Cyberlink PhotoDirector 3

3/26/2012 9:03:19 AM

Cyberlink PhotoDirector 3

3 stars

$149.95, including VAT

Anyone familiar with Adobe Lightroom pretends to be surprised when seeing PhotoDirector 3. They say pretence is the best honest flattery, and we can see the reason why CyberLink wants one part of Lightroom.’s actions. We have been fans of Adobe’s adjustment tools for a long time, and we are impressed by the adding of lens’ profile adjustment ability in the lastest version.

PhotoDirector 3may lack this feature, but it has most other things. Even those who do not use Lightroom will soon get used to PhotoDirector’s work stream: import, paste tag, adjust, and export. The effective is Lightroom’s main attraction and no difference here.

The application is divided into three main parts: Library, Adjustment, and Slideshow. Library takes care of organizational aspect, allows you to import and paste tag for all photos, or just special folders. You can search for photos based on many details from key words to EXIF data such as shooting speed and aperture. However, you cannot search for photos taken by a special lens.

With Lightroom, you can mark, discard, and rank photos. So long as you spend some time doing this for all your imported photos, you cn quickly keep track of the nicest photos from each event at later time.

Adjustment area is the place where you will certainly save most time for. There are quite many options to see and adjust photos, including the useful option to use the second screen for previewing adjusted photos at full screen. If you do not have this luxurious thing, you can select the overall screen separated from the original on the left or at the top, and effects of adjustments on the right or at the bottom.

Being easy to shift between the overall screen and effect, but unlike Lightroom’s layout with toolbars on the left and right of photos, PhotoDirector only has controls on the left.

You have the manual adjustment option or option from preset list. Tools’ order is as the same as in Lightroom; however, it does not embrace what you need. It is easy to fix white balance bug, even with JPEG, and Raw file from all famous cameras is also supported. Other tools include tone, levels, colours, sharpening, noise reduction, and vignette correction.

Adjusting a slide bar reminds of a real time update, but we find that it can take one or two seconds to update photos on the second screen. By using regional adjustment tools, you can quickly remove red eye and stain. The presence of Lightroom’s gradient allows you to increase the contrast ratio in the sky as if there was virtual ND filter. It is not subtle here as in Lightroom, but it does a good job. Rotating and croping photos are also feasible, but there is no specialized straighten tool to adjust light horizon.

Since PhotoDirector is not destructive, just adjustments are saved and your original photo remains unchanged. You can save the adjusted photos as new files, and there are many options when you click on Export button… In addition to potision and file name, you can also choose output format, quality, and size. You can prevent unadjusted photos from being compressed, resize photos with special sizes (and prevent them being made larger than the original) as well as auto-focus them. Since you can save the set-up under profile format, it is easy to create some similar photo series – for example, creating photo series to print and the one for Facebook. In fact, PhotoDirector allows uploading directly on Facebook and has slideshow creation app allowing you to create video HD for YouTube accompanied by background music.

PhotoDirector 3 is a alternative option for those who cannot afford Lightroom. However, there are things to improve. We like to see more screen shortcut keys in the next version together with slideshow output option that can be embedded into your website. The Photoshop Elements’s latest version has similar price, greater adjustment tools and layers support. It also has easy automatic photo editing as well as the interesting Guided Edit mode for creative results.

If you are considering Lightroom but cannot afford it, PhotoDirector is a good choice for you. However, for those who want options working with layers and masks, Photoshop Elements is a more profitable item.

Photo adjustment software. Windows XP SP3, 2GB RAM, 128MB graphic card, 1GB disk space.

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