ON1 is first out of the gat with their 2023 version of ON1 Photo RAW. The biggest changes – heavy use ofAI when it comes to making selections.

ON1 originally started out as a plug-in series for Photoshop (and later for Lightroom, and Apple’s Photos app). It now comes as both a stand-alone program plus separate plug-ins. The workflow in the stand-alone version is both a layered workflow and is non-destructive. Meaning your RAW file (and you KNOW you should be shooting in RAW) remains unaffected.

Super Select AI tool – this is what I’d call the heart of their selection process. When you import photos, ON1 starts analyzing them to see what’s in them – people, structures, sky, foliage, mountains, etc. When you mouse over an area with this tool, the specific area is highlighted. You simply click on it and either right click or choose the adjustment, Preset, or Effects to make to that specific area.

Mask AI tool – this has been updated to include the features in Super Select AI and includes the ability to invert a mask (“Paint Out” in ON1)

AI Adaptive Presets – these are presets that automatically select their specific regions (landscape, sky, people, etc.). Very effective and they can help speed up editing.

NoNoise and Tack Sharp AI – these tools are comparable to Topaz DeNoise AI and Sharpen AI, but are part of the stand-alone program (and will be released as separate presets on October 20th).

From an effects standpoint, ON1 Photo RAW 2023’s Presets and Effects cover just about everything you could possibly think of – including the ability to use third party LUTs – and allows you to use multiple effects to create a specific style.

So – you might be asking if there are any downsides to ON1 Photo RAW 2023 –

  • If you do a lot of masking of people, it’s not quite as good as Adobe’s Sensei. There is a Refine brush to to help fix areas that ON1 didn’t mask correctly.
  • If you do a lot of Compositions, you’ll probably find Photoshop to be the better tool to use.
  • The interface can be a bit confusing
  • There is an iPad/iPhone companion app, but does require a subscription.
  • My one big complaint – the installer still requires Rosetta 2 in order to install/run.

    Just my personal view – ON1 Photo RAW 2022 is a good blend of the best features of Lightroom and Photoshop in one program. What’s missing is Lightroom’s Map, Book and Slideshow capabilities.

    Test System – I tested ON1 Photo RAW 2023 on a 2022 M2 MacBook Air with 8GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. Some of the selections took maybe a second to load and when mousing over presets, these took a little more than a second to load. Not bad for 8GB of RAM. I fully expect it to run very fast on the M1 Pro 14” MacBook Pro I have.

    The big question – how will it compare to the next versions of Lightroom Classic and Photoshop. We’ll find out what’s new from Adobe on Tuesday, October 18th.

    Oh yeah….we’ll compare Adobe’s and ON1’s latest in the Smackdown class on November 5th at Bluestone Lane (yeah….that was a shameless plug).
Charles Putnam
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