there are many different ways to get the final results.
In the end, however, it comes down to the quality of the final product, and this is where these two companies come in. Although I do use many other plugins and assets of great quality, I find that I always use these due to the style of digital art I create and the time they have saved me in post-production. So, if compositing and digital art are your thing, you should really check out the quality of the products that come from both of them.
Oniric 2 from Compositenation really pushes the lighting effects achievable in post-production and does it so effectively and quickly that you'll wonder how you ever managed before. With Oniric 2, the interface has been redesigned, and I have added even more features including luminosity masks and transparencies that allow you to work on separate layers. Oniric replaces manually spending a considerable amount of time creating the lighting and atmosphere for images and simplifies the process, creating more realistic results in a fraction of the time.
The user interface is quite straightforward and has various glow effects that you can add to your image. With the addition of luminosity and transparency editing, layers have never been simpler. You can build these effects up via different layers if you wish or simply apply an overall effect to your final edit. X-ray allows you to see the areas of luminance in your image, and you can use the mask tool to selectively paint in your effect. With all these options available, where do you begin? Well, Mario Olvera, the creator of the plugin, has a very useful tutorial video that can be found here.
The plugin doesn't just have to be used on composited imagery. It can be used on portraits, products, and wherever you think to achieve the look you are after.
Upon seeing the results Oniric 2 created and how quickly it achieved them, I had no hesitation in purchasing BreakGen, a breakdown layer generator for Adobe Photoshop. Tools like these are a must for any compositing and digital artist. Breakgen simply takes the time and effort away from creating layer breakdowns of your Photoshop image, animating layer by layer, allowing others to see the process of your work. You simply set your breakdown duration, frame delays, and include the layer and group extras if you want, then set your output format and generate your breakdown. It's so effective and simple to use that there is really nothing more to say.
When it comes to stock imagery, there are so many to choose from, with either a subscription-based option like Adobe Stock or single stock collection packs. So, how do you know which one is best for you? Perhaps it's your main source of income and financially best to run with a subscription, providing you with a choice of thousands of images for every client, or perhaps buying assets as you go is best for you. Whichever one it is, the main thing that you should consider is the quality of assets, as these will help define your imagery.
One such provider of high-quality stock imagery is by Dustin Valkema and his team at CGHacks, where you can not only get visual effects overlays, but you can also purchase texture packs for your 3D modeling projects. The site also includes a selection of free compositing and 3D tutorials, with a courses section coming soon.
The high-resolution VFX overlays are rendered effects that you simply add to your composite without the need for blending, as they are already PNG files. I do use a lot of overlays in my images, and I have to say that these are the best I have ever used in terms of ease of use and resolution quality. The smog overlays, of which there are 200 in a pack, make creating realism of depth in the smog very easy and quick to achieve.
If compositing and digital art is your main job or even if it creates a part-time income for you, I would really consider looking at both of these companies. The quality and time that have gone into creating and refining their products are clearly apparent, and you are certainly getting your money's worth.
Oniric 2 and what it can do with your images will lift them to the next level, and you will actually wonder how you ever managed without it. Sure, you can use your Photoshop skills to create the effects, but this takes time, and depending on the final results you are seeking, it can take quite a while. This plugin takes that whole process and with a few quick adjustments, creates a final effect that you will be more than happy with, and it does this in next to no time.
BreakGen does what it says on the tin and does it exceedingly well.
CGHacks, although relatively recently launched, the team behind it has many many years of collective working experience in using, creating, and teaching post-production, and has set a high bar with what is already available on the site, with yet more to come. With their ease of use and high-quality resolution, these overlays allow you to create whatever your imagination can provide and ensure your final images are of the best quality possible.