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onOne Software' Plug-in Suite 3Award winning Plug-in Suite 3 for Photoshop saves photographers hundreds of dollars
Late last year onOne Software bundled several of its most popular and useful software titles into one sweet package that saves almost $400 over buying them separately. Comprising of its top rated Genuine Fractals 5, Mask Pro 4.1, PhotoFrame 3.1, and Intellihance Pro 4.2 the suite offers photographers time-saving tools and quality output for Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.
Genuine Fractals 5
Higher Math 101 - A fractal is (usually) a complex object that if you magnify retains its original characteristics. If you took a leaf with its veined structure, zoomed into it, you would see smaller and smaller versions of a similar veining. Back in 1991 Michael Barnsley patented a unique fractal-based resizing algorithm that over the years evolved into the original Genuine Fractals resizing program.
New in version 5 are improved scaling, support for the new multi-core processors (which makes the program 1.3x faster over the previous PC version, on Mac OS X the performance gain is up to 7x ). Also new is Layer support for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. Even better, it supports Smart Objects, non-rasterized text layers, Adjustment Layers, Paths and Alpha Channels, Actions, LAB AND 16-bit images. (However it does not support 32 bit images. Yes, there are a few rare people out there who do use 32-bit images)
Users can now fine tune final output by using the Texture, Sharpening and Film Grain controls. For ease of use there are presets for popular print sizes. Resizing should be one of the last steps in your workflow (Sharpening is another).
The Genuine Fractals control panel follows the new dark on dark theme popularized in Lightroom, Bridge 4, Capture One V4, and Dxo software. OnOne would do well to update the other plug-ins in this suite to match. As it is every plug-in has its own unique design and layout which slows down the learning curve.
In Use: A really nice touch is onOne's use of built-in tutorials and videos. After viewing the Basic and Advanced videos I was ready to go much faster than if I had to wade through some thick manual. As mentioned the interface is similar to Adobe's Lightroom with collapsing pallets on the right side of the screen. They've made it super simple to use and I found the results to be better than the Bicubic Smoother stair-stepping method I've been using for years, especially in the crisp edge detail retained and fewer signs of stepping in diagonal lines.
First the basic facts. PhotoFrame 3.1 comes with over 4000 professionally-designed edge effects, support for RGB and Monochrome frames, an easy to use frame browser, frame preview window, Layer Mask Mode and even a frame randomizer for when you can't make up your mind. The plug-in's panel is laid out somewhat like I have Photoshop setup, with panels on the right and left sides and your image in the center of the screen. You can view edge effects by Group or All at once. A nice touch is that you can highlight several different frames and view the results all at once in a separate window. I find that a big time saver.
You also have your pick of Textures, Layer Blending Modes, and Blending Options like Glow, Edge, Bevel and Shadow as well as saving your settings as a Preset.
In Use: PhotoFrame 3.1 has built-in tutorials and videos that will help get you up to speed faster than you could read through the table of contents in a manual. The layout is actually very simple to use but offers thousands of combinations of frames and effects so you should never get bored with the results.
TIP: I found I had more flexibility in using the frames if I first resized my Canvas in Photoshop to 125% of original size. This gave me plenty of room for adding a border/frame without cutting into my image.
I quickly chose a 35mm strip of film effect, adjusted the size to perfectly fit my image by using the handles surrounding the frame. Clicked Apply to a New Layer, and I was done! I also could have just applied the effect to the original image. (not a good idea in general but a time saving touch if you have to do some fast and dirty retouching.)
Intellihance Pro 4.2
One of the most powerful packages in this suite of tools and also one of the easiest to master. It quickly lets you pick a preset adjustment to your image and fine tune it to your desire. There's not much more to say. All the hard work is done behind the scene by the computer and software.
Intellihance Pro 4.2 is the only plug-in in this suite that does not work with 16 bit images.
In Use: I found it to give better results if the image you are working on is in the sRGB colorspace. [See example] One of the best features of this plug-in is to use the Layout command to paste up multiple versions of your image using the various presets provided in the program. You can have from a side-by-side (2x1) comparison to a 25 layout (5x5). I found the 3x3 and 4x4 most useful. Much like using the Ring-a-around test prints from back in my darkroom days. I found I could quickly pick among the various version the one that was closest to what I envisioned, then use the controls on the panel to the right of the screen to further refine my image. There is a Fine Tune mode available but I found I could do just fine without it.
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