Yesterday OnOne Software released the 7.5 update to their Perfect Photo Suite. The update is free for all Suite 7.x owners including the Premium Edition, the Lightroom & Aperture Edition, as well as their Standard Edition.
The 7.5 update includes a new Quick View Browser, refinements to the Perfect Brush, and compatibility for Lightroom 5.
The Quick View Browser is a welcome addition. With it we can now browse photos and effects in a full-screen gallery view. No more looking at tiny thumbnail images when looking for photos on the harddrive or seeing what effects look like before applying them.
The new browser while viewing in the Perfect Layers module.
While in the Perfect Effects module, click on the new icon to the right of the effect you want to see to view effects in a full-screen gallery view as seen below using an example from the Vintage effects.
In addition to the new Browser, refinements to the Perfect Brush make this tool even more impressive. For starters the brush size of Perfect Brush was increased from 500 pixels to 2500 pixels.
But the most impressive feature of Perfect Brush is that it can now automatically detect and protect edges using color sampling. This makes quick work out of replacing, say, the sky in a background.
To explain how this works better, lets take a look at a photograph of an old truck in Wyoming photographed with a boring clear blue sky.
When I photographed this I did not have the good fortune of having an interesting sky. I like the composition of the truck and barn, but this photo needs something in the sky to give more interest.
What I would like to do is add some clouds to the background. While working in the Layers module I selected "Extras" and then looked for an appropriate cloud pattern from the Background choices I had in the Extras folder.
Clicking on a cloud photo I liked added it to a new layer. I quickly resized the cloud layer to overlap the sky in my original photo.
Once I had the placement correct I then moved the cloud layer below the original photo layer. This will allow me to paint in the clouds to the original photo.
Using the Masking Brush tool I then started painting in the cloud layer, staying clear of the trees, the horizon, and the barn. I stopped short of the barn and trees because if I didn't, the cloud layer would erase the tree. What I need to do now is use the Perfect Brush to complete the addition of the cloud background.
FIrst click on the Perfect Brush checkbox to select it.
Then, start painting near your edge and hold the Command key on a Mac or Control key on a Windows and continue painting up to the edges of the barn, the trees, etc. The Perfect Brush works by sampling the color underneath the center of it. While holding down the Command/Control key while painting, the Perfect Brush uses the color sample from the moment you hold the Command/Control key, allowing you to paint in the cloud background right up to the edges of the barn, the horizon, in addition to in-between branches and leaves of the tree.
The Perfect Brush in action, keeping the edges of the barn clean.
The Perfect Brush takes care of complicated layer masks and does this for you automatically and extremely accurately, assuming that the color you are sampling from is different enough from the edges you wish to protect.
Here is a view of the layer mask that Perfect Brush created - pretty impressive especially with the tree.
Once I was happy with the addition of the cloud background I then used Perfect Effects for some further enhancing and Perfect Resize to increase the size of the image.
OnOne's Perfect Photo Suite comes in three versions depending on your workflow, and as of right now for a limited time if you own any Nik Software plugin you can purchase the entire Suite for the half-off price of $149.95.
Try onOne's Perfect Photo Suite 7.5 FREE for 30 days!! They make great photo enhancing software that I personally use in my fine art photography.