ON1 Effects 10 Review
When I first tried ON1 Effects 10 software after some friends and my father recommended it to me (he’s amateur photographer as well) I wasn’t very impressed. It looked to me as a large collection of presets most of which were useless and not in my style. However, he was so positive about it that I decided to give this software another chance and spent more time with it and as I started to learn it, I discovered it’s a really powerful suite which is great for finishing your photos.
Introduction & Pricing
ON1 Photo 10 bundle (which includes ON1 Effects) costs $119.99 or $99.99 for the upgrade from previous version. However, you can buy ON1 Effects 10 separately for $59.99.
I went with whole suite option but this review will be solely about Effects app. I’m not that keen on other apps in the package (Browse, Resize, Enhance, Portrait and Layers) as I prefer to use Capture One, Lightroom and Photoshop for that. Don’t get me wrong – they aren’t bad but I just prefer different approach.
ON1 Effects 10 can be used both as a standalone app and as a plugin to Lightroom or Photoshop and most of the time I use the latter since I don’t use LR that often anymore for reasons described in this article.
User Interface and Editing Photos
ON1 Effects 10 user interface is really simple and easy to use. It’s also quite elegant with dark skin.
There is a preview image in the middle. To its left you’ll find list of presets grouped into categories (like Landscape, Architecture or Black & White) and to its right – settings panel which lets you modify settings of the selected preset or create your completely new one. Both presets and settings panels can be hidden so you can preview your image in larger size.
Each of the presets is built of one or more filters which are basically various editing tools (there are more than 20 different filters to choose from) like eg. color enhancement, local contrast, black & white conversion, blur, glow, sunshine effect, split toning, vignette. Each of these filters have a lot of settings to adjust and these settings vary from filter to filter, eg. black & white conversion filter lets you control channel mixer and add noise grain to the image. Split toning in turn lets you select colors for highlights and shadows.
What’s more, multiple filters can be used together, i.e. you can use several filters at the same time to create specific effect, eg. black & white image with strong contrast and vignette effect. As you can see in the image above I applied Tone Enhancer (to adjust details and contrast), Color Enhancer (to increase saturation), Photo Filter (to warmify the image) and Sunshine (to add a little glow around the sun) to get the look I wanted.
All this can be really overwhelming at first but fortunately there are dozens of presets to get you started and many of them will be sufficient for you for quite some time. For instance I used Magic Ocean from Landscape category for probably a dozen of images before I decided to start playing with sliders and filters. As you learn the software you might try experimenting with the settings, adding additional filters or removing existing ones from the preset to get the look you want. That’s how I learnt the software.
Apart from filters, there’s much more. There are local adjustments (gradient and adjustment brush which also supports excellent auto-mask feature), masks allowing you to limit influence of a filter to particular area, there are blending modes or ability to apply a filter just to highlights and shadows. Endless possibilities.
Honestly speaking I don’t see many issues with this software. Sure, I found a few bugs here and there while using it but most of them are not even worth mentioning (and as a developer I know that bugs are as inevitable as death and taxes).
The only bigger issue for me is that I already experienced several crashes while using the plugin. They don’t happen very often but sometimes after spending a few minutes fine-tuning the settings it was quite irritating.
Summing up, I really like ON1 Effects 10 app. It offers virtually endless possibilities of finishing your images – no matter you prefer to pick one of the built-in presets or want to create your own settings from scratch. No matter you’re into realistic processing or something more grungy.
- A lot of built-in presets
- A lot of different filters to modify the look of photos
- A lot of more advanced tools like eg. layer masks, local adjustments, ability to use blending modes for filters
- Good performance most of the time
- Performance could be better sometimes
- Some minor bugs
- It’s a bit overwhelming at first