In the world of photo management and basic editing, there’s Aperture and there’s Lightroom. Anything else has to make quite a lot of noise to be heard, but that’s what Cyberlink is trying to do with PhotoDirector 6. You can drag photos onto the interface or use the Import button – either method adds photos to the library, rather than simply loading them. As a result, you need to pay attention to the Photo Import dialog box. As well as adding copyright notices and tags, files can be renamed with incremental numbers added, making it handy for photographers importing specific shoots. There is also the option to apply a preset filter to each photo, though obviously this is a blunt hammer approach to be used with caution.
In the Adjustments tab, there are the expected global tools, like Curves and HSL, but also neat touches like noise reduction, lens correction with fish-eye and chromatic aberration fixes, plus a controllable HDR effect. Most of the standard functions can also be used selectively with a brush, so shadows can be lightened and so on. That’s in addition tothe standard staples of red-eye removal, clone brush, cropping and gradient filters. What’s interesting is that if you come up with a funky combination of colour and lighting effects, it can be saved as a preset.
Clicking the Edit tab produces a slightly unexpected result: the app creates a duplicate of the photo you have been working on. In the Preferences you can set up exactly what format this copy should take. It’s almost as if the app doesn’t trust what you are going to do. Mind you, it’s probably for the best because while adjustments are traditional photo operations, this is all madcap stuff that can work well or go horribly wrong. There are tools for improving teeth, eyes, skin, skin tone, removing wrinkles and shaping the body. The photo effects here are pretty pointless apart from being able to add grain, but there is more photo trickery with smart patches and content- aware removal. This continues with background removal, photo composition, bracketing HDR, panoramic stitching and swapping faces. The last element is watermarking by which point you’ve pretty much thrown the kitchen sink at the photo.