By Nick Spence Macworld UK | on April 27, 2009
Price When Reviewed: 113 . 174
Pros: Appealing, varied results; ability to import new presets from users; new masking capabilities; Lightroom and Aperture compatibility.
Cons: Some effects appear negligible or are slow; Plug-In Suite 4.5 may offer better deal.
PhotoTools 2.0 Professional Edition is an update of the recently introduced assortment of Photoshop Actions, wrapped up in an intuitive interface.
As a collection of automated effects and photo enhancements, PhotoTools gives you access to techniques pioneered by Photoshop Hall-of-Famer Jack Davis and professional photographer Kevin Kubota at the click of a filter. These claim to faithfully reproduce darkroom techniques; camera effects such as neutral density, colour-correction and polarization; and alternative processes such as solarization and cyanotype.
PhotoTools utilizes a traditional but effective Before and After workspace, so you can endlessly preview effects with ease. The ability to stack and combine effects offers infinite variation, although it’s easy to get distracted by the simple pleasure of adding more and more filters. New in 2.0 is an expanded range of photographic effects, an improved effects library, new masking capabilities, support for video, and the ability to download extra presets.
You can now search and browse effects more easily using keywords, saving favourites for future use. That’s a big bonus if you want to add an air of cohesiveness to a collection of images. Available in two versions, the Professional Edition adds 112 effects each from Davis and Kubota, as well as integration with Photoshop Lightroom and Aperture. These effects are aimed primarily at portrait and wedding photographers, but will work well on other images.
This is an attractive update to onOne Software’s plug-ins, which benefits from the input of two leading creatives. That said, if you’re applying effects and photo-enhancements very often, it’s probably best bought as part of a more wide ranging onOne Software Plug-In Suite 4.5 bundle.