Review of onOne Software's Genuine Fractals Print Pro 5
June 17, 2007 12:16 am
All graphic programs and different plug-ins have ways to resample images in order to add pixels to enlarge an image. Genuine Fractals Print Pro has a unique way of doing so and has been improving its method for generations. Version 5 adds a huge number of new features that add more depth to the program. Genuine Fractals 5 and Genuine Fractals Print Pro 5 are plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop CS2, CS3, and Elements 4 or later. Below is a new feature chart:
And the program also contains the traditional features of CMYK (8-bit & 16-bit) and RGB (8-bit & 16-bit) with Grayscale (8-bit) now also having additional (16-bit) support.
There are two versions of Genuine Fractals 5, Genuine Fractals 5 and Genuine Fractals Print Pro 5. The difference is in the last feature. Genuine Fractals 5 does not have CMYK Color Mode Support (8-bit & 16-bit).
Genuine Fractals should be used immediately before printing. With this new version, one can also add improvements to a file that might not be necessary with a small file. I hope to illustrate this with my experience. Below are the dpi printer settings that onOne Software recommends:
I chose 240 dpi for my tests.
I chose two images to write about. I tested many more. One was an image that was in perfect focus. It was a landscape and was not supposed to necessarily look like a photograph. The other picture was an image of a rare hawk in its nest that we took with a long lens and a digital camera near our house. It was not perfect, but we wanted to keep it. The bird was not as crisp as it could be. The focus of it was soft.
The original image of the boat with the red sail was very crisp and sharp. There was even writing on the yellow house which was not legible in its original size.
Below are two screen captures of the sail boat at the two print sizes. Notice the details that were not visible previously.
The enlargement was fantastic. You could read the writing on the yellow building. I left all the defaults for this print as they were. This meant that I did not sharpen the image nor did I add film grain.
The bird in the image was a little out of focus to start. I knew this but decided it was a good choice to use. The small printed image, of course, did not show the out of focus aspect except from very close. However, only when one looked at the 12.6 X 14.3 inches image up close did one notice that the bird was slightly out of focus. From even a distance of a foot, it looked completely in focus. I would say Genuine Fractals Print Pro 5 allowed me to enlarge a slightly out of focus image and still get a very good print from it.
My only basic criticism, and it is minor, is that when using the controls of Genuine Fractals Print Pro5, it appears that the image is in better focus than is the reality. However, if you magnify the image 1:1 as the directions suggest, the problem disappears, and the image will look as it will look on the screen at print size and in print. It is really good to follow the directions and I will discuss them more later.
There are a lot of new options in Genuine Fractals Print Pro 5. Firstly, below is an example of version 4.1.
Next are pictured the panels from Genuine Fractals Print Pro 5. Notice all the new options. I will discuss these in the following paragraphs. These are the controls I used for the bird image.
Some of the new areas are: Texture Control, Sharpening, and Film Grain. One can also crop the image, magnify it, and move it around. These were also present in the previous version.
Texture Control: The Amount controls the amount of texture in the non-edge areas and the Threshold controls the amount of hard edge details that is enhanced. Keeping them at the default level is equivalent to what would be the built in controls for GF 4.1.
Sharpening: This control adds an Unsharp Mask style sharpening that is similar to Photoshop's. I recommend that you read the directions on the settings that they recommend once you turn it on. They can be found in the excellent Help section on the top toolbar.
Also, on the toolbar is a "Show Me How" header. Once clicked, it leads to a number of different videos. I recommend these as well. It has a video that discusses Sharpening, Texture, and Grain Control in the Advanced section.
Film Grain: This adds simulated film grain or noise to your image.
Layer Support: No longer will one have to flatten layers before using Genuine Fractals Print Pro 5. However, I was using layers on one image and I did find an artifact. This did not happen on all images, but I felt I needed to point this out because I repeated this test with the same image a number of times. Below is the picture with the artifact, the horizontal line.
When I flattened the layers, this did not happen.
Along with the full version of GF Print Pro 5, an Express version is installed called Genuine Fractals Express. It has no controls other than size modification.
With the new features a lot can be done with the image. While I was very satisfied with Genuine Fractals Print Pro 4.1 and printed excellent enlargements with it, overall improvement to the quality of an enlargement can be made with Genuine Fractals Print Pro 5 that might not be necessary when the image is smaller. These could not be accomplished with the earlier versions. That is the reason I worked with the bird image. Granted I could have worked with the bird image in Photoshop prior to enlarging it, but when printing it in its smaller size, it was not necessary because the slightly out of focus bird was not visibly out of focus in print when relatively small. It is only when it was enlarged that it became necessary to correct the condition. With Genuine Fractals Print Pro 5, I was able to create a very good enlarged print. I actually cropped it and enlarged it even further from the size shown above in the the review.
The Red Sail image just improved with enlarging. Here I had the sharpening and film grain turned off.
The system requirements are:
Windows 2000, XP SP2 or Vista
Mac OS X
Mac OS X 10.4.4 or later
The full price for Genuine Fractals Print Pro 5 is $299.95 with an upgrade price of $69.95. There is a free 30 day trial. For more information and information about other great products by onOne software go to their web site. Or you can call 1-888-968-1468. Also, the full version can be downloaded from their web site.
The full price for Genuine Fractals 5 is $159.95 with an upgrade of $69.95. There is also a demo that can be downloaded.
I definitely recommend this product and recommend viewing onOne Software's web site to further compare the two versions of Genuine Fractals 5.
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The Paula Sanders Report is a regular Renderosity Front Page featured column, where Paula investigates and comments on graphic software, techniques, and other relevant material through her reviews, tutorials, and general articles.