Posted on June 1, 2011
Our latest product, Perfect Layers 1.0, which has been in Public Preview mode for a few weeks now is almost finished. We're doing daily builds of the software now and just fixing bugs and putting the finishing touches on it. If all goes according to plan, we expect to have the 1.0 version of Perfect Layers available for sale and download on June 17, 2011.
Along with this update, I'd like to let everybody know that we have decided to lower the regular price from the $159.95 level that we initially announced to an everyday price of $129.95. Additionally, beginning today, we are now taking pre-orders for Perfect Layers 1.0 and discounting the price an additional $30 to just $99.95. If you've already been playing with the Public Preview and are ready to pre-order Perfect Layers now, you can do so by clicking here.
Update: I forgot to mention that Perfect Layers 1.0 is free to owners of the Perfect Photo Suite 5.5 (aka Plug-In Suite 5.5). Perfect Layers will appear as a software update when it becomes available in a couple of weeks.
If you're new to Perfect Layers and want to learn more, you can check out our product page as well as take a look at the final user interface screenshots shown after the jump.
Just as a recap in case you're new to our Perfect Layers product, Perfect Layers is a fast and easy way to create layered files from within Photoshop Lightroom or Apple Aperture. With Perfect Layers you can create and edit multi-layered Photoshop files directly from Photoshop Lightroom and Apple Aperture, or use it to combine images from almost any workflow application. It can be used it to change skies, composite multiple images together and retouch portraits using the built-in blend modes. We're extremely excited to provide you with powerful layered functionality that seamlessly integrates into your photography workflow.
Here are just a couple of examples of what you can do with Perfect Layers. All images from this point on are from our good friends at Fred Marcus Photography.
This is a pretty common problem that all of us have experienced. We get the proper exposure for the foreground, but in doing so, we blown out the exposure for the sky. You can see in the screenshot below that I've already done the edits to this photo, but let me walk you through what each one is and why we did it.
In the second step, we simply selected our original layer and then duplicated it and set the blend mode to Multiply to increase the overall contrast of the image. I then double-clicked on the layer (and the others) to rename it so I would know what it was if I go back and edit it later.
Next, we duplicated that layer again and set the blend mode to Soft Light which gives the highlights in our image a bit of a glow. The opacity was adjusted to suit our tastes and you can do the same.
Next, we need to do something about the sky. By going to the File menu and choosing Add Layer(s) from file, we can insert any image we want into our current image. In this case, we've imported a more dramatic sky image and then rotated it using the transform tools in Perfect Layers. To blend the new sky image into the original, we set the blend mode to Multiply and the sky magically blends in to our shot!
Finally, to give the image an old-world, sepia tone, we added a color fill layer by clicking on the Fill button that is located just below the layer stack. When you click this layer you get options for what color you want to add as well as the blending mode of the layer. You can enter the color value that you want or you can choose from several preset color values that we've included. Here's the result.
Here's another example of fixing a blown out sky using Perfect Layers without importing a second image. Again, these photos are from Fred Marcus Photography.
First, we bring our original image into Perfect Layers.
To increase the contrast of the foreground, we duplicate the original layer by selecting it and clicking Copy and then changing the blending mode to Hard Light.
Next, just add a color fill layer using the Fill button. I selected the color values manually to simulate an 82 cooling filter and adjust the opacity to my liking. I used the rectangular Masking Bug to limit the blue color just to the sky and to protect the foreground from being affected. If you've ever used PhotoTools or FocalPoint, you're already familiar with the Masking Bug.
So there you have it. Two quick and easy ways to enhance your photos using Perfect Layers. And just so you don't have to scroll all the way back up to the top, if you're interested in taking advantage of the limited time $30 discount we're offering for pre-ordering Perfect Layers, click here to buy it now.