Cy­ber­link Pho­toDirec­tor 8 Ul­tra £80/$100

Light­room looka­like with some neat tools

NPhoto - - Gear Zone | The Big Test -

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.

Per­for­mance

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.

Specs

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

Ver­dict

Fea­tures Ease of use: Per­for­mance Value for money

Over­all

It’s slick, fast, easy and mod­ern, but lacks ex­ter­nal ed­i­tor and plug-in sup­port.

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