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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?