Most photo editing software can make your pictures better in just a few clicks. This is true whether you’re snapping selfies on your phone or taking pro photos with a full-frame SLR. But finding the right photo editing software can be a challenge when there are so many options on the market. You have to factor in features, cost, and ease of use. The good news? CyberLink PhotoDirector 365 strikes a balance between all of the above.
So, if you’re looking to dip your toes into the color-corrected world of photo editing, this review of CyberLink PhotoDirector 365 is for you!
Zoom In: Features
- PhotoDirector 365 Account
- Access to CyberLink & Shutterstock Assets
- 50GB of Cloud Storage
- Two Editing Modes w/ Dozens of Features
- Suite of AI Effects
- Photo Animations
- 360˚ Photo Editing
- Extract Photos From Videos
- Array of Export Options: PNG, JPG, and More
My Experience with PhotoDirector 365
Before we get into the pros and cons of using PhotoDirector 365, I’d like to talk about my experience with the software.
I am by no means an experienced photographer. I took one photography class back in Junior College. The only thing I remember learning was that the opening through which light travels into a camera is called the aperture. And I’m pretty sure the only reason I remember that is because the Aperture Science logo from Portal suddenly made sense.
That’s where PhotoDirector comes in. It has a ton of features that are incredibly simple to use. Even a novice like me was able to dramatically improve the quality of a photo with just a little tinkering.
The best part? Even the more advanced features were intuitive enough that I was able to use them without feeling intimidated.
Before we look at PhotoDirector, let’s examine its competition.
Photoshop is one of those brands like Google or Hoover. It’s so iconic and recognizable that the brand name is used as a verb for the action it performs. For many people, to photoshop a picture means to edit it.
Branding aside, though, Adobe is the industry standard in both photography and graphic design. And there are plenty of good reasons it’s retained its crown for so long. Photoshop is still considered the most advanced and versatile piece of photo editing software there is.
- There are two major drawbacks, however.1) It’s costly at $19.99 a month
- It’s extremely complicated.
It’s so complicated, in fact, there there are entire books on the subject! There are even college courses dedicated to educating would-be photographers on the software. First-timers are often overwhelmed by the complex interface and the slew of less-than-user-friendly tools.
GNU Image Manipulation Program, or GIMP, is the free counterpart to Adobe. It operates much like a watered-down version of Photoshop, utilizing editing layers and a number of the same tools.
That isn’t to say that the software is bad; it has many of Photoshop’s most essential features, and free is a hard cost to beat. Unfortunately, it isn’t any easier to use.
So, Where Does PhotoDirector Fit in?
CyberLink PhotoDirector 365 is an entirely different breed from its two main competitors.
It comes in at $54.99 a year, which is incredibly affordable considering all that it comes with.
Rather than following Photoshop’s model like so many others, PhotoDirector works completely differently. It doesn’t use most of the graphic design tools that the others favor. It isn’t for drawing. Instead, it opts for a library of easy-to-use filters and effects, making it the ideal software to polish a picture quickly.
PhotoDirector has two easy modes to help you get your photos cleaned up.
As the name implies, Full Mode is the full scope of photo editing tools that CyberLink has to offer. You can adjust color, white balance, and tone manually under the Adjust tab, or you can use one of the hundreds of available preset filters.
Once done with that, you can move to the Guided tab and play around with its collection of effects. Theses range from People Beautifier and Photo Effects to Animation and 360 Degree Photo Editor effects. This part of the program is a lot of fun to play with. I particularly liked the Blur Brush effect, which allows you to create the illusion of a shallow depth of field. Achieving this effect usually requires a much more expensive camera. The Content-Aware Removal tool was also especially useful for subtly removing any unwanted details.
The Edit tab gives you a basic set of design tools and the ability to edit your photo in layers like one would in Photoshop. No artist worth their salt would be happy with this selection, but again, this software isn’t designed for illustration. These simple tools are enough for small touch-ups and basic adjustments.
Finally, there is a Create tab for slideshows and a Print tab for fitting photos to the dimensions of physical printouts.
Express Mode is more paired down, primarily utilizing the presets that are also available in Full Mode. It works sort of like editing a photo on Instagram. Only, instead of a dozen or so preset filters that everyone uses, you have access to a library of hundreds of bespoke filters. And each comes with different sliding bars that you can adjust to fine-tune color correction and more.
There are also several AI filters that can give you all kinds of artistic paint-effects. You’ll have seen something similar if you’ve ever used the Prisma app before.
Express Mode makes it easy to stick a photo in and churn out a polished work of art in minutes.
As we’ve mentioned in our review of PowerDirector 365, CyberLink knows that not everyone who comes to their software starts as an expert. That’s why they put together a learning center full-to-bursting with dozens of tutorials written by their own staff to make it easier for you to learn what you need to do quickly.
Shutterstock and Director Zone
One of the great things about PhotoDirector is CyberLink’s partnership with Shutterstock. This grants their users access to Shutterstock’s extensive library of royalty-free stock photos and music. These can be especially useful for anyone looking to publish content.
CyberLink also has their own collection of add-on photo presets, express layer templates, overlays, and lens profiles that can all be accessed via Director Zone.
PhotoDirector is chock-full of fun and useful features. It sets itself apart from competition like Adobe Photoshop by focusing on ease of use and favoring photography over illustration. It’s affordable, and grants access to hundreds of filters, effects, stock images, and music, which can be used to create beautiful images without needing a degree in photo editing.
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Zoom Out: Verdict
Ease of Use - 10/10
Features - 7/10
Performance - 8/10
Value - 7/10
I would not recommend this program to anyone interested in using it for graphic design or illustration. That said, amateur and pro photographers alike will find PhotoDirecter a delight to use.
- Easy to use
- Access to Shutterstock and Director Zone
- Lacks some advanced tools and features
- Not useful for illustration/graphic design