OnOne’s Perfect Photo Suite has a number of different modules, rather like the Nik/Google Collection. In Perfect Photo Suite, though, you can access them all from a single, central interface, rather than loading them as separate plug-ins.

For this walkthrough, I’m just going to use the Perfect Effects module. Like Nik/Google Color Efex Pro 4, this lets you ‘stack’ effects using a kind of internal layers system.

Perfect Effects Graduated Filter

I’m starting with a travel shot with some nice, colourful rooftops but a rather blank sky, and I want to see if I can make it look more vibrant.

01 Add a graduated filter effect

Perfect Effects Graduated Filter

Perfect Effects displays all its filters in a scrolling list on the left side of the window. If you click a section heading, that section expands to show you some preset effects to choose from. It’s usually quicker to start from these and then use the tools to work back to the precise look you want than it is to start from scratch. I’ve gone for the Graduated Warm Cool filter. Actually, with hindsight I like the look of this more than the following versions! However, the next steps do show how the adjustment tools and filter stacking system work…

02 Change the settings

Perfect Effects Graduated Filter

The filter settings are over in the tools panel on the right-hand side. I’ve swapped the colours around (there’s a button for this) so that the cool colour is on the top (over the sky) and the warm colour is underneath.  I’ve also increased the strength of ‘Color 1’ (the blue over the sky), used the Vertical slider to move the colour transition higher up so that it’s on the horizon line, and slightly increased the Transition value to blend it in more smoothly.

The result looks like it needs a brightness and contrast tweak, though, so my next step is to click the Add button just above the adjustment tools to create a new, blank filter layer…

03 Adding a Contrast effect

Perfect Effects Graduated Filter

There are a range of presets in the Contrast section, and you have to be slightly careful here because they don’t all use the same effect. I’ve gone for the Auto Contrast filter, which gives me a curves adjustment panel over on the right.

04 More contrast

Perfect Effects Graduated Filter

I’ve finished off with an s-shaped curve adjustment to give the image some more contrast. I think I might have overcooked it slightly (!), but at least this shows how filter effects can be combined.

There’s much more you can do when combining effects by changing blend modes, adding layer masks and more, but I’ll save that for another time.

05 The finished image

Perfect Effects Graduated Filter

I wanted to create a vibrant, sunlit scene with a warming effect for the foreground, and it’s not worked too badly. There’s too much saturation after my first attempt and I had to cheat a little by winding down the saturation for the version you see here. You can also see some of the blue gradient creeping into the top of the tower in the foreground, but that could be fixed with a mask for the effects layer. I quite like the blue sky, though (given that it was a blank white before), and the transition towards a pink-red colour on the horizon.

See also

More Perfect Effects tutorials