Perfect Suite 8
The final version of Perfect Suite 8 was realised recently and I’ve been kicking its metaphorical tyres to see what its like.
First up, this application works as a standalone or with Lightroom, Photoshop, Photoshop Elements or Aperture and there are three purchasing options, the Premium Edition works with all of the above and as a standalone, the Lightroom and Aperture version works with those two applications, Elements and as a standalone and the Standard version is a standalone only. Currently prices for the Premium edition are discounted to $179.95 (approx. £110 on 9/12/13) for new users and $99.95 (approx. £61 on 9/12/13) for an upgrade. There is a free 30 day trial available too from http://www.ononesoftware.com/products/suite8/
In previous iterations OnOne has offered a collection of separate plugins that could be purchased separately or as a package. With the release of Perfect Suite 6 the company changed its approach by offering a all-in-one toolkit that also operated as a standalone solution; this was significant as the Effects part of the suite was no longer running Photoshop actions to achieve its results.
Step forward a couple of years and we are now onto Perfect Suite 8 which adds a new Browser and Enhance modules that don’t look to dissimilar to Lightroom, Enhance’s tools will be easy to get to grips with if you know your away around Lightroom or ACR. The Browser module although looking like Lightroom operates more like Bridge and is similarly user friendly.
Another new addition is the Perfect Eraser tool which is simple to use (paint over the areas you wish to erase) and works really well, easily comparable with Photoshop’s equivalent content aware tools, if not better.
Also new to the package is the ability to fine tune filters and save them as presets. Customisation options are numerous and vary from filter to filter. This addition to the abilities of the suite is a great, allowing you to create tailored filters to fit you style while still having access to the all of the time saving filters for lightening eyes etc. in one place. When first using the filters you may find that they come in “hot” and the ease of use of the adjustments helps you cool them down without little or no hassle. New filters have been added too with a range of vintage and Instagram inspired filters and a host of other new ones and tweaks to existing filters.
While in the Effects module its worth noting a useful addition to the filter menu is the ability to see the effect of the filters in a group on a photograph by clicking on the “chessboard” and arrow icon to the right of the filter group name.
Users of older versions of the OnOne suite who are worried that they’ve lost Photoframes and FocalPoint will be relieved to know that they haven’t disappeared but are now part of Effects.
Included in the Suite are OnOne’s industry leading Masking and Resizing applications, these can be bought separately but their price is so similar to the complete set it would be a tad daft to buy them on their own. These applications have a proven track record and I am a great fan of Resize’s easy to use controls and excellent results.
Theres more! Layers has been a developing application for the last couple of iterations and it appears to have come on some more in this version and is sold as a way of merging images, changing skies etc. For me its still in its adolescent stages and needs some more work before it really develops into a really useful tool. Its still usable and you can get great results from it but it lacks some adaptability and finesse which I’m sure will be coming in future versions and updates.
And one more, Portrait! Unlike some portrait “enhancing” software available Portrait does a good job of being restrained and subtle, it can be turned up to 11 if thats your kind of thing but its default settings are a good starting point. It doesn’t change the facial geometry of your subject but looks after eyes, teeth, lips and skin. Its facial detection is generally accurate and fine tuning of the eye and mouth locations are easy to achieve. Colour correction is fine-tuned to fit the ethnicity of the subject and there are presets for women, men, children and groups. Although this isn’t a filter I would normally use I factually found it to be well thought out and engineered.
Finally, we have B&W, OnOne’s black & white conversion tool which I’ve been a fan of for a while and it is up amongst the best conversion tools. Forget converting in Photoshop and Lightroom and give this baby a try and you will get stunning results.
Right I think thats it, apart from batch processing which is self explanatory.
And the negatives: processing can be a tad slow and screen refreshes are also a little sluggish ; the occasional crash but this is expected of a very new piece of software and I’m sure there will be a fix out soon; I also have a glitch that means the Close and Open in… option doesn’t work and can freeze the application (just heard from OnOne support that this an issue with images opened from Lightroom and will be fixed soon); I’m also having a problem with a few RA
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