Portrait Professsional 8 – now for Mac

Portrait Professional, the downloadable software from Anthropics which resculpts face shapes while smoothing out skin imperfections and signs of ageing, has been updated to Version 8 and launched for Apple Mac as well as Windows PC. We tested it briefly as a first look in our magazine Master Photo>Digital.

The Mac interface is well designed and makes use of features like the Mighty Mouse side-scrolling button to adjust strength sliders, showing proper implementation of the Mac GUI. This program has a functional raw converter incorporated and brought well up to date with camera models, so you can work directly from raw; obviously it’s faster to do your raw conversions by batch in a program like Lightroom, then work only on selected images in Portrait Professional.

Elongated neck produced by auto settings does not work well here!

Elongated neck produced by auto settings does not work well here!

The sliders have had their relative values altered a little since the last (PC only) version we tested, and if you stick within the green safety zone, extreme results are unlikely. However, the default Female Portrait adjustment was a little to strong in lengthening the neck of this shot (by Juan Morino/iStockphoto). You can view a larger version of these screen shots by clicking on the images.

‘Neck’ was turned off entirely for my final rework which also used the Skin Area brush tool (purple masking, bottom right) to extend enhancement to the collar bone and shoulders:

The purplish masking shows the brush extended area for the effect.

The purplish masking shows the brush extended area for the effect.

We shall be looking at this version in more detail, as it has dozens of controls – seeing them act in real time, stretching the image or changing the shape of parts of the face, is fascinating. My main problem is that I don’t shoot many portraits, and if I do, they tend to be of people I know who are not keen on seeing their flaws corrected in public! Hence the purchase of an iStockphoto image for this report.

Here are the before and after images, if you click them you will open 1000 pixel wide version which can be studied closely:

Portrait image we used as a test - click for large version.

Portrait image we used as a test - click for large version.

Post-processed result, which took about three minutes in total to do. Again, click on image to view large version.

Post-processed result, which took about three minutes in total to do. Again, click on image to view large version.

No further Photoshop work was done on this picture at all. In fact, I spent about ten minutes messing round looking at the extremes of effects, to test them. Once you are used to the values of the sliders, you would retouch a shot like this in 2-5 minutes. It takes very little time to select the face mapping points, and with many portraits the defaults (or your adjusted and saved modified settings) will work fine first time.

Portrait Professional 8 is, I think, absolutely essential software for any studio even if rarely used. It only costs £39.95 to download from www.portraitprofessional.com and entering mpa609 as a coupon code gets a 10% discount. Within hours of my mentioning it to a couple of professional friends who use Macs, and had not been interested in this software because it was PC-only and therefore assumed to be a bit naff like most PC-only stuff at this kind of price point, had bought it and emailed to thank me for the lead. The general opinion is that it is underpriced by a long way, and when you look at the cost of software such as OnOne’s Plug-Ins Suite 4, that is definitely so.

You can now obtain a 10% discount on upgrades, if you have already bought PP, using the code mcpupgrade.

Anthropics have provided this at a truly phil-anthropic price!

See also our earlier test on the PC of the previous version.

– David Kilpatrick

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