Because I expressed an interest in onOne software, they generously provided me with a licence for their Perfect Effects 8 plug-in. I like plug-in because they can achieve dramatic effects with very little effort but it does take some restraint on the part of the user because these preset filters can push an image over a cliff from which there is no return. I shot this image after a rain storm under a very cloudy sky and in deep shade, being on the north side of the house. Though I was able to get an acceptable rendering with LR5, I thought it needed a little boost. I think the photo could use a little dodging and burning but I didn’t do it here just to show what PE8 can do on its own.
Perfect Effects 8 allows filters to be stacked upon each other and both layer opacity and blending are variable. These functions allow for an almost unlimited number of effects you can achieve when used with the presets. There are a lot of presets to choose from, as well. I’ve only tried a few of the presets and they work well. There are a lot of presets I’m not interested in but there are quite a few that I think are valuable, providing effects that would be difficult to achieve otherwise, especially if you want a more dramatic look to a particular photo. We have a lot of overcast skies in Webster (Where Life is Worth Living) which can give some photos dreary look. Perfect Effects excels at punching up photos without adding noise or halos that I find distracting. If there is a downside to PE8 it’s that it draws a lot of your computers resources and if your’s is like mine (old and in need or replacing) you may find it slow and tedious to use. PE8 works with Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom, Aperture and as a standalone application.
I would recommend PE8 for anyone who is looking for plug-ins to enhance photos easily. I don’t know how much it costs but for a limited time you can purchase the onOne Suite of plug-ins at a discount here. Looks like a good deal if you’re in the market. I’ve always wondered how well the Resize plug-in works. Maybe…
Here is what the unedited version of the Hosta leaves looks like;
The resize works extremely well.
Perhaps I should do a quick review of it sometimes soon.
You should give DxO a try as well, although that is not really an “effects” software. They too have a free trial, BUT . . . yes, I had to upgrade my computer to make it tolerable to work with these tools.
DxO especially can take a long time processing the photos for export depending the adjustments you ask it to do (I usually walk away for an hour). However, I think as far as processing a photo, it is very, very good.
I’ve have been interested in the ReSize plugin more as a curiosity. Although I can make a pretty decent dsize enlargement with the files from the D600, I have some older files that could use the extra push to get to an enlargement size. A couple times a year Bay Photo and MPIX have sales on large prints and it would be handy to have this at the ready.
I missed the DxO Holiday sale in which the Viewpoint was half price. That’s the one I wanted and I let it slip by me.
I think I referenced viewpoint on some of my previous posts, and it does do a pretty good job unless the distortion is very large.
Looks interesting…I know what you mean when you say it can push an image over a cliff where there is no return. I use NIK Software filters in Lightroom and after a couple of hours experimenting I sometimes go back to the original image only to find that it looks better than it did after I put the filters on! The problem (for me anyway) is that there is so much software out there that allows endless manipulation of an image and the difficulty is finding which looks best. But these filters look interesting and they have added a nice impact to your original image.
I have been relying less on the plug-ins, too. I probably could get a similar look with this hosta photo without the plugin using the tools I already have, but not as easily. I have to learn how to use the NIK through Lightroom, too.
NIK is OK and I really like it (I couldn’t get it to load initially and I had to write a script to bypass a channel on my video card)…it is flaky but once it gets going it is fine. But like everything else (in my view anyway) it should be used in moderation…
I have the whole program and love it. Would highly recommend it. If you buy it, they send out freebies each month, textures, backgrounds, plugins, etc…
Thanks, Bad. Another reason to buy the Suite.
A few years ago I bought the full Topaz package which had about six modules (the new package has more and costs more). Some of the modules (Adjust and Simplify) I found interesting and I used them for awhile, but soon I was back to just using LR. These plug-ins can do amazing things, but in the end, a good photo rarely need this kind of trickery IMO. That is not to say they are not good tools and we all have different tastes.
I have some of the Topaz plugins, too, and they work very well and you get free upgrades for life. I started using them before I lot LR and I still value them, but I don’t use them as much these days.
I own Perfect Photo Suite 7, and I too was given a license for Effects 8 for zero dollars….so I got it installed just like you Ken. I like their software, because as you say, it sure is easy and quick. I probably have gone over a few cliffs with it as well….but if a person has self control they can always go back I guess. That’s one of the things I like about it, you can go subtle, or over the cliff, or anything in between. That, plus the rather astounding variety of effects, makes me an onOne fan.
Thanks, Charles. There is no denying the convenience factor with plugins and the more I use PE8 the more versatile I think it is. There is a lot of control available to the user I was unaware of even as I wrote this post. I’m still thinking about ordering the Suite.
I’ve got Nik, part of the Topaz suite, and an older version of Perfect Photo – it seems like each one of them has their own strengths; I mostly use Nik Silver Efex Pro, because that’s the one I’ve had the longest and am most familiar with. As you mentioned (and demonstrated with your image), the plug-ins are very helpful when you’re shooting gray skies. (And – not to stir up a bunch of trouble or anything – I don’t think it’s trickery.)
I have been using Silver Efex Pro 2 for a while after Google gave me a licence for it. It’s very easy and versatile to work with and has a nice interface. I probably would not have purchased Silver Efex Pro as I had already had a B&W converter from Topaz. At $29 (US) it was a steal and at the time Silver Efex was selling for $200, a price I could never justify.
When I first looked at Silver Efex it was pretty expensive, but the price dropped and I got it. I don’t know if it was a promotion or the regular price…
How is that you get these places to just GIVE you a license? Or is that a secret you’d rather not reveal publicly?
That’s a good question. Obviously, I don’t get paid to endorse any software of camera company, so there is little or no control on my part. About 2 years ago I wanted to experiment with HDR but the HDR in Photoshop is pathetic (at least in CS4) so I purchased NIK HDR Efix Pro at the Christmas Holiday price of $29, which seemed reasonable since I was looking at it as a toy to play with. Fast forward a couple of years, Google bought NIK and decided to give me more plug-ins (including Silver Efix Pro 2 and a bunch more. Never being one to look a gift horse (no offence to horses) in the mouth, I downloaded them very quickly before they could change their google minds because I liked SE Pro 2 in the trial but didn’t want to spend $200.
Last year I downloaded a 2 week trial version of an onOne plugin but never used it in all of the two weeks. Because of that interest (or lack of interest) they emailed a licence for PE 8. I thought that was generous of them and I thought I would try it out. I like it very much and now I’m considering purchasing the Suite, again at a discount.
I think the plug-in industry is saturated now and these companies that make them are trying to win new customers. I think most people would be satisfied with one Suite of plugins and it doesn’t natter if it’s onOne, NIK or Topaz. They’re all pretty good in my opinion but I like the onOne because it seems very easy and versatile, with the ability to stack and blend effects and change their opacity individually. I believe there is a masking tool that I haven’t tried yet, too.
Like Melinda, I have the Nik and Topaz, but I find Perfect Photo hits the sweet spot for me in editing photos outside of Lightroom and Photoshop. They have quite a few instructional videos to get one going quickly.
Nice enhancement on this one, Ken.
Thanks, John. I like the advantage of being able to access it through LR5 without have to open another program. I should see if the other plugins can do that.
Wow, it is a perfect effect indeed.. details are great. Congratulations Ken!
Thanks, Chantal. I think the plugin did a fine job on this.
This looks good, Ken. There’s certainly an art to using all these filters. I use to have some of the onOne filters but I decided to stick with the NIK filters and a few of the Topaz Labs ones. Even at that my little brain is often over powered by all the choices and possibilities. I keep coming back to the “less is more” principle for post-processing.
Thanks, Earl. I use LR5 for most processing but every now and then LR needs a little assist to give that extra finesse to a photo. I’m sure LR is capable of doing more than what I use it for so maybe I should get some training on it’s full potential.
Well, one of the ways is to get the -FREE- presets from onOne.
You can then click on a preset (there are many), and see how they achieve their effects. It gives you practical training to how different settings interact to achieve various “looks”.
Not just cool and awesome … but really, really cool and awesome!
Thanks, John. Try downloading the trial version and see for yourself.
Well, as you know, Ken, I’m not averse to experimenting. I’ve tried many different filters from different companies and always as standalone applications, and these have worked well, including the effects I used, all being adjustable in their intensity. The only ones I use now are those within Lr or on my HTC cellphone. Don’t ask me about Filter Forge….grrr!!
PS: Not sure about this hosta pic. How come the original is a mix of b+w and green? Surely that was not natural? The after-effect, well, I think I’d pass on this one, somehow, yeah?!
Thanks, Janina. The original photo shown is an unprocessed RAW file with no sharpening or color correction. Also, the auto white balance is not perfect in this lighting so it tends to give a slight color cast. It may look washed out because that is a result of the neutral settings on the Nikon that I have as default settings. I prefer to set these in post processing rather than have the camera do it. LR makes it so easy to make these adjustments so it’s no imposition for me to do it.