PhotoTune 3 is a Photoshop plug-in that uses a six step process to correct the color in your digital photos. PhotoTune presents you with two images, side by side as shown below, and all you have to do is to choose which one looks the best. You then move on to the next step and select that one that looks best and move on again. You do this until you complete all six steps.
By using this six step process, it makes it very easy for anyone to use PhotoTune and the results are that you come out with better looking images without having to know a whole lot about Camera Raw and curves manipulation. In some ways it works kind of like an eye exam in where you are look through some lenses and make adjustments until one of them looks good to you. You work through tone, brightness, and color temperature until it looks right to you.
With PhotoTune you really get two products. First is ColorTune which fixes images in the six steps. The second product is SkinTune which focuses on skin tones. SkinTune works in a similar way except that when you open your image, you are asked to select a skin tone and a racial type, Caucasian, Asian, African, etc. Then you are presented with a screen that you can fine tune your color.
What is needed to run PhotoTune?
• Windows (XP or greater), or Mac (OS X 10.5, 10.6)
• Pentium 4 or equivalent (Windows), PowerPC G5 or Intel processor (Mac)
• 2 GB RAM
• OpenGL 2.0 capable video card with 128MB VRAM running at 1024×768 or higher. (1280×1024 or higher recommended).
• Required host of Adobe Photoshop CS2, CS3, or CS4; Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 or 8
• Optional host application of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 or Apple Aperture 2.1
• 100 MB free hard-disk space.
So what is new with PhotoTune 3.0?
• Automatic Correction has now added a new state-of-the-art correction algorithm called eye-fidelity. This was originally developed by imsense and now, with a single click, it will correct the brightness, contrast, color, and dynamic range of any photo. This feature actually remaps tones to increase the dynamic range and will give it a much more true to life look.
• Pro Controls add a new, more professional interface giving you much more control over your adjustments. It removes the more complex concepts of levels and curves, and gives you simpler ways to make advanced adjustment. No longer do you need to understand complex histograms and curves to create great images.
• Lightroom/Aperture integration is now included with PhotoTune. Like the other onOne products, you can access PhotoTune and its capabilities directly inside the workflow applications you use every day. One thing to note is that Lightroom integration does require a full version of Photoshop.
• Recently used presets are now able to be saved which means that you can store them so that they can be used on similar images. This is available in Photoshop, Lightroom, and Aperture.
• onOne Panel allows you to save presets, which store all of the color and tone corrections, so they can be applied to other similar images. This can be accomplished inside of Photoshop directly, or inside of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom or Apple Aperture
• Improved Wizard simplifies the correction of your image without the need to understand complicated color and tone controls. This has been enhanced to combine the new auto-correction algorithm, SkinTune color correction and sharpening. This makes the wizard the fastest and easiest way to optimize your images no matter what your experience level.
• Intuitive Black and White Conversions can create great looking black and white images from your color photos with PhotoTune as well. By flipping the black and white switch and you are working old school. Use the color controls to change the tone, just like using filters over your camera lens.
• Skin color control uses the SkinTune controls, which automatically color-correct portraits in a single click, have been improved to give the option to only correct the subjects skin, rather than the entire image. This makes it more useful when working with models where the rest of the scene is color correct, but the subject’s skin may need a correction.
• Smart Filter is now available in Photoshop CS3 and CS4 allowing you to make non-destructive, re-editable adjustments on Smart Objects. When used in conjunction with the new Lightroom integration this creates a seamless, non-destructive workflow experience for your raw images.
I found that PhotoTune 3 is very easy to install and use. It gave surprisingly good results. The available resources via the help and the video tutorials make this easy to learn as well. I also liked the fact that you could fine tune each stet to take more control over your image correction.
To work with PhotoTune, you have to have an image open. Once that is done and you launch PhotoTune you are offered to open either in wizard mode with either a people, or no people mode, or in pro mode without a wizard where you do all the adjustments by hand. It is all really very easy to work with.
If you choose one of the wizards, then it all straight forward and you are stepped through your options where you have the opportunity to enhance your work. The pro mode lets you bypass the wizard and work directly in the interface. Even if you start in the wizard, there is a "Go Pro" button that will let you switch.
I found that PhotoTune 3 works really well and gives quality results. It works with Layers, Actions, and Smart Objects. In my opinion you still have to do some tweaking to the image, but I like the fact that they give you that control as well. If you find yourself working lot with correcting image color and tones, then PhotoTune 3 should be a necessary part of your tool box. I highly recommend this product.