The climate shifts remarkably fast in the photography world with photographic winds availing from one direction and then another with metaphors between photography and the weather seeming to never end. Back in 2015, which in photo years might as well be the stone age, I reviewed a little piece of software called Perfect Photo Suite 9.5 from ON1. Suite 9.5 was a refreshing take on post processing our photographs and combined both the usability of the tried and true Lightroom with the layering punch of Photoshop. Now, on this blustery November morning four years later, I find myself evaluating the freshest offering from the good folks at ON1. Their latest processing baby is Photo RAW 2019 and friends…it’s one hell of a leap forward in post processing evolution.
Key goodies added to Photo RAW 2019
● A New & Faster Editing Workflow – All of the editing modules from previous versions have been combined into the Edit module to create a single place for editing photos. The former editing modules are now available as tabs to allow you to work in each seamlessly without changing the application appearance. These include Develop, Effects, Portrait, and Local Adjustments tabs.
● A New Workflow for Layers – ON1 Layers is no longer a separate module. Instead, the power of layers is accessible within the non-destructive workflow in the new Edit module. This allows for creating or editing multi-layered files, including raw files, and keeping non-destructive settings for each photo layer. Customers can also move, size and mask each layer. More importantly, and a new concept, each layer has its own non-destructive settings, all the way back to the original file. What’s most exciting is if you are working with raw files, powerful adjustments like exposure, highlights and shadows can now be processed using the raw data in a layered photo workflow. All without having to change modules or applications.
● New Lightroom Photo Settings Migration – New AI-powered algorithms give customers the ability to transfer Lightroom edited photos, keep the non-destructive settings, and move them into ON1 Photo RAW 2019. The updated Lightroom Migration Tool in version 2019 transfers almost every edit you can make in Lightroom including raw processing, crop, retouching and local adjustments along with folders, photos, collections, and metadata.
● New Focus Stacking – Automatically blend a series of photos at different focus distances to increase depth-of-field. It’s so fast, you can adjust the focus in real-time, just like changing the focus on your lenses. Think of it like HDR, but for focus instead of exposure.
● New Auto-Align Layers – Easily combine multiple photos as layers, then automatically align them based on image content, making it easy to mask and blend them together.
● New AI Masking Tool (coming Winter 2019) – This new tool, powered by machine learning, will allow customers to easily identify areas of their photos to create a selection or mask and the AI technology detects your subject matter and automatically creates a beautiful mask.
● New Portrait Tab – The new Portrait tab automatically detects faces in your photo allowing you to easily retouch, smooth skin, brighten and sharpen eyes, and whiten teeth.
● New Text Tool – The new text tool is perfect for creating posters, postcards, or adding your byline or watermark. Easily control font size, color, position, and more and then save a preset to add the same text overlay to a batch of photos quickly.
● New Master Keyword List – Now you can see every keyword you use in a single, searchable list. You can quickly apply, clear, edit, or delete keywords.
● Enhanced Local Adjustments – Local adjustments have been enhanced to use the raw processing data. This allows for more highlight and shadow details with more tonal range. This also includes new controls like haze, whites and blacks.
● New Filter Options in Effects – We have added dedicated film grain, curves and color adjustment filters to Effects. These let you add film grain to color photos and make advanced, targeted color and tone adjustments faster. There’s even a new filter selector that allows you to search for filters, learn what they do and even view a sample before you add them.
● New User Interface – The new user interface has a fresh and modern feel. Overall contrast has been reduced to make photos stand out along with a new font to help increase readability. Updated icons, tabs, and sliders will also take up less visual space.
● Additional Camera Support – Added support for the Fujifilm XF10, Fujifilm X-T3, Nikon P1000, Nikon Z7, Panasonic LX100 II, Leica M10-P.
● Additional Lens Profiles – Added lens profiles for: Canon EF35mm f/1.4L II USM (750), Chinon Auto Chinon 35mm f/2.8, KMZ Helios-40 85mm f/1.5, Nikon 200-500mm F5.6 174, Panasonic LEICA DG 8-18/F2.8-4.0, Panasonic LEICA DG NOCTICRON 42.5/F1.2, Pentax Pentax SMC Takumar 50mm f/1.4, Sigma Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC HSM, Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS, Sony FE 50mm F1.8, Tamron 14-150mm F/3.5-5.8 DiIII C001, Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 (A032), Voigtländer Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar III.
Now let me show you some of my favorite new features of ON1 Photo RAW 2019 from that massive list and why I feel the team at ON1 stopped trying to beat the competition in favor of changing the game.
Breaking Down Walls
The design of ON1 Photo RAW 2019 has received a beautifully modern overhaul. Not only that, but remember when I mentioned how ON1 has worked to combine the power of Photoshop with the Spartanistic simplicity of Lightroom? Well, Photo RAW has brought this potent integration into even sharper relief by streamlining the user interface and reducing the complete reliance in the modular “effects, layers and develop” environments. This differs from previous versions of their processor by switching in favor of a highly familiar “panel” layout.
This has Lightroom written all of over it and is less cumbersome. Personally, I love this. Everything is right where I need it in a condensed down “Edit” module with the entire experience being not-so overwhelming which was one of my only(but biggest) gripes when reviewing some of ON1’s earlier generations of software. Now, the layers and develop ecosystems flow seamlessly together.
And of course, you still have access to all the insane library of presets and cool effects that you would expect from ON1.
Seriously…ON1 has a ridiculous amount of presets and filters from which you can choose…go ahead…do it…do it…do it….
Non-Destructive RAW Power with Layers
In Photo RAW 2019 you can now work non-destructively and more powerfully with your editing. This means that you have the original RAW data available so that each layer can be reverted back all the way to it’s original state.
What’s more, this new non-destructive layering system puts the dynamic versatility to work for your when it comes to layering local adjustment layers by providing more dynamic range for better highlight and shadow recovery.
New Text Tool
I write A LOT of articles and blog posts. If there’s one thing that remains a little bit of thorn in my editorial side it’s adding text to my images. I’ll go ahead and admit it…I still is MS Paint for most of my text applications. I’m not ashamed…kind of proud really. Unfortunately for my old buddy MS Paint, I’ve found a new and much more flexible method for adding text to my images. Photo RAW 2019 now has a dedicated text tool….
Now you can choose from any font on your system and apply it directly to your photos. This is a great way to add quick text and watermarks without having to take a more atavistic route or opening up Photoshop.
Migrate Lightroom Catalog…edits included
Photo RAW 2019 has some nifty tricks for making sure you are able to work alongside other programs such as Lightroom and Photoshop. One of the freshest features to come a long is the ability to completely migrate your beloved catalogs from Lightroom directly into Photo RAW including the edits you’ve already made in Lightroom. This is done with the Lightroom Migration Assistant and is incredibly easy if you have ON1 selected as a plug-in for Lightroom:
There are a few things to remember is that you should always have your catalog(s) backed up and secure before you migrate and depending on your catalog size you should be ready for a little bit of a wait while your images copy over to Photo RAW.
Take the Brand New Photo RAW 2019 for a FREE 30 day test drive….
I’m admittedly a long time Adobe guy. I make Lightroom develop presets and profiles, wrote the book(literally) on Lightroom and just released a brand new video eCourse series covering all aspects of Lightroom Classic CC. That being said…I’m completely blown away by the shear usability and versatility of Photo RAW 2019 from ON1. Of course, I don’t expect you to take my word for it so I hope you make use of their FREE 30 day trial. See for yourself whether or not you like the new kid in town as much as I did.
Let me know what you think about Photo RAW 2019. If you’re a Lightroom user could you see yourself making a complete switch or maybe just using ON1 alongside Adobe? Sound off in the comments.