Huge array of options for editing photographs, with a focus on human subjects; very reasonable price


User interface is hard to navigate; menu system seems targeted more at touch ups than real content creation

Star Rating



An important aspect of reviewing products here on The Tech Buyer's Guru is photography; we want our readers to see what we see. While this all starts with taking a good photograph, there's actually a lot more to it, and that's where software comes in. As it happens, Cyberlink has just updated its popular PhotoDirector editing application for 2017, and we're now up to version 9. We put the software through its paces and came away with some clear thoughts on its strengths and weaknesses. Note that we've relied on Photoshop CS 5.1 for all of our work throughout the years, and that's going to be our baseline for reviewing PhotoDirector 9.

So, how did PhotoDirector 9 work for our content creation needs? Read on to find out!

We'd like to extend a special thank you to Cyberlink for providing us with a review copy of PhotoDirector 9 Ultra.


Description and Features

If you've ever edited a photo in a basic editing program, you know about things like adjusting fill light and contrast, or cropping, rotating, and removing red eye. Well, PhotoDirector 9 Ultra can certainly do all of that, and a whole lot more in terms of adjustments, but it's novel features that it really impresses.

Features like converting videos into GIFs for sharing on social media or in e-mail, converting 360-degree photos into panoramas with automatic tripod removal, and even creating "motion stills" with areas of motion within still photos are all neat tricks, opening up new creative options for photographers and videographers. Basically, these are examples of features people might not even know they wanted until they saw them, because they didn't know it was possible.

Some of the specialized features targeted at human subjects included in the application go well beyond redeye or even individual spot removal. It takes the art of "Photoshopping" people to new heights! With just a few key strokes, you can remove blemishes, shine, and red eye, creating portrats and family photos that will make everyone happy. You can also adjust skin tone easily, giving subjects a warm glow. PhotoDirector even has some tools that go well beyond removing content, with face retouching and body reshaping that actually alters the subjects entirely. Face retouching can make a face more slender while enlarging the eyes, while body  reshaping slims waists to near-Barbie proportions. We think these tools go a bit off the deep end for most users, but you could certainly have fun with them. Note that there are also some cool automatic editing tools for landscapes, including defringing and de-hazing, the latter being perfect for those slightly overexposed shots.

The software had excellent RAW support, allowing you to get the most out of your proprietary uncompressed camera files. We were also impressed that PhotoDirector had a lens profile for our high-end Nikon FX 24-70mm f/2.8G lens, and that it automatically selected it for us (as well it should given that it's in the metadata). That being said, Cyberlink has only profiled around 100 of the most popular lenses, so a lot of folks will be let down that their lens isn't on the list. 

By the way, PhotoDirector has some neat image management tools, including identifying people in photos and storing them for future browsing. This is something that we liked in the now-defunct Google Picasa, and it's sure to please those with lots of photos of family members and friends that they like to return to often.

Now let's get into what it was like to actually use PhotoDirector in our workflow.

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