A short while ago, onOne software announced the pre-sale of Perfect Photo Suite 7. They recently announced that Perfect Photo Suite 7 would ship on October 31st.
Today they sent me a beta version for evaluation. Installation was straight forward. I’m a PC so I just downloaded the file, closed out Lightroom, Photoshop CS6 and Bridge and clicked on the install executable. After a few minutes it was installed and ready for use as a stand-alone editor, and a plugin for Lightroom 4.2 and Photoshop CS6.
In true suck-it-and-see style, rather than watch or read any training material, I grabbed the images I was going to post tomorrow and ran them through one of my common workflow approaches. In this case I took three images with a 4EV range in Lightroom, dusted and cropped them (should be crop dusted?) and brought them into Photomatix 4.0.2 to generate an HDR. I then took the result of that into Photoshop CS6 to blend the components some more to something I like.
At this point in my workflow I’ll dive off into one of the onOne suite of products, a Nik software product or a Topaz plugin. Plugin’s make creative adjustments so much faster and easier to accomplish. Today I decided to go to the beta copy of onOne Perfect Photo Suite 7 and selected Perfect Effects 4.
I immediately liked the new layout of the panels and the dark grey background to the panels.
The panel layout has similarities to CS6 but also Nik and Topaz. On the left hand side there’s a panel of effects for want of a better phrase. When you click on an effect name, the panel expands and you can see your image with the filters applied. just click one to apply it to your image. The image is in the large desktop in the center of the screen. Various tools are located at the corners, including the bugs, brushes, compare and size buttons. All familiar from previous versions. On the right hand side is a panel that includes the navigator to help you move around an image that you’ve zoomed for more control, a layers panel that allows you to combine multiple filters, change the opacity, etc, and a panel that gives you ultimate control over the effect you’ve selected through sliders and a curves panel.
I found this very easy to navigate and find the user interface to be an improvement over the layout of Perfect Photo Suite 6. I also think the added controls enhance your creative options. I also prefer the effects panel on the left rather than running across the screen at the bottom.
I often convert my images to black and white so I was eager to try the new Perfect B&W 1 which is part of Perfect Photo Suite 7 and so, was included in the beta evaluation copy. I started out in the black and white world as black and white film was so much cheaper and easier to develop than color prints or slides.
Starting from where I left off with my color image, I launched Perfect B&W1 and the screen came up with the same three-panel layout of Perfect Effects 4. On the left is a range of different black and white conversions grouped into similar themes. These are your starting point. The right hand panel contains the navigator, color filter and finishing tools.
Again, the tools are self explanatory with buttons or sliders to adjust the effect. One of the nice touches I though was the ability to control the color of the ‘paper’ through a range from brilliant white to pale straws that mimic aged paper. Since the quality of the white in a black and white print is determined by the ‘whiteness’ of the paper you are printing on I like being able to adjust this. A similar slider allow you to vary the silver tone of the image.
I barely scratched the surface of Perfect Photo Suite 7, only opening up two of the seven tools in the suite, but my first impressions are highly favorable. If you’ve used any of the recent onOne tools or the Nik or Topaz tools then you’ll immediately be at home with Perfect Photos Suite 7. That said, I’m certainly going to watch a few of the onOne Coffee Talk sessions and onOne University sessions to get the most out of this tool set. These learning tools will introduce you to the features and functions far faster than my suck-it-and-see approach.
I think the guys at onOne have done an excellent job with this upgrade. That the suite also installs stand alone is a huge benefit to those on a tighter budget. You can have tremendous creative freedom just using the suite on it’s own, particularly if you just do photography. Given Adobe’s move the the Creative Cloud subscription offering that many photographers, particularly hobbyists, see as putting Photoshop CS6 outside of their budget, using Lightroom, or Photoshop Elements in conjunction with Perfect Photo Suite 7 gives you tremendous creative possibilities.