WHEN IT COMES to portrait photography of any kind, we inevitably need to be cleaning up our images before sending them out to the client. This can be a lengthy process, however, and one that’s frustrating and tedious into the bargain.

This is where an AI-driven software package such as Anthropic’s PortraitPro 21 can come into its own, speeding up the retouching process through its algorithms and delivering highly saleable images. The line-up of new and enhanced features

within PortraitPro 21 makes it a breeze to edit portraits, including precision cloning and sharpening. The package now goes way beyond simple facial and skin beauty enhancement, however, and includes a multitude of useful extra features that will benefit professional photographers. Overall, it enables users to speed up their workflow and to make precise edits in a fraction of the time it would take to do things manually.

For the professional user what you’re presented with is effectively two choices:

PORTRAITPRO STUDIO                      PRICE £69.95 | For those working directly with RAW files or wanting the higher quality of 48-bit colour files. This package supports conversion between different colour spaces, and provides JPEG/TIFF embedded colour profile support and Batch dialog.

PORTRAITPRO STUDIO MAX
PRICE £139.95 | For professional photographers or those working with large volumes of images. Full Batch mode to massively speed up workflow.

USER INTERFACE
The user interface is super simple to negotiate, featuring named sliders under specific categories and a large ‘before and after’ toggle of the image to make changes very straightforward to manage. Drop an image into PortraitPro 21 and it gets to work using AI facial recognition, mapping the subject’s face whilst applying the adjustments it thinks will enhance the portrait.

This means that the first time we see the image in the software it’s already had a series of adjustments applied. These are subtle, ensuring that our subject still looks authentically like themselves, but with certain skin smoothing, blemish removal/reduction, facial sculpting etc, already applied to give us the best version of that portrait. It’s AI that’s got us to this point but it’s then possible to use the sliders to override the automated changes to suit the needs of the image if required.

EYES, MOUTH, NOSE
You have free rein to manipulate these facial features within PortraitPro and the tools are vast. You can whiten eyes, change the shape of the mouth from a frown to a smile and play with the shape or size of a nose. Everything is possible here and the software does it so well. I was particularly impressed with the expression change facility and how well this is executed. I wasn’t convinced you could change someone’s full expression and still get what looks to be an authentic result, but it’s entirely possible!

COLOR STYLES
PortraitPro 21 users can save time during the design process by making use of the new Color Styles feature. Rather than switching tools and filling layers, it’s possible to employ a one-click Color Style tool and to see enhanced tones and styles in real time. Users can also create presets for future use.

HAIR
Changing the colour of hair is easy within PortraitPro 21, and the new highlight options are great if you’re looking to create realistic trendy hairstyles such as the Balayage effect, or highlights for salon-like results. This represents a huge improvement on the previous simple one-colour shift across all the hair, which looked a little unnatural. The improvement has taken this form of manipulation to a new level: impressive!

REALISTIC DIGITAL MAKE-UP
It’s straightforward to control and create full make-up looks using the extensive tools supplied, which range from bronzer/blusher to full lipstick changes. I was very impressed with the range of effects available here, which include fashion make-up trends such as eyeshadow, cat eye, spotlight eyeshadow etc.

SKIN SMOOTHING AND FACE SCULPTING
These tools are what PortraitPro 21 is renowned for. Across multiple sliders you can refine your end results by smoothing the texture of skin or, alternatively, by adding fake texture, and you can very easily achieve any look you want. The new Clone Tool enables precise control when removing imperfections, and it allows users to copy exact details and colour from one area of an image to another. You can sculpt a face for a slimmer/plumper look, depending on desired results.

SKIN LIGHTING AND COLOURING
PortraitPro 21’s new light effects will take portraits to a new level. From glowing light streams to realistic relighting elements, these new lighting tools are powerful, easy to use and will speed up your workflow.

SKY REPLACEMENT
PortraitPro 21’s new Sky Replacement tool brings in technology from LandscapePro, advanced landscape editing software that’s also been created by Anthropics. Masking the sky can be hugely difficult and time-consuming but, thanks to AI, it’s now possible to complete the process with a click of a button. The program changes the overall look of the image by altering colour and tone that reflects the mood of the new sky, and this can be from pre-selected stock images included with the software, or from files loaded in by the user for a more authentic influence.

VERDICT
WHEN USING PortraitPro 21 it’s easy to get carried away with all the available enhancements, but less is definitely more here and, if you use it sparingly, the results you can achieve with very little effort can be incredible. It’s very easy to come to terms with, even if you’re new to the software, and the package is very good value, costing from £39.95 (upgrades £29.95), particularly if you take advantage of the 50% reduction for downloads and the EXTRA 15% DISCOUNT we’ve negotiated for Professional Photo readers. Just head for anthropics.com/portraitpro and use the code PPT21 at the checkout.

Also get Landscape Pro with same discount code.

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