Hi rikgibbons, first of all thank you for your feedback. It really depends on what you are expecting to create - the manual (without Photomotion) scope of any photo animation is a really tedious process involving dozens of steps to create even a basic parallax effect. Each projection included in Photomotion can do the same in 3-4 steps max (including full 3D projection). That is simply unparallel compared to other tools or manual processes in After Effects.
Of course if you are looking for one-click solution to animate pictures at the same quality that Photomotion provides, it might be a bit of a push to find anything like that on the market today (not just for After Effects). It should be expected to spend a few minutes at least on each animation. At the end of the day, good photo animations are about quality and attention to detail. And when it comes to quality vs speed, the best animations are relatively quick to make, yet photorealistic in quality.
We regularly monitor how long it takes to animate similar pictures with Photomotion vs from scratch (vs other tools) and you're looking at approx. 80-90% time savings compared to manual setups. That's huge time savings especially because you are likely going to be animating multiple pictures so having Photomotion help with 80-90% of work is really going to help. Of course certain areas, such as masking you mentioned, is done natively in After Effects (or by importing from other tools if you prefer, e.g. Photoshop has the best masking tools and even layered PSD filea are fully compatible with Photomotion).
We have a ton of video tutorials on https://help.integnity.com plus we are always here on live chat: https://chat.integnity.com so if you run into issues, or just need some advice on how to make the most out of your specific usecase - just let us know!