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- Product interfaces have become mostly unified making them easy to work with.
- When purchased as a suite, it’s a good value. You’ll have plenty to play with.
- Effects and tools are effective and generally simple to use and customize.
- Aperture & Lightroom* integration on certain apps
- No auto update makes in version updates a hassle and easy to overlook.
- When purchased separately there’s STD/PRO options adding confusion and making the prices too high (not unlike many plugin companies. These so called Pro versions do not have enough extra features to warrant the cost. The full suite does include the pro versions where applicable however.
The Bottom Line:
This is a great collection of plugins. If you want to broaden your editing arsenal in one shot, Plugin Suite 4 is a great place to start. While the whole suite is the best value, all plugins can also be purchased separately.
*One thing to note is that Lightroom integration is little more than export plugins and not self contained integration in LR. This is probably due to limitation with Lightrooms support for plugins, but it’s still a disappointment.
Promo’s and discounts:
OnOne gives PPS some specials as well. Promo code PRPHTSHW is good everyday for 10% off any OnOne product. Also thru Dec 31st, here’s a promo page that will save you $100 on the suite. Note that OnOne has no say in this review, and it contains only my honest opinions.
Individual Product Reviews:
Genuine Fractals 6: Review 9/10
Genuine Fractals is a standard among many photographers when it comes up scaling image resolution. I use it whenever I make large prints. It can quickly take those pixels and make a 300DPI file for whatever print size I need. It can even add sharpening in the same pass (though I usually sharpen separately) GF just gives something more than built in Photoshop up-conversion methods and I really like it.
The new version six has some cool new features like automatic tiling, batch functionality, and in the pro version (included in the suite) there’s Aperture and Lightroom integration, and even gallery wrap option that automatically extends the edges of your images to match the wrap depth of the wrap your making.
PhotoFrame 4: Review 8/10
Another favorite of mine. Sometimes you just want to add a sloppy border, acid burn, or other creative edge. Photo Frame is the best I’ve found. There’s loads of options available and the new interface makes it east to mix match and decide what works. There’s thousands of possible border combination’s and it’s easy to use. The pro version gives you a few extra frames, as well as Aperture and Lightroom integration. What more can I say.
Mask Pro 4: Review 7/10
Mask Pro is pretty amazing. If you want to do serious masking in Photoshop, manually selecting can be a tough job. Mask pro is great for getting fine tuned selections, and doing it fast. Even hard to mask things, like backgrounds behind a semi-transparent item (such as a wedding veil) Can be effectively pulled free, allowing you to change or alter the background. My only complaint is that it’s not as intuitive as other OnOne products. It does a great job, but there is a learning curve to understanding how much power it actually holds.
FocalPoint 1: Review 8/10
Focal point is a tool for adding tilt shift style blurs to images. While you could get the same effect manually, Focal does it fast with a clean simple interface. You can control the blur intensity, feather, shape and size with the cool focus bug handles, and the end result looks great. Selective blurring can really help you gain control of where the viewers eye is drawn in your image and Focal Point makes it easy.
PhotoTune 2: Review 3/10
Photo Tune is interesting but to me it’s more of a gimmick than an effective tool. It comes with a Color Tune and Skin Tune module. You open your image and it walks you thru a series of adjustment steps asking you to choose which looks better until you get the result. Then it allows a fine tune before applying the change.
It suffers from what I call “Plugin Lag” While the correction works OK, plugins take time. You have to load it up, follow the steps and then commit the changes back to Photoshop. This is OK when adding special effects, but for something everyday like color correction? I need speed and efficiency and photo tune is the opposite of that.
It might be useful for some tuning of color on an occasional image, but what it accomplishes is pretty simple to achieve in Lightroom, or even Photoshop itself without an extra plugin. Don’t expect this to be that magical one click color tool. It’s actually filled with steps that ultimately require you to make the choice of how the color should look.
PhotoTools 1: Review 6/10
Photo tools is basically Photoshop Actions given a glorified interface. Not that’s that’s all bad. It has a great interface, and some great effects. Overall I use actions more because I can have unlimited effects a single mousclick away. When I open Photo Tools I get the “Plugin Lag” of having to wait for the interface, choose what I want and then apply it. This is normal with a plugin, but it does slow my workflow down. On the flip side, it has a far better customization interface than an action, allowing you to easily add multiple effects and modify the degree they change your image.
The price is a little high, especially if you want the full set of effects that includes those from Kevin Kubota and Jack Davis (included in pro version). Still, it’s a pretty neat tool with some great looking effects.
Sweet Finishing Touches Just Got Really Easy: Seim Effects Essentials Actions.
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