Perfect Photo Suite 7
OS X 10.6, 10.7, 10.8
Age Rating: 4+
$299.95; $149.95 (upgrade)
For the busy photographer nothing beats having a set of utilities that can improve your photo in a quick and easy fashion. Available in separate modules, this is the Photo Suite collection wrapped up together that can be installed as a standalone app or as a plug-in for the major graphics packages. There are five new products plus two existing ones. The new ones are Perfect B&W, Perfect Portrait 2, Perfect Layers 3, Perfect Effects 4 and Perfect Resize 7.5 Pro with Perfect Mask 5.2 and FocalPoint 2 being thrown in as well.
If you install this as a plug-in for Photoshop then you don’t get the Perfect Layers part because it’s redundant in this context. Of these, the major ones are B&W, Portrait and Effects but they all have something to offer.
The B&W package covers standard mono conversion plus throws in some effects-driven options as well as classic film stocks. The Portrait package is for cleaning up and enhancing portraits and has an automatic face detection mode. It’s similar to Portrait Professional but is a little more restrained than that rival package. Teeth and eyes can be automatically brightened once defined and there’s some skin cleaning options too. The automatic blemish removal isn’t that enthusiastic, but fortunately there’s local brushes that can be used to remove them anyway. Recognising that skin softening removes texture, which is one of the failings of rival PP, a grain-like texture can be added back in to give the feature more detail and avoid the dread plastic look.
One of the most comprehensive elements is the Effects package which is basically up against Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro 4. There are all kinds of grunge, retro, cross-processing and colour effects here. It tries quite hard as there are some effects that are fairly weak but others, with texture overlays can be very creative. What it’s missing is any kind of randomising feature so while there are six type of light leak and you can vary the opacity, they look the same every time.
Macworld Australia‘s buying advice
This is a value for money package there’s no doubt about that. You get a lot of really useful stuff. The question is whether you need a good all-rounder or something that excels in one area. Color Efex Pro 4 is better than Perfect Effects 4 while Alien Skin’s Exposure 4 is much better than Perfect B&W. I actually prefer Perfect Portrait 2 to Portrait Professional’s over the top style but that’s personal choice as PP has a few more features. Still, Perfect Resize 7.5 Pro is one of the best for resizing and FocalPoint 2 has its uses. As an all-encompassing package, it offers pretty much everything you might want, in a very clean and usable interface.