Last year OnOne software got me with their free edition of Perfect Effects 8. It had a tone adjustment and a few other actions that I found very useful in my work. When I got the free software I expected to be put on a hit list and get marketing email for their other programs. OnOne pushes their Perfect Photo Suite 9 but it has several modules I would not use or too closely resemble what I already have in the Nik Collection. So I bought Perfect Effects 9 and Perfect Enhance 9 a la carte.
The features I am most interested in are those which affect the curves of my images through multiple actions that I either do not want to learn or think about. One of my favorite features in Enhance is Auto Levels and Colors accessible through the Corrections tab. Now, it does not work perfectly all of the time, but there are sliders in the right control panel for either fine tuning or overriding the suggested output.
The following screen shots will give you an idea of the power of this action. I picked a shot I took from the roof of our apartment building during a snowstorm. As expected, the light is flat. The first shot is the RAW image opened in Adobe ACR with Auto adjustment applied for exposure and curves.
The second shot is the image within Perfect Enhance 9. I selected the Auto Levels and Curves function as noted above. Clarity is better, there is more texture to the snow on the river, but contrast is a bit high and shadows too deep. There is also more noise in the darker areas of the bare trees.
I wanted a softer, more subtle contrast to make the image more like what I saw with my eyes. I adjusted the fill of the layer in Photoshop down to about 50%. The final image is below. Click on the image to see a larger version of it.
In addition to Corrections there is another set of actions called Enhance.
Here is the untouched raw image ...
and a version using the Magic City action in Enhance.
Again, I made a few adjustments to make the image more to my liking, added a lighten adjustment in PS and ended up with this.
I show the above examples as radical adjustments to show the power of the software. The shot below is more typical example of how I use the program in my work.
I find Perfect Enhance 9 to be a very versatile program. It is very easy to customize the actions and use other tabs for sharpness, vignette, noise reduction and more. OnOne software does offer full function demos of the software. You can try it for 30 days before you hit the buy button.