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  • Ed Dozier

Use an External Editor from Inside ON1 Photo RAW 2023

I found it to be challenging to figure out how to execute some external editors from within my ON1 Photo Raw 2023 program. I thought I’d save you the pain of finding out how to do this yourself. I’m not talking about plug-ins here, which ON1 can also use, but actual executable programs instead.


I happen to feel that Topaz DeNoise AI and Helicon Focus programs produce better results than those built-in features of ON1 Photo Raw 2023. These are just two examples of external photo editing tools that can be invoked from within ON1 Photo Raw 2023.


I’ll start by showing you how to run Helicon Focus from within ON1, and then later demonstrate Topaz DeNoise AI. Helicon expects a bunch of photos to convert into a focus stack. In addition, Helicon doesn’t know how to decode my camera’s raw-format files, so they need to get converted before running Helicon. Why would I use Helicon Focus instead of the built-in stacking feature in ON1 Photo Raw 2023? Because Helicon Focus can stack many more photos and is overall more sophisticated at stacking than ON1 Photo Raw 2023.


Going against logic, you have to invoke external editors from within the Browse module of ON1 and NOT from within its Edit module.



Running Helicon Focus from ON1




Run another application


From within the Browse module, multi-select the photos that you want to get processed by Helicon Focus. For most other editors, you only have to select the single photo you want to edit outside of ON1.


After the photos are selected, click the right mouse button, and then click on ‘Send to Other Application…’. In the future, you won’t have to do this procedure with your external application, because ON1 will remember it and you’ll be able to select it directly from the list.




Locate your application and then click ‘Open’


In the shot above, I navigated to ‘HeliconFocus.exe’ and then clicked the ‘Open’ button.




Multiple photo warning


Since I selected a bunch of photos to get stacked, ON1 got nervous and wants to double-check that I really want to send all of the photos to Helicon Focus. Yes, I really want to.




Send copies of photos; not originals


The first dialog that shows up wants to know if the original file or a copy of the file should get sent to the external editor. I have elected to send a copy that retains the edits I have already done from within ON1. DON’T click ‘Edit’ yet!!!


Helicon Focus doesn’t understand my cameras’ raw format files, so I have to get them converted into a file format that it recognizes. I decided to send it ‘tiff’ format. Next, click ‘Copy Options’.




Select TIFF from the format options


I have chosen to select the TIFF format and SRGB color space for my stacked photos. This is a file format that my program Helicon Focus is happy with. Now, I can click Edit to continue on to the external editor.




Progress dialog while making TIFF photos from raw photos


The ON1 program lets me know it’s busy converting those raw photos into TIFF copies, preserving the original raw files. This can be time-consuming.


After the copies are all completed, the Helicon Focus program gets called and each of the photos is supplied to it. Now, you’re able to tell Helicon Focus to ‘render’ the focus stack as usual.




Rendered focus stack is ready to be saved





After Helicon Focus finishes ‘rendering’, you can click ‘Save…’ just like you normally do.





Helicon Focus ‘Save’ dialog for finished stack





After the stack is saved, exit Helicon Focus


Quit Helicon Focus by selecting ‘Exit’, just like normal. Helicon Focus will close, and the results are available for further editing in ON1, if you wish. Now, you can continue editing in the ON1 program.


If you later decide to make another focus stack, you’re now going to find that Helicon Focus is now visible as an external editor option when you right-click on a photo (or set of photos) from the Browse module! It will also be an option via the File | Send to Helicon Focus 8.




ON1 will now remember Helicon Focus



From now on, you can directly get to Helicon Focus without having to locate it manually.







Running Topaz DeNoise AI from ON1


I happen to like the sharpening results from Topaz better than using the built-in sharpen features on ON1. Here’s how to run Topaz from within ON1.


You start out just like you did in the example above, except you select only a single photo from the Browse module that you want to sharpen. Topaz also doesn’t like my camera raw-format files, so I’ll need to convert the photo first.


Right-click on the desired photo, then click the ‘Send to Other Application…’ to get the following dialog.





Browse to where Topaz DeNoise AI.exe is located



In the shot above, I navigated to ‘Topaz DeNoise.exe’ and then clicked the ‘Open’ button.




Send copies of photos; not originals


The first dialog that shows up wants to know if the original file or a copy of the file should get sent to the external editor. I have elected to send a copy that retains the edits I have already done from within ON1. DON’T click ‘Edit’ yet!!!


Topaz DeNoise AI doesn’t understand my cameras’ raw format files, so I have to get them converted into a file format that it recognizes. I decided to send it ‘tiff’ format. I clicked ‘Copy Options’ to see what’s shown above. After configuring the desired file format (TIFF), now I can finally click the ‘Edit’ button.


ON1 converts the raw photo into a TIFF copy, and then it starts up

Topaz DeNoise AI.




Topaz DeNoise AI opens up after ON1 runs it.


The screen shot above shows how Topaz DeNoise AI runs like normal, using the (TIFF) file that was sent from ON1. After finishing with Topaz DeNoise AI, you can use the sharpened file back in ON1.




New Topaz option now visible under Edit menu also


Just like the Helicon Focus example, once you get Topaz DeNoise AI configured it will be available automatically in the future for you to select when you right-click a photo in the Browse module or if you click on the Edit menu option.



Summary


It’s very common to need to process a photo for some special feature that your general photo editor cannot do. Being able to call an external editor from within ON1 is very powerful and useful.







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