ON1 Photo RAW 2018 is looking mighty fine!

As many of you may know, I am a guest coach and ON1 Guru.  That means I work alongside the ON1 team to bring education to their platform.  They are a wonderful group of people to work with, and they have done a phenomenal job with the release of ON1 Photo RAW 2018.

With this new release brings a lot of new features.  You, I am sure, have read all about them all over the web.  Things like Luminosity Masking, HDR, and Panoramas are among the top 3 for sure!  However, with each new release, they are producing a well rounded Lightroom alternative.  Which, in this contentious time for Adobe Lightroom, ON1 brings forth a darn good option!

I have five things that I like in ON1 Photo RAW 2018.  While I do like the HDR and Pano features, I am less inclined to include them in my favorites and talk more about the boring nerdy stuff that REALLY attracts me!

 1.  Speed

I rock a lightning fast i7 processor with two 4 Gig cross-fired Video Cards and 64 Gigs of Ram.  It is no slouch by any stretch, so I want my plugins and editing software to be able to keep up with my fast paced machine. In years past, ON1 Photo RAW has met the quota, but the new ON1 Photo RAW is blazing trails fast!

ON1 Photo RAW 2018 Speed

Whether I am in Browse flying through my photos or editing in Develop or Effects, ON1 Photo RAW 2018 can keep up with all the electrons that fire in my brain as I edit.  I love it!

2. Compression Issue

In the past, I had trouble with ON1 Photo RAW, and it was challenging to put my thoughts about it into words.   That is until I was editing a Milky Way Photograph and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  In ON1 PR 2017, I was editing a Milky Way photo and after exporting I saw about 300 more stars in the export than I did while I was editing it.  I thought it was odd, but opened another photo and the same thing happened.

After really analyzing it, I came to the conclusion that some sort of compression issue was happening to allow you to see a huge file (like the Sony a7rII RAW file) in a smaller editing window.  With this compression, I was losing stars in my Milky Way photo (until I exported) and some of my other images appeared to have hard contrasty edges (another sign of compression).

I brought it up to the developers at ON1.  It turns out my conclusions were correct.  However, I am pleased to report that the new ON1 Photo RAW 2018 seems to have solved the odd compression issue while editing.  It may seem like a picky thing, but I said this would be your nerdy report right?  It was a huge hangup for me that I can thankfully say is fixed!

3. Midtones Slider in Develop

I love that ON1 Photo RAW took a side step from everyone else in the industry here.  We have all seen the same old same old Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites, and Blacks.  It appears that Adobe made that the industry standard after they put the ax to the old Fill Light Adjustment from the CS5 days.

In the new ON1 Photo RAW you will find a Midtones adjustment in the develop module.  I think it is an excellent addition to the typical tools.  Anytime I can use one more tonal adjustment I will take it!  However, it is not some randomly placed slider in my opinion.  It works great when you want a little more highlight out of those highlights or to push those darks a slight bit more.

4.  Paint With Color

One thing I love to do when editing my images is Color Grade.  Color grading can take an alright photo to something phenomenal in a few simple steps.  We often overlook the importance of color grading, and our images suffer.

In ON1 Photo RAW 2018 you will find a new “paint with color” feature.   This feature can be found in your Local Adjustments and can be used to paint a color over any area of your photo.  For instance, if you want to boost your sunset photo with a bit more red, you can paint the sky red and use all of the immensely powerful features in the local adjustments to blend it in beautifully.  From your local protection measures to avoid your shadows, highlights, or mid tones, to Luminosity Masking.  Which brings me to my absolute favorite feature.

5.  Luminosity Masking

I have always freely boasted the praises of ON1 for the protection measures that are available in the advanced options of every local adjustment and effect layer.  However, they have stepped their game up to a whole new level.  They have added an innovative Luminosity Masking panel into the masking options.

What I like about this Luminosity Masking feature is it is lightweight and very similar to that of the custom Luminosity Masks I have put into the Zone System Express.  With the new Luminosity Masking tools in ON1 Photo RAW, you can dial in an exact mask very quickly using Levels and a Window slider.  In the example above I was able to pinpoint the gas of the Milky Way.  With this mask in the Local Adjustments, anything I do to the Tonal Values and colors will ONLY affect the Milky Way’s gaseous cloud.  How cool is that?

There is plenty more to ON1 Photo RAW

As I stated at the beginning of this post,  these are “Blake’s nerdy Top 5” favorite features of ON1 Photo RAW.  However, I can assure you there is a lot more to it than I can even begin to describe in under 1000 words.  ON1 Photo RAW is a one-stop shop for browsing your photos, RAW editing, and incredible finishing Effects.  I have been using ON1 software for over six years, and I have to say, they have rocked it out of the park with bases loaded in game 7 with this new version of ON1 Photo RAW.

Learn More About ON1 Photo RAW 2018

The links above to ON1 Photo RAW 2018 are affiliate links.  I do make a commission from each sale.  However, I would never let that cloud my judgment of a good program for the sake of a buck or two.  Everything you read here is an open and honest perspective on the new ON1 Photo RAW 2018.  Thank you for understanding.

Blake Rudis

f.64 Academy and f.64 Elite are the brainchildren of Blake Rudis. While he is a landscape photographer he is most passionate about post-processing images in Photoshop and mentoring others.


For Blake, it is less about the art and more about the process. He dives deep into difficult topics and makes them easy to understand through his outside the box thinking.


Blake Rudis on EmailBlake Rudis on FacebookBlake Rudis on InstagramBlake Rudis on PinterestBlake Rudis on TwitterBlake Rudis on Youtube

Pin It on Pinterest

Shares