CyberLink is offering an update for its long-available PhotoDirector image editor that works on Mac OS and Windows. This latest version is called PhotoDirector 13. New lighting effects and new color adjustment features have been added. The company claims you can turn any photo into a “visual masterpiece with a full set of AI tools, including AI-powered sky replacement and photo animation effects. “.
CyberLink has been around for over 20 years, with a variety of tools for editing images and videos. They haven’t really made their mark in the pro and semi-pro rooms, but I wanted to give the feature-rich software a try and see how it worked.
Get the software
PhotoDirector 13 is offered as a subscription and a one-time purchase option. To install it, you first need CyberLink Application Manager, then it will launch and install all the software you are entitled to. I found the process too cumbersome but no more than what Adobe does with its Creative Cloud application which manages your Adobe purchases. Still, I’d be happy to enter a username and serial number and be done with that.
Using PhotoDirector 13
The app doesn’t act like other photo editors you’re used to, but it’s well organized. As a useful feature, the software adds a guided mode that pretty much tells you what your options are and what to do next.
PhotoDirector 13 is what I would call “kitchen sink” software. It has more features than any photo editor I’ve ever seen, including popular options like bokeh and sky replacement, features first offered by Skylum in Luminar AI and appearing now everywhere, including Adobe applications.
As a raw editor, PhotoDirector 13 has just about every slider a photographer would want, closely matching what Lightroom offers. I found out that I can get some really good pictures using this app. I have also tried sky replacement on some landscape images, and I think PhotoDirector 13 is comparable to what LuminarAI and Adobe provide, although unlike LuminarAI this app does not offer features like reflections in water.
Here is a before:
And the image after a replacement of the sky.
PhotoDirector 13 allows you to flip the sky and further adjust the picture settings. I liked its ability to separate a subject from the background. It’s as well done as I’ve seen it in other editors. And you can adjust the selection if it’s not quite right.
The bokeh is also well done and easy to perform. It is a close match of LuminarAI tools.
PhotoDirector 13 has LUTs and a keg full of useful presets. It also has animation effects, like making water move easily in waterfall picture.
I found the app to be stable and well behaved, although it renders a lot to keep all your versions. The good thing is that PhotoDirector 13 has a non-destructive workflow. I tested the app on a fairly powerful iMac and found it to be pretty fast overall.
Is PhotoDirector 13 a purchase?
As someone who has never seen this app, I found it to be a generally positive experience. It is very reasonably priced and CyberLink keeps it up to date by fixing bugs and adding new features.
I think the reason the app hasn’t gained wide acceptance is because it tries to do too much. It has all the professional features that the majority of our readers want, but it also has many great features that are great for the eyes, such as animations and adding clip art to images. It reminds me of some of the mobile apps that let you add mustaches to portraits. These things are going to appeal to a different audience than our typical Fstoppers reader.
If I were to recommend CyberLink, I would offer a pro version that includes its very capable raw editor and some of their great AI and portrait tools. The multiplicity of choices on the current application makes the graphical interface very loaded, even with the guided function. There is just a lot of stuff on the screen. Also, due to all the features crammed in, it doesn’t look like an app aimed at the pros, although it does have enough power and options to keep them satisfied.
Glad I took a look at this software. It’s powerful, feature-rich (maybe too feature-rich), and it’s constantly evolving.
What I like
- Low price either by subscription or by purchase
- PhotoDirector 13 has a multitude of features
- The guided tools that walk you through the app are helpful
- Has what you need even for a basic raw editor
What I did not like
- The registration process is cumbersome
- The GUI is very complex and sometimes you will be looking for the tools you want
- Too many features that a pro or semi-pro won’t use
The price is in a way à la carte. You can buy or subscribe. As mentioned, PhotoDirector 13 is available for Windows and macOS users. A subscription plan – titled PhotoDirector 365 on Cyberlink’s pricing page – can be paid monthly or annually. At the time of this review, an annual subscription to a plan costs $ 41 with an introductory offer of 25% and is normally priced at $ 55. That’s well below what Adobe charges for its Photographers plan, but the two apps are aimed at different types of image editors, albeit with some overlap.
This subscription also includes 50 GB of cloud storage and other amenities, such as access to royalty-free use of the Getty and Shutterstock libraries, plugins and other image assets, which the company says. , are regularly updated.
For a lifetime license, which CyberLink calls PhotoDirector 13 Ultra, the cost is $ 100 and includes 25GB of cloud storage for one year, but it does not include unlimited access to premium plugins, stock images and other features reserved for subscribers. . Clearly CyberLink wants you to subscribe.