onOne's Plugin Suite 5 is a comprehensive plugin set, with a variety of tools. So what did we make of them? The What Digital Camera onOne Plugin Suite 5 review...
onOne Plugin Suite 5
Plugin Suite 5 is onOne’s latest release of its popular Photoshop plugins, all available in one box. It includes Genuine Fractals 6 for professional upscaling; FocalPoint 2 for quick and easy detailed blur effects; Mask Pro 4.1 for colour-based complex mask selections; PhotoTools 2.5 for a wide array of preset filters and effects including black & white conversion; PhotoFrame 4.5 offers an array of quick-to-apply novelty frames, film edges, contact prints and similar; and PhotoTune 3 is for quick colour correction. There’s a whole lot in one box, and for those looking to correct images en masse, or even just take the time-consuming nature out of post-production, it’s a really decent package. Compatibility is with PhotoShop CS2 and above, Lightroom and Aperture, meaning it’s well targeted at the professional’s workflow.
Genuine Fractals 6 proved to be considerably better at upscaling than even Photoshop CS4’s bicubic interpolation – and that’s really saying something. For the professional looking to get the best out of digital enlargements it’s an essential to your workflow, with significant and decent sharpening controls. This alone is reason enough to buy the package.
Other packages, such as Mask Pro 4.1 have their place, but aren’t necessarily fail-safe. onOne’s masking plugin recognises user-defined colours rather than edges, so it’s useful for specific images, such as when cutting away complex hair strands or similar. However, with recent Photoshop quick-select tools, pathing and masking options it’ll be an addition to the arsenal rather than a replacement.
FocalPoint 2 provides complex pseudo wide aperture effects, right down to the number and shape of the blades. It’s useful for some work, but isn’t going to correct for shooting errors particularly. PhotoTune 3 too seems like a bit of an odd one out, with a slightly less user-friendly interface that seems a little redundant thanks to the existing PhotoShop tools and the complexity and presets offered by PhotoTools 2.5 also included.
Package-wide the speed of jumping into and using each of the plugins can be a nuisance. It’s not wildly slow, but it’s not quite instant enough and still not always 100% stable either. Opening the plugins usually runs them with Photoshop hidden, so there can feel to be a lack of integration should you wish to jump between one image and the next. Previews aren’t always fast, such as the wide selection of frames in PhotoFrame 4.5 for example – loading ought to be relatively instant, though processing is required as live previews are shown rather than general non-images specific examples. Also, it took only an hour into this test for Genuine Fractals to crash PhotoShop CS4, and that’s running on a Macbook Pro with 4GB DDR3 RAM, Intel Core 2 Duo 2.8GHz and an extra 512MB NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT card running Mac OS X.
Overall there's a lot here and the standard is extremely high. These plugins can be found individually, but at a greater expense than the bundled suite version and, even though you many not think it, each will come in use at some point or other. Only real criticism is that some slight tweaks are needed to up the integration, operational speed and overall stability, otherwise it's a sure-fire winner.