Let’s be honest here. If you’re over 40 years old, there’s a good chance you’re not looking your best. I’m not saying that you’re a hideous monster or anything like that, but it’s certainly possible you could use a little work. If you’re much older than 40, you could definitely use some work. That’s where the Portrait Professional Studio software enters the picture.
Portrait Professional Studio is capable of “airbrushing,” a technique of photographic retouching and enhancing that removes imperfections and similar surface-level “problems.” Usually reserved for models in the glamor and fashion industries, Anthropics Technology has created an intelligent, user-friendly product that transforms airbrushing into a painless feat that’s easily accessible to the masses. As long as you’re comfortable opening image files and using a computer, you’ll have no problem enhancing your images with instant, hyperbolic beauty. Watch your subject’s wrinkles and acne disappear in minutes as the application creates believable, practically flawless portraits. No, they actually didn’t pay me to say that; I should have asked.
On their website, Anthropics Technology hails their application as “The World’s Easiest Portrait Enhancement Software.” That’s a pretty audacious claim to make, but after using the software, I tend to agree. Portrait Professional Studio makes it incredibly easy to do, in minutes, what would take hours in Photoshop. Trust me, I’ve spent the past six years honing my skills using Adobe’s premier photo-editor. I could easily accomplish on my own the same touch-ups that PPS performs, yet it would likely take me four times as long to complete the work. If you take into consideration my past experience with Photoshop, you’ll quickly realize how impossible airbrushing would be to someone without this type of simplistic software.
Despite that last paragraph, PPS let’s you have your cake and eat it too. Well, only if eating your cake means having a bug-free Photoshop plug-in. Included with the software download is exactly that: a plug-in that allows you to use the software’s features in Adobe applications. It also works with RAW files! I know that literally no one else cares about this feature, but it can considerably speed up workflow if you know how to use it.
The above image was included in the press packet. While the transformation is stunning, the photo came directly from the company and should probably be considered propaganda. That might sound a bit harsh, but remember that the image was provided solely to convince you of the software’s capabilities. It’s a good point of reference, but how do you actually enact this kind of metamorphosis? The process is actually very straightforward, and the software guides you through the necessary steps. The general idea is that you show PPS where your model’s eyes, nose, and mouth are located on-screen. You click and drag blue outlines to correspond with the correct facial features, which basically instructs the software on what areas to blur and what to exaggerate. The program then creates a new version of the portrait, already mostly airbrushed, for you tweak and correct as needed.
Hopefully this doesn’t sound too difficult, as the process is actually very straightforward. The best part is, even if you’re off by a bit on any of the selections or measurements, it doesn’t drastically affect the final outcome. After about 1-3 minutes of loading time, you’ll be presented with a preliminary airbrushing of the subject. At this point, it’s up to you to correct any remaining blemishes or imperfections. Airbrushing with Portrait Professional Studio v10 works a lot like the blur tool in Photoshop. Even if you’re not familiar with the software, it’s exactly what is sounds like. While un-retouched skin can look unappealing; airbrushed skin tends to look soft, glossy, and smooth. With all those wrinkles and battle scars, there’s a chance you’re not great to look at up close. If you’re ready to change that, PPS will do it for you automatically. As they say, seeing is believing, so I’ve a posted a photo below for all of the visual learners out there.
As you can see above, the skin becomes a bit blurry and surreal following the transformation. Yet, if this isn’t the look you’re going for, the masterminds back at Anthropics Technologyhave additional features for you. As pictured above, the controls on the far right work as toggles for the various features of your portrait. You can change just about anything, from the level of blurriness to the tanning of the skin and hair color. Noses can be extended and shortened, eyes widened, and smiles perfected. It’s not a realism simulation, after all, and Portrait Professional is obviously going for beauty over naturalism.
At first I was skeptical as to the level and number of tweaks available to use. It seems somewhat dishonest to change the shape of body features or alter the color of someone’s hair. However, PPS never lets you go too far. While drastic alterations can be made, they still retain the character of the initial photograph. You can’t create frankenstein creatures or abysmal exaggerations. The sliders let you control many aspects of the image, but only within reasonable boundaries.
During my two and a half weeks with the software, the only abnormal discovery I made was when I managed to turn President Obama’s skin both firetruck-red and lemonade-yellow. Even with such gross color distortions, the portrait looked as if the subject was wearing a thick layer of face-paint. It was still vaguely believable.
It should be pretty obvious from the example above, but Portrait Professional Studio turns out to be a pretty powerful application. Simple corrections and tweaks are easy, but to the more discerning? I wouldn’t lie and say I don’t have a background in digital arts, yet I created the “After” shot seen above in about twelve minutes. This is borderline incredible, and it takes much of the guesswork and human error out of the artistic process.
For a hard-line $129.95, you can make all of your friends look just as attractive as you wish they were. The software takes your photos, and helps you make them sexy. It’s currently on sale for $59.95, but is it worth the money? It all depends on your personal needs.
Portrait Professional v10 does EXACTLY what it’s supposed to do, and does it extremely well – but nothing else. If your files are too large, they won’t be imported for airbrushing. If you’ve got a low-res image, it won’t respond well to the blur-treatment. You should also know that if you have a full-body or even waist-up portrait, the effects of airbrushing become increasingly irrelevant. PPS works on the head and face alone, so don’t expect any other part of the image to change drastically.
The image below provides the perfect example. The right-most photo has been fully airbrushed and includes a modified facial construction. However, I imagine you’d be pretty hard-pressed to notice any of the details. This isn’t a failing on the part of the developer, it’s just the reality of sight and photography.
I still stand behind every positive comment I’ve written thus far, but PPS feels like niche software. I spent two hours last night looking through all 500 of my Facebook photos. Do you know how many acceptable portraits I found? Two and a half. If you’re anything like me, you won’t have much content to put through the PPS blender. If you know you have a ton of self or family portraits, Anthropics Technology has created a software that’s probably cheaper than hiring a professional photographer. It’ll be perfect for you. Otherwise? Even on sale it’s probably not worth the hefty price tag.
Portrait Professional Studio v10 MSRP: $129.95
As previously mentioned, the product sells for $130, but is currently on-sale for $60. I’d pick it up pronto before the introductory price goes away.
Pricing Portrait Professional Studio is available to purchase here.
What I Like: User-friendly interface, Simplistic controls, Short loading times, Excellent auto-airbrushing, Support for RAW files, Photoshop plug-in, Easy portrait manipulation
What Needs Improvement: Support for larger files, Better handling of lower-resolution images,
The views and opinions expressed in this article, especially those regarding the reader’s relative attractiveness, are those of the individual writer and do not reflect the views of Gear Diary or its legal representatives. Except where explicitly stated, comments indicating that you are “not great to look at” are not endorsed by Gear Diary, or any of its imaginary subsidiaries. Staff editors and interns are not responsible for the accuracy of any information supplied in this article – especially in relation to height and weight estimates. These Terms & Conditions are non-negotiable and probably offensive.