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Software Reviews

OnOne Plug-In Suite 5 Review

Ernesto Santos (esantos)


Keywords: onone, photoshop, plugin, ononesoftware, software, postprocessing

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Genuine Fractals has been around for some time now and it has a long standing reputation of doing a great job of addressing the number one issue we all face. Here's the problem with digitally processing photographs from digital captures: How do you enlarge to the larger print sizes what is arguably a very small image while maintaining adequate print resolution (e.g. 300 pixels per inch)? The answer is that you must resample the pixel array to arrive at the target resolution while enlarging the image to make large prints. Adobe Photoshop has their bicubic enlargement algorithms and On One uses fractals. While both methods are very effective for smaller enlargements, it is a well documented fact that fractal re-sampling will give you better results with the larger sizes. To test this I took an image from a 12.3 megapixel DSLR with lots of detail and resized it to a print size of 40 inches x 60 inches at a resolution of 360 ppi.

You can access Genuine Fractals from the main Photoshop menu by going to File > Automate > Genuine Fractals. Make sure you have an image open and if it contains layers that you select the background layer. By the way, this is a good time to tell you that GF supports layered files. You can resize your image and the plug-in will keep the layers intact. Be aware though that if you choose to use the gallery wrap feature, which I'll discuss a little later, it will flatten the file during processing.

genuine_fractals_01

Here is the interface once you open Genuine Fractals. I think this is a great interface with a very clean and simple look reminiscent of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. On the left you'll see preview window where you can easily zoom in or out of the image. On the right are your input panels. Here you simply enter the output size you want and the resolution. Aside from this you can adjust texture (used to control how textured surfaces are preserved and enhanced) and add sharpening and film grain.

Two other features worth noting here are the ability to resize for specific applications. Canvas inkjet prints are all the rage right now and On One has been thoughtful enough to include a great feature for this type of print. You can scale your image to accommodate a very popular method of framing canvas prints – the gallery wrap. With this feature you can add to the borders of the image additional printed area to cover the part of the canvas that will be "wrapped" around the stretcher bars of the canvas frame. With this option you are given several choices of effects such as "reflect" or "stretch". This will determine how the image elements will be repeated over the wrap areas of the canvas. There is also a tiling feature which will section your enlarged image into equally sized tiles with or without overlap. This is great when you need to print a very big mural and you are limited by the carriage width of your printer. You can enter how big you want the tiles to be and whether you want some overlap at the seams and Genuine Fractals handles the rest. It divides the image into equally sized tiles that you can then print on your printer and then assemble on your wall. Now that we have a basic idea of how Genuine Fractals works let's look at the results.


 

As I mentioned earlier I chose an image with a lot of fine detail to test this plug-in. It's the image shown above in the preview window, which is an old historical pump house in south Texas. I enlarged this image with adjustment layers to a size of 40x60 inches. I then enlarged a second copy using Photoshop's bicubic smoother as a comparison. I also conducted the same test using a target size of 12x18 inches to see if GF was any better than bicubic at the smaller sizes. As I suspected I could not detect any noticeable advantage by using GF on the smaller size. This is not a knock on the plug-in, it simply confirms my suspicions that fractal technology doesn't come into its own until you really start getting big. Nevertheless, the fact that you can add sharpening and optimize for the textures in your image is a big plus for Genuine Fractals. The ability to also target your enlargement to a specific output like gallery wraps is also a big advantage.

Below you can see the results of my test with the 40x60 enlargement. I am including two sets of comparative 100% crops of the image done in Genuine Fractals and the one done in Photoshop.

genuine_fractals_02

Take a look at the lettering on the sign and the ridges of the corrugated tin siding. Notice the better defined edges, the increased texture, and the lack of overall softness with the GF sample. If you look closely at the light fixtures you can even see better definition in the lit filaments. This is truly amazing when you consider that this part of the image is in the far away background where it is hardly even visible when the image is viewed full length on my 24" monitor!

genuine_fractals_03

Now, let's look at a second sample. Again, the improved details of the siding is easy to see and if you look at the Texas state historical sign you can pick up the improvement in details there too. Now look at the foliage. The Photoshop bicubic sample is muddy compared to that from Genuine Fractals. The shaded areas of the leaves are better rendered giving more depth.

I should note that when I processed these images I did not apply any sharpening or any other element of post processing that might affect the direct results. I would think that with the use of sharpening the end product would be even that much better. So now we have a great way to resize images to really large sizes. Let's move on to problem number 2.

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Originally written on March 13, 2010

Last updated on October 16, 2014

12 comments

Daniel DiBernardo (DanielJDLM) on January 26, 2013

I just joined Nikonians, so this is probably a bit late. I can concur with Ernesto abour OnOne Software...I am using Perfect Effects 6.0...yes, I know Suite 7 is now out, but I have not upgraded. This package of effects is easy to work with and allows multiple ajustments. I hightly recommend this product to all.

User on December 29, 2010

Since Ernesto's review was written, On One has released the late upgrade named Perfect Photo Suite 5.5. Genuine Fractals has been renamed Perfect Resize 7 Professional. The PhotoFrame is now ver. 4.6 Professional Edition. It is all 64 bit compatible. I find myself using photoframes more than ever. Am becoming more of a fan of On One Software very quickly. Ernesto, now you must continue with a fresh review due to the fact this one is so well done. (smiling)

Beth Russell (Wileycoyote1) on October 10, 2010

A late to the party technical thought one that is the likely explanation to your crashing problem Ernesto. I beta tested PSCS5 and use onOne Plug-in suite 5.1 extensively. If you have software on your machine that uses Microsoft C++ libraries extensively, it almost certain, Plug-in Suite will bang heads with it. If you check your installed software and find any presence of MS C++ your problem lies there. Email onOne tech-support, They don't do phones but will respond.

Edward Overstreet (emphoto) on July 23, 2010

Question for you Ernest, did you use CS5, 32 bit? I had no complaints until CS 5. The program has been very unstable with our computers. More often than not, after making adjustments.....I click APPLY and nothing happens.....or PS crashes. Getting help is not easy either. Presently, I am not using OnOne although installed, I figure, as in the past, they will make the needed changes and send out a new release. Methinks they hurried this latest edition to market and got caught with their pants down. Also, regarding Genuine Fractals, I seem to get better prints when I "res up" in Image |Print. All versions of CS do a poor job of "res-ing up, IMHO. GF is not a whole lot better but it is better. BTW, we use the OnOne suite on three different MACs ... and the problems occur on all three computers. I also prefer the older interface. I do not like another dialog box cluttering an already busy monitor. I preferred using the Filter menu to access the suites' choices. If you use a Wacom Intuos tablet.....put the pen down and grab the mouse as making your selections with the pen is a challenge. Mask Pro is a tough program to use....the newest version of CS5 has beat it with their "Refine Edge" tool. Changing backgrounds is a snap compared to former versions of CS as well as OnOne. Extremely slow when it does work! I am sure they are working on it and a new more accommodating suite will be relassed. For now, I am dissappointed! To be sure, I need to take better images out of the camera and bypass CS and all the plugins, period.

Linda Scarbrough (Palmilla) on June 30, 2010

I purchased OnOne Plug-In Suite 5 at Photoshop world in Orlando a few months back. I have no Photoshop experience but started using this produce and immediately people were impressed with my photos... I still have lots to learn to learn in both Photoshop and OnOne, but even after reading your review Ernesto, it has helped me look in other areas of OnOne to cleanup some pretty rough beginner photos. Good Job in your review.

Steve Bilden (erpsab) on June 13, 2010

How does this compare with the Nik software package for Photoshop? Are they similar or different and in what ways?

Dan Goebel (notes386) on May 21, 2010

I am silver, do you need to be gold/platinum to get the 200 & 59.85 off for OnOne? Interested in getting it for new MacBook Pro with Aperture 3.

Ernesto Santos (esantos) on March 22, 2010

Nikonians Resources Writer. Recognized for his outstanding reviews on printers and printing articles. Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas, including Landscape Photography Awarded for his extraordinary accomplishments in Landscape Photography. His work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian. Winner of the Best of Nikonians Images 2018 Annual Photo Contest

Thank you all for the kind comments. I am glad that this review has proven to be informative.

User on March 21, 2010

Very nice job Ernesto, I have a copy of this coming from Onone on Monday. I also want to thank Nikonians for there discount. I received an email from Onone with 200.00 off the price of 599.00 with the final price of 399.00. Well I added nikonians to the discount coupon and received another 59.85 off, thats better than the next 2 years of Nikonians for free. Can't beat that with the biggest stick I can find. Thank you for a great review. Norm

Michael Spanel (output555) on March 19, 2010

Excellent summary and review, Ernesto. I've been a fan in OnOne's software for years and their newest version of Plug-In Suite is their best. In my opinion it's as essential as Photoshop for processing an image.

Guy Perkins (gaperklake) on March 17, 2010

Thank you, Ernesto. You do very, very good work. Your analysis and approach has given me the best and clearest ideas about these products. (I have Genuine Fractals, and will probably buy Focus Point now.)

J. Ramon Palacios (jrp) on March 17, 2010

JRP is one of the co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various areas. Awarded for his contributions for the Resources

Well done, Ernesto Succinct, concise and to the point, your review clearly shows what you can expect from these plug-ins and how easy it is to use them. Thank you.

G