Welcome to this occasional ‘Preset Picks’ series, which showcases the best preset image effects from different programs and then takes them apart to see just how they were done.
This is the MacArthur preset in ON1 Photo RAW 2019’s Texture Combos preset category. It gives a strongly-textured print-like appearance and a faded warm patina that suggests an old photograph taken at some indeterminate time in the past (actually it was taken just a month earlier).
ON1’s preset effects are made using combinations of filters and settings from its own filters library. You can see what these are in the Effects panel on the right side of the screen and get ideas about how these filters work and how you might use them yourself.
The thing to note here is that ON1 Photo Raw doesn’t just have the ability to stack multiple filters to create an effect, it can stack multiple instances of the same filter.
Here’s a screenshot of our image with the MacArthur preset applied, and you’ll see from the tools panel on the right that it uses the Textures filter twice and then the Dynamic Contrast filter.
In this screenshot, the top two filters have been collapsed and the Dynamic Contrast filter settings left expanded. You can expand all the filter panels by clicking on the filter title, and you can also hide the effect by clicking the orange button to the left. That’s what we’ll do to look at each filter in turn.
01 Textures filter 1: Paper > Postcard texture
This is what the photo looks like with the first Textures filter applied. ON1 Photo Raw comes with a library of textures you can apply to your photos. Commonly-used textures have buttons at the top, and below that are two drop-down menus: one for choosing the Textures category (Paper) and the texture itself (Postcard). Below this are various settings for adjusting how the texture is applied – here, Mode has been set to ‘Darker’ and the Saturation has been reduced to -50. This texture effect on its own is a start, but it’s not very striking yet.
02 Textures filter 2: Walls > Warm Concrete texture
Adding a second texture makes a big difference. This one is called ‘Warm Concrete’ and it’s from the ‘Walls’ category. This time, the Mode has been set to ‘Subtle’, but the other settings have been left unchanged. ON1 Photo RAW has a good selection of textures, and by combining them you can achieve an almost infinite number of variations, especially when you start experimenting with the different Mode settings and other adjustments. This picture still looks a little photo-realistic, though, and not quite like an old print. That’s where the Dynamic Contrast filter comes in.
03 Dynamic Contrast filter
The ON1 Dynamic Contrast filter can be useful on its own and when combined with other filters. It can enhance the contrast around small, medium and large details in the photo, make adjustments to he image’s tone settings and adjust its vibrancy too. Here, the Medium and Large contrast settings have been increased, the Shadows slider has been used to lighten the darker parts of the photo and the Vibrancy has been reduced so that the colours in the photo are toned down and the colours of the Textures filters come through.
The finished effect works because of the way the two Textures filters and the Dynamic Contrast filter have been combined. Creating attractive presets is a skill in itself, and while these filters are pretty straightforward to work and out and apply from a technical point of view, knowing which textures will work together and the settings needed to combine them effectively takes a good deal of skill and experience. That’s why preset publishers can charge for their preset collections!