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'Perfect Photo Suite 9' enhances all other photo editing products and makes them better.

Software Review: Perfect Photo Suite 9 from onOne Software

Perfect Photo Suite 9 is the latest release of products from onOne Software. While it still integrates with Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop Elements, and Apple Aperture, it is also a complete standalone photo editor. It contains everything you need to handle even fairly complex photographic post processing tasks.

Perfect Photo Suite 9
Perfect Photo Suite 9

There are seven areas in Perfect Photo Suite. There is a Browse module that gives you the ability to locate the files that you want to work on, Perfect Enhance that will provide you with the capability to enhance your images. Perfect Effects can be used for stylizing your images. Perfect B&W is for converting your images to black and white. Perfect Portrait is for all of your portrait retouching. Perfect Layers is for combining and blending images without Photoshop. The Perfect Mask tools have now been moved into the Perfect Layers module for better efficiency. Perfect Resize is used for increasing or changing your image size without loss or detail.

Perfect Photo Suite comes in a Basic Edition which is a complete standalone photo editing solution or a Premium Edition which also integrates with Adobe, Lightroom, Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, and Apple Aperture. For more information about pricing and what the differences are between these editions, check out the comparison page at onOne’s website.

Perfect Photo Suite 9
Perfect Browser 9

Browser Module

The Browser is built much in the same way as you would have in a host application although there no true cataloging capability you now do have the ability to rate and label your images. When you open up the Browser you have a main preview window in the middle where you can see your images in thumbnail form where you can control the number and size of the images you are previewing. On the right you have an info pane with information on your image, metadata, and photo history. On the left you have a favorite’s location along with a sources pane with a list of common locations, folders pane with a tree view of the current source, and a filters pane that you can use to filter your images based on criteria such as star rating or flagging.

On the bottom of the browse window is a slider that adjusts the thumbnail size in the preview window. At the top of the browser is the module selector where you can choose which module that you want to use next on your image. When you are ready to work you just use the sources, folders, or recent pane to select the image that you want to work with.

New to this version of the browser is the full capability to read and write metadata from EXIF, TIFF, IPTC, and XMP. Also new is the ability to rate your photos, add keywords and labels and have all of the data intact when you import into Lightroom. The Browse module has been improved to generate even faster photo previews which will save you time and effort when you want to process your images quickly.

Perfect Photo Suite 9
Perfect Enhance 9

Perfect Enhance

Chances are, the first thing you will want to do is to go into the Perfect Enhance module. It provides essential tools for basic enhancements. Here, you can use it to fine-tune your brightness, contrast, white balance, vibrance, detail, and add a vignette. There are also Retouching Brushes for content-aware fill, healing, and cloning.

On the left side of the screen, you have a list of presets for doing quick corrections. The center contains the main view as well a Tool Well that contains several tools for cropping, an erase tool for removing unwanted objects, a hand tool for positioning the image, a zoom tool for magnifying the image, a retouch brush, and a red-eye tool to remove red-eye.

On the right side of the screen, you have a Preview panel where you can navigate, Loupe, view a histogram, or view the image info. Below that is the Quick Fixes panel, where you can do some automatic adjustments to brightness, contrast, vibrance, detail, temperature, and vignetting. Finally, there are a Color and Tone Adjustment panels, a Vignette Panel, and a Sharpening panel, where you can make additional or more advanced adjustments to your image.

New to version 9 you have Smart Photos. What this means is that when you edit a photograph, the changes are saved with the image, so when you go back at a later time you can make subtle or not so subtle changes without having to redo everything. Also new, is the ability to reduce noise in your image both on a global basis as well as selectively to just portions of your photo. There is also a new Crop and Level Tool that gives you the ability to crop to a specific ratio or to crop freeform. The Level tool lets you easily straighten your image.

Perfect Photo Suite 9
Perfect Effects 9

Perfect Effects

The Perfect Effects module gives you the ability to add the wow factor to your photo. You have at your disposal a wide range of adjustable filters capable of not only bringing out the best in your photos, but also enhancing and stylizing them in a wide variety of ways.

Using Perfect Effects you can enhance the tonal effect using Dynamic Contrast. What was once called FocalPoint is now included in Perfect Effects, which will allow you to create depth of field, tilt-shift, and selective focus on your images.

There are filters that will let you create a High Dynamic Range (HDR) look to a single image. You can use Vintage effects to create an old time look. There are color enhancement filters to manipulate the vibrancy of colors, cross processing filters to simulate the darkroom technique of mixing chemicals, and photo filters to emulate solid colors, gradients, as well as bi-color filters.

Much in the same way as the other modules, on the left side you have an array of presets. On the right side you have a filter stack. This is really nice, in that you have the ability to add filters upon filters to give you endless possible combinations. Below the filter stack is the filter options panel. Here, you can change each preset exactly to your own liking so the options are limited by your own creative imagination.

New to this version of Perfect Effects is the same Smart Photo capability that available in Perfect Enhance, as well as the new noise reduction feature. There is also a new Quick Mask tool, which determines the image areas you want to keep and creates a mask automatically. There is a new lens flare filter, which gives you that shot into the sun look, as well as new print options that allow you to print your photos directly from Perfect Effects. The Perfect Brush has been updated to work better along soft edges and semi-transparent objects such as hair, clouds, or smoke.

Perfect Photo Suite 9
Perfect B&W

Perfect B&W

Perhaps you want to convert your image to black and white. The Perfect B&W module gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to black and white post processing. You can reproduce vintage styles with grain and implement other traditional film techniques such as dodging and burning.

The left side of the screen presents various panel drop down, which include basic conversion techniques as well as presets that focus on 19th century styles and 20th century styles. On the right side you have the control panels where you can work with image tones and color response.

With the tones you can control the brightness, contrast. You can work with shadows, highlights and details. The color response will let you enhance your image much like you would if you were working with photographic color filters to change the color range within your photo. There is also a Zones view where you can simulate the use of the Zone System through all 11 zones and it updates in real-time as you make your changes.

The Perfect B&W module contains the Smart Photos, new print options, the updated Perfect brush as well as the new noise reduction.

Perfect Photo Suite 9
Perfect Portrait 9

Perfect Portrait

For quick easy portrait enhancing, Perfect Portrait provides you tools to smooth skin, remove blemishes, enhance eyes, whiten teeth, clear up red-eye, fix skin tone coloration, and make each face in your image just the way you want it to look.

When you launch Perfect Portrait it will attempt to recognize the faces in your image. A square placed around each one, and there are options under the face menu that allow you to add, delete, or reset the faces. When you click inside the box you can refine how the eye and mouth controls recognizes each one of these features. Once set, you can begin to work with the presets and options.

On the left, the presets are broken down into children, female, male, and groups. These give you control over differing styles, including: elderly, full body, natural, skin only, etc. They provide a good starting point for your retouching.

On the right, you have modifications panes. Here, you can fine-tune skin retouching by altering what is done to blemishes, shadows, texture, shine, and more. The Color Correction Pane provides control over the amount of correction, warmth, color shift, and ethnicity. It does this based on skin tone instead of white point. The Eyes and Mouth pane takes care of whitening eyes and teeth, as well as removing red-eye, adjusting iris color and lip vibrancy. The Perfect Portrait module contains the Smart Photos and new print options

Perfect Photo Suite 9
Perfect Layers 9

Perfect Layers

Perfect Layers gives you the ability to work with layers in Adobe Lightroom, Apple Aperture, as well as the standalone version of the Perfect Suite. This gives you the ability to create composites, remove unwanted objects, create images with things like backgrounds, boarders, and more.

On the left side of the window you have a browser pane that lets you locate the images you want to use. There is also an Extras tab that contains backgrounds, boarders, and textures that you can use with your images. Also on the left side of the main image pane is a Tool Well that provides several tools such as transform, crop, move, trim, and more.

On the right side of the screen is the Layers pane, allowing you to build up your various image layers and work with them. You can combine layers using Blending Modes, controlling the amount of effect using an opacity slider.

The Perfect Layers module contains the Quick Mask tool, new print options, the updated Perfect brush, and the new Crop and Level tool. The Perfect Mask selection tools have been moved to the Perfect Layers Module.

Perfect Photo Suite 9
Perfect Resize 9

Perfect Resize

Now that you have your image perfected, you can use Perfect Resize to get your image ready for print. Perfect Resize is based on Genuine Fractals technology, and has been used for creating resized images up to and even over 1000% for years in the photographic and printing industries. But Perfect Resize does even more than that.

Along with allowing you to increase the size of your image, Perfect Resize also will help maintain the sharpness and detail of your original image. You can crop and resize images to any print size quickly and easily and it also can help you prepare images for videos, websites, blogs, and email. It is also good for getting larger pictures from ones you take on your mobile phone as well.

On the left side, you have presets with various paper types and sizes. There are also iOS devices, photo lab sizes, and video, web, and email sizes. On the right, is a pane for adjusting the pixel dimensions of the image. Below that, is the document size. Here, you can use one of the presets, or custom size your image using height, width, and resolution. There are also panes that let you control sharpening, film grain, and tiling. If you want to create a gallery wrap, there is also a pane for setting your image up for that as well. The Perfect Portrait module contains the new Crop and Level tools as well as the new print options.

I think that Perfect Photo Suite 9 is a very solid photo editing package that can stand on its own in the photographic community. I think it has all the pieces photographers need to edit and produce high-quality work.

All the modules worked correctly and were very easy to use. The Browser made it easy to find anything I needed but since I am used to Lightroom, this would be one area that I would find lacking for cataloging, but the tagging and rating additions make it much more functional.

Perfect Portrait worked really well with the exception that on occasion it would be off in its ability to cleanly locate a face. Again this was not any kind of real problem, as you could always reset and add the area where the face was. Perfect Mask on the other hand worked really well in masking even in some of the more challenging situations. Sometimes you might have to work at it to get it perfect, but without the feature, you would not be able to get it at all.

Perfect Layers is a necessity for those who don’t have Photoshop or Photoshop Elements if you want to do any kind of layering. Perfect Enhance, Perfect B&W, and Perfect Effects really allow you to add that bit of extra to bring out your images. If you print or send your images out to a lab for printing Perfect Resize makes that process a breeze. And while I don’t batch image, if you do, I can see that being really handy.

What I see as really great about Perfect Photo Suite 9 is that it also enhances all other photo editing products and makes them better. So any way you look at Perfect Photo Suite 9 it is a win-win situation! For this reason, I very highly recommend Perfect Photo Suite 9.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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