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CyberLink PhotoDirector Review

article by Nicky Hoseck author September 16, 2019
our score
CyberLink PhotoDirector is a powerful program that can be used by novices and photography professionals. Many experts believe that this is one of the best photo editing software programs on the market, and it’s an affordable one at that.
  • Easily organize large photo collections
  • Supports a wide range of camera RAW formats
  • Multiple effects and filters for precision adjustments
  • Content-aware removal with an intelligent algorithm
  • Simplified layer editing and multiple blending modes
  • No tethered shooting options
  • Geolocation mapping unavailable
  • Limited selection of lens-profile corrections
Great program to do face retouching on your photographs.
Nicky Hoseck, author
Ease of Use Simplified Layer Editing
Key Factors Photos From Videos
Personal Use Benefits Perfect Portraits
Privacy Filters, Effects & Blurs
File Sharing Photography Essentials
Deluxe Try Now >>
$ 39.99 /user
  • Color Splash
  • Bracketed HDR
  • Motion Blur
  • Hierarchical Tag System Support
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Ultra Try Now >>
$ 49.99 /user
  • All Deluxe features
  • Layer Based Editing
  • Express Layer Templates
  • CyberLink Cloud Service (25 GB)
Try Now >>
Suite Try Now >>
$ 74.99 /user
  • All Ultra Features
  • ColorDirector 5 Included
  • 2D Panorama
  • CyberLink Cloud Service (50 GB)
Try Now >>

Setup Setup

CyberLink PhotoDirector is as simple to install as any other photo editor. Just stay focused on the process and ignore the annoying pop-ups and you’ll be up and running within a matter of minutes. Considerably smaller and less demanding on both hard drive space and RAM than some of the more popular alternatives, all you have to do is create a CyberLink PhotoDirector account and away you go – no need for credit card details or any personal information.

Downloads are available for both PC and Mac, as well as free apps for both Android and iOS, although these lack some of the more advanced functions of the desktop applications. Desktop users can enjoy a 30-day free trial to get acquainted with the software too. Once installed and registered, users simply have to log in and can then start creating some magic.

While CyberLink PhotoDirector is aimed more at the amateur user, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll simply open it up and have a completed project within an hour. There is a bit of a learning curve, especially when it comes to navigation and tool control, so making use of one of the online tutorials or the in-app help facility is advisable.

PhotoDirector comes with a selection of sample images that you can use to experiment with different effects and start discovering the full capabilities of PhotoDirector. Of course, you can always play with your own photographs, just be sure to save the original beforehand.

PhotoDirector isn’t an especially complex photo editing app to get acquainted with, although some of its adjustment tools are a little less intuitive than in a professional editing suite. Nevertheless, an easy download that doesn’t require any payment details is always a blessing.

Personal Use Benefits User Interface

The dull gray background of the main user interface is reminiscent of popular photo editors and works surprisingly well, bringing out the color and detail of the image you’re working on. At the top of the interface are two menus, the first is similar to the toolbar found in most Microsoft apps and gives users access to file functions, like opening a document or saving one, as well as limited editing tools, photo organization and tagging tools, and different viewing options.

Below this is another menu that contains the main editing categories, including the library where sample photos are stored and to which users can import their own images. Next along is the adjustment category where users will find both regional and global modification tools. While the regional tools focus on correcting specified sections of an image, global tools modify the whole thing.

The editing section is probably the one with the most unique and exciting features, giving users the ability to edit portraits to create a sharper chin, reduce shine, brighten the eyes, and even remove wrinkles. In this section, users can access intuitive tools that will remove unwanted objects, replacing them with a seamless background or create a stylish oil painting from a photograph with a single click.

Compared to more sophisticated photo editors aimed at professional designers and photographers, PhotoDirector is more accessible and easier to use, although it can still be confusing for first-time users. The interface is similar to other photo editors, making it easier to grasp, while perceptive tools and the use of AI makes many functions a lot easier than in other similar programs. Some of the adjustments can take a while, especially when applying styles to large images, but the results are worth waiting for.

PhotoDirector’s user interface means that even novice users can create some impressive projects and perform tasks that in other photo editors, would require advanced tools and some serious skill. It’s user-friendly design and intuitive tools make it both effective and fun to work with.

Bottom Line Editing Tools

With PhotoDirector, there are various presets available as well as manual editing options. These are primarily customized color effects and, while some photo editors tend to create garish hues reminiscent of Andy Warhol, PhotoDirector produces artist effects that can enhance any image, whether landscape or portrait.

In addition to editing tools for standard image manipulation, PhotoDirector can handle video files as well, which few of its rivals can. Not only does this mean you can capture stills from your movies, but you can also create dynamic multi-exposure photos and animated gifs. Getting these more advanced video editing effects right doesn’t come without its challenges but figuring it out is a lot of fun. The only downside is that it’s easy to lose track of time.

On the more traditional photo editing front, PhotoDirector doesn’t disappoint and, again, makes the process fun and engaging. The people beautifier tools are particularly notable, enabling inexperienced users to create professional, blemish-free portraits. These tools are divided into three categories: face tools, skin tools, and body shaper. Some of these effects are very subtle but can change an average image into one you’d like to hang on your wall.

Color effects include the groovy color splash option that will retain a single color from the original image while converting the rest to black and white. You can also remove objects, add grain and texture, remove backgrounds, and merge images, and add watermarks.

Although getting exactly the end product you were hoping for takes a fair amount of tweaking and patience, the learning curve is enjoyable and PhotoDirector’s tools easy enough to get to grips with and comprehensive enough to keep more advanced users engaged.

Ease of Use Features

With PhotoDirector, importing images is super-fast and straightforward. Users can select single images or complete folders and upload them from cloud storage, hard drive, or directly from a camera. Tethered shooting is also supported, so users can import photos straight into PhotoDirector as they’re being taken.

Of course, storage isn’t an issue either, with each PhotoDirector user getting 25 GB free cloud storage on the CyberLink Cloud. That’s not a lot but it’s enough to get started and you can always opt to purchase more storage space and the prices are reasonable. CyberLink Cloud is a multi-media cloud storage facility create, share and play your graphic projects there as well as simply storing them.

PhotoDirector also has some handy photo management features, enabling users to tag photos according to content, tag people, or simply organize groups of images with color-coded labels. Most of these functions can be accessed from the photo option on the top toolbar and, once created, will be reflected in the smart collection section of the library.

Adding multi-layered objects to existing images has never been easier and CyberLink PhotoDirector’s Express Template can transform an average snapshot into a work of art with a single click. Other templates are available to help you create magazine covers, comic books, and stylish Christmas cards.

While PhotoDirector may not have the extensive array of advanced features that professionals require but it gives amateur users plenty of scope and helpful templates and features to spark the imagination and boost creativity.

Multiple Devices PC Compatibility Requirements

Photo editing software is never lightweight, although CyberLink PhotoDirector isn’t quite as resource heavy as some of the more popular professional options. Nevertheless, PC users with the latest Microsoft Windows operating system will get the best user experience, although those with the clunky Windows 7 will be just about able to cope.

Memory use is also high with PhotoDirector and users must ensure they have at least 2 GB RAM available, although 6 GB will guarantee a more seamless user experience, especially for those planning on working with both videos and stills. Another 1 GB of hard disk space is required to accommodate the app itself and associated documents.

Without a decent CPU processor, your desktop is liable to struggle with larger images and video editing so it’s not really worth installing PhotoDirector unless you have at least an Intel Core i-series processor or equivalent.

Obviously, an internet connection is also required both to download the software and to utilize the cloud storage.

Pricing Pricing

While many photo editor software developers have abandoned their cost-effective lifetime licenses, PhotoDirector is still clinging onto to theirs which is a bonus for users seeking a budget alternative to the more costly professional packages.

A lifetime license for CyberLink PhotoDirector Ultra costs just $99.99 and includes all the features discussed in this article and 25 GB free cloud storage. This is excellent value for money, especially considering that the subscription alternative, PhotoDirector 365 usually costs $54.99 per year.

The benefit of the subscription options is that users get access to a wealth of bonus features, like the latest AI Style Packs and free soundtracks for your slideshows. You also get the latest updates, as well as useful editing tips.

If you want a bit more versatility and a greater range of video editing tools, you have the choice between a lifetime license for the PowerDirector and PhotoDirector combo, priced at $139.99 or the subscription option of the Director Suite 365 for $129.99 per year. Again, the decision is partly based on your budget and partly on how much you value the added extras included in the subscription service.

Even the premium subscription option is cheaper than many other photo editing apps and offers excellent value for money given the extent of its tools and capabilities. While free photo editors are always tempting, most are limited in their functions and clunky to operate.

The only real drawback with PhotoDirector is that users are frequently encouraged to upgrade or pay for added extras, like additional Express Template packs. Aside from that, if you’re looking to get creative with your home videos or create an incredible project from your latest set of photographs, PhotoDirector is an affordable way to do it, providing a wealth of tools and creative inspiration at a reasonable price.

Bottom Line

CyberLink PhotoDirector is a fun and affordable alternative to costly professional photo editing apps. With free mobile apps available, users can enjoy tinkering with images while on the go. Sharing images between devices and with others is simple using the CyberLink cloud storage that’s bundled into the package.

Despite its name, PhotoDirector is as proficient with videos as it is with single images and using its intuitive tools to create a variety of images and animations from a video is one of its most appealing features.

Although learning the ropes of just how the software operates will take most users an hour or two, the inviting interface and logical design make this a pleasurable exploration. CyberLink also has helpful tutorials and user guides online to help get you started.

While life licenses are, for many photo editor developers, becoming a thing of the past, PhotoDirector is still giving users the benefit of this cost-effective option. Although subscribers get access to more add-ons and updates than lifetime users, the lifetime license still gives you an abundance of tools that you can use until your dying day.

Fun, friendly and functional, the only real drawback to PhotoDirector is that it’s so much fun you can easily while away the hours without noticing. Of course, that could mean you create an image that takes you and your photography to the next level. At the end of the day, the only thing you’re liable to waste with PhotoDirector’s user-friendly, cost-effective apps is time and if that time is spent creatively, then it’s not wasted at all.