PortraitPro Studio Max is perhaps the easiest-to-use offering here, with nothing as complicated to achieve as the excellent results would suggest....
From the RAW conversion to finer edits, this is a very intuitive setup.
Load your image into PortraitPro and it automatically detects every aspect that it can work with (eyes, mouth and chin, for example). You can select from different basic presets, which are more like guidelines than finished edits, then work your way down a series of sliders, all of which apply a very subtle form of manipulation. Be it changing the shape of the face or features, to adjusting the hair and eye colour, it’s all pleasingly simple.
It may not be as comprehensive as a full editing suite, but this is a perfect introduction to the world of portrait editing and something that will explain the basic process well. None of the adjustments are too overpowering and the addition of a lighting system (letting you move the highlights and shadows on your model’s face as if you’re shining a torch) is a brilliant one.
For anybody who has watched tutorials online, or witnessed people using complicated tools like Photoshop’s Liquify, you’ll be pleased that an aspect of reshaping is contained within the comprehensive slider system and couldn’t be easier to master. Many aspects of the face can be reshaped to give a portrait that extra pop. Skin smoothing is also included and, while easy to overdo, gives very impressive results.
Using PortraitPro allowed us to complete an edit that would normally take upwards of half an hour in just five minutes, and while not quite to high-end standards, we were amazed by the results we achieved. Although there are obvious limitations (this is exclusively for portraits and only works on faces), the sheer usability in an extremely challenging aspect of editing makes this a great purchase for portrait fans.
Simple to use
Slashes editing time
Amazing face detection
Limited to portraits
Lacks finer controls
Can look fake if overdone
RAW conversion: Yes
System requirements: Mac OS X 10.6/Windows XP plus