Athentech Perfectly Clear
Makes people look better:
Ryan walking to school, 12/12/12, as-shot. Roll mouse over or tap to see results after Perfectly Clear automatic correction. (Canon 6D, Canon EF 35mm f/1.4 L, Auto ISO 200, auto white balance, 1/125 at f/5). If you have no mouse, here's the "after" picture:
For you mobile people without mice, this is the same file after automatic correction, all at defaults except I checked the box for Tint Correction, also left at its default.
Makes things look better:
Zabriski Point, Death Valley, as-shot. Roll mouse over or tap to see results after Perfectly Clear fully-automatic correction at defaults. (Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L II, Auto ISO 100, auto white balance A4, f/2.8 at f/60, +4 saturation, 6 sharpening). If you have no mouse, here's the "after" picture:
For you mobile people without mice, this is the same file after automatic correction, all at default values.
I've seen people peddling automatic photo correction software since the 1980s, when makers of photo minilabs all claimed to have better abilities than the next maker.
People are always trying to get the me to think that they just invented the world's best and only magic software that just makes everything just look perfect, and I've finally found one that really works and saves me a lot of time.
Perfectly Clear either makes my pictures better, or leaves them alone.
Important to me is the ability to fix color shifts caused by less then perfect white balance. For this, I check the Correct Tint box, and Bingo!, I usually get what I need far faster and better than if I piddled around in Photoshop with curves adjustment layers and masks.
Sure, I can and have been doing what this software does manually in Photoshop since the early 1990s, but when time is money, Perfectly Clear lets me get a lot more done in a lot less time.
It corrects exposure and contrast by default.
If you want it to fix tints usually caused by poor white balance, just click the Tint Correction box.
If you want to reduce noise, hit the Noise Reduction box.
I really like this software over all the others I've tried because:
1.) It works fast; its defaults are smart enough to correct what they can, and leave good photos alone.
2.) Usually gets everything right on the first default click. I don't usually have to adjust anything. This is critical to saving me time; if I wanted to move sliders and use masks, I'd just do it without the plugin.
3.) It's very easy to install. Photoshop plugins are usually a pain to get installed, but I followed the obvious click path, and all I needed to remember to do was close Photoshop and reopen it for it to appear in my FILTER drop down.
4.) Also gets rid of noise if I need it to.
Because it leaves great photos alone, it works great for batch processing.
Because it works without needing a new layer, when I'm done and use my Photoshop Action to resize, sharpen and brand as © KenRockwell.com, I don't have to drag my © KenRockwell.com text layer above any adjustment layers, saving me even more time.
I don't bother with RAW images, however this plug-in will work on anything after you open it in Photoshop or Lightroom.
I like it, and many professional photo services also pay far more to use the same technology. See also their testimonials.
A list of features
For all of these, the defaults are where you want them, and you can adjust if needed.
The key is that it's smart enough to know just how much of each to add or subtract depending on the image — this intelligence is why we pay for this software.
These are the names the program uses:
Gets it right almost every time, and it doesn't clip blacks or whites.
Bumps it up when it needs to, and I've seen it knock it back down if I shot a portrait with my saturation set way too high.
Noise and Grain Removal
Fixes nasty color shifts.
Helps make photos pop.
Helps render them natural and appealing, without infrared.
Helps rein-in harsh light.
Helps get true purples and greens.
It works by default, but also might remove a red dot that isn't a defect. No big deal, just uncheck box if that happens.
You find this as an option in Color > Fidelity.
Part of all the corrections, brings out lost shadows if needed.
Subtle changes, too — all automatically
The "after " image, for those of you without mice.
The plugin works all by itself without us having to adjust any sliders. It is determining what to adjust and how, and just doing it, so we can deliver more photos and spend less time piddling.
My only whines are that I'd like live histograms if I have to tweak it, and that I'd like the magnification adjustments of the preview image to respond to standard Photoshop CMD+, CMD- and CMD 0 commands. (It's already supposed to work on windows versions, but I haven't used windows for over ten years, thank goodness!)
I suspect these features aren't far off.
Compared to DxO
DxO Optics Pro does much of the same things as well, as very specific lens corrections and a zillion other things, and therefore DxO is far more complex and clumsier to use.
With Perfectly Clear, a couple of clicks to open the filter, one click on OK, and I'm usually done. DxO takes too long and too many clicks for me to use it regularly.
DxO is superb for precise correction of specific lens defects, as well as general corrections, but much more involved. I can't afford involved, I do this for a living and get paid by the photo, not by the hour.
While not everyone needs correction this good or this fast, this software lets me crank out more finished images faster, which more than justifies its price for me. If you're a hobbyist, you'll have to ask yourself if it's worth it as a Photoshop plug in.
Hey, they offer a 30-day full free trial and a 30-day no-questions-asked money-back guarantee after you buy it, so you can't lose.
Questions? Just ask them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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