Pro Review: Kubota Creative Tools Lensbaby Pak
By Betsy Finn, Cr.Photog., CPP
The Kubota Creative Tools Lensbaby Pak, a set of Actions for Photoshop offered by Kubota Image Tools, offers photographers an easy way to enhance images created with the Lensbaby lens system. The effects were designed by Kevin Kubota specifically to complement the soft focus effects captured by various Lensbaby Optics.
The Lensbaby Pak comes with 15 different actions, or effects, that you can apply to your images. You’ll also get Kubota Dashboard 3, a floating toolbar palette that makes it extremely simple to select and apply various action effects. The palette features a search bar that allows you to quickly find your actions (particularly helpful if you own more than one Kubota Action Pak).
The Kubota Action Paks make adding and removing filters very simple. Rather than running the action on your base layer in Photoshop, it creates a new layer (usually an adjustment layer) for each action or filter that you choose to apply. Then you can fade out the opacity at will, or even remove a particular effect from the image entirely, just by deleting the layer. I appreciated this design feature, as I am all for non-destructive image editing.
While not a Lensbaby lens owner myself, I was able to get my hands on a few lenses long enough to create some test images for this review. I started out by creating a few images using the soft focus lens, and then with the fisheye lens.
For this first image, I just applied one action: Fisheye Lens - Spectacle. In the before/after comparison, you’ll see that the action added nice contrast, and the image gained overall sharpness, but it does not do any favors for close-up skin tones and texture.