The usual slick Cyberlink interface provides its own customised look and feel for CyberLink PhotoDirector 2011 which is a pleasure to work with.

CyberLink PhotoDirector 2011 first forms a library by importing pictures either from pre-existing folders or directly from your camera. You can then tag and categorise these images in a variety of ways to organise your collection in just the way you want it, keeping track of and rating images as you go.

These categorisations can be performed while the import is in progress, so there’s no need to wait before you get started. You get full access to picture metadata, such as camera and shooting information, all of which are presented in a very clear and accessible fashion.

There’s also support for RAW file formats, allowing you to achieve the very best possible quality from enthusiast and professional cameras. In the case of Canon and Nikon files, CyberLink licences the companies’ original SDK for RAW processing.

Once imported, your photos can be edited using a select but well-chosen palette of tools. Global adjustments include the usual control over Tone, Levels, Brightness and Contrast, and includes Vignette correction (you can remove it or add your own artificially) and sophisticated unsharp mask and noise reduction tools.

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You also get detailed black-and-white conversion options with full control over how the original tones are mapped to shades of grey.

Regional adjustments let you crop, rotate and re-touch your image with automatic red-eye removal, cloning and healing brushes. Of particular interest is the Adjustment Brush with which you can paint areas of your image to be singled out for adjustment. This is essentially the same as a mask in Adobe Photoshop, although limited to a maximum of five masks per image.

For a quick fix or just some creative inspiration you can select from an extensible list of preset effects. These can give your pictures a range of different looks with a single click. Additional presets can be downloaded from CyberLink’s DirectorZone online community where you can also create and share your own.

All edits are carried out non-destructively so your original image remains intact. You can create many different virtual versions of your image before exporting them and you can view and compare your edits in a variety of ways including special modes for dual-monitor systems.

CyberLink PhotoDirector 2011 is powerful and fun to use, yet several desirable features are missing. For example, there’s no face recognition or support for third-party plugins.

It will upload photos directly to Facebook and Flickr and slideshows to YouTube, but printing options are limited and there’s no way to enhance your photos with type or clip-art effects.

CyberLink PhotoDirector 2011: Specs

  • Microsoft Windows XP SP3
  • Vista (32- or 64-bit)
  • 7 (32- or 64-bit)
  • Intel Pentium D 3.0GHz with hyper-threading or equivalent AMD CPU
  • Intel 945GM graphics or faster
  • 1GB drive space
  • 1024 x 768 display, 16-bit colour or higher
  • 2GB RAM
  • Microsoft Windows XP SP3
  • Vista (32- or 64-bit)
  • 7 (32- or 64-bit)
  • Intel Pentium D 3.0GHz with hyper-threading or equivalent AMD CPU
  • Intel 945GM graphics or faster
  • 1GB drive space
  • 1024 x 768 display, 16-bit colour or higher
  • 2GB RAM

OUR VERDICT

CyberLink’s new PhotoDirector photo editor is up against some very stiff competition, with free applications sometimes offering features not found in PhotoDirector. At £79.99 there are a lot of excellent alternatives, although CyberLink is offering a free upgrade to the next 2012 version to anyone who buys the program now.

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