CyberLink’s PhotoDirector 10 is too much

Look mom, I shrunk Egypt.

I just downloaded a trial version of CyberLink’s PhotoDirector 10 on my Dell Latitude 7390 2-in-1 to see if I could do anything with the hoard of 3–5 MB photos I’ve taken with my smartphone during our visit to Egypt. My Samsung Galaxy S7 edge has a 12 megapixel camera with amazing low-light, HDR, and autofocus capabilities that make a duffer like me look like a half-decent photographer, and it’s fast. That’s the good news and the bad.

It’s good news because I’ve been able to snap dozens of pictures of the amazing things one sees in Egypt. The bad news is they are so big I can only send one or two in their raw format to my friends and family. So instead, I wanted to make a digital catalog, interlaced with my witty comments about the images.

CyberLink’s PhotoDirector has been my favorite photo editing tool for at least a decade if not longer. But with the new Dell and running off to Egypt I didn’t have time to try and install another copy using my desktop license. So, while on the trip I went for a trial copy. Boy am I glad I did. It’s a big program and took a while to download in the low-bandwidth free internet service in the hotel. I let it do that while we went for dinner. Afterwards the installation was the easiest I’ve encountered in a while; two clicks and done.

Shrinking a photo. I imported the 4.85 MB 4032 × 2034 pixel PNG. Opened it up in PhotoDirector, clicked on export, selected JPEG (a more efficient compressor than PNG, but with better quality than GIF), turned down the horizontal pixel res from 4096 to 1032 (an arbitrary selection), and clicked export, a little bar ran across the screen, and done.

The relocated Abu Simbel temples.

The final 414 kB 1032 × 774 JPG looks great, certainly good enough for a blog or email.

Smart stuff. That’s just one little feature of PhotoDirector 10. PD 10 adds to a solid base of features and performance. The company has added impressive AI-powered style tools, improved layers, and a small collection of other options that will speed up your workflow. CyberLink has been one of the leaders in applying AI developed features, filters, and effects; in fact, they were doing it before the term AI became popular. The new AI style tools are impressive and challenging to more expensive competitive software.

Finding your way. All the editing tools are separated by tabs and well-labeled. Quite frankly, I can’t figure out where things are or how to use them in other photo editing programs. Other programs are often too complicated and use terms or icons professional photographers might understand but I don’t. When icons are used in PhotoDirector 10, they are explained with popup tooltips—thank you. There is also a welcomed help link at the top that provides access to a set of really useful tutorial videos that take you through the steps to get something done.

Layers. There’s a new layer editing feature in PD10 which makes it possible to create layer groups, clipping masks, and add new empty layers, something that has been available only in high-end photo editing suites.

Disappearing act. One of the things I do the most is make transparent backgrounds (so I can use images in PowerPoint and they aren’t all white boxes). The program also has content-aware removal that is really helpful. It is impressive how well these tools work. It can remove unwanted objects from some shots with fantastic accuracy, you just paint over the thing you don’t want, the program handles it—automatically. CyberLink has had that capability for a while, but never this easy to use—it’s part of their expanded AI usage, and listening to their customer.

As I said, I’m an amateur, and PhotoDirector 10 has many more features, some I’ll probably never try. However, the new ones that have been added can be seen here.

PhotoDirector 10 is very powerful and yet easy to use.

It’s on special price now at $69.99 (normally $99.99), and if you’re not sure you want to take the plunge, you can fly it before you buy it by downloading a trial version here.

What do we think?

The Cyberlink team, based in Taiwan is fast to take advantage of new research in imaging and video editing and they’re also very creative. The company’s tools are not as well-known as those of competitors Adobe and Corel, but they’ve got advantages. Like Corel, CyberLink offers perpetual licenses for their products for people who don’t want to be tied into an annual subscription and in many cases CyberLink’s tools are optimized for performance and are faster than the comparable tool in the competitive products.

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