PhotoTools 2 Lite review

Bravo for onOne for offering up a free taster that doesn’t leave your Mac bloated with software that won’t work once the trial period ends. PhotoTools 2 Lite offers 15 photo effects for Photoshop that can add a professional sheen to any image. It’s a small selection from the effects found in the Professional and Standard editions (reviewed in our June issue - click here).

While the effects may be significantly reduced in the Lite version, the available options includes all the same features found in the paid versions of PhotoTools 2. These include the ability to preview Photoshop action effects, combine multiple effects together in a layered stack and adjust the strength or opacity for each layer in a stack. Other options include the ability to save layer stacks as presets, batch process effects on multiple photos, apply effects with a layer mask and selectively apply effects with the masking brush.

With several options available to the user, even with a limited number of effects, you can produce some evocative, eye-catching results, including high-contrast, low-saturation looks and making dark areas bleed into neighbouring tones, increasing colour and contrast. Other free effects include black-and-white conversion, colour boost, an attractive Golden Hour enhancer, a painterly impressionist look and a vivid rich-red Kodachrome effect.

When you download it, PhotoTools 2 Lite asks for a valid name and email address so onOne can send you future newsletters and offers. You can, of course, opt out of this. The software is compatible with Adobe CS2, CS3 and CS4. For those looking to upgrade, PhotoTools Professional Edition is also part of onOne’s Plug-In Suite 4.5, a collection of six award-winning plug-ins, which offers the best value for money.

OUR VERDICT

As freebies go PhotoTools 2 Lite is an excellent taster of a useful set of photo effects that can significantly enhance even quick snaps. You may think 15 free photographic effects doesn’t sound like much compared to the 293 effects available to Professional Edition users, but sometimes less is more.

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