Perfect Photo Suite 5.5 review
Perfect Photo Suite 5.5 used to be called Plug-in Suite 5. The name change reflects the fact that now five of the suite’s seven components aren’t just Photoshop plug-ins – they can also be used as standalone apps, as well as inside Lightroom and Aperture.
The suite comprises Perfect Resize 7, a rebadged and upgraded Genuine Fractals for upsizing images; Focal Point 2, for ‘bokeh’ depth of field effects; Mask Pro 4.1 for cutouts; the PhotoTools 2.6 photo effects set; PhotoTune 3 for simple colour correction; and PhotoFrame 4.6 for adding cheesy borders and layouts. Perfect Layers, a component that adds support for PSD layers inside Aperture and Lightroom is currently a preview version, but the full release is due to ship shortly.
Perfect Resize and Mask Pro are the ones that work best as standalone tools, as they let you resize images or cut them out directly in QuarkXPress or InDesign (or in a batch process from Bridge), without needing to switch to Photoshop. Perfect Resize has gained presets, smoothing controls to help reduce artefacts, a loupe tool to make fine adjustments quicker, and more flexible sharpening – all worthwhile additions.
PhotoTools has new bells and whistles too. You can now choose from a range of HDR-specific and environmental effects. But the best new features are tools to smooth skin, clean teeth and tame hair – plus a blemish brush to remove spots and moles. It’s not as good as Digital Anarchy’s specialised Beauty Box, but it’s good enough.
PhotoTools’ Autumn filter lends an autumnal cast. It’s one of several new filters designed to work with HDR images
All tools run in separate interfaces from Photoshop, which can prove a pain in PhotoTools (and PhotoTune) – but the power of the whole suite makes this worth putting up with.