Historically, photo software could be divided into three basic types: organizers, editors and special-effects filters. Over the years, the lines have blurred, with each type adding functions from the other two. onOne Software’s Perfect Photo Suite 8 is an example of all three types coming together in one package. Eight apps, organized into Modules, form a single workflow that many photographers will find offers every necessary tool for their typical photo enhancements. Among many new features in version 8 are 13 new adjustable filters, Perfect Eraser to quickly remove unwanted objects from an image and customizable presets for effects.
This software is available in three editions. The Standard Edition works as a standalone app, the Lightroom & Aperture Edition integrates with those applications, and the Premium Edition also offers integration with Photoshop. List Price: $79 (Standard); $129 (Lightroom & Aperture); $179 (Premium). Contact: onOne Software, www.ononesoftware.com.
Here’s where you select the task at hand. Choosing a Module displays tools specific to that activity so you can focus on just those adjustments. It’s a somewhat guided approach as opposed to Photoshop, where you’re left to search among menus for the tool you need.
In every Module except for Browser, this area displays controls to fine-tune preset effects, or create your own. This is where most of your adjustments will be made. There’s also an information panel at the top for image navigation and zoom, fine detail inspection with a loupe, and histogram and metadata info.
In the Browser Module, you’ll find all of your available files. In the Layers Module, this area also serves as a file browser, handy if you’re compositing multiple images. In all other Modules, this area displays preset effects, with the exception of the Mask Module, which omits the left sidebar entirely in favor of expanded workspace for a larger view of your image.
BROWSER: The Browser Module is where you get access to your files, with tools to search and sort. It also displays basic metadata for a selected file. Browser also integrates with cloud storage services like Dropbox, Google Drive and iCloud Photo Stream for direct access to those files—very handy if you use those services.
LAYERS: This Module lets you work with multiple layers, either copies of the same photo or for compositing multiple images. The Layers workspace has tools to crop, mask and retouch, along with layer blending controls.
ENHANCE: In the Enhance workspace (shown here), you have access to a variety of preset effects in the left sidebar, and controls to refine those effects or create your own. This Module is where you’ll probably spend most of your time.
PORTRAIT: Open a portrait in the Portrait Module, and it automatically detects faces in the scene, and specific facial features to enhance (you can manually add faces it doesn’t detect). Tools are available to retouch skin, whiten eyes and teeth, and correct color tones.
EFFECTS: Here, you’ll find lots of additional effects you can apply to a photo: vignettes, borders and more wild visual effects to achieve a particular aesthetic. Each effect is applied on its own layer so you have blending controls to fine-tune the results.
B&W: This Module makes conversion to black-and-white as easy or as detailed as you’d like. You can apply numerous presets, or use slider controls to control every aspect of the conversion. There are also brushes that let you paint contrast, brightness and other refinements to select areas of your photo.
MASK: Use the Mask Module when you want to knock out a subject from its background. Paint over objects you want to remove (the sky, for example), and Mask analyzes the color data and removes just that area. Another brush lets you refine the edge. Mask does all of the heavy-lifting.
RESIZE: Need a larger file for printing? Use Resize to enlarge older, lower-resolution digital photos, or blow up a favorite image for poster-sized printing. You can control grain and sharpness, and even create a "gallery wrap" with borders for printing to a wrapped canvas.