PhotoDirector 7 by Cyberlink is designed to help photographers, even those new to digital editing, to improve their images quickly and easily. The program boasts advanced features such as Layers, lens corrections and Curves. These tools are also available in Photoshop, but the steep learning curve and financial commitment involved in studying Photoshop can be intimidating to newcomers, meaning there is a place in the market for simple, intuitive alternatives. We loaded up PhotoDirector 7 to check out its new features and photo improvement tools.
New features - All versions
Some of the new features, such as Layers and Blur tools, aren’t available in the lowest-priced version of the software so it’s important to know which one you’re purchasing. There are three versions of PhotoDirector available to buy: the Deluxe version has an RRP of £49.99, the Ultra version is £116.98 and the Suite version costs £151.98. But at the time of going to print both the Ultra and Suite versions were discounted to £54.99 and £79.99 respectively.
The new tools outlined in this section are available in all three versions. The first is called the Face Shaper. When activated, this tool automatically detects the model’s jawline and places Feature Points along it. Once you’ve confirmed these points are in the right place, a simple nudge of a slider is all it takes to shrink the selected area. When used in moderation, this can help to give a flattering, slimming effect to your subject. This new tool complements the existing Adjust Skin Tone and Body Reshaper tools that users of previous versions of the software will be familiar with. The former tool can be used to give your model healthier-looking skin, while the latter acts like the Warp tool in Photoshop’s Liquify filter. It allows you to reshape your model’s body by pushing pixels around with a brush. Another feature new to the Body & Face Beautifying Tools section is Eye Bag Removal. This tool also uses an automatic detection algorithm to establish the position of the eyes. Once you’ve confirmed the detection is correct, a slider controls the amount of brightness and blur applied to the area under the eyes. This can help to reduce the appearance of lines and bags. To complement this, a new Shine Removal tool suppresses highlights, giving the impression of diffused, studio-style lighting and minimises the appearance of oily skin. Finally, the new Eye Enlarger tool allows you to make your model’s eyes look more prominent. This enlargement is also applied by way of a slider, so you don’t need to worry about making tricky manual Selections or carrying out time-consuming brush work.
The least expensive version of the software, the Deluxe version, boasts all of the new features outlined above, but it doesn’t include compatibility with Mac OS X. If you’re a Mac user, you’ll need to invest in the Ultra or Suite versions of PhotoDirector 7, which we’ll look at next.
New features - Ultra and Suite versions
Beside Mac compatibility, the Ultra version features several other tools that aren’t available in the Deluxe version. The most important of these is Layers, which allows you to composite multiple images together, as you would in Photoshop. This is an advanced tool that opens up lots of creative avenues and has various Blending Modes including Multiply and Overlay to mix the different parts together. Among the other new features is a Split Toning tool for giving your shots a colour cast and an Auto-Lens Correction tool. This has over 100 presets built in and is designed to apply automatic corrections to your images to fix common issues such as chromatic aberration, barrel distortion and vignetting. Another of the new tools in the Ultra and Suite versions of the app is the 2D Panorama tool, which allows you to merge a sequence of images into a panorama. A Grain Effect is available, which can be useful as a unifying element when blending multiple images in tricky composites. There’s also a Radial Filter for adding vignettes and a selection of Blur tools.
Besides recreating that popular ‘bokeh’ lens blur look, you can also add zoom or motion blur effects to your images with the Radial and Focal Zoom blur
tools, which are easy to apply
and to reposition.
The Deluxe version lacks some fundamental features such as Mac support, lens correction and Layers, but if you can stretch to PhotoDirector 7 Ultra you’ll find an easy-to-use and surprisingly versatile photo-editing package.
- Price: £49.99 (PhotoDirector 7 Deluxe), £44.99 (PhotoDirector 7 Ultra), £67.99 (PhotoDirector 7 Suite) (Prices correct as of July 2016)
- Compatibility: Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista or Mac OS X v10.7 onward. 3GB RAM recommended for 32-bit OS, 6 GB for 64-bit OS. Intel Pentium D 3.0 GHz CPU or equivalent AMD CPU. Intel Core i7 or AMD Phenom II X4 recommended for 64-bit Windows. Multi-core Intel processor with 64-bit support for Mac. Graphics card with 128 MB VRAM required
- Free trial available: Yes. 30-day time limit
- Visit: www.cyberlink.com
This review was first published in the February 2016 issue of Digital Photo - download back issues here.