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onOne Software Review Updated!
These reviews take a long time, but I’ve been playing with the latest version of the software, and it’s coming along well as you can see below. Everything is more streamlined and the tools are improved and evolutionary. Below you can see a screenshot of all the new tools in the lower right, including Perfect Effects, FocalPoint, Perfect B&W, Perfect Mask, Perfect portrait, and Perfect Resize.
onOne Plugins – Get the whole suite?
People often wonder if they should get all the software including Perfect Effects, FocalPoint, Perfect B&W, Perfect Mask, Perfect portrait, and Perfect Resize. I use all of them except for Perfect Portrait, but this is mostly because I don’t do a lot of straight-up portrait work. But still, even if you don’t use some of the products much, it’s still a good deal to get them all. And, it’s always handy to have those tools in your belt just in case. For example, even though I don’t do a lot of portrait work, I might end up in a situation where I need to clean up a lot of portraits quickly, and I kinda like knowing I have it around.
onOne Plugin – Perfect Effects 4
I find myself using THIS tool the most. It’s much improved over previous versions, and the interface is pretty and fast.
The whole interface is simple and easy to use. Along the left side are a variety of different filters. Each one expands and collapses. When you expand one of the filter areas, you see a number of different thumbnails. I’ve really become a big fan of looking at thumbnails to decide what I want to do. Now, most of my shots are now bigger 36 megapixel photos, so running any filter (even on a fast computer) can take a while. By a while, I mean about ten seconds. I know I know… ten seconds… big deal… but I guess nowadays we like to see instant results. Anyway, the little thumbnail gives me a really good idea of what the final version will look like, so I end up saving a lot of time.
If you find one you like, you can click the little flag and it goes to your favorites. I recommend this, because otherwise you’ll have trouble remembering if the effect you like was in “Vintage” or “Movie Effects”! I’ve tended to stay in my “Favorites” tab most of the time with occasional forays into the wild for new filters.
Above, you can see the “Honky Tonk” effect. It is one of the pre-canned filters. Right underneath it, you can see the Lord of the Rings filter. onOne had to pay the Tolkien estate $1,000,000 to get the rights to use that name, so they hope you click on it (it’s actually pretty cool and gives a bloom-Orton effect).
Above, you can see one of the pretty Landscape effects called “Fall Enhancer”. It takes the yellow and green bits of a photo and pushes them more into the orange and red. Now, of course, you can do all this stuff in normal Photoshop, but this tool helps you do it very quickly. Sometimes people prefer to use a “look book” sort of thing… where you can just simply look at many different versions and choose what you like. This is where Perfect Effects shines.
There used to be a different way of adding border effects, and now it’s all integrated into Perfect Effects. Don’t forget that you can tweak out all the border effects (and any effect for that matter) over there on the right. If it’s too thick or intense or whatever, you can just dial it back.
Above, you can see one of the many borders. I don’t do this much on my photos… but, whenever I do, I often kind of like it. And I think, “Hey I should add more borders to my photos!” And then I forget about this idea for a while… and come back in and use a tool like this and am excited… and then the whole cycle starts over again.
Above, you can see one of the cool and somewhat extreme effects, Kryptonite, which is inside the Movie Effects category. Sometimes I get in an extreme mode, and sometimes I’m in a subtle mode. In this way, I am moody like a woman. Also, I can change my mind very quickly and without remorse, also much like a woman.
Above, another nice effect! This one is “Nicely Toasted” in the Vintage category.
Above, you can see the nice and moody “Lomo Soft” effect.
Above, you can see how two different things have been combined in Perfect Effects. If you zoom in and look on the right side, you can see that two effects have been layered there. This is the Nicely Toasted combined with one of the Emulsion Borders.
Above the Holga Cross Process effect has been used to make everything a bit darker and more dramatic. There were a few of the Holga effects here I quite liked, and I could have chosen any of them to show off!
Final Thoughts on Perfect Effects
You’re going to end up with a good problem that maybe you’re not used to. You’ll inevitably find between 2 and 10 versions you really like, and many may be quite different. Then you’re faced with the decision about which version will be the final version. This causes a strange kind of stress. Maybe stress isn’t the right word, but you’ll know what I’m talking about when you feel it. You can always take solace knowing that you have more options rather than less.
Sometimes I’ll fully process an HDR photo using other tools then pop into Perfect Effects for one of these finishing touches. 100% of the effect is maybe too much, but I can easily dial it back a few notches till it feels right.
Perfect Black and White
In the interface, it looks like Perfect B&W. You launch this the same way as all the other plugins, by opening the panel then double-clicking on the tool. I find the whole getting-into-onOne-tools process to be quite clunky, but that is probably not their fault. It is probably something with the way that Photoshop talks to plugins. Anyway, once you are in the tool everything is simple and self-explanatory.
Again, you are presented with a ton of thumbnails down the left side. You can pick one that suits your fancy then tweak it on the right. You may have better success if you bring in very colorful photos with strong shapes and lines. If you look over on the right, you can see how you can tweak out various “input” colors to be more black and white.
Above, you can see the “Ingrid Cool” effect. I then went and tweaked it out a little on the right and brought down the highlights. I like how the sky is a little-bit blown out… If I wanted to, I could adjust it so that nothing at all is blown-out… but somethings I like a bit of drama, like a woman.
Above is the “Hint of Color” effect, and I think it is pretty cool. Sometimes, if you don’t watch out, choosing just ONE real color to pop out of your photos can be a little too First-year-of-art-school, if you know what I mean… but I guess it’s still fun to play with from time to time.
Anyway, those are just a few examples of the black and white tools. I recommend this instead of the basic tools that come with Photoshop and Lightroom. These tools end up adding a lot more drama to the shots… and these tend to be the kind of black and white photos I prefer… but that’s just me.
In the strange-naming-convention-department, this is the only tool that does not have the name “Perfect” in front of it. Maybe “Perfect Focus” doesn’t work because it indicates that it puts things more in focus, which it does not. Maybe they could call it “Perfect BlurTheOtherShit” — because that is pretty much what it does.
Now, this blur trick is a very simple trick, but it is often quite effective. People love this kinda-thing. If you put a picture on Facebook and you blur everything but one little bit, people will think you are some kinda freakin’ genius. I mean, that’s not saying much. Tricking people on Facebook with nice photos is nothing to brag about, but it’s not so bad if you’re trying to get clients from there. If you have photos of brides or kids or mothers-in-law or dogs or whatever and you blur the crap out of everything but the eyes, future clients will be impressed.
And if you play around with the tool enough, you’ll end up finding kind of a unique style. You can do stuff like the Lensbaby enables without all the trouble of putting extra gizmos on your camera.
Above is a photo I took at Burning Man and then processed in Lightroom. I brought it into FocalPoint to make the focus even more on the eyes. You can see that interface there. Whenever I see this kind of interface, I always feel like one of those Star Trek away missions where you end up on some alien ship and you have to figure out how to land the damn thing. So you start using your human fingers to drag all those bits and bobs around until you either land or burn up in the atmosphere.
Okay this ends the little FocalPoint part of the review. You get it.
Want to easily make faces look better? This is a great tool for that. It’s easy and fun to use. You’ll be impressed by the results.
But watch out, if you use it too hard, you’ll end up making people look like a bottle of lotion. You know that look, right? Where people look smooth enough to spread like hummus and their eyes pop out like white supernovas, burning into your retinas. You can go all extreme if you want to… but try to avoid the temptation. I suppose it’s cool that the tool allows you to slide into the cocoa-butter zone, but you’ll just have to treat your great new power with great responsibility.
Above, I chose a very strange photo to test this with. It probably just confused the software. I assume it is pretty good at softening the skin of various races, but creatures from Pandora are not in its wheelhouse. It did recognize the face though, and there was some softening of the pores, so that’s pretty cool I suppose.
Above: When you first pop into the tool, it tries to map out the eyes and mouth because the algorithm treats them differently. I confused it a bit with this side-view, but I was able to adjust everything by dragging those bits around. That was easy enough. But if you do a lot of straight-facing headshots, this will work better for you.
Above: The Lotion-Bottle-Effect. On the left you can see I chose “Heavy” which made her look like she was dipped into a milky caramel. That sounds kind of nice, come to think of it. If you look at the other bits, you can see how I dragged around the control points to account for her eyes and mouth.
Above: I chose the “Natural” filter, which did a more, well, natural job of it all.
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Formerly, this was known as Genuine Fractals
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Above: 36mp image Before at 25%
Above: Before at 50%
Above: Before at 100%
Above: Perfect Resize Interface
Above: At the new 100%
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