CyberLink PhotoDirector 2011 review

Price when reviewed

If there was a Lightroom Lite, this would be it. Like Adobe Lightroom 3, PhotoDirector dictates your workflow by breaking itself down into a series of panels – Library, Adjustment and Slideshow in this case. The similarities are so pronounced that experienced Lightroom users will be up and running in no time.

Still, imitating market-leading software isn’t necessarily a bad way to go, and we like PhotoDirector’s layout. Short, swift animations add an air of elegance to proceedings, while the big, bold font and chunky icons make navigation easy without becoming patronising. Unlike ACDSee it supports multiple monitors, allowing you to run a full-screen image on one monitor and your library on the other.

PhotoDirector’s organisational abilities are pretty good too. If you want to find all the images in your library taken at f/8, for instance, you can sort your photos by aperture size, or other EXIF data such as focal length, camera model or shutter speed. Finding exactly what you want takes a little longer than with Lightroom – you can’t restrict the view to photos only taken with a particular lens, for instance.

CyberLink PhotoDirector 2011

There’s a good flagging and rejection system, though, so as long as you’re diligent when you import images, finding your best shots is simple. Importing images themselves is straightforward and fast: importing a year’s worth of shots (around 3,000) took under an hour, and PhotoDirector didn’t mind being pointed at images hosted on a networked resource.

The implementation of ITPC tags is somewhat half-hearted; PhotoDirector supports tags, but not captions. Owner and location fields are also missing, which will limit PhotoDirector’s appeal to both the anally-retentive and professional photographer alike. There’s also no support for video – Lightroom will at least point out that a folder contains video, even if it doesn’t allow you to do anything with it. PhotoDirector is strictly stills-only.

PhotoDirector is a non-destructive editor, and keeps a list of the changes you’ve made in a Project file, without touching your original files. This is useful, particularly as it can handle RAW files from a range of cameras ranging from obvious consumer DSLRs to high-end medium format backs. Like Lightroom, it has the ability to create virtual copies, allowing you to create multiple virtual versions of the same picture without duplicating the original file.

CyberLink PhotoDirector 2011

The list of editing tools is good, although those looking for some original thinking will be disappointed. Even the order in which the editing tools appear in the adjustment panel runs in exactly the same order as in Lightroom. Still, adjusting the tonality of your image is simple, with the changes you make on the sliders reflected in real-time on the preview of your image.

It’s a comprehensive set of tools, including local adjustments such as cloning and healing, as well as a general adjustment brush that can be used to adjust a variety of brightness, saturation and sharpness values. Lightroom’s graduated mask filter has made the cut, allowing you apply progressive changes.


Software subcategoryPhoto editing software

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported?yes
Operating system Windows XP supported?yes

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