On One Perfect Suite 8 Part II—More Good Stuff

By Mark

Last week I started talking about the new software from the good folks over at OnOne.  I think the last 4 modules really bring a lot of power to the application.   The Effects, B&W, Mask and Resize tools offer a great new set of tools. 

The Effects module has combined a lot of functions which used to be separate tools-including the amazing Controlled Focus tool, which is now one of the options under the lens blur panel.  

Effects Panel Menu.PNG

To be fair, Adobe has incorporated this capability directly into Photoshop, but On Ones is easier to control.  It can turn pretty much any image into what looks like a scale model.  

Lens Blur Panel.PNG
Tilt shift samples0.jpg

I’ve been a huge fan of the NiK software’s Silver Efex2 Black and White tool set.  As far as most people are concerned it defines the gold standard for B&W conversion.  Unfortunately, since Google bought them in late 2012, there have been no updates or even rumors of people working on them.  Google remains sadly quiet on the topic.   Therefore the B&W module in Perfect Suite was of great interest to me.  I can tell you that I think it does a reasonable job, but still doesn’t match the ease of adjustments from SilverEfx.

Yosemite B&W samples1.jpg
Yosemite B&W samples0.jpg

They have done a very good job, better certainly than the tools found in Lightroom, in basic conversion.  They even have some nice “Ansel Adams in the Valley” presets.  I continue to play with it and all the while keep hoping for some sign from Google.

Yosemite B&W samples2.jpg

The Perfect Mask Module is very helpful, especially when trying to work with complicated shapes like hair.  Their demo even removes a bride with a veil from her background.  I have not been able to get that accurate yet,   I have watched them demonstrate it and know it can be done, but it does take more practice than I’ve put into it so far. 

The last module Resize is good for blowing up images beyond their native resolution.  In Photoshop, bad things happen when you try this.  The Resize options can actually let you make decent 8 x 10 images from cell phone pictures.  They have a much more advanced scaling and interpolation algorithm and it doesn’t make your photos look like 8 bit Minecraft artifacts. 

As with almost any plug in, you can download it and try it for free for 30 days.  If it helps your work flow, then buy it.  If not then stop using it.  

On One Perfect Photo Suite 8B

By Mark

I’ve been a big On One fan since I discovered Version 4, with Perfect Frames about five or six years ago.  They have just released what is probably their biggest update ever. They have created a software package which remains fully integrated with LR and Photoshop, but for the first time, can run in a standalone mode.

The interface is very clean.  They have their own Browser and then seven modules are at the top of the screen; Browse, Layers, Enhance, Portrait, Effects, B&W, Mask, and Resize.  On One provides a lot of tutorial videos which help learn what each of them can do.  

Top Line Menu Options

Top Line Menu Options

I’m going to spend a few blogs talking about some of their features.

The overall menu is common among each module.  On the left side of each screen are the On One Presets.  In the top left corner of the image window are the adjustment tools specific for that module.  Over on the right side are the control panels.  The layout is a lot like PS or LR in that regard. 

The Browse module does just what you would expect.  It allows you to find your images.  Of course if you open a file directly from the application, then Lightroom will not automatically keep track of it.

Browse.PNG

I am not a huge fan of their Layers module.  It was introduced as a way to add a layer like workflow to Lightroom, just like Photoshop.  In my view, if you need layers, you probably ought to be working in Photoshop anyway. 

The Enhance module provides the basic editing and adjusting tools you need for most images.  Basic brightness, temperature and features like color temperature can be fixed. 

Enhance Presets

Enhance Presets

The last module I will cover today, is one I’ve used sparingly on some of my people pictures—the Portrait module.  The Portrait module starts out by identifying the faces in your image.  It then automatically identifies the eyes and mouth.  You adjust the corner points to match the lips and teeth for the mouth, and the shape of the eyes.  

Face recognition

Face recognition

Faces controls.PNG

You can then select presets based upon the age and gender of your subject as well as the effect you are trying to accomplish.  Yes, if you like, you can make your subjects look ironed and plastic, just like the magazine photos.    You get to adjust the intensity of the effects and can tone down the plasticity.   One thing to watch is the overwhitening of the eyes and teeth.  Their standard levels are a bit creepy for me.  

Faces skin retouching.PNG

If you open the application from within Photoshop, it creates a separate layer.  I think that is better, as you can adjust the opacity of each layer and let some of the natural features come through.   

faces end.PNG

So far, in the first 3 editing modules, the Portrait tools have shown themselves to be useful.  In next weeks blog I will talk about the remaining 4 modules.  They have most of the really cool features and can really help improve your images. 

Artificial Focus

In a lot of the advertising out today people are shooting what is known as selective focus.  Parts of the image are crisp and clear while other parts are very, very soft. There are a whole lot of ways to accomplish this.  The reasonably priced LensBaby ® system gives you the ability to shape the focus in camera, while traditional and very expensive Tilt-shift lenses can correct for planar distortion. At Photoshop World an instructor passed on his wisdom that it is far easier to shoot the originals as sharply as possible and add the effects afterwards.  You can’t make blurry photos sharper…yet. One of the tools in the next release of Photoshop is a much improved set of filters you can test out as part of the CS6 Beta http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/photoshopcs6/

However, there are some plug-ins which really work well right now.  I use OnOne Software’s Perfect Photo Suite 6.1, but Nik Software and Dfine also make good tools.

The specific tool in the suite is called Focal Point.  You can control just about everything about the blur and it creates it as a separate layer.  It works from inside both Lightroom and Photoshop.  You can also run it as a stand-alone application.  You overlay a grid for what you want to keep in focus.  You can adjust the shape, the density of the blur among other choices.  Here are two examples.  I started with this pirate figure and applied a nice circular blur.

A very popular commercial technique makes things in an image appear to be miniature models.  This replicates what you can accomplish with that tilt-shift.  It basically keeps a narrow band in the middle of the image in focus and blurs both the fore and background.  It starts with a rectangular or planar blur instead of the oval from the previous image.

These are just some of the ways you can add creative impact to your pictures as you process them.