This is a collection of plug-ins from OnOne Software, and of all the programs I feature on Life after Photoshop, this is the one I know least well. I want to include it, though, because it offers an important alternative to Photoshop for those who use Aperture and Lightroom.
The key to this is the Perfect Layers 3 component. You can use this to combine and blend separate images, which is one of the few things you can’t do in Aperture and Lightroom. It’s backed up by a Perfect Mask component designed to offer powerful selection and masking tools for creating cutouts and blending layers.
There are other useful components in this suite: Focal Point 2 offers extensive blur control tools for deliberate defocusing, shallow depth of field and tilt-shift effects. You’ll find tutorials for this and Perfect Layers on this site.
You also get Perfect Effects 4, which is a large collection of special effects, film ‘looks’ and digital versions of favourite darkroom processes. These can be layered and combined in quite sophisticated ways. It’s similar to Nik (Google) Color Efex Pro 4 in this respect, though I don’t like Perfect Effects 4 as much myself because I find it more difficult to use and the effects somewhat cruder. I might warm to it in time, though.
Perfect B&W is an alternative to Nik (Google) Silver Efex Pro 2, though here again I prefer the Nik plug-in for the quality of results, its power, flexibility and speed. Finally, Perfect Portrait 2 is designed to enhance and beautify portraits (not something I like to do much myself, but others might), while Perfect Resize 7.5 lets you scale images up and down while minimising any quality loss from resampling. Resizing tools like this can’t generate detail that wasn’t recorded in the first place, of course, but they can prevent existing detail from being degraded by enlargement and preserve the appearance of sharp edges.
I want to spend more time getting to grips with Perfect Photo Suite because I think it offers a great deal of scope, it’s good value and it provides those all-important layering tools for Aperture and Lightroom. It can also be run as a standalone app, by the way.