Arcadia PhotoPerfect: System requirements
- Windows 2000, XP or Vista
- 20Mb of available hard-disk space
- Intel Pentium 4 Processor
- 256Mb of RAM (512Mb recommended for Windows 2000 and XP, 1Gb for Vista)
- 1024x768 screen resolution
Located in Cologne, Germany, Arcadia software are a fledgling company with PhotoPerfect being the first of its range.
Aimed at the high end workflow enthusiast, Photoperfect is intended to ease the amount of work you have to perform by integrating batch processing with preset algorithms.
The main window of PhotoPerfect is laid out in a similar way to Lightroom but doesn't look as nice.
Separate windows pop up for manipulation and have a slider across the top to illustrate the changes made.
Multi automatic loads multiple images in with slight differences made in image control. You can choose your preferred image by clicking on the corresponding "execute" button.
Save options are extensive and everything is laid out for you. It does look busy but isn't difficult to use.
I was pleased with how quickly the system was downloaded onto my computers bulging hard drive. It only took a few minutes to get everything on there with the system launched and ready to go. PhotoPerfect doesn't require you to reboot the computer before it can be used.
The main page looks like a primitive Lightroom UI with the main pane reserved for your image and thumbnails from the folder stacked in a row below. Image enhancing features are listed down the side in small icons and user friendly icons which will turn on/off various features are listed along the top of the image.
Arcadia PhotoPerfect: In use
One of the useful features is the PerfectlyClear mode found in the image optimisation tab along the top of the window or you can press 'x' and a separate box will pop up with all the changes taking place. The great thing about this area is the small slider to the top of the preview pane. Sliding it left and right is like opening and closing a window which shows all the changes you've made to the image. It means you can place it in the middle for a side by side comparison if need be.
My only grumble about this bit is that it isn't previewed on the main image in the background. I'd like to see the main picture change as previews can sometimes be slightly off. Amendments are made by using sliders and scrolling through the three main areas of PerfectlyClear, I2E (intelligent image enhance) and Xe847.
The fourth option of the image optimisation tab is Multi Automatic and it loads four images each with a slightly different setting for you to choose which best suits the image.
You can also batch process images using the links to the right of the main image. Choices include optimising using the previously mentioned methods alongside other more unusual adjustments such as chamoise toning, prepare for competition, prepare for Ebay, remove purple fringing and selenium tone.
Actual image editing is relatively good although not as precise or extensive as other editing suites from the bigger guys such as Adobe or Corel. However, it has its own unique way of editing images which is more fun.
Clicking onto selective dimming on the small box brings up a purple levels graph and using the sliders can allow you to make your adjustments. The first one is for adding or reducing the amount of light to the image while the range slider will define between highlight and shadow depending on the position of the slider. Width will narrow or widen the band that responds to the adjustment while contrast adds or removes contrast.
RAW conversion is also possible and most cameras are supported by the program. In the directory, RAW images are highlighted in green for fast reference which I think is a really nice touch. Basic retouching can be performed before importing and you can also convert it to 8bit JPEG or 16bit TIFF.
The original looks ok but could benefit from some exposure and contrast.
Perfectly Clear has automatically boosted the image to acceptable limits.
Distortion such as pincushion can be sorted out by using the pincushion correction feature. Loading the program will place a grid over the image and then you can make any necessary changes. An auto pincushion correction feature is available if you wish to do that instead.
Arcadia PhotoPerfect: Verdict
The list of options for the program is long and exhausting to look at but what I tried above are some of the more interesting ones.
Arcadia seem to have their heads screwed on. They don't market this as something for professional users which some other companies would do in a bid to keep the market open. They've admitted it's suited to amateurs with a high work flow. With that in mind, the UI may be a tough one for first time users.
The features it does have are good and I think a lot of negativity could come from the fact it's not a familiar way of doing things. Using the system on a regular basis will get you used to the controls and they'll become as natural as any current system used currently.
For the money it's quite a decent package especially if you're on a budget or need a good batch processor.
Arcadia PhotoPerfect: Plus points
Quick enhance tools
Easy to use
Batch processing with customisable options
Arcadia PhotoPerfect: Minus points
No real time preview on main image
Easy to use but is still cluttered
Not easy to undo mistakes
Because of the features available, the ease of use and price point, I've awarded Arcadia Software's PhotoPerfect our acclaimed Highly Recommended award.
PhotoPerfect costs around £30, take a look at the Arcadia Software PhotoPerfect website.
Model was the wonderful Sam Brooke, many thanks for the shoot. To hire her, visit her portfolio: