ON1 Photo RAW has a huge library of preset effects and you can try them all out just by browsing through the categories and clicking on the ones you like the look of.
But that doesn’t really get you any closer to figuring out how its effects filters work and how you can use them to build your own effects.
So here’s a quick project that uses just two of ON1’s filters – Textures and Borders. It only takes a few minutes to do, but it produces a really evocative ‘postcard’ look. In fact, I’m going to call this project ‘Postcard from Norway’. Don’t forget, you can click or tap on any screenshot to see a full size version.
You can try this out really easily, and if you don’t have it already, just click on this link to download the free ON1 Photo RAW 2017 trial version.
Here’s the start shot, taken with a Nikon D7500. It’s a perfectly decent digital image but, as always with digital images, it’s pretty clinical, so let’s see if we can turn it into something more.
01: Add a Textures filter
We’ve hidden the presets panel on the left side of the screen because we want to start from scratch. And the first step is to click the Add Filter button in the tools panel over on the right and choose Textures from the list. The Textures filter offers a couple of drop-downs. From the Category menu we’ll select Paper.
02: Choose a texture
Now that we’ve chosen the Category we can use the drop-down Texture menu underneath to choose a texture from that category. The one we’ve chosen is Folded Paper 8, and you can see the effect applied to the image in the main window. There is one more thing to note…
03: Choose the mode
Underneath the Texture menu is a Mode menu. This is like the blending mode for the texture. This one works best with the Darker mode, which might look a little too heavy right now, but it will blend better with the filters that follow. So that’s it, we’re done with this filter and we’ll move on to the next stage.
04: Add a Border filter
This is to add the postcard frame to our picture. And, in fact, under the Antique category there’s an Antique Deckled border that does the job perfectly. You can see how this doesn’t just add a frame to the picture, it adds a paper texture for that frame too.
05: Choose the border mode
You can set the blend mode for the border too, and we’ve selected Hard Light mode for this. This mode really boosts the contrast in the border and makes the edges stand out more clearly against the white background.
06: Add the Postcard texture
Now here’s the interesting thing about ON1 Photo RAW – you can add as many instances of a filter as you need. Our final step, then, is to add another Texture filter, select the Paper category again and this time choose the Postcard02 texture. We’ve used the Normal blend mode here. This doesn’t just add a texture, it also adds a colour wash, a stamp, postmark and ‘Post Card’ lettering.
True, this would normally be on the back of the postcard not the front, but we’re just trying to create a visual effect here!
So why add the filters in this order? The border had to be added after the folded paper texture so to get a plain white background. And why add the postcard texture on top of the border? That’s because we needed to get the stamp and lettering to appear over the border too, and not just the image area.