April 21, 2017 | 14288 Views | By Dan Harlacher
What Got Us Here – A Brief History
Looking back, 2016 was a huge year for us. The introduction of ON1 Photo RAW 2017 was a giant leap forward in the development of our products. Adding non-destructive editing and raw processing was the culmination of a multi-year migration away from simple plug-ins to a complete workflow application. Just a few years ago our products were all individual plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.
Working as a plug-in to other applications solved some of the photography challenges but limited what we could do. Our customers were asking for non-destructive editing and the ability to quickly copy and paste settings across multiple photos. We couldn’t solve those and many other problems as a plug-in, we needed to control the entire imaging pipeline in order to make that happen.
This migration was a big undertaking. We completely rebuilt the the entire image processing engine. Almost everything is now based in the GPU, so it is much faster and uses a fraction of the memory. Being in the GPU also makes copying and pasting settings or applying presets much faster. We will see many more long term benefits from these changes in future releases as well. What we did is the software equivalent of a heart transplant, meaning, we ran into many unforeseen issues along the way. The good news is that we are through our surgery and back on the recovery trail with some physical therapy still ahead.
This process has also taken longer than we anticipated, which is a lesson we’ve learned. The initial release of ON1 Photo 2017 went from an early fall target to the last day of fall, December 19th. Since the initial release, we’ve provided three free updates to resolve various issues reported by customers. These include increased performance, improved camera support and greater stability. Our analytics show customers spend more time in our app than ever before. In the recent past, with Photo 10, only about a third of users accessed it as a standalone application. The majority used it as a plug-in instead. With Photo 2017, that has flipped, now two thirds of you are using it as a standalone and only a third use it as a plug-in.
Your Voice Matters
Back in December we communicated an admittedly aggressive roadmap for ON1 Photo RAW 2017. One of our goals, and something you will rarely see from other companies, is this type of transparency. We want ON1 customers to see and hear what we are working on and what you can expect. We also want to be good listeners to our customers needs. The ON1 Photo Project gives us a great way to do just that. You provide the ideas and feedback, tell us what new features you want, and vote as a community on what is important to you. We’ve had almost 700 ideas submitted since the launch and have reprioritized feature roll out based on those submissions. There is also a big flip-side to being transparent. Things can change in an instant. Features may take longer to implement than we thought. The design of features may change and the order we implement them can change. There are so many different variables. Features and updates we are working on now are different than what I thought we would be back in December.
The Future is Really Bright
Your feedback via the ON1 Photo Project has been invaluable and also had a big impact on our product roadmap. So with that, here is what we are working on for the next free update we are targeting for the end of May or early June.
- Compare Mode — Compare mode is a new view mode in Browse for comparing multiple photos. It will allow you to select multiple photos and then zoom and pan them at the same time. Finally you will be able to zoom in and pick the best shot in a series.
- Lens Correction — The new Lens Correction pane will automatically detect your lens and reduce distortion, chromatic aberration and peripheral fall-off. If we don’t have a built-in profile for your lens you can manually adjust it as well.
- Improved Search — Soon you will be able to search using a variety of metadata fields and decided if the search must match all or any of the search criteria. This is one that we hadn’t planned on doing right away but there was so much strong feedback in the Photo RAW Project that we decided to move it up.
- Stacking of Presets — We are bringing back the Insert Preset command so you can stack presets in Effects again. This is another case where we are responding to feedback from you guys.
- Lightroom Migration — We get requests everyday on the best way to move from Lightroom to ON1 Photo RAW. Originally we wanted to build a tool that would migrate everything from Lightroom, including your presets and adjustments. However after talking to many users and looking at the processing differences we think it is much wiser to migrate the photos, their metadata and collections. As for adjustments, you will be able to export copies of your photos in Lightroom with the adjustments rendered to them, but they won’t be re-editable in ON1 Photo RAW. The ranges and algorithms are too different between the apps to translate them in a way that would produce acceptable results. This way you get exactly the results you have in Lightroom.
- Improved Preset Management — Soon you will be able to delete and rename preset categories as well as export categories for sharing and back-up.
- Improved Sharpening and Noise Reduction — We will be merging the Sharpening and Noise Reduction panes in Develop into a new Details pane that focuses on global corrections for RAW photos. This will give you better results in both areas. If you love the old Noise Reduction and Sharpening, don’t worry, you can still use them in Effects.
- Clone Stamp — Soon you will have the powerful clone stamp retouching tool from Layers inside of Develop and Effects as part of the non-destructive workflow.
We Aren’t Done
In addition to those features, we will be adding support for more cameras and will make additional improvements. Longer term there is way more great stuff coming. Most of it will come from your ideas and our ability to let our customers have a say in what is important. We are not quite ready to talk yet about some of these projects, but I can let the cat out of the bag a little. You will see versions which will get us to about 99% of our original Photo 2017 roadmap we communicated last year.
Looking even further ahead, we will be focusing on Layers and our plans are to bring it into the non-destructive editing workflow. We envision combining multiple raw photos together, that stay “raw” and then being able to size, mask and blend them together. You will even be able to process the full raw data right inside of a layered workflow. You will have a big say on what that will be, so now’s your chance to be a part of it. Keep sending us your ideas for the existing app and what you want in a future release through the ON1 Photo Project.
Thanks for your time today. Happy editing!