Yesterday saw the official release of Perfect Layers from onOne Software. This is a pretty revolutionary plugin for Lightroom and Aperture that allows the use of layers within both of these programs. For those of you who don’t have Photoshop, prefer to do most of your work in Lightroom/Aperture, or just want a quick and easy way to add layers, you should definitely check out Perfect Layers. I haven’t used it a ton yet, but from my brief experience, it functions very well. Similar to Photoshop, multiple images can be stacked with different blend modes and opacities, and layer masks can be created to selectively mask two or more images together.
As an example of what is possible with Perfect Layers, I decided to try some manual exposure blending using two images at different exposure levels. Below are the two images I brought into Perfect Layers:
I stacked these two images with the overexposed shot on top, and set my blend mode to Normal. From there, I used a layer mask to selectively paint where I wanted the underexposed shot to show through. I varied the opacity of my brush through the frame to get the blend that I wanted. One of the great things about Perfect Layers is that it allows you to easily view your mask in different ways to see exactly where you’ve brushed in or out. Once I had the image where I wanted, I did a quick bit of styling in PhotoTools and I was done. Below is the final image:
I can see myself using Perfect Layers for quick exposure blending and layer masking. The ability to edit layers right in Lightroom is amazing, and I can’t wait to really put this plugin through its paces.
You can download a 30-day trial of Perfect Layers right now, or pick up the full version for the introductory price of $99.95 (a $30 savings). Give it a go…you won’t regret it.