Believe it or not, Photoshop isn’t the only advanced photo editing software in the game. PhotoDirector 8 Ultra from Cyberlink offers a number of robust features and effects for correcting and manipulating images. It’s a budget-friendly option that includes all the basics—like exposure adjustment, contrast, and white balance—but also unique fixes like body-slimming and face-beautification tools. Whether you’re working with stock photos or your original images, it provides plenty of horsepower to achieve professional results.
The workflow feels familiar, with layer support and correction tools, but this new version includes handy features like video-to-photo. This tool allows users to convert video clips into high-quality stills, or even panoramas. Unfortunately, it cannot reduce blur from movement, so subjects need to be holding still for the results to look crisp. If creating a panorama, the program does have content-aware capabilities to fill any empty spots left by meshing different angles, which is a cool benefit.
Also new to PhotoDirector, the multiple exposure effect makes it easy to combine up to 10 action shots into one image. This would requires lots of masks and layers to achieve in Photoshop. As long as a still camera was used to capture the original photos, the program can auto-generate a cool multiple exposure image. You can easily add a fade-in and -out effect to the series—making it look like your subject is in motion.
Another fun tool is color splash. This one is an oldie but a goodie—allowing you to pick a single color in an image to highlight while turning everything else to black-and-white. In PhotoDirector, you can isolate the color to one part of the photo rather than having every instance appear by using a brush to erase unwanted pops of color. The tolerance slider offers a way to quickly find the shade you wish to highlight.
If you’re more worried about physique than color theory, the beautification tools are for you. Body, skin, and face all have their own unique toolsets. Teeth instantly become whiter and wrinkles disappear with a few clicks.
If you want to protect your work, PhotoDirector also makes it super easy to add a watermark and adjust the opacity. It’s faster and more intuitive than in Photoshop because all the tools for creating and editing the watermark automatically appear in the left side panel.
Here are the main pros and cons of PhotoDirector after trying it out.
It’s more intuitive than many other programs, grouping features in a logical way and keeping tool names and icons consistent (for the most part) with Photoshop and Lightroom. This makes it easy to add the program to your editing repertoire without major onboarding time.
Also, PhotoDirector offers unique tools, like those for beautification and multiple exposures—allowing users to create professional effects at any skill level. You can easily export your final images to Facebook and Flickr, and all the normal photo adjustments are readily available. For all this, the price is totally reasonable.
Cyberlink offers their own cloud service, so if you use a different storage provider, you can’t automatically sync files to your cloud account. Although PhotoDirector overall offers powerful tools in an easy-to-use interface, it lacks a couple of components, such as geotag maps and tethered shooting.
In sum, PhotoDirector fits the needs of most photographers at a range of expertise levels. It even includes some special tools that not all programs contain. However, if you are married to Adobe Creative Cloud, there are a few key pieces of the workflow puzzle that you may miss.
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