I really like the idea of OnOne Software’s Perfect Photo Suite. Thanks to its extensive layers, effects and focus tools, it seems to offer a lot of the features of Photoshop without having to get Photoshop itself. You can use it as a standalone app, or as a plug-in for Aperture or Lightroom (or Photoshop itself, for that matter).
The only problem is that the Effects section of the suite is a bit of a disappointment compared to Google Color Efex Pro 4. I can’t find as many effects I like, and those I do find tend to be too blunt for the look I’m after.
But the texture effects did catch my eye. I’m not so sure I like my ‘texturised’ picture of Smeaton’s Tower in Plymouth quite so much close up, but it’s really eye-catching as a thumbnail image.
Here’s the start shot, followed by a brief guide to how it was modified in Perfect Photo Suite 7.5.
01 How the effects are organised
When you launch Perfect Effects, you see your image in the main window, a hierarchical list of effects in a vertical panel on the left, and a selection of tools for modifying the effect you choose on the right.
02 Earth texture
I’ve had a browse through the various textures available, and this is the one I like most. It’s called ‘Earth’, and it really does have a striking appearance… perhaps too striking.
03 Effect adjustments
In fact I’ve decided to tone it down a little using the tools on the right side. In the Effect Options panel I’ve changed the effect mode from Normal to Subtle, and I’ve also used the Scale slider to make the texture larger so that I lose the light leak effect on the right-hand side of the picture.
04 The finished picture
The end shot does look quite striking, but I think it needs a little more work. If I was using Photoshop, I’d want to try using the texture as a displacement map to make it look like a real three-dimensional surface, but that’s a whole lot more work I’d rather avoid.
This is what I’m finding with Perfect Photo Suite at the moment – I like the idea of it, and it seems to have plenty of effects and tools to achieve what I want, but I’m just not quite happy with the ‘out of the box’ results.
I guess it’s going to need a bit more time and experimentation on my part. I’ll keep you posted!