Tuesday, April 20, 2010

REVIEW: onOne Software PhotoTune 3 (Updated 4-29-10)

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onOne Software is known for making a large selection of great products, so their faithful followers were excited about the new release of Plug-in Suite 5 which included many new updates. One of those updates was a product that I’ve had  on my “todo” list to review for a long-time, and it’s called PhotoTune 3. It is a product that can be purchased separately or with the suite for the best value, and it’s basically a step by step wizard for enhancing your photos. It allows the most basic of beginners using Photoshop Elements 7 or greater or Photoshop CS2 or greater (32 or 64-bit) users to use their eyes and click which of two pictures looks best, slide some sliders (optional) to improve the choices on some steps, and voila – a drastically improved image is the result. This is the kind of plug-in my Mom can use, so I’m excited to finally get a chance to show you how it works.

Everyday tasks, like Sierra’s basketball pictures

Mouse over to see before, mouse out to see after. CLICK to see the full size.

If you are a parent, you inevitably will end up in a school gym taking photos for basketball, the school play, volleyball, etc… If you’ve done this then you know it is a dungeon so you are going to have to do some post processing. For those who aren’t skilled in Photoshop or Lightroom, PhotoTune 3 might be the answer to your editing prayers. Consider the image below (or mouse in and out of the one above) that is the final step of the PhotoTune 3 wizard where it shows what we started with and the final result. A big difference, huh?

The after image is simply the result of running PhotoTune 3.0’s wizard on the before image. I’ve done no additional post-processing after running the wizard. Now, I would probably do some things a little differently if I processed the photo entirely from scratch, but I thought this was a pretty darn good result that the average soccer Mom (or basketball dad in this case) could accomplish! To see how I did it, follow each step in the photo gallery here (and be sure to read the captions). You can click on any of the images here or in the gallery for a larger version.

Is it any good for images without people?

Mouse over to see before, mouse out to see after

I won’t go through all the steps, but the short answer is yes – I think it did a decent job for a beginner. You can hover over the image above to see a before and after or take a look at both side by side in the user-interface below:

You’ll notice that there’s only 5 steps for the summary in the gallery here which shows each step. I think more could be done, especially for shots where the sky is a little bleached out and the foreground is dark. It works, and depending on your choices it will be an improvement – but I can definitely do much better with my Ninja Photoshop skills. :-)

Pro Mode

I’ll be frank and say, I don’t see the point in Pro Mode. I’d rather use Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom to make the types of tweaks offered in Pro Mode as it is more effective and less frustrating. This product isn’t geared towards pro’s, so I found this feature to be less than useful. You can see some detailed screen shots here, but my advice is that if you aren’t getting anything out of the wizards then the Pro Mode isn’t going to make you any happier.

The Color module also drove me insane, so while I commend the out of the box thinking – this solution isn’t it very useful to me.

Video Demo

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth even more. Here’s a simple video I made to demonstrate how this product works. Let me know if you enjoy these as I will try to do more if the feedback is positive.

Conclusion

This is an application that I think is clearly geared towards beginners, but that’s okay. There are a hell of a lot more beginners than pro Photoshop users (including Photoshop Elements) out there, and this is a product that will help them be productive fast. It’s especially useful for those who just haven’t figured out what all the fuss is about with Lightroom, and feel that just making there pictures look a bit better is enough (i.e., they aren’t interested in investing huge amounts of time to make their photos look magazine worthy). This represents a lot of people I know, so I think it is a good choice for many beginners. I’ve used the previous versions and always was a little disappointed, but the the third time seems to be a charm. This version gets the job done quickly and easily, but don’t forget that it requires Photoshop CS2 or greater or Photoshop Elements 6 or greater to run. Visit the web site for more details.

Great Videos

See some great videos here to see how this product works, but don’t forget to return to this blog for your discount when purchasing!

Special Offer

Shopping cart with the discount for the upgrade included

Click here to order at 20% off the retail price (or click here for 20% off the upgrade) using the code RMART20.

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The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

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