Imaging Software; The Digital Darkroom Gets More Processing Solutions

Various software vendors have introduced new products and enhanced existing applications for everything from basic image processing to advanced plug-ins. Choices abound in this exciting field.


Although no major product announcements have been made by Adobe, new versions of Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw have been released that improve performance and memory use and add support for the latest digital cameras that include raw file capabilities. What is new, however, is wide availability of, Adobe’s online service that includes storage, editing, and sharing features. The basic free package gives you up to 2GB of storage and easy synchronization with your address books. Photoshop Express is the online editing application and includes most of the features the casual user will want for their image editing, including color correction, black-and-white conversions, redeye removal, and more. Additional storage beyond the free 2GB is available at $19.99 per year for 20GB.

The biggest news from Nik Software is the availability of their Viveza plug-in for Lightroom 2.x users. Unlike some of the other plug-ins for Lightroom, you’re not required to have Photoshop installed on your system. Selecting the plug-in from within Lightroom launches a new window with all the Viveza controls. Your edited image is then saved back into your Lightroom catalog for further editing or output. Viveza has a list price of $249.95.

Nik Software Viveza

onOne Software has been busy updating all of their plug-ins with some major new features. The newest of these releases is PhotoTools 2, a quick start way of enhancing photos in Photoshop with little effort needed on your part. PhotoTools 2 includes almost 300 effects that were developed internally and by photographers like Jack Davis, Kevin Kubota, and Vincent Versace. The new Library makes it much easier to find the effects you’re looking for, and you can stack multiple effects together to create a new look. While the first release was useful, the newest version has greatly improved the user interface with the Effects Library and search tools, along with performance improvements. The Professional version works with Photoshop and also includes plug-ins for Apple’s Aperture and Adobe’s Lightroom. PhotoTools 2 Professional lists for $259.95. A standard version with fewer presets and no integration with Aperture or Lightroom is $159.95.

An update to the Plug-In Suite, Version 4.5, is also available now. With all of the plug-ins offered by onOne—Genuine Fractals 6, PhotoTools 2, PhotoFrame 4, Mask Pro 4.1, PhotoTune 2.2, and FocalPoint 1.1—included in a single package, you can save a significant amount of money as the full price is $499.95, compared to nearly $1300 for the individual plug-ins.

onOne Software PhotoTools 2