Essentials 2 review

OnOne Essentials 2 adds a second editing environment to iPhoto, extending its capabilities with four new filters. Some aspects improve on iPhoto’s existing features while others enable completely new functionality.

The Make it Better option, for example, is a turbo-charged version of iPhoto’s existing Enhance feature. Essentially a levels adjustment tool, it’s wizard based. Instead of moving sliders or entering numbers, you compare a series of before and after versions of your image side by side. The method’s quick and effective – offering you full access to individual image parameters at the end of the process.

Blur is self explanatory, providing you with a targeted blur filter that helps fake depth of field effects and vignettes – ideal for enhancing focus on a subject when used sparingly. The Enlarge filter is designed to be used last in the chain when preparing photos for printing. To this end, you can choose from a range of standard photo sizes or pick your own bespoke dimensions.

The best value for money comes from the plug-in’s Frame It filter – a tool that enables you to apply border effects to pictures. Essentials 2 does a great job of making a potentially cheesy tool professionally viable, with layering effects capable of producing professional looking results.

Using Essentials 2 is very straightforward, even in the case of multi-function tools like the Frame It filter. On first use, each filter is preceded by a short, step-by-step tutorial and video clips provide you with examples in the help menu.

OUR VERDICT

There are some workflow issues. After installation, clicking on the Edit button in iPhoto opens Essentials 2, but choose Edit from the contextual menu though and you’re editing with iPhoto’s built-in tools. Overall, though, it’s an impressive attempt to target professional quality filters at an audience of casual users.

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