Portrait Professional 11 Studio Edition

The easy, fun way to create flattering portraits that your subjects will love

Photoshopping portraits might be commonplace these days, but coming up with a believable result takes practice, patience and skill - and you'll need a working knowledge of the structure of the human face, too. Or, if you have none of those, then there's Portrait Professional, which runs as a standalone app or a plug-in for Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture.

Open an image and it automatically detects the faces, outlining the nose, eyes, mouth and brow. You can tweak the position of each, and then use a series of tailored sliders to make fundamental changes to the shape, tone and finish of the face. Split into logical sections for nose and mouth, skin smoothing, hair thickening and so on, they update the image in realtime, softening pores and brightening dull, cloudy eyes.

Its most impressive triumph is in balancing these changes with a light touch, which only becomes obvious when you compare the new image with the original. At this point you'll realise just how dramatic the changes are, and how believable the result remains.

We tested the app with a range of male, female, young and old faces, and the most effective were the adult subjects, perhaps because children have fewer imperfections to work with. We found, too, that in some instances it would put a kink in a pair of spectacle frames when re-sculpting a face shape that even the Restore Glasses' Shape option couldn't sidestep.

Other than that, we're really impressed, and can't imagine returning to the more cumbersome manual edits of old.

Verdict:
It's the fastest and most effective means of flattering your subjects, and it's also very keenly priced indeed.


Pros/Cons:
  • Requires no photography skills
  • Inexpensive, even at full price
  • Detects many faces in a photo
  • Introduces occasional imperfections
Price: £39.90 (£19.95 for limited period)
Developer: Anthropics Technology, portraitprofessional.com
OS: OS X 10.5 or later
Requires: 1GB RAM





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