Power Retouche Review
Mac users, we're pleased to announce Macphun's all-in-one photo editor Luminar is now available for purchase with special launch pricing. (Existing Macphun customers get a further discount.)
We rated Luminar as "Highly Recommended", and you can now visit the Luminar web site to try it for free.
Power Retouche is a Photoshop plug-in compatible with Windows and Mac. It works in 8 and 16 bit, and supports RGB, CMYK, Lab, Grayscale and Duotone. This newest version is compliant with all 32 bit versions of most major photo editing suites such as Photoshop, Elements, Paint Shop Pro and Fireworks. If you have a Mac, you're in for a treat because it works with 64 bit versions of Photoshop and Elements. Power Retouche costs €75 for the Full Pro Pack which includes all the available plugins.
Power Retouche is downloaded from the website by following the links that are found on the home page. It takes a few moments to download and an even shorter time to install. After rebooting Photoshop, Power Retouche becomes available in the Filter tab at the bottom where the plug-ins are displayed. The program can't be used unless a picture is open in the main window. Selecting the filter you want to use opens up a new window which looks quite old fashioned but it keeps all your attention on the program without distraction.
All the windows are laid out in the same style with the picture in the middle and all but a few options for editing on the right side of it. Below the picture is a zoom tool as well as pre-set templates for which percentage you'd like it to zoom in to. A small white bar at the bottom is the processing time gauge. An interesting addition to the program is an option to change the preview background. There are four options of greyscale, marble, white and black. Programs such as Photoshop have this option as well, so it's not unheard of but it's nice to see it on a plug-in. You can also preview the changes in real time by splitting the picture and the adjustments will only be shown on one side of the picture while the other remains untouched.
Opening Power Retouche
Different filters will bring up different options to the right of the picture. There are so many to do on Power Retouche that we'd be here all day covering each one. We selected a few that caught our eye to test.
For this test, we're testing four of the new or amended features of the program. Some of the upgrades are: the Sharpener has been rewritten as has the Vignetting Corrector, Levels has been added as well as Chromatic Aberration. A radial effect has also been added to the Softener. In this test, we'll look at Levels, the Sharpener, Chromatic Aberration and the Softener.
On the surface, the program seems extensive and for a more detailed look at all the previous systems, take a look at our previous review of the program by following this link:
The window is designed in an old Windows 95 style with blocky keys and a light grey colouring. At first it seems old fashioned and could put some people off but if it's anything like Windows, a newer style simply means more code for the program to drag around which will only slow it down. Looking past the design, the program is powerful and useful for a lot of users to take advantage of.
Opening up the sharpness window and there are four main sections to use when modifying the picture. There are five variations that the program allows you to sharpen the picture: Gentle USM (unsharp mask) works in the same way as a traditional unsharp mask but without leaving the artefacts that you sometimes get; The Sharpness Editor can sharpen the picture without boosting noise like is sometimes found on traditional unsharp masks. The Editor will link surfaces and edges but with more weight given to mid-range contrast and edges; The Enhanced Unsharp Mask is basically a normal unsharp mask but is upgraded to remove edge artefacts; If you're working in JPEG, you may want to choose Contrast Adaptive USM because it prioritises edge definition. It also ignores black & white areas and reduces noise.
Opening the Levels window brings up a simple layout of four main sliders to adjust the levels of the picture. The three primary colours; red, green and blue have there own sliders for darks, lights and balance along with a similar set-up for luminance. There are four settings for auto levels and handy reset buttons next to all options if you make too many changes and can't pull it back.
Alert colours available too with default colours of yellow for black and red for white alert. A histogram is situated at the bottom of the page and all the colours can be selected individually to check balances.