Cyberlink PhotoDirector 8 Ultra £80/$100
Lightroom lookalike with some neat tools
PhotoDirector 8 Ultra looks like Lightroom initially, offering integrated photo cataloguing tools, non-destructive image enhancements and a selection of preset image effects with the option of adding your own. But it adds an Edit mode for pixelbased adjustments that are too complicated for non-destructive editing, and a Layers module for combining images and text in more elaborate composites.
Like Lightroom, it uses a database-style image catalogue for more flexible organisation and faster searches, so you do need to ‘import’ your photos before you can work on them – though they stay in their original locations on your hard disk. You can browse images by folder, and create Collections of related images or Smart Collections based on criteria such as keywords, shooting data and adjustments applied.
Select any image in Library, then swap to the Adjustment, Edit, Layers, Slideshow or Print modules according to what you want to do with it.
PhotoDirector is easy to use and powerful too, matching Lightroom’s editing options tool-for-tool, right down to the localised adjustment tools. The supplied preset effects are good, and it’s easy to modify them or create your own.
The pixel-based tools are good as well. They’re aimed at more of a non-expert audience than Photoshop’s, but they include some clever processes, such as layered image templates to give you a head-start with making more complex composites; stills capture and multi-exposure images from video; a Face Swap feature to get everybody smiling in group shots; and face and body ‘beautification’.
Its principal drawback is that its closed editing environment means you can’t send photos to another image editor or plug-in.
Platform: PC and Mac Requirements: Windows 7 or later, Mac OS X 10.8 or later, 2GB RAM, 1GB hard disk space Browsing: Yes Cataloguing: Yes RA W processing: Yes Lens corrections: Yes Localised adjustments: Yes Layers and masks: Yes Preset effects: Yes Plug-ins: No
Features Ease of use: Performance Value for money
It’s slick, fast, easy and modern, but lacks external editor and plug-in support.