OnOne Software’s Perfect Effects is just like Nik (Google) Color Efex Pro, offering a range of different filter effects from a single interface. Where Color Efex Pro lets you ‘stack’ filter effects, Perfect Effects lets you do even more, with a Photoshop-style system of layers, complete with different blend modes. This means you can combine Perfect Effects frames and blend modes to produce much more complex and subtle effects than a single filter could provide.

Perfect Effects frames and blend modes

To show how this can be used, I’m starting with this picture of some sycamore seeds and acorns I picked up on an autumn walk and arranged on a sheet of green card next to a window. For those who are interested, I used a £25 Pentax Spotmatic off eBay and Fuji Velvia 100.

01 Choose a frame

Perfect Effects frames and blend modes

For a start, I’m not going to use any of the Perfect Effects presets in the left sidebar. I know exactly what effect I want, so I’m choosing it from the Effect Options panel on the right. I choose ‘Borders’ from the Effect menu, then choose ‘Antique’ from the Category menu. Then I choose an option from the Border menu.

The one I want is Tin Type 001. This is one of my favourites because it’s not just a border – it applies a texture effect across the whole frame, as if the picture has been printed on a piece of tin.

02 Change the blend mode

Perfect Effects frames and blend modes

By default, new filter effects are added in Normal mode – the filter effect lies on top of the image layer below. But see what happens if I change the setting for the Mode (blend mode) menu. I’ve chosen Hard Light as the blend mode, and the tin texture now merges with the photograph in a much more subtle way. It also adds a little contrast and saturation.

03 Changing the scale

Perfect Effects frames and blend modes

The standard border effect leaves a little too much white space around the photography, but I can fix that by changing the Scale setting. Pushing the Scale value up to 3 makes the border larger, which effectively means that it’s pushed outwards, showing more of the picture and less of the white border.