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After reviewing PhotoFrame Pro 3 back in August, it was interesting to hear they have already updated it to version 3.1. So what's new in the package? Well, the package has been updated to support Adobe Photoshop up to CS3, an automatic frame and border rotation system, easy access to the Frame Preview Grid, support for 16-Bit images, built in tutorials and Automatic update checker.
OnOne PhotoFrame Pro 3.1 Features
Loading the system onto the computer can take several minutes if this is the first time installing as all the initial frames have to be loaded in. Once this is done, the program can be found in Photoshop under the Filters area in the Plug-ins at the bottom of the menu. Opening the program takes the image to a separate window where, as before in version 3, the quick reference menu is to the left of the image and the preferences are to the right. Whilst choosing the negative border, it doesn't matter which one is chosen to look at as the auto rotation system automatically makes any portrait style border to landscape which makes reviewing the frames a lot easier.
The frame preview grid is used to check the frame you may want to use and multiple frames can be chosen by holding down control whilst clicking the frames to compare. Then at the bottom of the Frames menu window, a star shape is visible which is access to the Options of that window. Choosing View frame grid will open a new window with the image wrapped in the chosen borders and once your decision is made, the correct frame can be clicked and this will load onto your image.
New frames have been added to version 3.1 and some of these are the Emulsions. The new ones are in colour and are entitled New, so it is easy to see what has been added. The only drawdown is that they are all labelled in alphabetical order so the new frames are separated from the originals. Negative film borders have also been added as these are currently very popular in photographic circles and they do look great although they can invade a lot of the image. The decay cannot be moved around or manipulated separately to the negative, so it is logical to assume that the frame must be thought of before taking the picture to reduce the chance of the main part of the portrait being excluded. This is an annoyance as I would have liked to be able to change the opacity of the decay, but leave the frame and I couldn't, but their is always the option of using the clean negative and adding some decay in separately. The minus point to that idea is that the opacity will then manipulate all layers, not just the highlighted one, which I don't think is very good.
Multiple borders can be added to an image like the image on the right which has three borders in total. One is a simple 35mm film sprocket border with a black background, another called woodblock, which has splinters of the image coming off and the final frame is called Weathered wood and gives a grainy, dirty effect all over the image which is very fashionable with up and coming photographers. Retro, I think youngsters call it today.
OnOne PhotoFrame Pro 3.1 Maskerade
Version 3.1 also offers a Layer mask mode for the frames. The Layer mask mode enables the frames to be added as a new layer instead of being attached to the background. A layer mask has to be created in Photoshop first then new layers can be added as different colours or the border can be manipulated using brush tools. The great thing about it is that as it is a layer mask, the new layers can be added and added without any problems.
OnOne PhotoFrame Pro 3.1 Performance
The front cover of the box says that the frames and border combinations are limitless. Upon first impression, I would say this is a wild claim, however upon reflection, they could have a point. Around 4000 frames and borders are available with the bonus of multiples being added to the same image giving a different effect. I managed to get a maximum of 11 borders on one image before it complained at me. Add to this the bonus of the Layer mask mode with the many options available from the Photoshop tools and if it isn't limitless, the number is too great to bother calculating. The borders can be manipulated to determine how much of it is seen in the image. This is a good feature as some of the decayed borders can invade the image a bit too much. Unfortunately, with every movement, the system has to save it or do some work to it. The change is instant, but a small blue bar in the bottom left of the image scrolls along before another adjustment can be made. Adjustments are not easy to do either. The same location can extend the border, rotate it or move it around and it can be tricky selecting the right action.
The system works well and is easy to use. The new borders and frames have brought the program up to date and to come even more up to date, they could add an opaque backgrounds feature to add lettering or diagrams to the background which is also very popular at the moment.
OnOne PhotoFrame Pro 3.1 Verdict
If you like to frame images and make them look a bit more interesting, then this program is a great addition to Photoshop and with CS3 compatibility, it is even more accessible. The program is easy to use, has some great features and so many borders, you had better use the Favourites or you will be there for ages scrolling through them all.
I have only one real major gripe about the program and that is the amount of space available. Using one monitor just doesn't give enough space to use the program without having to move the tool windows around all over the place or hide them until needed. The windows could have a minimise feature and I think this would be a nice alternative as the edges of images can be blocked by the tool windows.
Despite being classed as a Professional program, this is something that anyone can use effectively. I certainly have fun using it and it makes pictures look very effective.
A warm decay 35mm Negative film border was added to this image to give it the effect of an old picture.
OnOne PhotoFrame Pro 3.1 Plus points
Easy to use system
Easier to choose between borders
Multiple borders can be added
OnOne PhotoFrame Pro 3.1 Minus points
Can take a while loading
Changes to the border can take time
Not much space to work in on screen
OnOne PhotoFrame Pro 3.0 is available from the ePHOTOzine shop here.
Version 3.1 is free to download for Version 3.0 owners from the OnOne website here.