Auto EQ automatically corrects the photo's brightness and contrast, often performing well but making some photos look over-exposed. Auto EQ and Black and White are also available in Develop mode, and the other filters are located in Edit mode, filed under Special Effect, but they're not easy to find.
Develop mode handles non-destructive editing, which is ideal for colour correcting and removing noise from RAW files. Edit mode applies changes destructively to the original file, and generally concentrates on more creative edits. We've never liked this split in working methods as it limits the order in which filters can be applied and adjusted. However, the destructive tools in Edit mode go further than Lightroom's fully non-destructive toolset with features such as Text design, Tilt-Shift and various other creative filters.
Edit mode gains a new Pixel Targeting feature in this update, allowing filters to be applied selectively to parts of the frame depending on the brightness or hue of pixels. It's also possible to target skin tones for inclusion or exclusion. You sign using an ACDSee account. You may already have one if you're a current user of ACDSee tools.
It allows you to control the privacy of your pictures and share them with others without having to log in on a webpage. View The View page is a simple layout of just the picture you highlighted in the Manage page with a neutral surround for less distraction. Thumbnails of the other pictures in the folder line up in a ticker at the bottom with the camera settings in a small box to the bottom right of the screen.
Develop If you want to do some global work to your pictures, you need to load it into the Develop screen. It's essentially the same as the View screen except you get a load of editing tools down the left side of the preview image. The rest of the folder is still shown as a ticker along the bottom. In this page, you can alter the overall feel of the picture by adjusting values such as White-balance, Curves, Lighting as well as a General area that holds the Contrast, Saturation and Exposure sliders among the list.
A nice touch in this is that as you click each plus icon to open a tab, any previous tab you had open will close automatically. This keeps the tab you want to use right in front of you. Edit For more localised treatment of your pictures, you need to flick into the Edit tab. These are now customizable in Manage mode. Some other recent additions since our last review: Smart Erase. The equivalent to Adobe's Content-Aware fill tool—letting you easily remove objects from images with consistent backgrounds.
Liquify Tool. Allows you to distort objects in images without compromising quality. Actions Browser. Optimize your workflow with predefined and customizable hotkeys. Pixel Targeting. Select and mask by targeting specific brightness ranges and colors within the image. Grain Tool. Give your images an old, film grain look. Polygon Selection Tool. Select around edges and irregular shapes.
Other highlights include support for high-DPI displays, Snapshots that let you make copies in mid-edit, Dehaze and Skin Tune tools, and a good selection of filters and effects. The ACDSee application uses the standard three-panel view, with image-source folders on the left, viewing area in the large middle section, and tools and properties on a right-side panel.
You can choose from three interface colors: These are basically tabs across the top of the application window that change the interface based on what you're doing in the app—organizing, editing, exporting, and so on. The interface is flexible, letting you undock and auto-hide panels if you like. I like the clear icon design for mode switching, compared with CyberLink PhotoDirector's basic text buttons.
The button next to the mode buttons lets you upload photos to ACDSee's cloud storage. Photos and View only differ in the number of images you see on the screen lots for the former, one for the latter. The program supports touch gestures, which I tested on my touch-screen PC, pinch-zooming and swiping through photos in a folder.
I found, however, that these interactions weren't very responsive or reliable. Also, buttons and menu choices are too small for the occasional screen tap.
The app displayed just fine on a 4K-resolution screen in my testing, however. Organizing and Importing Photos As you might expect, importing and organizing happens in the Manage mode. You can choose to rename files on import and to enter metadata, such as keywords.
You can't, however, apply adjustment presets, and in general the import is less robust than what Lightroom and PhotoDirector offer. ACDSee can open video and music, as well as photos, but I wish it were easier to tell the program only to display photos in Manage view. Lightroom makes it easier to see just your last import. ACDSee supports raw camera formats from most popular professional and prosumer models.
The support is updated regularly for new cameras, though it's slower to support new models than competitors are. Import quality, or raw file conversion, is another issue. In several image tests, ACDSee did an acceptable job of converting raw camera files, but it was bested by both Lightroom and Capture One , with the latter revealing the most detail and the former more natural color and lighting with well-exposed images. I tested a Nikon, too: Shots from a D looked nearly the same in ACDSee and Lightroom, with the latter better by a nose for detail and naturalness.
Organization options include ratings, color-labels, captions, and categories such as People, Places, and Various. You don't get nearly as much help in entering keywords as you do with Lightroom; you're on your own for creating grids of preset keywords. You can also group photos into Collections and Smart Collections.
In order to create a new collection, you right-click on the blank area in the left folder panel. It works, but it's not very intuitive. The Collection pane wasn't even enabled after installation; I had to turn it on from the Panes menu. An image basket lets you hold photos you want to work with in a temporary tray below the main display area. Maps and Faces One fun organization feature is maps. You can also drag photo thumbnails onto the map to create pins for their locations.
I found the feature inconsistent, sometimes including photos taken nowhere near where you clicked on the map. Lightroom does a better job with maps, though, with thumbnail slideshows right on the map showing photos shot at the location.
The mouse is used to position the cursor on the screen; when you slide the mouse over a horizontal surface, the cursor moves in the same direction on the screen.
Virtual slots have several advantages over conventional hardware peripheral slots. They reduce the potential problems inherent in any added mechanical connection (a serial interface connector has fewer pins than a typical interface board). They reduce RFI (radio-frequency interference) by keeping the main box leakproof and allowing easy, inexpensive shielding of the serial line.