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Cyberlink PhotoDirector 3 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £90
inc VAT

An interesting blend of features inspired by Lightroom and Photoshop Elements; it doesn't beat either but the combination of features works well

PhotoDirector was first launched in June 2011 as a lower-cost rival to Adobe Lightroom. With three versions in less than a year, Cyberlink has clearly been busy. Thankfully this update is free for all existing users who paid full price.

PhotoDirector skin
The People Beautifier tools (used here on the right side only) can take years off you – just remember never to let anyone see your actual face ever again

Adobe has been busy too, though, launching Lightroom 4 and slashing its price in half. This puts the two packages in direct competition and puts enormous pressure on PhotoDirector, but this latest update shows it to be a feisty underdog.

The Edit tab is new and includes various tools that have more in common with Photoshop Elements than Lightroom. The People Beautifier section can whiten teeth, enhance eyes, smooth skin blemishes and eliminate wrinkles. The former three processes are applied as brush strokes, and are unusually effective in their subtlety and photo-realism. They’re non-destructive, too, so as with the tools in the Adjustment tab, they can be tweaked or removed later without having to wade through the undo history.

The Wrinkle Remover involves defining the offending area and manually grafting some smooth skin from elsewhere, with colours matched automatically and convincingly. Whether home users need to airbrush faces is highly dubious but there’s no questioning the technology. It’s a destructive process, though, so edits are permanent, including for any previously applied treatments. A Save As command avoids losing the original file, although it’s confusing that clicking Yes discards the edits.

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Price £90
Rating ***

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