Portrait Professional for a Dummy

What Does Portrait Professional
Do to a Dirty (Wo)manikin Head?

So I just invested in Portrait Professional, after playing around with the free trial. It doesn’t do anything you can’t do natively in Photoshop, in terms of cleaning up a portrait subject’s skin — fixing blemishes, skin tones, etc. — but it definitely cuts out the number of steps involved and thereby simplifies the process (and provides a considerable time reduction).

Plus it gives you fully manual control, so you don’t end up with some ridiculous looking alien-skin image. The big thing for me was being able to turn off the default settings which actually manipulate the shape/proportions of the subject’s faceĀ  and skull (which you can do). That’s going a bit too far in my opinion; in fact the examples on the company’s website I find to be a bit extreme — some even to the point of grotesque. I’m not above tightening a chin or a tummy a little bit, or tucking in a protruding ear. But changing the dimensions of a subject’s skull — that’s too much for me.

But beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Anyway, I just wanted to simplify cleaning up blemishes and evening out/softening skin tones — basically trying to achieve an image of someone as they would look on a near-perfect day with near-perfect lighting, etc. Portrait Pro does with aplomb. I’m still playing around with it and learning the finer points, but I’ll eventually post some examples here.

In the meantime, I was curious to see what it would do with the manikin head on the beach. Here’s the unretouched photo straight out of the camera (other than converting from raw to jpeg):

20130602_181214

And here it is after being processed in Portrait Professional, using the default settings (although I did adjust the placement of the facial recognition lines):

20130602_181214-ppro

Remarkably subtle; in fact I don’t think you can really tell the shape of the head has been changed (unlike when you flip between the before and after images within the program itself). But then I suppose a manikin head is already an idealized version of human.

Anyway, as I say, more later with Portrait Professional. But I will add that I sprang for the 64 bit edition (which also comes with a Photoshop plugin, which works great) and so far so good; I’m pretty happy with it.