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REVIEW: Anthropics PortraitPro 21

ANTHROPICS PORTRAITPRO 21: Highly automated portrait retouching software that can be a real time-saver for professional portraitists but also comes in versions priced within the budgets of casual wedding photographers. Offering the most comprehensive retouching toolset currently available, it will require time to explore its capabilities but can yield good results for users who can work within its limitations.
RRP: $80 – 240

Now in its 21st version, UK-based Anthropics’ portrait retouching software has long been popular with studio ‘glamour’ photographers but has steadily evolved to become a very powerful application. The latest version provides the most comprehensive retouching toolset currently available and includes artificial intelligence with image processing algorithms that make the software as easy-to-use as possible. Sophisticated automation enables the software to identify faces as images are uploaded and classify them by gender and whether they are adult or child.

Sky replacement

PortraitPro 21 will also apply automatic enhancements to colours and tones, eye, lip and face shapes and hair. In many cases these are subtle enough to be acceptable without further adjustments, making PortraitPro 21 a great time saver. This feature makes it especially useful for wedding photographers who like to display their photos to wedding guests as soon as possible after the ceremony. It could also be handy for school photographers when editing individual portraits.

Like previous versions, PortraitPro 21 comes in three editions to suit different types of users. The Standard edition ($79.95) is a stand-alone application targeted mainly at amateur users. It only works with JPEG or TIFF files, doesn’t support batch processing or 48-bit colour, and is unable to handle raw files or files with embedded colour profiles.

Hair highlights

The Studio ($119.95) and Studio Max ($239.95) editions offer the ability to process raw files and can work with 48-bit colour. They also allow users to convert files between different colour spaces and both versions can operate as a plug-in that can be launched from Photoshop or as an external editor with Lightroom.

The main difference between the two Studio editions is the speed available for batch processing. The Studio edition only supports manual batch processing while Studio Max offers an automated Full Batch mode that can apply the same adjustments to a selected batch of files and will deliver finished images much faster.

Colour styles

Anthropics offers a free trial of PortraitPro 21 through its website at

New features in the latest edition include:
Sky Replacement, which uses technology from the company’s LandscapePro application to enable users to change skies with the click of a button. PortraitPro 21 will change the overall look of the image to reflect the mood of the new sky. A selection of pre-selected stock images is included with the software and users can upload their own sky images for a more authentic look.
Lighting Brushes enable users to ‘paint on’ different light effects and improve portraits by modifying shadows and highlights as well as adding localised brightness with different light sources. From glowing light streams to realistic re-lighting elements, these new tools are powerful as well as quick and easy to use.
– The new Clone tool provides precise control when removing items or imperfections by allowing users to copy exact details and colour from one area of an image to another.
– The History tool enables users to quickly and easily switch between any recent state of the image within the current working session, allowing users to track individual changes and restore a portion of an image to an earlier state.
Hair Highlights tools make it easy to add highlights or ombre-style treatments to subjects’ hair and enable users to customise undertones, adjust strength and increase vibrancy for professional colouring results. These tools augment existing tools for modifying hair colour, texture and contrast.
Colour styles allow users to quickly change the appearance of their photographs with filter-like features, optimised colour handling and a master slider for skin lightening and colouring. A special feature (also new) adds the ability to add and move individual catchlights in subjects’ eyes.
De-Noising and Sharpening tools provide a quick and easy way to reduce noise and sharpen images without sacrificing quality. These tools are handy when working on images shot in low light levels and with high ISO settings and/or slow shutter speeds.
– Another useful tool is the Layers function, which can be used for background replacements, especially when removing unwanted people or other items from the image. Area brush tools are also available for refining the area covered by a layer mask where the automatic pre-set doesn’t quite get the boundaries right.

All brush tools are ‘smart’ brushes, which can automatically detect the edges of regions in an image. However, adjustable sliders enable users to fine-tune brush sizes. In addition, functions like Extend are available for painting over areas you want to include in the mask, along with a Cut Back control for selecting areas you want to remove.

Distributor: Anthropics Technology,

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