EASIER PHOTO EDITING

The new “PhotoDirector 3” from Cyberlink aims for the middle ground between simple photo editing and the thousand dollar software used for full-color magazines.

The new $150 Director 3 was test run with 125,000 amateurs, the vast majority of whom said it was easier to use than Adobe’s Lightroom or Aperture, and resulted in far better photos than one-click editing tools like Google’s Picasa or Adobe Photoshop Elements.

As you import photos into the program you can immediately separate them to look only at your camera photos and ignore your phone’s photos or vice versa. Even before you bring in the photos you can give it a title, choose custom watermarks and make notes about where the picture was taken, who’s in it, etc.

We were impressed with the program’s ease of use. (We’re always impressed with ease of use.) We whitened teeth, removed wrinkles and added sparkle to the eyes — to the people in the pictures. Our budget laptop has a Celeron processor, which is fairly slow, and yet it never bogged down the way it sometimes does when using sophisticated photo editors.

The background removal tool is an ace, letting you to take a person out of one background and insert them in another. This is a common function of most editing programs but often is painstakingly difficult to use. This one was easy. Or you might want to leave the background in place and remove your ex. The program will then fill the blank space with more background so the whole thing looks unified. Other tools allow you to brighten or heighten some aspects of a photo while leaving others the same.

The program worked fine when we confined ourselves to a single screen. But when we tried using two monitors, we lost some of the program’s icons along the bottom. The folks at Cyberlink say they are working on a fix. Except for that, it worked fine displaying the program on one screen and photos on another. Apparently, we were the only testers out of 125,000 to have a problem using two display screens. (Hard to believe.) You can download a free trial of PhotoDirector 3 at Cyberlink.com.

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