PhotoTools has been developed to give your images the professional look, suggesting that the plug in is aimed primarily at non-professionals. This leads me to two conclusions. Either OnOne are suggesting that the program is aimed at professionals, but is easy enough for other people to use, or it's a cunning marketing ploy to make enthusiasts feel like professionals.
OnOne PhotoTools Professional System requirements
Mac OS X
- Mac OS X 10.4.8 or higher
- Universal Binary - Supports PowerPC & Intel Processors
- Windows XP SP2, Vista or higher
- Microsoft .NET 2.0 Framework or higher
- Photoshop CS2 (9.0.2) or CS3
- 512Mb RAM (1Gb recommended)
- OpenGL capable video card with 128Mb VRAM (256 recommended) at 1024x768 or higher
- 50 Mb disk space
- Adobe Flash Player 9
- Internet Connection for auto-updates
OnOne PhotoTools Professional Installation
I didn't get off to a good start, which is a surprise for me using OnOne products. I installed the CD onto my computer which was fast enough. I then rebooted Photoshop CS2 to show the software in the plug-in folder. Confusingly, PhotoTools was blanked out, even with an image open ready to edit.
I closed Photoshop and rebooted the computer only to attain the same result.
It took a while of searching through OnOne's website to discover that for PhotoTools to work correctly, Microsoft's .NET version 2 must be downloaded.
After downloading this from the Microsoft website, PhotoTools opened straight away.
OnOne PhotoTools Professional In use
Launching the program opens a thin window with two versions of your image loaded in. Before and After head each image showing the original and the edited version. I used an image I had converted from RAW and had not adjusted at all.
Looking to the right of the screen is the editing library and is where you will access all the different tools available to you.
Noticeably, most filters and tools have the prefix of either Davis or Kubota. This is due to the input received by OnOne from Jack Davis, 2003 Photoshop Hall of Fame winner, and Kevin Kubota, top portrait and wedding photographer.
Other options and buttons available on the screen are a Preview button which will make the changes as you input them, an Image orientation tool which will switch between Before and After shots through five different ways of viewing and a Description tool which will bring up a small box giving a brief outline of what your choice of filter will do. Also, a Grab tool is available with Zoom situated next to it.
Options are available for Landscape, Portraits, Colour and Black & White, Photo filters, Camera tricks, Film and Darkroom amongst others, but the effects found in those categories don't have to just be used in those style of pictures. For the Greyhound image, I used effects from all over the library.
Any effects you apply to your image are added to the stack which can be found above the filters. It's similar in design to the Layers or History palettes in Photoshop.
Once finished, the effects can be applied to the image. This is done as a separate layer in Photoshop, so it can be removed if need be.
Throughout my experience with PhotoTools, I sporadically got error messages flagging up. The problem this led to was having to close the application and relaunch which meant losing the previous edited image.
The original image shot on RAW on an overcast day. High ISO was used adding noise.
The same image after conversion. Polariser, ND, Glow, Contrast and Lighten were added to the shot.
The original portrait shot with a little desaturation in Photoshop.
Lighten and Darken, Sharpen and Soft wash filters were used from the portrait library. Cool & Warm was also used.
OnOne PhotoTools Professional Verdict
This amount of filters in one place is a great idea. It's great to see old processing effects such as C-41 to E6 and Gum Bichromate as well as proper photographic filters such as Polariser and grads.
If Photoshop is just too much for you to control, you will more than likely find this plug in easier to use. For those of you competent in Photoshop, you may still enjoy using the filters anyway.
OnOne PhotoTools Professional Plus points
Loads of filters
Quick to install
Easy to use
OnOne PhotoTools Professional Minus points
Need to have .NET version 2, which isn't explained
Kept getting error reports
OnOne PhotoTools professional edition costs around £157 and is available from the ePHOTOzine shop here.