Image Editing Software Overview – On1 Photo 10

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Since the advent of digital photography there has been one program that has been the penultimate of all image editing – Adobe Photoshop. There is no denying that it is powerful, but many find it confusing and hard to learn. Another aspect that some people aren’t sure about is the new subscription based ownership. So for many, another solution to the predicament is On1 Photo 10. It’s a program that is not that expensive, and can do most of what the majority of photographers want.

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Image processed with the Enhance Module in On1 Photo 10

Overview of On1 Photo 10

The On1 Photo 10 editing software has been around for some time, and you may know it more as plugins for Lightroom and Photoshop. However, recently it has been given a new look, and it is now also a standalone program. This means you don’t need another program to be able to use it. You can download it and do all your editing within its confines.

When you open On1 Photo 10, it looks a bit like Lightroom, but that is about it. Locating all the tools is different, but not so different that you can’t find things. When you begin using On1, a window pops up with several videos to teach you how to use it. It is advisable that you watch them and learn. They are not very long, but they are packed with useful information.

On the right side of the panel there are a series of modules that you can edit your photos in. Each one is specific and gives you different options.

Browse Module

In the Browse section you can look at your photos and catalogue them, decide where you want them, and upload them to Cloud storage facilities like Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive. It is similar to Bridge in Photoshop or the Library Module in Lightroom. You can make the images larger, so you can get a better look at them and decide which ones you want to work on.

When you want to start editing, the other modules are there for you to use.

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Browse Module, here you can view your photos and move them around.

Enhance Module

When you open your photo into the Enhance module you can do some basic editing, for example: changing the exposure, adjusting whites, black, shadows, and highlights. It will allow you to fix the white balance and help with noise reduction. This section is where you get your image ready for further work. It is like the preparation area before you go on to do the real work.

Similar to Lightroom, On1 works in a non-destructive manner. If you don’t understand that, it means nothing you do to your image is permanent. If you do something to it and don’t like it, you can go back and reverse the change. When you are just learning photo editing, it is good to work with software that allows you to work this way, without having to worry about ruining your image.

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The Enhance Module allows you to do some basic editing to your images.

Effects Module

In Effects, you can add filters and presets to your photos. There is a large variety of them, and each one has several options within. You have the option of creating your own and saving them (just as in Lightroom), which is very helpful if you want to use the same one a lot.

There is a difference between presets and filters. On1 explains that presets do multiple effects, while the filters have only one. When using any of them you can make adjustments so it is as strong as you like, or they can be made to have less effect. You get to be the judge of how you want the final result to look.

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In the Effects Module you can apply presets and filters to your images.

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You can see what the presets or filters will do to your image, if you click the grid you will get a larger of view of each option.

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You can see what each preset or filter will do and when you decide which one to use, just click on it.

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On1 will then apply it to your image.

Portrait Module

Portrait module is possibly is the hardest one to use. For people who photograph portraits on a regular basis, though, it may seem more intuitive. You have to work out faces, and point out the eyes and mouth to the program. Then it will whiten the eyes, and make the lips lighter. You also have the option of going back over everything and readjusting the settings. While whitening the eyes can be nice, if it is done too much it looks very strange.

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On1 allows you to do specific work to faces, and asks you to highlight the eyes and mouth so it can to its thing.

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You can work on the skin and other parts of the face as well.

Layers Module

On1 Photo 10 also has the ability to work in layers, so if you like working with texture overlays and replacing skies, you will like this module. It makes these very easy to do, especially the former.

The program comes with a number of textures, backdrops, and borders. You could quite easily just use what it provides, but it also has a section where you can add your own. So, you can upload any textures you have collected and apply them to your images.

As with most sections in On1, you can adjust, and then decide how strong the layer will be. There are blending options and tools are available if you want to remove part of it too.

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The Layer Module lets you work in layers, there are also some tools on the left that allow you to do some specific processes.

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You can apply textures.

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Or you can replace a sky, which is very easy with the masked brush tool.

Resize Module

Figuring out how to resize an image is easy, and fairly straight forward. It is a task that many people usually find difficult. I often see people putting up large images on the internet because they don’t know how to make them smaller. On1 has a separate module where you can make them  the size you want. If you want to resize it for something special, there are options available for that as well. There are no excuses now for loading images that are too big.

Who would use On1 Photo 10?

If you like plugins and seeing the different effects on your images, you will love this software.  It is perfect for someone who is just starting out, and looking for software that is simple and easy to use. Many of the other programs can get you bogged down because of how complicated they are, On1 has great online help and there are a number of videos available to help you work through it.

Experience using On1 Photo 10

I have to admit that while I know how to use many different types of editing software, I had to find some video tutorials to help me find my way around. On1. It is something that you should always do when learning new products, it can help you find the correct way to use them. Fortunately, On1 has a lot of tutorials available to help you learn how to use it.

It could just be my computer, or the size of my files, but I had trouble with the program crashing or freezing. I have a PC and am using Windows 10, so it may not be compatible. I have sent an email to the developers in hope of finding out what keeps causing that. There is however, a 60 day trial version available, which is far more than most other software products. So you can find out if it will work for you or not.

The program does have a tendency to blow out the highlights. In Photoshop you can often fix them, but On1 blows them out even more, and it seems like you are unable to do anything about it. However, it only happens when using RAW images, if you convert them to JPEG it doesn’t appear to happen. Though, it will teach you to be careful with them.

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You can see with the top image, which was a RAW file how the highlights have been blown out, but it has not happened in the jpeg file.

Every time you open an image it asks if you want to edit a copy or the original. When you start you may find that every time you open the image you are creating another copy of it. Take care, and perhaps once you have that first copy, just work on that one.

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Read the windows as they open up, and make sure you are aware of what you are doing.

Overall

On1 Photo 10 is a good program, and those interested in doing only basic editing will find it very useful. Those that love the grunge look and adding textures will also enjoy using it. It likely won’t replace Photoshop, but for beginners and people who love using plugins, it’s a great option.

Have you tried it? What are your thoughts?

Read more from our Post Production category

Leanne Cole is a fine art photographer based in Melbourne, Australia. She loves Melbourne and photographing it, along with other parts of the state. She likes doing architectural and environmental photography. You can find her on her website or on Instagram.

  • OSp

    I recommend the program On1 Phot 10. It does everything I need from an editing program and it is not on a prescription based payment model. On1 will release soon the next gen of the Photo 10 program which will be called On1 Photo Raw and basically compete with Lightroom in its capabilities and speed. Something to look forward to.

  • Leslie Hoerwinkle

    I have Version 9 and don’t feel the need to upgrade to Version 10. But, I would highly recommend this software to anyone, but especially novices. It’s very easy to use, includes a lot of useful plugins and the masking ability is awesome.

  • I’ve been using this, or bits of it, since it was called Perfect Photo Suite 4, and don’t feel the need for anything else now.

  • that’s great to hear, I think a lot people would feel the same if they got it. Thanks for sharing that.

  • I agree would be great for novices, it would be a great introduction to editing software. Thanks for sharing this Leslie.

  • That’s fantastic, thanks for sharing it. I agree for those that don’t want to go down the subscription based software it is the perfect alternative. I’m looking forward to trying the On1 Photo Raw, should be available soon.

  • Mangus

    I always ask myself why adobe and other SH never make a linux version of their programs.

    Corel is the only one that have linux version in its catalog if I remember well.
    However, in linux we can count on a very good piece of open source and free software: DARKTABLE (which is also available for mac).
    Maybe you could make an article about it.

  • Thank you very much for this excellent review and reader comments. As an amateur photographer, I have been wondering about photo-editing software and this product looks very good and affordable. The Adobe subscription one scared me off right away. Have always been just a point-and-shoot, auto-set photographer for years, but my kids got me a Canon SX510 HS with all kinds of settings to make better photos. A whole new adventure has started for me in the amazing world of photography and thanks to this very interesting and helpful review, a new path has been added!

  • Tony Ace

    I have not used this (horribly named) On1 tool, but it sure looks like a powerful tool and it also looks a LOT like Silky Pix. I have used that quite a bit and really like it, though I can see that (what’s it called again?) On1 has additional features and capabilities. Has anyone had experience with BOTH of these tools, and could share your views?

  • Oswaldo Leal

    There is a free Steam gift card giveaway at http://steamkeygiveaway.com/ I recommend this¡

  • me

    Just a note on other software programs – the mention of watching the video to learn…. I get cranky when Including so many places, DPS just seem to have photoshop stuff. There would be millions of people using other software programs but everything seems to default back to PS, as if it is the only program that can do anything.

  • There are lots of software programs out there but PS is probably the most comprehensive, and so for many of us it is the standard, but that doesn’t mean everyone should use it, or that it is suitable for everyone. Good point. Thanks for that.

  • I don’t know Silky Pix, so I can’t comment, but I do know that the team behind On1 are doing a lot of development and are continuing to make it better. So I haven’t, but if you use Silky Pix and want to try On1 they have a 60 day free trial, I would recommend you do that and try it for yourself and see what you think. Maybe let us us know. Thanks Tony.

  • You’re welcome Marija, I think it sounds like this software would be perfect for you. It is great for beginners and there are lots of videos to help you learn how to use it. It also isn’t too complicated. New adventures are wonderful, I hope you have a great time with it all. Good luck.

  • I have been asking the same question for years as well. My husband loves Linux and uses it and I did myself until recently. I would have loved PS for Linux. I haven’t heard of the other software, but will look into it, if you like.

  • Mangus

    It would be great to spread the word about the “free alternatives” on linux.
    Many use linux but very few know about Darktable, Rawtherapee and other less known software.
    I use linux since 2004 as my only OS and when a year ago I decided to learn photography I needed a good raw developer for linux and I stumbled on these ones. Rawtherapee is easier and a good one but I find that Darktable plays in another league. It may have (and it has), a steep learning curve, but I learned from scratch with it and now it feels natural to me.
    I recently tried the trial version of lightroom. It is clearly more polished and some features are really powerful and easier (LR does a lot “under the cover” when DT let you set EVERYTHING manually), but at the same time, I don’t feel comfortable with it.
    i.e. DT may be behind (just a little) in a couple of functions, like highlight and shadow recovery, where LR is a bit ahead (LR is just a bit easier, you can achieve same results with DT but you have to edit more settings and not just a single slider), but it have many other functionality that (imho), works better than LR.
    Masks in DT are very very powerful (even if a little bit frustrating sometime)
    It is definitely worth a try.
    With some test I’ve made, you can achieve great and very similar results with both. Maybe with LR it could be a little bit easier and quicker. If DT will became a bit more “quick” in some settings, and with a couple of more modules, it could be a very serious opponent for LR (and it actually is right now in many aspects).

    PS: if you want to try DT, be sure to activate “OpenCL” in the options to use the acceleration of your graphic card.
    PS2: Excuse me for my English, I’m italian 🙂

  • Crunch Hardtack

    I’ve used On1 since version 3. They are constantly upgrading and refining their product(s). As such, it may one day become a viable alternative to the more comprehensive Photoshop/Lightroom combo.

    It’s a great product, especially in conjunction with Photoshop.

  • I imagine everyone who has used Linux has said the same thing, I guess the biggest problem is how many people do actually use Linux, while I know that many more would if the software was available, there is that issue as well. I will talk to my editor. Thanks Mangus.

  • I’ve seen them talking about it and I agree, there is a desire to make it the best they can. It will be good to see what Photo Raw will be like, I’m looking forward to trying that out. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • Mangus

    In any case, I think that raise the awareness about this kind of alternatives could only be positive for any community (photography in this case).

    🙂

  • Yes, I think it is important to show people there are alternatives, and that they don’t have to go down the same route as everyone else if they choose.

  • Robin10234
  • Maximus

    I have used ON1 since version 8 and as a plugin from LR you can avoid those highlight blowouts. But if you using it as a standalone you have to keep an eye on those

  • abuzafor

    thank you for sharing that .this is very excellent

  • Good to hear from another person who loves it, I agree, though it is nice that they have the stand alone for those that don’t want to subscribe to Adobe. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • ethel.hess
  • That’s great to hear, I hope you try it.

  • Brenda2124
  • Sooz

    how do I join 2 photo images to make one photo?

  • It would depend on why and what you are trying to achieve, though it sounds like the layers panel or module is what you should be using.

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  • Excellent article, I thing Portrait Module is outstanding free software for image editing.

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