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Anthropics Smart Photo Editor Review (Pt. 2)

In the first part of this review I looked a little at the history of Anthropics Smart Photo Editor and then started to explore the layout and general workflow. In Part 2 I am going to look more closely at the image editing tools that are available within the product.

Image Treatment

The Image Treatment tool is one hell of a control. Selecting this tool gives you access to a daunting array of sliders grouped for fixing levels, contrast and colours. If this is not enough, it is possible to extend the list with a “more sliders” button to reveal further extensions to these categories. Colours receive a large selection of new sliders allowing things like hue and saturation to be manipulated on a colour by colour basis within the image. Levels receive some special colour preserving exposure and brightness controls while contrast gets a saturation preserving contrast control. These seem to work on top of their basic cousins which remain available.

The Image Treatment tool offers a wide selection of basic image adjustments.

Looking at the basic corrections available I might start by correcting colour. There is a temperature adjustment which gives a range or erm ‘-1’ to ‘+1’ in increments of 0.001. So I can slightly warm the image by taking it to erm “+0.087” or slightly cool it by taking it to “-0.105” etc. In fact all the sliders have this type of measurement assigned to them.

There are no eye droppers to facilitate the effective use of a grey card and in this instance, selecting “auto-tone” with “Auto Tone fixes contrast” I got this result below. While not encouraging, perhaps it’s just this image; even if a quick autotone in Lightroom offered a great starting point for the image.

Autotone didn't quite give me the starting point I was hoping for.

Most of the sliders are fairly straight forward if you’ve used an editing package previously although the ranges of the sliders are a little haphazard. For example, exposure can be adjusted from -1 to + 4 in increments of 0.001 while brightness runs from -3 to +3. Most sliders seem to produce rather heavy handed results though. Brightness for example works like brightness used to work in PhotoShop before the algorithm was changed in CS (select the legacy option in the Photoshop control and you’ll see what I mean). So, take care not to go mad with the sliders and the results will be perfectly fine.

Some interesting sliders which seem quite unique here is the inclusion of a “fix flash” option and a “dehaze” option.

Erase

The Erase button provides access to the “Remove Objects” panel which offers a tool that is far more powerful than its name originally suggests. The tool on offer here is very reminiscent of the Photoshop patch tool and it works quite well as a mechanism for removing unwanted objects within your image. Once patched it’s possible to adjust the contrast, colour and margin associated to the patched area. In practice though I haven’t encountered a need to do this.

Paint an area with the remove tool and patch it with another bit of the image.

Also hidden away with the “Remove Objects” panel is a feature for removing telegraph wires. This utilises the remove objects tool but along thin straight and curved lines which is ideal for removing long thin objects such as erm… telegraph wires.

Finally in a stroke of over engineering brilliance it is possible to split the brushed area or add warping pins. After using the brush a little I realised the split function was more useful that it sounded, especially when erasing objects that cut the skyline so it was possible to paint in the object then cut the selected area in half moving the sources then to two different places. The Warp pins allow the source area to be manipulated so it can be stretched and bent. This is useful for cloning when the image has perspective although in practice I found this rather difficult to use well and often found myself having to remove the stage in my history and start again.

While all the erase tools worked OK, as soon as the scene became a little challenging they started to blur the patches quite badly making their application rather limited.

Other Bits

There are also a handful of other tools as you’d expect such as red eye, crop, straighten (good for fixing perspective problems and skewed photos) and rotate. These work with a few surprises typical of the Smart Photo Editor. The crop feature for example has a suggest crop feature which from what I can work out applies random crops that hack your picture in unexpected ways. Good perhaps for inspiration? Apart from wanting to hit return or enter to apply the changes when you actually have to click the apply button all of these worked smoothly with few issues.

So throughout the use of these image treatment tools there has been a suggestion of some very clever and unusual ideas such as the warp pins in the erase tool. Moving on now we can look at the area which offers the most potential, the effects.

Part 3 of this review looks at the effects gallery, or visit the Smart Photo Editor website to find out more about this tool.