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OnOne Genuine Fractals 6 Review

OnOne Genuine Fractals 6 Review - Gary Wolstenholme wonders what Benoît Mandelbrot would make of OnOne software's latest offering.

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Category : Other Software
Product : OnOne Genuine Fractals 6
Price : £125
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Even with today's high resolution cameras, those who have produced very large prints will understand the benefits of interpolation. As the upgrade to Genuine Fractals 5 that we reviewed in September 2008, we'll take a look at what the new version offers over previous releases.

New Features:
Gallery Wrap (Professional Edition Only)
This feature automatically adds margins by stretching the area of the image along each edge of the frame. This feature is especially useful for those wishing to print their images on wrap-around style canvas, without compromising the composition of their image.
Tiling
Tiling allows you to divide an image into smaller pieces to produce extra-large prints more economically. Say, for example, you wished to print an image six feet tall, a 3:2 aspect ratio portrait orientated image could be divided into 64 9x6inch prints.
Batch Processing
The batch processing feature included in Genuine Fractals has been given a facelift allowing you to batch process an entire folder of images to a given size or resolution while also allowing you to add a watermark or logo to each image.
Texture Presets
Control over the texture part of the Genuine Fractals algorithm was added in version five, but was not as straightforward to use as it could have been. Preset styles have been added to version six to make things simpler for inexperienced users.
Lightroom and Aperture Integration (Professional Edition Only)
Those who use these RAW workflow programs will be glad to know that they can now spend even less time in Photoshop than before.

OnOne Genuine Fractals 6:
System requirements

Windows
  • Windows XP Service Pack 2 or Windows Vista
  • 1GHz or faster Pentium 4 or equivalent processor(s)
  • 1024x768 or higher display at millions of colors
  • 1Gb of physical RAM (2Gb recommended)
  • 250Mb of free hard disk space
  • Microsoft .NET 2.0 framework or higher
  • Web browser with Adobe Flash Player 9 or higher plug-in installed
  • Adobe Photoshop CS2, CS3, CS4 or Elements 6 and higher
  • Optional Hosts: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2
  • Internet connection or phone for activation

Macintosh
  • Mac OS X10.4.11 or 10.5
  • 1Ghz or faster G5 or Intel Core processor(s)
  • 1024x768 or higher display at millions of colors
  • 1Gb of RAM (2Gb recommended)
  • 250Mb of free hard disk space
  • Web browser with Adobe Flash Player 9 or higher plug-in installed
  • Adobe Photoshop CS2 (9.0.2), CS3, CS4 or Elements 6 and higher
  • Optional Hosts: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2, Apple Aperture 2.1
  • Internet connection or phone for activation


OnOne Genuine Fractals 6:
In Use
The basic approach to interpolating a file in Photoshop hasn't changed at all in version six. Simply open your image in Photoshop, select Genuine Fractals from the OnOne menu (or from File>Automate) and enter your desired print size and resolution.

OnOne Genuine Fractals 6
OnOne main menu.
OnOne Genuine Fractals 6
Crop box ensures nothing gets chopped off if the aspect ratio of the print differs from the image.
Sharpening for print should be done afterwards but that's all that's needed to complete after the plugin has worked its magic, although you can use the built-in sharpening feature within the software. Presets are available for many popular photographic sizes, which makes things even simpler.

If the aspect ratio of the size you wish to print does not match your image, a resizeable crop box is superimposed so that you can ensure nobody's head gets chopped off at the printing stage.

What's changed might not be apparent immediately for users of previous versions, but the changes do add up to a better user experience. In the first instance, a flash tutorial guides you through the basic features of the plugin.

This is ideal for those among us who rarely trawl through the help menu or online instructions. An option is available to remove the flash video for further instances of running the plugin.

Another addition I particularly like is the presets for the texture control. In the previous version, this feature wasn't very well explained, which made it seem overly complex.
The temptation was to leave it set to its default values and forget about it. Now there are presets depending on the kind of image being interpolated, whether it be a portrait, landscape, or something with lots of detail to be preserved.
I particularly like the tiling feature, which is a new addition for version six. Simply pop the dimensions of your desired output print into the dialogue box and Genuine Fractals will divide it up for you.
OnOne Genuine Fractals 6
Presets are improved from Version 5 including textures and handy explanations to make it all easier to understand.
OnOne Genuine Fractals 6
Tiling divides the image up and prints the separate areas independently to be reassembled after.

Unfortunately this feature doesn't work perfectly with borderless printing, as the printer bleeds a bit of your image over the edge to fill the page. This could be compensated for if a small gap is left Olympus EP1between each print though.

OnOne Genuine Fractals 6: Results
To test the software I interpolated a 10Mp image from a Nikon D200 to print at 24x36in at 300dpi, I repeated this using Photoshop Bicubic Smoother resizer, which is supposed to be the one to use for enlargements.

Comparing the images of the scooter, there isn't a massive difference in sharpness between using the two methods, but looking again at where the paint has started to come away from the rusty frame, Geniune Fractals has done a better job of preserving the edge detail in the image, and should sharpen up nicely for print.

OnOne Genuine Fractals 6: Verdict
As with version five, I can see the difference between the image interpolated with Genuine Fractals, and that done with Photoshop, but I wish the difference were greater. The added features will come as a welcome extra for those wishing to produce large canvas images with wrap-around edges, or those who'd like to make massive prints on the cheap, quickly and simply by printing in smaller sections.

Personally I really like this last feature and used it to produce a print four and a half feet tall in 6x4inch prints costing under five pounds and it looks great! Whether this is worth the whopping £200 asking price for the pro version, or £65 for the upgrade will be entirely up to you. If you make your money from producing large images, then maybe it will.
 
OnOne Genuine Fractals 6: Plus points
Results are sharper than Photoshop Bicubic Smoother
Tiling feature
Canvas wrap feature
Photographic sizes presets
Help videos and tutorials make learning the software a doddle

OnOne Genuine Fractals 6: Minus points
I was hoping for more noticeably better results
Price is prohibitive for casual users

FEATURES
EASE OF USE
PERFORMANCE
OVERALL


OnOne Genuine Fractals 6.0 costs £124.95 for the standard version at Warehouse Express:

OnOne Genuine Fractals 6 Standard

Or you can get the Professional edition for £229.95 at Warehouse Express here:

OnOne Genuine Fractals Professional


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