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Tools for layering, masking, improving portraits, applying creative effects, creating depth of field effects, adding frames and resizing are all included in the package, drawing from onOne Software's entire range of software products.
If using this package as a stand alone editing suite, the layers module form the central hub, where effects can be layered in a similar way as can be performed in Photoshop. A layers palette resides on the right hand side of the screen and the same kinds of blending options found in Photoshop are also present.
Applying alterations within the software takes a couple of clicks, but some effects can take a while to load and apply, so this software may be a little frustrating to use on older, slower computers.
Layers & Perfect MaskWithin the layers module, Perfect Photo Suite incorporates the perfect mask tool, which provides tools for easy separation of objects from their backgrounds. Automatic subject detection does a reasonably good job in most cases of isolating your subject and the mask can be refined quite easily using the add and subtract tools provided.
|Using Perfect Mask from the layers module provides a simple way of separating objects from their background.||The layers module can then be used to combine images, or the layered images can be output in .psd format for editing in Photoshop.|
If using this package as a compliment for Photoshop, then you have two options... either run each individual module directly from Photoshop, or export layered images in Photoshop .psd format for further editing.
Perfect PortraitThe Perfect Portrait module uses face detection technology to automatically find faces in the frame and apply skin softening effects that should result in more flattering portrait images. Effects can be applied in a completely automated fashion, or can be adjusted to taste. Multiple faces can be detected also, so it can be used quite effectively on group images too.
In use, the face detection works well with faces looking back towards the viewer, but less so with faces in profile, so some manual adjustment may be necessary in these cases. A check box allows you to toggle between applying the effect to just the face, or the entire image in one click, which is very handy.
|Face detection can sometime struggle with faces in profile, but it is easy enough to manually override.|
A good range of effects to cater for male and female subjects, as well as babies and children are provided, allowing you to tailor the amount of retouching applied easily. A tool for isolating the eyes is also provided, so clarity can be retained where it is needed most in a couple of clicks. The strength of the effect can easily be tailored to your needs by adjusting the sliders before applying the final effect.
Examples of retouching on an individual
|Original Image||Contrast Reducer||Default Skin Tune||Freckle Saver||Heavy Retouch|
|Shine Reducer||Skin Only||Subtle||Warm|
Examples of retouching on a couple
|Original Image||Contrast Reducer||Default No Skin Tune||Default Skin Tune||Heavy Retouch|
|Shine Reducer||Skin Only||Subtle||Warm|
EffectsThe effects module provides a huge range of preset creative effects. The strength of each effect can be tailored to your tastes using the slider provided. There are so many different ones to choose from, that it may take a while to find what you're looking for. Fourteen categories including Black & White, Borders, Colour & Tone, Darkroom, Detail, Film, Glow, Landscape, Movie Looks, Photo Filters, Portrait, Textures, Vignettes and Vintage effects are available to wade through, providing plenty of choice. Each effect is easy to apply and to undo, as these effects are applied as an adjustment layer, which can then also be exported to edited in Photoshop later. This approach also makes it possible to stack effects, to create your own look.
As there are so many effects available to choose from, simply browsing them can take up quite a bit of time. It may have been useful to give many of the effects more descriptive names, as names like 'Brandon' and 'Katy' don't give much of a clue of the final result.
Here are some examples of each, applied with default settings.
Black & WhiteThe black and white effects supplied certainly give more pleasing results than discarding colour information alone will, and may save time faffing in channel mixer for many.
BordersMany of these borders will be of great use to those who like these kinds of effects. The functionality is somewhat duplicated by the frame module, which we'll look into later in the review.
Colour & ToneThese one click adjustments should be appreciated, especially by novices looking for a quick fix. As the effects are applied as an adjustment layer throughout, editing this way is non-destructive too.
DarkroomIf you've ever tried recreating a cross-processed effect, or a decent sepia look, then these effects can be applied on one click.
DetailEffects to enhance detail and provide sharpening in one click. Again these should be especially useful for novices unsure how to get the best from their images.
|Original Image||Amazing Detail||Midtone Sharpen|
|Portrait Sharpen||Simplify Man||Texture Booster|
FilmOne click film simulation effects for recreating the look of your favourite film stock. There is a fair amount of duplication between this and the Black and White and Darkroom effects, even if there are subtly different.
GlowFor quickly adding a glow effect to portraits.
|Original Image||Angel||Dark||Deep Forest||Dreamland|
|Glow Baby||Grunge||Hollywood||Rich Glow||Vibrant|
|Warm Highlights||White Soft||White Soft No Darks|
LandscapeOne click effects for improving the colour or contrast in landscape pictures. Special effects for simulating certain weather conditions are also included.
Movie LooksWhether it be a Batman style film poster, or a straightforward grunge look, this selection of effects provide the look in one click.
Photo FiltersYou'd be forgiven for thinking that is enough filter effects for one piece of software, but there are still many more. These aim to reproduce the look of traditional photo filters. The graduated filters may be amongst the most useful here.
PortraitA range of effects for improving your portraits, which should compliment the Perfect portrait module.
|Original Image||Anime||Anime Bold||Colour Boost||Portrait Popper|
|Radient People||Soft Wash||Tootsie Glow||Tootsie Pop|
TexturesYou'll never be short of textures again, as Perfect Photo suite includes over 60 of them.
VignettesDarkened corners, lightened corners, with, or without frames. As with other effects, these can be applied in one click and adjusted afterwards.
|Original Image||Big Softy||Big Softy Blur||Centre Spot||Centre Spot Normal|
|Edges To Black||Edges To White||Grunge Vignette||Grunge Vignette Light||Soft Edges|
VintageThese effects, which replicate to look of old photography techniques, should be popular with those who like the look produced by Instagram, and other mobile phone apps.
That wraps up the effects on offer. As you can see, there are plenty of options to choose from. However some of the effects are duplicated in other areas of the software, which can cause confusion if you're looking to recreate a certain look again.
Focal PointAlso included within Perfect Photo Suite 6 is a tool for creating a selective focus effect. This tool opens in a new window and a 'focus bug' provides control of the effect by changing the angle and length of the legs and body of the bug.
Although the effect will never be a replacement for shooting your subject with a wide aperture lens, if used with care, the effect can be useful for blurring distracting bcakground details, focusing your attention on the main subject.
|Although the effect will never replace wide aperture lenses, it can be used to effectively blur details in the foreground and background.||The effect of a toy lens of Lensbaby is also quite easy to reproduce using Focalpoint.|
Overall, this tool is quite easy to get to grips with, and the effect produced can be quite convincing.
Photo FrameAlthough many of the framing effects found in this module are duplicated elsewhere in the software, this module provides more control over the size and position of the frame, as well as providing many more options to choose from.
Frames styles are banded into groups depending on what effect they're recreating. Even so, quite a lot of examples from one group can look very similar to another from another group, so there is more repetition here.
|The framing module opens in a new window to apply the effect and is pretty easy to use.|
Below is an example taken from each group of effects.
There are many more effects in each group, which results in lots and lots of repetition. Still many of the effects range from quite classy and effective, right through to tacky and gawdy, so there should be something for everyone here.
ResizeThose of us who've been around digital photography for some time will remember the old Genuine Fractals program, that promised to allow images to be printed at pretty much any size, without loss of sharpness or detail. The latest version of this is incorporated into Perfect Photo Suite 6.
It is quite easy to use. You specify the size and output medium and let the software do the rest. For example, if you wanted to produce an A2 print, simply select A2 as the size from the drop down menu and the correct printing output from the resolution. Saving the image will resize it to the correct dimensions, ready for sending for print. The software is equally at home reducing the size of images too, say for uploading to ePHOTOzine.
Value for moneyA lot of features have certainly been packed into this release of Perfect Photo Suite, combining onOne software's most popular products. It retails for around £190 for the full version or £95 for an upgrade from a previous version, which seems quite reasonable for what you get as it can be used as a standalone package, or as an enhancement for Photoshop, or similar editing programs. The value of this product certainly looks good when you consider that buying all the constituent parts of this package would cost around £385. This is also true if you could only see yourself using two or more of the packages contained within this software.
VerdictThose looking for either a simple to use standalone editor, or a package to enhance what their current software offers should definitely find perfect Photo Suite delivers for a good value price.
The sheer range of effects and options presented can be mind-boggling, especially as there is a fair amount of duplication within the software. Given time to familiarise yourself with your favourite settings, this package becomes very easy to use, producing excellent results in a couple of clicks.
|The onOne Software Perfect Photo Suite 6.1 is easy to use and has plenty of effects and features to choose from.|
ProsPlenty of effects and features to choose from
Easy to get to grips with
Can be used standalone, or integrated into other software's
Most effects applied in a couple of clicks
ConsMay run sluggishly on older/slower computers, even if they meet the minimum requirements
Lots of repetition within the package
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
The Perfect Photo Suite 6.1 is available from the OnOne Software website for $299.95.
|Mac OS X||Microsoft Windows|
|Operating System||OS X 10.6 or 10.7||Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7|
|Processor||Intel Core 2 Duo, Xeon or better processor(s)||Intel Core 2 Duo, Xeon or better processor(s)|
|Memory||4 GB RAM (8 GB or higher recommended)||4 GB RAM (8 GB or higher recommended)|
|Free Disk Space||4Gb||4Gb|
|Display||OpenGL 2.0 compatible video card with 256 MB dedicated video RAM, 1280x800 resolution||OpenGL 2.0 compatible video card with 256 MB dedicated video RAM, 1280x800 resolution|
|Optional Application Integration||Photoshop CS4, CS5, CS6
Photoshop Elements 9 or 10
Photoshop Lightroom 2, 3, or 4
Apple Aperture 2.1 or 3
|Photoshop CS4, CS5, CS6
Photoshop Elements 9 or 10
Photoshop Lightroom 2, 3, or 4
|Other||Internet connection for activation, auto update checking, content downloads and tutorials.||Internet connection for activation, auto update checking, content downloads and tutorials.
Adobe Flash Player 10
Microsoft .NET Framework 2 or higher