The onOne Software Plug-In Suite 4 for Photoshop CS2 and CS3 is the latest upgrade to the award-winning Plug-In Suite product line that merges several of onOne's individual Photoshop plug-ins into one package. Suite 4 combines full versions of six essential software tools: Genuine Fractals 5 Print Pro, PhotoTools 1.0 Professional Edition, PhotoFrame 3.1 Professional Edition, Mask Pro 4.1, PhotoTune 2.2, and FocalPoint 1.0.
• PhotoFrame 3.1 Professional Edition can be used to create border and edge effects right out of the darkroom. Users can select from thousands of edges, including authentic film and artistic mediums.
• FocalPoint 1.0 is a new plug-in that simulates selective focus or tilt-shift lenses, helping photographers selectively blur and/or vignette an image to focus the viewer's attention.
• Genuine Fractals 5 Print Pro can resize digital images more than 1,000 percent, with no loss of detail or sharpness, according to the company. It allows poster-sized prints to be made from almost any image.
• Mask Pro 4.1 can create high-quality masks and selections, even from such subjects as hair and glass, making it easy to place a subject in a new background.
• PhotoTools 1.0 Professional Edition is a flexible yet powerful Photoshop plug-in that utilizes the power of Photoshop Actions to provide a complete library of effects created by KEVIN KUBOTA and JACK DAVIS. These effects may be previewed, stacked, and blended together just like filters over a camera lens to improve creativity. Its built-in batch-processing engine improves photographers' productivity.
• PhotoTune 2.2 is a plug-in that provides professional-quality color correction in an easy-to-use format.
Put to the Test
Some of the top photographers in the world are already using Suite 4, so Studio Photography asked a few of them to share their opinions on specific tools they utilize regularly. Read on...
PhotoFrame 3.1 Professional Edition
|© Jim Divitale|
|© Jim Divitale|
PhotoFrame is the only edge program that has a nondigital feel to the images, according to JIM DIVITALE of DiVitale Photography in Atlanta, GA. He feels it has a more natural media and lends a "painterly" feel to the images. "In the last 15 years of digital photography, I have tried every program that creates edges, and this is the only one that gives me the look and feel that I like," says DiVitale.
DiVitale is using PhotoFrame on his fine-art images, including both large prints on watercolor paper and portfolio images on his website. "I create a style of photography that is a cross of impressionistic painting and photography together," says DiVitale. "It sparks the question from the viewer of whether it is a painting or a photograph. PhotoFrame is great for giving the image that finishing touch."
DiVitale also prefers PhotoFrame because of the easy user interface, which creates the variations he likes to work with. "I combine several frames together with different opacities, blurs, and blend modes to make each image a one-of-a-kind, unique work of art," he says.
DiVitale raves about the other tools in Suite 4. "I am especially fond of Mask Pro for extracting images from their background, PhotoTools for the special effects, Genuine Fractals for enlarging images for printing, and FocalPoint for doing controlled selective focus after the image has already been taken."
|© Andy Marcus|
|© Andy Marcus|
"I love this filter!" exclaims ANDY MARCUS of Fred Marcus Photography in New York City. "It's easy to use and adds so much more impact to the photographs. FocalPoint has increased my sales tremendously in the short time I've used it."
Marcus shoots everything in RAW and then converts to JPEG using Photoshop CS3. He then selects several images that he loves and runs FocalPoint 1.0 before saving them. "When my clients see the difference [between FocalPoint and non–FocalPoint images], they always select the image I changed with FocalPoint!"
Marcus says he also enjoys how the filter allows the user to adjust the focus, so to speak, and then add a vignette to the image for added impact. "It's just so easy and fast to use," he says, adding, "and the little effort that I put into changing the image yields big results in terms of larger orders."
Anyone who knows the work of Marcus knows that he doesn't like to jazz up photographs with lots of special effects. He prefers clean, simple images that have impact and tell the story of the day. "Using FocalPoint allows me to add snap to the image without changing it drastically," he says. "Our work stands out without getting hokey or overdone in Photoshop. More is not always better. I use FocalPoint in our studio portraits, as well as in our wedding work."
Aside from FocalPoint 1.0, Marcus uses several Suite 4 tools. "onOne Software has some amazing products," he says. "We use Genuine Fractals and PhotoFrame Pro on a regular basis, and the PhotoTools product suite is great for those clients who are looking for something a little different."
Genuine Fractals 5 Print Pro
|© David Julian|
|© David Julian|
While Seattle, WA–based photographer DAVID JULIAN uses Genuine Fractals 5 Print Pro to enlarge images headed for specific uses with a maximum of quality and control, he says its important to remember that his work isn't created using Genuine Fractals. "I create my work in my mind, in my camera, on paper, and in Photoshop," says Julian. "Genuine Fractals is not truly a creative tool; it is a production tool by nature of its design and function." He also notes that it is a production tool that does not leave its visual mark the way a visual plug-in would.
Julian determines the enlargement requirements and uses the Photoshop plug-in on individual files or sometimes as a batch action. "[Genuine Fractals] works better than other enlargement methods for tonal images (photos and illustrations), it is fast, and it has an intuitive and easy-to-learn interface for my assistants to master," he says. "It also features good image quality controls, but it needs a before/after comparison pane."
Julian also uses Mask Pro and FocalPoint. "I demo those and others in some of my workshops and lectures," he says.
Mask Pro 4.1
|© Andy Kruczek|
|© Andy Kruczek|
Like many photographers, Birmingham, UK–based ANDY KRUCZEK is constantly trying to find new and interesting methods of producing images. From cross-processing to mixing his own developers and toners, this experimentation has always been a key component of his photography. In the digital age, it's taken on an even more important role in his workflow. "Mask Pro provides me with a versatile and adaptable tool that expands my photographic vocabulary and lets me quickly and easily construct work that previously would have necessitated expensive sets, scenic backgrounds, or location shoots," he says.
Kruczek does a lot of work in the hair and beauty industries, and he uses Mask Pro for simple background replacement ("I'm heartily sick of white backgrounds," he says) or, more subtly, for combining elements within a shot, such as moving or replacing sections of hair. "My style is changing and evolving largely as a result of discovering Mask Pro," says Kruczek. "My work is becoming more multi-layered, and the projects I'm working on are reflecting this, moving toward a more narrative structure rather than simple illustration."
Kruczek relates that one of the earliest proponents of the montages that Mask Pro allows him to create (and one of his earliest influences), OSCAR REJLANDER, produced his celebrated work, "The Two Ways of Life," in 1857 from 32 separate images. "It took him six weeks," laughs Kruczek, "He would have loved Mask Pro!"
Kruczek did a lot of research before opting for Mask Pro. "Accuracy and speed were important factors, but what swung it for me ultimately was the ease of use," he says. "I received a 10-minute introduction to the program, and I was up and running."
Kruczek says Mask Pro is a joy to use. "I was genuinely surprised and delighted by the results I got from even my earliest attempts," he says. In addition to face-to-face support from onOne, Kruczek says there are online tutorials and webinars that explain the more advanced features or reinforce the basics.
Kruczek has also been using Genuine Fractals for a few years, and he's very excited by FocalPoint. "I've only played with it so far," he says, "but I look forward to combining it with a real job in the near future."
PhotoTune 2.2 and PhotoTools 1.0
There are many reasons to like PhotoTune and PhotoTools, according to FALCON, senior partner and founder of www.nyghtfalcon.com. "Ease of use, the ability to integrate them into our workflow, how they extend our artistic voice, and how they are just highly effective," he says. "We especially like the ability to correct skin color in PhotoTune; in PhotoTools the ability to ‘stack' effects is quite useful."
Falcon uses PhotoTune for quick color correction in order to avoid reprocessing a single, RAW image from a large batch. PhotoTools' color and contrast enhancement is at the top of the list for Falcon, followed by highly specialized sepia and monochrome effects that are key elements of his fine-art print business. "Both tools are highly effective, and we have developed presets that we use throughout the firm to maintain a consistent look and feel," he says.
Falcon says his firm is also very high on Genuine Fractals. "It's a staple for us," he confirms. "We do all our resizing with it (we print 16-bit, 600 dpi)."
When asked how Suite 4 compares with other software he has tried, Falcon sums it up by saying, "Three things come to mind: speed, flexibility, and targeted tools that are suited for application to large numbers of similar images." Who could ask for anything more?