onOne / Perfect Photo Suite 9 Announced!!!

Perfect Photo Suite 9 - Coming October 2014

Perfect Photo Suite 9 - Coming October 2014

Awww yeeaaahhh... I've been waiting for this. You’ve been to my blog before? You’ve seen my tutorial videos on Perfect Effects? You’re on my mailing list? Then you know I love the Perfect Photo Suite. It’s a major part of my photography processing workflow.

Today, onOne announced Perfect Photo Suite 9. You can read the full press release on the onOne website.

I'm going to cut to the chase. Two things I'm sure you want to know – what's the new, cool stuff and when can you get your hands on it? From the press release:


Perfect Photo Suite 9 will be available in late October 2014, in two versions: Premium and Basic. The Premium edition supports Photoshop CC, CC 2014, and CS6; Lightroom 5 and 4; Photoshop Elements 12, 11 and 10; and Apple Aperture 3, and has an introductory price of $129.95. The Basic edition, which does not have plug-in support, is $79.95. For a limited time, owners of earlier versions of the Perfect Photo Suite can upgrade to Premium for just $89.95.

In about two months, the Perfect Photo Suite 9 is in our hot, greedy hands. onOne is taking preorders now. I know I'll be upgrading.

Are you going to upgrade? Dive into the Photo Suite for the first time? Wanna throw Scott a little love? Use my affiliate links on my site when making your purchase. That puts a few dollars in my pocket, fills the coffee cup, and keeps me awake writing tips & making video tutorials. And... help me finish up my next eBook featuring the onOne suite.

Now let's talk PPS9 features.  There are a bunch of new features coming in Perfect Photo Suite 9. Tool improvements. Faster Browse. A more streamlined module experience. The teasers that have been coming out of the onOne Labs will soon be tangible. Again, the press release has all the details.

Here’s the list of PPS9 enhancements that's I'm most excited about and why. Most make me drool with anticipation, one tilts my head like a confused puppy, and one is very intriguing with respect to workflow.

Smart Photos

I blogged about Smart Photos when the video first hit the onOne Labs. Smart Photos persistently stores all of the mask, layers, filters and sliders you have applied to an image *across every module* in the PPS9 suite. No longer do you need to “bake in” the settings of each module, or save countless presets just in case you want to go back and tweak settings.

In Perfect Photo Suite 9, turn on Smart Images and you can re-edit any layer in any module — with your previous settings intact. And the PSD file format remains compatible with Photoshop. This exudes coolness.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve wanted to go back and tweak a filter adjustment I made in Effects. And I don’t like saving presets for the sake of saving presets (and presets don’t save complex masks). I am still curious about the increase in file sizes when enabling Smart images, however storage is way cheaper than repeat editing.

Drool factor: 10

Masking Enhancements

Perfect Layers Encompasses Perfect Mask
The Mask module is gone and all it’s features are collapsed into the Layers module. This fixes on one of my longstanding wishes — the Perfect Brush in Mask. I’ve got that now. Even better, a more streamlined workflow. One less module to switch to is time saved.
Drool factor: 7

A More Perfect Perfect Brush
Another feature that was highlighted in the labs a few weeks ago. Simply put, the tone locking of the Perfect Brush gets a whole lot more intelligent. The Perfect Brush can do gradient-type masking, honoring a tonal range without the harsh edges. I’m eager to use this on landscapes where trees meet a sky to be masked out. Watch the video for an excellent demonstration of the improvements.
Drool factor: 5

Quick Mask Brush
This is my tilted puppy dog feature. I’m intrigued here, however in a love/hate way. First off, what is the Quick Mask Brush? It’s a new masking tool in PPS9. You paint a broad brush stroke over an area you want to mask away, the tool determines the subject and its boundaries, and creates the mask. Uber-intelligent content aware masking.

The love part – I’m all for simplification. The demo of the Quick Mask Brush on the onOne labs page is very slick and looks really promising. When the Quick Brusk nails the mask I’m trying to make, I’m sure I’ll love it. What’s better is that the Quick Brush has put it in "several other modules". Getting the masking tools in Effects and B&W on par with Layers will be excellent.

The hate part – my tilted puppy moment. The labs page also positions the Quick Brush as “a new masking tool to replace the keep and drop brushes.” I don’t want less control, I want more. If the Quick Brush works 90% of the time, you can bet I’ll use it. There are times it won’t work. Masking is a difficult thing for any content aware detection algorithms to pull off on their own (or it’d be done already).

onOne - I don’t want the drop/keep brushes to go away. Complement them with the Quick Brush. I appreciate streamlining and avoiding bloatware — I really do. Don’t take it too far until Quick Brush has really proven itself. Remember when Open As Layers went away in PPS8? Us photographers wanted that … and we were so glad you listened and brought it back in 8.1.

Drool factor: 4, with a little trepidation mixed in

Noise Reduction

Noise reduction is a nice to have. There's no details on what modules in the suite will offer noise reduction, only that it can be selectively applied to segments of a photo, such as highlights and shadows. That suggests to me either a purpose-built layer in Layers or a new filter in Effects, and the blending options allow selective application.

The demo on the labs page looks promising. If the noise reduction in PPS9 is on par with Nik DFine (what I use today), then I'll have one less tool in the tool chain. That's goodness.

Drool factor: 4

Metadata In Browse

To date, I've never used Browse. Aperture is my DAM and is therefore my photo browser. Browse has gotten faster and faster, and the speed improvements continue with Perfect Photo Suite 9.

What piques my interest is the metadata support. In PPS9, Browse is overhauled to include rating, ranking, keywording and filtering capabilities. I'm very intrigued here and am eager to crack this part of Browse open.

I will be migrating from Aperture in 2015. Thus far, I’ve looked at Lightroom and am waiting for what Apple Photos offers. I will need to examine PPS9 Browse more closely and see how it stacks up. I'm not expecting sophisticated library management and mobile workflows in the first cut  (both of which are important to me). I am curious if, in addition to easily sending photos to "a secondary photo tool like Adobe Photoshop Lightroom or Apple Aperture" extends to other applications like Nik. If Browse shows promise, it may be a contender as a DAM in the future.

Drool factor: 6, with cautious optimism

Other Improvements

PPS9 boasts a speed improvement of 30% in image processing and loading presets – faster is always welcome. I'm also always interested in the memory footprint of the applications. My MacBook Pro is tapped out at 16GB and there's times it feels undersized.

New Effects
A new Lens Flare filter is in Perfect Effects 9. Sounds a little gimmicky, although I'm already thinking about how I might use it for certain looks and feels.

Crop & Level Tools
The press release briefly mentions "better" crop and level tools. For crop, what I'm hoping for is fixed aspect ratios, the 2x3s, 16x9s, 8x10s of the world.

For Level, it's mentioned in the same breath as crop, so I'm taking this to mean rotation (i.e. leveling the horizon) versus luminance and color levels. Support for sub-integer rotation would be a delighter. I use Aperture for rotation now, and very often need fractional rotation, such as 0.3%. I can't do that in PPS today.

Convinced yet? Are you ready to upgrade? I'm confident you won't be disappointed.

Perfect Photo Suite 9 - Coming October 2014

Perfect Photo Suite 9 - Coming October 2014

I'll certainly be upgrading to Perfect Photo Suite 9 in October. There's plenty of joy to be had. Also, onOne has historically been excellent about allowing multiple versions of the suite to remain installed side by side. I'll be keeping PPS8 around for a while longer. That's just good practice. New releases of software – as exciting as they are – come with bugs. Also, until Quick Mask has proven itself (or until I know for sure the keep/drop brushes are still around), PPS8 will be my safety net.