This week saw the launch of the new version of OnOne’s Perfect Photo Suite 7, bringing further improvements to the suite over the awesome changes they brought in to Suite 6.
I have to admit that I have been a big fan of Photo Suite from way back when it was only available as a plugin for Photoshop and it unlocked a workflow that really enhanced my ability to create incredibly satisfying images. Now, I know that many people fall into the ‘purist’ category and don’t like making lots of edits to photographs, and that’s fine. the cool thing about Photo Suite is that it helps those who want to really work on their shots as well as those that only want to maybe tweak a little on the tones or contrast. This suite is a worthy addition to anyone’s digital workflow.
Starting from Suite 6 the folks over at OnOne started to cut the Photoshop chord and opened the suite out to folks who couldn’t afford or justify the cost of Photoshop. Suite 6 was a massive release for OnOne and boosted its popularity and effectiveness. It did suffer a little from performance issues and could sometimes get frustrating when switching between the modules. But the folks over at OnOne have been listening to their fans and Suite 7 is proof of that.
The first start up of the suite after install is fast, lightening fast, getting you into the main layers screen quickly. The interface is also noticeably tidier and fans of Lightroom will immediately feel at home here. A set of sample images are available on the left, with good sized previews, the modules that form the suite are visible as options on the top right similar to Lightroom, and the center is a nice large canvas to work from. I use a very large resolution widescreen monitor which means I feel very comfortable with the default layout but you may find that on smaller resolution screens you will need to gain back some real-estate, again just as in Lightroom this is simply a matter of selecting the border of one of the side panels to hide it, simply a matter of it sliding to the edge to give you more room.
The suite itself includes updated versions of Perfect Portrait for working with portraits, Perfect layers which really does help when manipulating images and forms the core of the suite, Perfect Effects has also been much improved with faster previews and nicer effects; Perfect Resize has always been my tool of choice for re-sizing images as it always seems to give me the best possible results and this too has been updated. Mask 5 and Focal Point 2 still form part of the suite and I’m glad they are still there and as rock solid as ever. I don’t use these so much myself but having them around for the occasional time I need them is like having that trusty old screwdriver in the toolbox.
New for suite 7 is perfect B&W and I have to say from the time I’ve had to play with this, I am mighty impressed. I use Lightroom, Photo Suite and Paintshop Pro in my workflow for various things and have tended to use Lightroom presets with my tweaks coupled with Photo Suite to do most of my B&W conversions. Having played a little with the options in Suite 7 I think this is going to be my B&W workflow tool of choice, it is frankly awesome. Previewing effects is really quick, grain effects are available along with several nice film effects and the whole thing just feels like it was put together right.
All of the different modules now have framing options included which is why you don’t see Photo Frame included in the suites line-up. At first I thought this was a bad move for OnOne and was all prepared to go re-install suite 6 alongside 7 to bring it back, but the integration of this tool throughout the suite is actually brilliant. I no longer need to flip over to another tool I can just do as much as possible with my image, including the finishing touches with less flipping about in the interface.
Suite 7 builds on the strong foundation of Suite 6 and further improves the workflow, giving you more time for the images and less time worrying about the infrastructure of the tool you are using.
If you have never used Photo Suite then you really should pay attention, Suite 7 is going to make a decent splash, and one that won’t break the bank either. Upgrades are available for $149.95 or first time buyers can grab it for $299.95. considering Photoshop will cost a minimum of $699 with Lightroom coming in at $149 that’s a pretty good price point for a lot of functionality.
You don’t need Lightroom or Photoshop to run Photo Suite, but it will hook into both if you have them, so you can extend your suite with more options for better flexibility and greater creative control. I use it with Lightroom 4 and I have to say that Suite 7 is going to be a big improvement in my workflow.
What was once a plugin that relied on Photoshop has now grown up and become a contender for workflow tool of choice. suite 7 is a massive improvement and I can see many professionals picking this up and bringing it into their workflow.
You can find out more about suite 7 from the OnOne website, and while you are there, check out some of the features through the Coffee Talk series the team have produced. Finally, purchase before November 15th to get a set of Premium Presets to increase the value and creative options even further.
This much value in one package – it’s a no brainier, Suite 7 is a winner.