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There are very few programs out there that truly have the ability to take your photography to the next level. onOne Perfect Photo Suite is a true game changer when it comes to digital photography, and this review will hopefully open your eyes to a world of possibilities for your images.
Perfect Photo Suite is made up of several different programs: FocalPoint, Mask Pro, Perfect Resize, PhotoFrame, PhotoTools and PhotoTune. Each program has distinct and unique features that will help in different situations, and each program is incredibly helpful for any photographers workflow. In this review, I will go over each product in the Perfect Photo Suite one by one, and give examples along the way to show actual results from my own images. I’ll also post some short videos to demo each program so you can see the workflow of each offering from this suite. This post is not a tutorial, just a review. It’s meant to give you a an idea of what this collection can do in the hands of any photographer.
FocalPoint is a program designed to create realistic depth of field changes to your images, after the shot. This program can emulate the effects of a fast aperture lens, lens baby or even a tilt-shift lens. It can be used to selectively draw the viewers eye into a certain part of the image, while concealing or hiding distracting parts of the background or foreground. This program can also create or remove vignettes around the final image, and has a film grain feature to boot.
FocalPoint is incredibly easy to use, and it creates very professional results. onOne’s unique “Focus Bug” makes adjusting the outcome of the image incredibly fast and efficient. This is one of those programs that doesn’t really even need instructions, it’s very intuitive and easy to use right from the start.
So, is the “After” image better than the before? Well, that’s for you to decide! Is it different? Absolutely! Sure I could pull off similar effects in photoshop with gaussian blur layers and brushed-in vignettes, but that takes a lot more time than this. Like I said before, using FocalPoint is incredibly fast and efficient, and that’s the main reason behind purchasing plugins like this. Here’s a quick video demo of how FocalPoint works…
Mask Pro is a little bit different in terms of ease of use; I’d definitely recommend watching the convenient little tutorial videos that onOne provides with each program. If you know Photoshop, then hopefully you are very familiar with masking. If not, masking is a process in Photoshop that can be used to remove unwanted parts or reveal wanted parts of an image using layers. Mask Pro is a program that is mainly used to remove objects like people from backgrounds so that you can replace the background with something else (for example, removing a person from a white backdrop and replacing the background with a graphic). Masking in Photoshop can be efficient at times, but there are also times when it can become a bit complicated. Photoshop’s “color range” feature can sample certain colors and remove them from the image, but the changes are global across the entire image and it can get a bit tricky at times to go back and correct the problems that it causes.
Mask Pro uses a unique feature where you sample color along the edge of your subject and choose whether to keep or discard that specific color. Once you have all your colors selected, you grab a “magic” brush and simply paint over the edge of the subject, creating a transparent background where it should be and retaining the subject along the way.
Mask Pro did an incredible job of removing this flower from the image. The lines and edges are clean and smooth, and the entire process was simple and actually kind of fun! It’s important to note that this was a somewhat simple object to remove. There will certainly be some subjects that are harder to remove from others, like a person with brown hair against a brown colored background. Not all images are good candidates for software programs like this. Here’s a quick video of the process I took to remove the flower from the background.
OnOne used to have an incredible program called Genuine Fractals. They have now taken the algorithms from that program and added them to Perfect Resize 7! How cool is that!? Perfect Resize is an absolutely phenomenal program that will actually take an image and make it larger, while preserving the details of the original file. If your image is 15×10 and your client wants a 30×20, you can simply plug the new dimensions into Perfect Resize and the program will increase the size of your image to match the new dimensions.
As you can see, I made this image significantly larger using Perfect Resize. The original image was about 11×7 inches, and Perfect Resize increased the size to 18×12 inches. This software is a must for anyone who wants to have larger prints made than what you normally would. The original file here was smaller than what my camera normally produces because I cropped out a good deal of the original file to create the composition. I used Perfect Resize to basically take my image back to its normal size. Here is a quick demo of how this program works…
PhotoFrame is one of those programs that is deceptively awesome. At first glance, I always thought that PhotoFrame was just good for adding a pre-made border around an image to make it look nice. Upon further inspection however, I discovered PhotoFrame is another incredibly powerful tool in the Perfect Photo Suite that definitely earned its spot in the line up. You can use PhotoFrame to create entire albums for clients, for anything from weddings to seniors. All in addition to the seemingly endless library of borders, textures and frames.
There is really no way to sum up the possibilites of PhotoFrame in a short review like this. The amount of textures, borders, frames and layouts in PhotoFrame is overwhelming to say the least. You can literally spend hours getting acquainted with all the possibilites. For the example image, I chose a senior themed layout because my subject was…well…a senior. Here’s a quick video to show the program in action…
Aperture and Lightroom are incredibly powerful tools for any photographer. Now with the release of Aperture 3, both programs offer the ability to add filters to your images. These preset adjustments can range anywhere from simple black and white conversions, to lomo and antique feels, to super-modern over-saturated effects. The only problem with these filters is that you can’t combine them with each other or mask certain parts out.
Well, that’s not the case with PhotoTools. PhotoTools is a massive library of photographic filters and presets that give your images that extra pop they need to stand out. The revolutionary thing about PhotoTools is that you can stack these filters on top of one another, then adjust the opacity of each filter to taste before applying and exporting to your actual image. On top of that, most of these effects were created by top photographer in the industry, and they are available for use to anybody with the program! In this new version, there’s also a new blemish removal tool for portrait photographers, brand new effects specifically for HDR photography and dozens of new textures and effects.
In this example, I used an HDR image to show the powerful new HDR presets included in PhotoTools 2.6. These presets are a lot of fun to use, and mixing them together in your own way is even more fun. Here’s a quick video to show my workflow to produce this image…
Last in the Perfect Photo Suite line up is PhotoTune, a powerful color correction program for all photographers, from landscape to portraits. PhotoTune has a powerful dynamic range enhancement feature to make images appear closer to how the human eye sees things (sort of like HDR), it features an incredible skin tune feature to color correct skin tones and make them look healthy and full of life, and it even has a helpful wizard style walkthrough option to help those who aren’t yet comfortable with PhotoTune’s “Pro” mode. PhotoTune also shines in it’s ability to remove color casts from images that sometimes go unnoticed. While this program is incredibly powerful, I can’t say that I will use it terribly often. If I’m working in Aperture, I like to work fast and efficient. Aperture does a great job of color correction on its own, and there are only rare cases where I need additional help from an outside program. However, there are plenty of times where I get a photo to where I think I want it, only to decide later that something just isn’t right. In those times, I will definitely reach for PhotoTune to see if I can fix the problem.
In the above example, my original image was missing warmth and life in the skin tones and color. PhotoTune did an incredible job of correcting this issue. Join me in this last demo video as I go through each step in a typical PhotoTune workflow for this type of image…
OnOne’s Perfect Photo Suite is an incredible collection of powerful tools for photographers. Some of the programs you will use all the time, while others are always there in a pinch when needed. The Perfect Photo Suite is sure to set your work apart from the crowd and give your images that wow effect that we all look for. The great thing about onOne is that when you purchase a software program from them, you get full access to their onOne University; an online collection of training videos by industry professionals. They also hold regular online webinars where pro photographers walk you through typical workflows using onOne software, and give inspiration for different styles and techniques in the world of photography.
Feel free to put the onOne Perfect Photo Suite through your own testing with a free 30-Day Trial of the entire lineup of programs. When you’re ready to make your purchase (but for the next two weeks only), be sure to use the coupon code “DPSPS” for an exclusive DPS discount of $100 off the suite. Just note that the trial is 30 days but the discount only lasts for two weeks from today and ends on 21 February 2011.
Be sure to follow me on twitter (@jamesdbrandon) if you don’t already. I’m always available to answer questions you may have regarding any posts that you read here!
Finally, we want to see your results from the Perfect Photo Suite! Leave us some comments below showing some of your best work that you’ve created thanks to this awesome software! Cheers, and happy shooting!