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Really Smart Photos with onOne and Aperture

Tim Kennedy's picture
December 24, 2014 - 12:00pm

The advantage of Aperture’s Round Trip is that it keeps all your work packaged up neatly in an easy-to-handle Library. One of the disadvantages is that many of the plug-ins that work with Aperture’s Library also fix their results permanently upon exit. If you wish to go back and tweak later, you’re stuck with starting over with your last Aperture version.

OnOne Software Perfect Suite 9

Sometimes I’m a little indecisive or just want the ability to edit my previous work without starting completely over. Previously I’ve written about using Smart Objects via Catapult, or using the embedded edits in LightZone. In both cases, a little extra work means I’m left with files in which can continue to explore future variations without starting over. Now with onOne’s latest Perfect Photo Suite 9, Aperture users have gained “Smart Photos”. Make your edits knowing that you can come back another day and play further.

Once Perfect Photo Suite 9 is installed, you’ll find a Smart Photos option tucked away within the Preferences. When Photoshop files are created and saved as the plug in package launches, the Round Trip file can be set to save as a Smart Photo file. You can also tell it to ask for your editing choice upon calling the plug-in. Now work done within the Suite is encoded into the resulting Photoshop file. If you need to adjust your plug-in settings in five minutes or five days, you’ll have access to where you left off.

You can tell Perfect Suite to treat all your work as Smart Photos or ask you when the plug-in launches

There are some catches in all this. That onOne version of the Photoshop file isn’t entirely compatible with Photoshop itself. You’ll be asked to smoosh all your Perfect Suite work together into a flattened layer that Photoshop is truly happy with. Is this really different than before? No, we’d already have a flattened and fixed file from most plug-ins anyway. Now we just gain a little more flexibility with the plug-in separate from Photoshop. It’s not entirely Photoshop compliant but with the onOne layers and basic editing tools available, it also cuts down on my need to Round Trip to Photoshop in the first place.

Smart Photos will confuse Photoshop a little if you edit directly in Photoshop

In practice, I found this a little easier to work with by Round Tripping to the overall Perfect Suite 9 plug-in or Perfect Layers. That starts me out by looking at my image with the complete tool set available. Perfect Layers will stack up all your Perfect Suite work in separate layers in a look with options not very different from Photoshop itself. At this point, it’s not to hard to combine various Perfect Suite tools for whatever combination of portrait retouching, noise reduction, visual effects, black and white processing, and general image enhancement as needed.

Perfect Layers are available when I need them now or for re-editing in the future

As can be expected with a brand new release, long time onOne users might find a few annoying quirks and bugs. Until playing with Smart Photos, I was kicking myself for upgrading too early. Now that I have played with the Smart Photos capability, I’m beginning to rethink my standard volume portrait workflow for the next year. The ability to bypass Photoshop entirely is looking more and more attractive for the bulk of the work I do. Perfect Suite doesn’t have every trick I could possibly need but it does a good job at far more of them than many of my other specialized plug-ins. As Apple’s Photos launches, I’ll be keeping an eager eye toward how onOne will integrate this with Perfect Suite. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t have Smart Photos sooner than in Aperture’s final months. With Smart Photos in onOne Software’s Perfect Photo Suite 9, I find I’m in love with Aperture even more.

Apple Aperture ON1 Photo RAW
Tim Kennedy
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