ReFine by Digital Film Tools is a plug-in for both photos and film/video. I will be reviewing it as a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop CS5.

Its features are:

This program is a plug-in for: Adobe After Effects, Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Aperture, Apple Final Cut Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro X, Apple iPhone Applications, Avid Edit System, Quantel Systems.

This plug-in works with what Digital Film Tools (DFT) calls detail layers. Their website states:

"ReFine presents a new technique for performing selective sharpening, detail enhancement, edge aware smoothing, cartoon and pencil effects. Using high-quality edge preserving filtering of still and moving images, there are considerable speedups and memory savings over existing methods. Our approach decomposes the image into three detail layers: Coarse, Medium and Fine. Each of the detail layers can be manipulated separately in various ways, for instance, sharpening or smoothing. Add to that sophisticated, but easy to use masking and you have quick isolation of image features for selective filtering."

All of the techniques can be combined in one image. I will describe how this is down as well as demonstrate effects through examples.

When I first tried to activate the program, I kept getting error messages. I downloaded the manual and found that activation was very sensitive to firewalls. Once I knew this, I did not have a problem and it activated easily. Below is the interface.

Next, I will show some of the changes that can be made. For example, each level of sharpening has defaults. You can choose a level and then refine your choices. I chose Default which had the three layers (Coarse. Medium, and Fine) at 0 for the interface example. Below, I chose a value of 1.5 and manipulated the layers. In the first example (upper left) all are "ganged" together and at the same value. For the rest, I changed the values of the layers. Notice the different effects and how the layers: Coarse, Medium, and Fine change how the image looks.

Below are images of some of the other filters in the reFine plug-in. All I used here were defaults.

You can create any number of masks using 4 different methods - EZ Mask, Gradient, Paint, Spot. These are easy to make and modify. You can have many individual layers each containing a mask of a part of the image and apply a unique effect to each part. This gives the user a lot of flexibility to control the image.

Then, I added another layer and turned the image into a pencil drawing. I, also, manipulated the Detail sliders.

Below is an example of a Pencil effect and one where the Fine Detail layer was also included.

The reFine plug-in by DFT gives the user a lot of creative potential to work on images and combine filters. The ability to layer the work as well as use masks gives an excellent degree of control. The Help menu is excellent and includes tutorials. I recommend that users refer to it. Using the Help menu will save a lot of time. ReFine for photos is only $50.00 and for Video/Film $99.00. There is a 15 day fully functional trial available. ReFine worked well, was pretty intuitive, had a good help menu and ran very smoothly. My only wish is that there were more filters in reFine since the ones there are so good.