When Conny told me about the brand new Retouching Toolkit 3.0, it almost felt too good to be true. Can you imagine having a more modular version of Photoshop? I wish it was like this out of the box. Since it isn’t, Conny had to go and make it and thank goodness he did.
It’s a software that allows you to make your own modular panels so that they can be used in Photoshop! It allows you to modify and combine your favorite actions, scripts, PS tools, shortcuts, and menu options in any way that is best for your own workflow. It’s future proof as it will begin to include future modules, updates, and it already has the ability to save and share setups from other users. So now you can combine different tools for different jobs in the most concise way possible. That is the premise of the new Retouching Toolkit.
If you want to see a video on how to get started with it as I go through the entire program, check out this video
In the description, there’s a breakdown by section too.
Having had my hands on it for about a week, I want to take you through an overview of RTK-3 (Retouching Toolkit 3.0) and some of my favorite features below.
As a heads up, it’s going to be at $129 till the end of October and then $179 after! If you already own the previous 2.0, it’s $99 and $149 respectively.
Legacy Toolkit Included
This the most obvious feature that I wanted to jump straight into. When you get the program, you have access to Conny’s original legacy panel that comes in his 2.0 version of the Retouching Toolkit. From the screenshot above, panel #1 is the legacy toolkit. That alone is incredible because that contains so many incredible scripts and workflow functions that can be used right away. By itself, the price of toolkit pays off since it does so much.
You see, Conny’s previous version of toolkit looked just like that and functioned the same way. Except you couldn’t actually customize it. Now, you have it by default but you’re able to modify it. Here’s a little overview video I made on this legacy panel itself. (link). For instance, the “gradient map maker” allows you to even out skin tones when you have all kinds of colors happening across the skin range! You can also see tutorials on how to use his legacy panel here
Full Customization and Space Saving Design
The biggest sell for me here was the customization. As you can see from the screenshot and the video, I can easily create a panel that matches my precise workflow. It’s so incredible that I had to really sit down and plan out what I wanted the toolkit to look like and what order I wanted everything in. For instance, here’s one that I made this week.
It combines my standard retouching setup action that I run whenever I start retouching an image. Next, I had standard frequency separation actions there, next to Conny’s Gradient Map Maker script that I use religiously. Below that, are my dodge and burn actions, workflow actions, and other standard functions.
Even cooler, I put the standard tools and adjustment layers I primarily need. Therefore, I can close out my toolbar and actions panel in Photoshop! And if I want another tab for another task, I can do so without taking up any more space.
As you can tell, it’s still a work in progress and I am building out a few more options but I’ll showcase my final panel when it’s ready. Hopefully, you get the concept. The end result is that I can keep Photoshop’s interface very clean and completely customizable when Photoshop doesn’t have that level of complexity or simplicity, however, you want to think of it.
Just like that, my layout is condensed and concise. I have no need for anything else. Also take note that with standard actions, you can have only one action per line. With this, I can put as many actions as I want into horizontal buttons. It creates a lot more room for me.
Save, Share, and Re-Create any Panel
Once you have a panel designed in the configurator, you can easily save it so it opens up into Photoshop itself and updates automatically. You can even save the template to use on other systems or share it with other people! So once you have something you love, you can share it with the world, or update it as time goes along.
You’ll literally never need another workflow panel again. Dare I say, you could even remake the panels you like and tweak it to whatever you want it to look like.
All The Colors
This is probably the most fun reason yet, but you can modify every icon and button to be a variety of colors. The purpose of this is to keep everything visually organized. If you’ve ever seen any of my actions, you’ll see I color code mine to separate them for different functions. You also have a ton of icons to use on their own or in conjunction with other buttons! I just used a few random ones for demonstration purposes.
Carrying off the topic of customization, toolkit gives me an option to save 9 different panels and load them all into Photoshop (if I so choose to).
So if you want a horizontal panel, a vertical panel, and many others, you can do that. Granted, these are all scalable so you can design them accordingly. Keep in mind, you can also put all these panels into one, by simply creating tabs in one panel, just like the legacy toolkit has a few tabs. That way you can make the most use of space possible.
What would I change?
The Retouching Toolkit was designed with a lot of user feedback, based on seeing just how much Conni listened to the community in the beta phase. What I can’t wait for is additional modules being added to it. So just like the app store, there is going to be a lot of great modules to come based on what the community is looking for!
I just can’t see how this won’t be a part of everyone’s workflow in due time.
If you’re looking to pick it, be sure to check out!
Also till the end of October, it’s going to be at $129 and then $179 after! (If you already own the previous 2.0 toolkit, it’s $99 and $149 respectively).
About The Author
Pratik Naik is a high-end retoucher, photographer, and retouching teacher under his Solstice Retouch brand, he also runs the successful Retouchist Blog. You can follow Pratik on his Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook.