PhotoDirector, at first glance, appears to be CyberLink’s equivalent to Adobe’s Photoshop Elements. Look a little further, however, and you’ll find it has its own niche market.
PhotoDirector is, unashamedly, intended for the pro-am and professional photographers. Its photo browser doesn’t do face tagging and a lot of the “social niceties” you’d expect from products intended for the living room user. It’s editor, powerful as it is, is designed just to support photos (TIFF, JPG and Raw formats only) rather than any kind of image work and the tools it offers exemplifies this further.
Once PhotoDirector 3 (PD3) starts you are presented with a window with 5 main options along the top – Library, Adjustment, Edit, Slideshow and Print.
In Library, down the side of the screen, you have tabs to select between your project and displaying current metadata. The project is your catalogue of photos. PD3 allows you to tag photos and group them into albums. You can also add star ratings to the images and select these from a “Smart Collection” section, along with your latest imports. Additionally, you can set some rules and create your own collections too.
Once you’ve selected a photo it will appear in the main part of the window, with a row of small images below showing those images in the same folder. The image will be zoomed to fit on screen but a quick click on it will shown full it size – if this is larger than can fit on the screen then just an appropraite area will be on-screen. A thumbnail shows wich area is being shown and you can click and drag on this to change the selection area.
Photos can be rated, flagged and even tagged with a colour. Word tags can be set up in a seperate sidebar and assigned by dragging the thumbnail to the same sidebar. Alternatively, you can type in tags via the metadata tab.
Finally, there is an easy share option that allows you to send photos to Facebook or Flickr. Sadly, Google Photos is not supported.
Adjustment is where it gets technical. After choosing a photo you can use this option to make numerous modifications to the photo – most of these are not changes that are made by having to physically edit the photo but by careful adjustment of colour, shadow, balance, etc. From here you can also use tools to rid red-eye and remove spots.
However, if you really want to make the final detail changes then the adjustment brush allows you to do just this with full editing of the image available.As I’ve said this isn’t a generic image editor so you can’t draw lines and circles but you can draw freehand as well as erase. Lastly, there is a poweful gradient editor too.
The Edit option is, to all intents and purposes, where you will find some automated and semi-automated effects. You can choose from such options as a toothbrush (allows you to whiten teeth!), skin smoother, wrinkle remover and even an eye “blinger”. Watermarks can be added and objects and backgrounds can be removed. There is a separate effects section but this is limited to tinting or blurring the photo or making it black & white or sepia.
All of these options are easy to use and produce great results. My only query is the cross-over between this and the Adjustment section – just why is red eye removal in one and teeth whitening in another?
Slideshow & Print
Both of these options are relatively simple so I’ll cover them together.
The slideshow option is relatively simple – drag photos onto the screen that you want to use and then define an effect, aspect ration and duration (along with some background music, of course). There are only 3 effects available so the whole thing is quite limited.
Once you’ve chosen that you can save the result (and you can choose the video format and dimensions) or upload it straight to YouTube.
Last of all, the print option is a, quite comprehensive, photo printing utility. You can place multiple photos on the page in a grid and really define exact measurements. Printer settings can, naturally, be specified and you can add a watermark to the resulting print.
Summary of CyberLink PhotoDirector 3As with some of their other products I found PD3 to really strain my poor old Athlon Neo X2 processor, with both cores idling at 50% whilst it was running. However, the genuine photography enthusiast is likely to have something far more powerful than this – but, certainly, this is something to bear in mind before purchasing.
With a current RRP of £79.99 it’s about the same as the current version of PhotoShop Elements. If you want to do general image editing or want an emphasis on photo cataloguing then this isn’t going to be the product for you. However, for those who are really into their photography then this is an excellent product.
Reviewed by David Artiss on 28th June 2012.