Wed, 22 Apr 2009 PhotoTools 2 Professional Edition review
Photoshop plug-in offers hundreds of artistic effects and photo enhancements
- Manufacturer: onOne Software
- Pros: Appealing varied results, ease of use, excellent search functions, ability to import new presets from users, new masking capabilities, Lightroom and Aperture compatibility, excellent support
- Cons: Some effects appear negligible, slower processing times with some filters, Plug-In Suite 4.5 may offer better deal, some knowledge of photography effects useful
- Price: £199.99
- Star rating:
PhotoTools 2 Professional Edition updates the recently introduced assortment of Photoshop Actions wrapped up in an intuitive interface. This collection of automated effects and photo enhancements lets you acquire the skills of Photoshop Hall-of-Famer Jack Davis and renowned professional photographer Kevin Kubota at the click of a filter. onOne claims they faithfully reproduce camera effects such as neutral density, colour correction and polarisation, and darkroom techniques and alternative processes such as solarisation and cyanotype.
Having rarely been in a traditional darkroom it’s difficult to gauge their authenticity and, as onOne itself suggests, effects can appear subtle, at least in preview. Much of what looks good or bad essentially lies in the eye of the beholder, but good monitor calibration helps too.
PhotoTools utilises a traditional but effective Before and After workspace, so you can endlessly preview effects with ease. The ability to stack and combine effects offers infinite variation, although you can be easily distracted, lost in the simple pleasure of adding more and more filters. New in version 2 is an expanded range of photographic effects, improved effects library, new masking capabilities, support for video files, and the ability to share and download additional presets. You can now search and browse effects more easily using keywords, and save favourites for future use. That’s a big bonus if you want to add an air of uniformity to a collection of images.
This Professional Edition adds another 112 effects from Davis and Kubota, as well as integration with Photoshop Lightroom 2 and Aperture 2.1. These additional effects are focused primarily on portrait and wedding photography but can be used effectively on any image. Currently around 20 lengthy PhotoTools tutorial videos can be viewed within PhotoTools or on the OnOne website. onOne should be applauded for the quality and quantity of its support, which also includes detailed a knowledge base and forum.