Anthropics Technology’s Portrait Professional 9 Software; A Versatile Update Page 2

The Portrait Improving sliders also offer several options that deal with smoothing and skin imperfections. I mentioned the Shine option earlier, and one of the other valuable sliders is in the Texture submenu. A common problem or complaint in current portraiture is that many photographers just slap on some type of skin smoothing action and the skin ends up looking like plastic. The Texture slider works really well by allowing you to control how much skin texture you’d like to show or by putting it back in after it may have disappeared. And while we’re on the subject of skin, it’s a very simple matter to select and change the skin area by just painting it in or out using simple controls.

It’s my belief that many photographers spend too much time “doctoring” eyes, making them look super white and unrealistic. Here is a case where a little goes a long way. PP9 is a dream come true for those who like to enhance the eyes. Make the eyes whiter? No problem, move a slider. Brighten the iris? Darken the pupil? Change the eye color? No problem, move a slider. I must tell you that this feature alone is a huge benefit.

Other sections include tools for the mouth and nose, hair, and even ways to slightly change your lighting ratio on the face. I especially liked the Fill Shadows tool as it can really alter the look of your portrait if you want to add or subtract a little fill light to alter the lighting ratio. There are also tools to alter the entire look of the image via saturation, color temperature, and contrast plus options for both sepia and black and white. The more time I spent with the program, the more I got to appreciate both the power and simplicity of it.

(Left): A before image of Emma. (Right): This time, I decided to go crazy and use several of the built-in tools. I’m not saying it’s a better image, just giving you an idea of what can be done, and done very quickly, in the software. After running the image through the default settings, I widened the left eye, whitened and brightened both eyes, made her smile more, smoothed the hair, adjusted the Relight tool, fiddled with Exposure, and used the Fill Shadows tool. Really easy, really fast!

Final Word
PP9 is available in two versions: Standard ($99.95) and Studio ($149.95). A free trial version is available, but be sure to check the Anthropics Technology website for special pricing offers. For professionals and most Shutterbug readers, the Studio version is the only version to consider, for the following reasons: it can be accessed as a Photoshop plug-in through the Filters menu; it works on Raw files and 16-bit images; and it has color profile support. The Standard version doesn’t have these features, and you need them.

PP9 is a retouching tool that can help anyone with very limited skills produce an enhanced version of their original image in a very short time. And it does a great job at it. I highly recommend this software for photographers of all levels.

For more information and to purchase PP9, visit the Anthropics Technology website at: www.portraitprofessional.com.

Steve Bedell has been a portrait photographer for over 25 years. To subscribe to EPhoto, a free e-mail newsletter with tips for photographers, contact Bedell via e-mail at: sb@stevebedell.com. Also ask about his lighting DVDs.

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