CyberLink’s PhotoDirector 8 Ultra is a very capable and comprehensive piece of software, with some great tools on offer...
The RAW conversion is as well featured as Lightroom in many aspects, and the sliders throughout the editing module are very reminiscent of Adobe, so are great for anyone switching over. Highlight and shadow recovery is done well, while additional tools such as White Balance and Hue/Saturation/Luminance (HSL) allow you to work with the colours in finer details.
Navigation is simple, with tabs labelled concisely with options such as Library, Adjustment, Edit and Layers. Each particular tab is responsible for a particular task in your workflow, however when you want to switch between them PhotoDirector asks you to make a virtual copy before you can, which reduces the fluidity you find in other editing suites. This doesn’t detract from the overall useability, but we’d have liked to have seen all of these options interact seamlessly.
There are a large number of tools on offer, although some are more powerful than others. The basic Adjustment tools, such as Curve, Levels and White Balance, are brilliant and work as well as the best on the market. The options in the Edit tab are a bit more hit-or-miss. Face detection, while perfectly decent, isn’t as comprehensive as PortraitPro, and the single filter style options under the HDR and Colour Effects are very overpowering. The Presets also suffer from a lack of subtlety, and can lead to overprocessed results.
Although PhotoDirector supports a Layer system, it feels more like an afterthought, with a very limited range of possibilities in comparison to Photoshop. That said, you do have the option to use blending modes and add additional photos which you can adjust.
PhotoDirector is an interesting piece of software, with some very well executed functionality and versatility, though does falter on the preset front.
Large range of tools
Easy to use
Feels a bit slow
Portrait retouching a bit overpowering
Layers aren’t well implemented
RAW conversion: Yes
System requirements: Mac OS X 10.8/Windows 7 or higher