I guess they mean it. Although, in my experience, I’ve been shooting on this block twice in the past few weeks and never saw it operating. Still, I wouldn’t consider parking here. NOT.ON.A.BET.
OnOne Perfect Photo Suite Review
After working with the product for more than a week now, my initial impression that this is a major reorganization of the product is confirmed. The entire suite is integrated, and that is by far one of the biggest improvements in the product as a whole. Go click that link in the preceding paragraph to read why. Another great workflow improvement that I did not mention, then is how well the integration works. You can move from the Layers module to the Effects module to Frames or FocalPoint without closing everything or round tripping back to Aperture, or whatever other program you use for image management.
One of my favorite changes affects the thumbnails for the many, many effects and filters in Perfect Effects. In the prior version, the preview thumbnails were (1) of stock images, and (2) small. In the upgrade, the thumbnails (1) preview how the effect will look on the image you are working on, and (2) are large enough to be visible. Plus, if you hover your cursor over a preview thumbnail, it will fly out a larger preview that also has text giving a brief description of the filter. This is a substantial improvement, as the older thumbnails were so small that it was nearly impossible to predict what a filter would do until you applied it to your image. That is no longer the case.
One small step backwards in the interface is that they seem to have removed the ability to search for a filter by name. The filters are arranged into categories, which makes sense, but occasionally you remember a specific filter but aren’t sure which category it is a part of. It is not always obvious. For example, the new filter “Dawn Treader” is in the category “Black and White,” but you might expect to find it in “Movie Looks.” Previously you could search for it by name to avoid having to scan under every Category tab individually, but if you can still do that, I cannot figure out how. Such missteps are minor, however, compared to the overall improvements.
Substantively, there are lots of great new filters. The black and white options, for example, are substantially broader than the prior version, and many of the Movie Look and Vintage filters are also new, and quite effective. The image above was treated with a Vintage filter called “Brandon,” and then slightly modified to return a touch of saturation when the image imported back into Aperture. The image in last week’s preliminary review was treated with some of the Movie Look filters, although I neglected to write down which one(s). The only thing I miss was a small category of Filters called “Basic Brushes,” that made it easy to brush in more or less color, contrast, brightness, etc. You can still do that in the new version, but not so simply and I really wonder why they dropped it. Still, that is the sort of thing you can do directly and easily in Aperture (and I expect Lightroom) so maybe they figured their version did not add much value. But I liked being able to do it as part of my editing within the OnOne product. Overall, however, the new Perfect Effects is a substantial improvement over its already strong predecessor Photo Tools.
As for the other modules, Perfect Layers was only recently introduced (see my initial review here), and so is not much changed except for the suite integration. I also saw only modest changes in Focal Point, but that was already one of my favorite editing products in the world so it is hard to imagine how to improve it. By the way, Focal Point was the reason I originally bought a copy of the OnOne suite back in March 2010. Prefect Resize also seems to be in the minor tweak category. It just worked before, and still does, with improved suite integration. PhotoFrame has been modified, and I find it much easier to find a frame or texture than I did before. There also appear to be many more, although there were so many to begin with it is hard to tell. The new version of Perfect Mask perfectly picked out the sky in the to test images I ran.
Which leaves one new module, Perfect Portrait. I do not do a lot of portrait work, but I tested this on some images of my family and was quite impressed. It automatically recognizes faces, suggests some automatic adjustments, and lets you fine tune additional edits to remove blemishes, intelligently whiten eyes and teeth, and improve skin tone and texture, with a variety of fine-tuned sliders.
Whether or not you have an earlier version of the OnOne suite, it definitely makes sense to download the 30-day trial version and play with it. The trial version is fully functioning, imposing no file size limits, watermarks, or any other limitations except that it expires in 30 days. As trial versions of software go, that is quite generous. If you have the earlier version, the new one installs without modifying or breaking the earlier installation, so in the event you decide the upgrade is not right for you, you should have no trouble continuing to work with the existing version.
To repeat from last week, I am no longer an OnOne affiliate for tax reasons, but you can still click on this banner to get more information and a link to the free trial version.