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By Jeff Gamet
Perfect Layers 2 (US$69.95) from onOne Software (www.ononesoftware.com) is a Lightroom and Aperture plug-in, as well as a standalone Mac OS X and Windows application, for layer-based image editing outside of Photoshop.
Its familiar interface makes easy work of editing images with layers without requiring the overhead that comes along with Photoshop -- and with a much lower price tag. New features, such as retouch brushes and a file browser, are part of version 2, and features from version 1, such as blending modes, adjustment layers, color fill layers, and masking brushes are still there.
Perfect Layers 2 is great for mixing multiple exposures into a single HDR-style image, or for creating effects by mixing pieces from similar images. I was able to make edits quickly without it ever feeling tedious.
The interface has a familiar feel that’s easy to figure out since it’s similar enough to image-editing tools we already use: tools are grouped in panels; layers can be toggled on and off; and the masking settings include easy-to-use slider controls.
Perfect Layers also supports Wacom tablets, so you can control brush settings simply by applying more or less pressure with your stylus.
Edited images are saved as PSD files, so you can continue working with them in
Lightroom or Aperture. Or, if you want to make additional edits in Photoshop, the file layers are fully editable there, too.
The tools and interface are well thought out, and they should be because Photoshop User Editor-in-Chief Scott Kelby helped design the app. Perfect Layers 2 just adds the layer tools Lightroom and Aperture users need to quickly make their images look even more professional, without too much pain in the pocketbook.
Rating: 10 out of 10
(This review is brought to you courtesy of "Layers Magazine": http://layersmagazine.com/ .)