Product Review: onOne Software Perfect PhotoSuite6
Today we are going to take a look at onOne Software’s Perfect Photo Suite 6. I’ve been a fan of OnOne Software eve since I used Genuine Fractals which is now known as Perfect Resize.
Perfect Photo Suite 6 consists of seven programs in one;
- Perfect Layers 2
- Perfect Mask 5
- Perfect Portraits 1
- Perfect Effects 3
- Focal Point 2
- PhotoFrame 4
- Perfect Resize 7
These plug-ins work with Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture BUT it is also a completely stand alone program if you desire
You may say; I don’t need all those programs. Well rest assured that all the programs are available separately. BUT buying these bundled in this suite basically gives you 7 programs for the price of 3, so it’s kind of a no brainier why I am reviewing this as the suite
Some of you may also ask; This is an HDR site, why do I care about any of these especially something like Portrait 1? Well, I’ll show you why you may want most of some of these programs but I also know that a lot of the readers here do HDR for fun but actually as a profession, shoot portraits and weddings. So take from this what you want and skip over what doesn’t interest you. But I think quite a bit will.
So why do I need ANY of this?
Now I know a lot about my readers and I know a lot of you LOVE Lightroom. I also know that a lot of you use Lightroom and then Photoshop Elements for some light finishing work. But what is the one thing that Lightroom can’t do and what can’t early versions of Elements do that really would be helpful?
Layers and Layer Masks
When I talked about “Blends” In this article and Kenn Stamp talked about Blending 3 HDR images together. Did you Lightroom users feel left out? Well you needn’t any longer. onOne Perfect Layers 2 allows you to take multiple images from Lightroom and mask those layers as you want. In fact by using Lightroom’s “Virtual Copy” feature you can take a single image, do two different adjustments on that single image and then take them both into Perfect Layers 2 as two layers and do with them as you please.
Perfect Layers 2
For this example I took Two separate images, I first optimized each image in Lightroom (One for the sky, one for the ground)and then brought them into Perfect Photo Suite 6 (By using the command File>Plug-In Extras>Photo Suite)
That command brings them into Perfect Photo Suite 6 and stacks them as layers; you can change the layer order by dragging one on top of the other. Then you can use different tools to mask the top layer to reveal the layer below. The main tools are a Brush and then the Masking Bug – OnOne’s Selective area tool.
So I brought these two images into Perfect Photo Suite 6 and quickly just using the brush tool I was able to mask off the sky of the top layer to reveal the better exposed sky of the second exposure I shot. So those of you that are interested in doing Blends as your means of HDR, this tool worked quickly and easily. I had my blend made in less that 30 seconds and could save that image back to Lightroom (Note that this program exports the files and re-imports them as PSD files)
So Yeah Yeah That’s great you just had a simple horizon line to follow, it should have been easy. Try doing that with a complex mask trying to go in between things. That’s a pain with layer mask brushes and even selection tools in Photoshop do a crummy job.
Oh I just love a dare and so does onOne. Enter onOne’s next program: Perfect Mask 5. By using the tools in Prefect Mask 5 I was able to select what I didn’t want and what I did want and with just a few quick strokes and refinements, I was able to mask this complex blend in minutes.
I simply used the Keep and Drop Eye droppers and told the programs what colors I wanted to eliminate and which one’s I wanted to keep. You can see those colors in the palates on the right
Then I just did a quick couple strokes with magic brush on part of the sky and that was gone,
Then using the refine brush all the space between the railings was gone.
Then using the chisel tool and the blur tool I was able to refine the edges perfectly – All in very little time. Here is what the actual mask looked like in Grayscale priview mode
And here is the final image, done in just a few minutes
Now that’s cool.
I’m going to rush through some of the other section of Perfect Photo Suite 6 because I don’t want this post to be a mile long.
The next section you can access all from the Photo Perfect Suite 6 module is Portrait one. Portrait one is for retouching of portraits more precisely faces and skin which can really be tough for portrait shooters. I haven’t used Portrait 1 yet, but I watched a demo of it at the David Zizer tour and it was really impressive. The great part was it didn’t make the skin look all plasticy as some programs similar to this do. And it would quickly and easily which is something that portrait shooters that have hundreds of files to work on really love.
Perfect Effects 3
Perfect Effects 3 is an effects browser that you can apply to your images. It has ton of presets in 14 different categories, From Black & White to Film Simulation effects, Vintage effects, Vignettes, tons of different things. They aren’t really adjustable but the presets were very nicely made that you probably won’t want to touch them.
My favorite was Daguerreotype, probably cuz I love that word.
Focal Point 2
Focal point 2 is a selective focus tool if you want to simulate a shallow DOF or want to do the Toy Camera (Tilt-Shift) effect that is popular right now.
I didn’t think I would like this at all but actually it was fun. PhotoFrame 4 allows you to put defeat frames or frame simulations around your image. They really aren’t so much frames as what would be called borders to graphics people. So don’t think this is going to be a bunch of didn’t frames like wood frames or metal frames like you would put your finished photo in.
This would be of better use as a Digital Mat. Like I said I didn’t think I would like this but I do make a lot of greeting cards and these borders would actually really come in handy for making those
And finally a product I have been a big fan of for years. When it was under the name Genuine Fractals (gee, wonder why they changed THAT name LOL) now it is Perfect Resize.
One of my favorite things to do with my images is have them printed and I Loves my images HUGE. I’ve printed up to 40” x 60” but a lot of print labs have a 100ppi minimum to make a print so that would mean a 4,000 x 6,000 pixel file at a minimum. And then on top of that, the common wisdom is to leave your file at the cameras resolution and any scaling should be done by the lab. Which I agree with to a point. That is what I would do for my prints up to 20 x 30.
But when I push beyond that point, I want control because I want to see what the image looks like scaled BEFORE I just paid for a $300 Print and quite honestly I don’t trust anyone. I could use Photoshop to resize and in Bi-Cubic it does a pretty good job and if I was just scaling up a bit I wouldn’t think twice about using it. But when I want to have something create and interpolate more than double the pixels. I want a program made for that job and Perfect Resize is that tool
Perfect Resize uses an “Adaptive Algorithm” so it does more than just sample the four closest pixels (as bi-cubic would do), it instead takes into account where that pixel is, such as if it is an edge and uses the correct algorithm to make that edge look it’s best.
It’s just great software and you can make huge prints out of a good file. For those of you that like to have your images made into Canvas Gallery Wraps, Perfect Resize now has a Gallery Wrap feature that will duplicate your edges for the wrap so that you are not wasting any pixels on the wrap part. Very cool.
So there you have it. Quite a bit of software put together in a nice suite but even if you just want one part you won’t be disappointed.
If you are worried about having to learn new software, worry not. Take advantage of onOne’s onOne University where they have Video Tutorials and Webinars to help you get up and running quickly. I was fumbling around with Perfect Mask 5 so I watched a couple short videos and I was maneuvering through it like a pro
Let me just make one point so that you aren’t disappointed. This is very powerful software, as such it is really system intensive ( Especially Perfect Resize) and will use a good amount of your system resources so make sure your system meets the the system requirements so that you don’t run into problems that are more of a fault of a deficient system than the software itself. Even though my system matched their specs, I found that updating the driver on my video card helped to make the software run smoother. Updating your driver for your video card isn’t a bad idea when running any Photo software especially Photoshop CS 4 or CS 5. It can REALLY make a difference.
I bought this a couple of weeks and I love it. I’ve been using onOne Photo Tools for some time and it’s great. So was pretty sure I would love this package too and I definitely do! onOne makes great products.
Having purchased the last couple of iterations of the onOne software I was looking forwards to this upgrade. I wish I could be positive but this new version if a complete dog at the moment.
The first important change they fail to mention is all previous presets are completely incompatible with the new product. For some of us that means years of building up a library of our own effects has been trashed in an instant. Not amused
Second stupid thing is it only saves as a PSD file! Yes thats right. All that talk of not needing photoshop is cobblers. If your workflow is to covnert to jpeg before adding final effects via this program you are stuffed as it will not save back to the jpeg. Bloody stupid.
It also runs like a sloth on my machine, despite the beefy CS4 working just fine
Thank you for your comments
Couple things, the reason it saves a a PSD file is so that the image can retain the layers you just went through the trouble making. JPEGs do not support layers.
PSD files are able to be opened and worked upon in different degrees by, Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom, Aperture, Picassa and Paint shop Pro.
However, if you DO want to save as a JPEG in Photo Suite 6, you use the “EXPORT” feature under the file menu, not the save as function. Under Export you may save as a JPEG or a Tiff file. Probem solved
Thanks again for your comments
IF we were to purchase Suite 6 and have two computers at home one being a lap top can we download the program on both?
Rather than answer for them, Here is the link from onOne that answer that question directly
what’s the system requirements to run photo suite 6
Very expensive software.. 🙁
Just came across your site and thought I’d share some thoughts on the Perfect Portrait part of the . I was a bit dubious when I first heard about it, but the demonstration at Photoshop World last year was very impressive.
I put some examples of my own photos up to show what it does out of the box. Great skin tone correction, blemish control and other portrait retouching just with a couple of clicks. There are some rare exceptions when I still want to manually retouch in Photoshop, but the bulk of my portraits are happy with the results from this tool.