Imagenomic's software, Portraiture, was one of the first plug-ins I ever purchased - now over six years ago. I actually started using Portraiture as a plug-in for Apple's photo editing software Aperture. Then Apple went and discontinued Aperture and I was left in a lurch with all of my plug-ins because once I moved over to Adobe's Lightroom and Photoshop I wouldn't be able to use the plug-ins that I had incorporated into some of my workflows. I actually contacted Imagenomic about the ordeal and they gave me a 50% off discount so that I could still use the software within Lightroom. This is software that I actually use, although I have been using it less and less as of late, so I actually have purchased it twice. Additionally, I am only reviewing software that I believe in, or have a strong opinion about, and I am not being payed or endorsed for my thoughts.
OK now that the backstory and disclaimer is over, let me get into the details of what Portraiture is, the pros/cons, etc. The software "intelligently" smooths skin and removes imperfections while still maintaining skins texture and other details (hair, eyebrows, etc.). Essentially, the software selects just the skin areas of a photograph and selectively smooths only the skin tone areas. No need for manually retouching pixels and selective-masking.
The unique thing I like about this software is that there is (1) an Auto-Mask feature or (2) you can manually fine-tune the different features (e.g. sharpness, smoothness, contrast, warmth). The auto-mask feature comes in several strengths in a drop down menu.
- This is a technical component that I've discovered but you have to soften the skin before you convert an image to Black and White. If you try to smooth the skin on a B&W image then nothing happens. If you run the software and then convert to B&W then everything works great. This is only a problem because the skin softening is typically the last thing I do with an edited image and this mainly just interrupts my typical workflow.
- The skin softening is almost too good. I go back in with a brush and sharpen the facial hair on men and quite often more features on men because the skin may be too smooth and feminine. I also go back and sharpen some of the other features such as hair, eyebrows, and sometimes the eyes or nose on occasion. I know the software uses selective masking for skin but I have noticed a slight softening of the hair and eyebrows, and eyes after using the software despite the claims that it maintains these details.
- The price is a little steep at $199.95 but the software is solid and if you shoot a lot of portrait sessions or weddings then it is easily worth the money.
- Super fast and it is so easy to use anyone can, even a beginner, can start using it today.
- The obvious use is for model portraits and the bridal portraits from weddings but I also have found that I use it a lot for newborn and children's photographs.
- Really quick usage as plug-in for lightroom. Lightroom opens up new plug-in window and saves new edited version beside original photograph.
- There is now a plug-in version for video but I have yet to try it.
Sample Images: Side-by-Side Comparison
She really didn't need much, if any, skin softening in the original photograph but the software still brings together a slightly more polished look.
Top: Final Photo - Skin softened and reduced red saturation slightly; Bottom: Previously edited photograph
I think it is easy to tell the subtle but still noticeable difference. The image on the top is with Portraiture and the image below is before.
I ran this one through at the lowest setting but there is still a minor, discernible difference. I zoomed and cropped this photo to illustrate the differences on the face. Right image is using the software. I included this image because (1) it illustrated the minor softening of the hair that occurs and (2) I think it makes it a slightly better photograph with the smoother, more delicate skin.
Overall, I'd recommend this software to anyone who finds they are spending a lot of time masking out blemishes or who manually smooths out skin. Like I said the software does an amazing job, almost too good sometimes because kids can start to look like porcelain if you aren't careful and portraits can start to look almost too photoshopped. My family members have gotten to the point where they ask for the pictures to be run through the software. I tend to use this on a normal to medium setting, take care of any redness/ blemishes with a brush in Lightroom that might not be completely gone because of the lighter setting, and then go over the the hair, eyebrows, and facial hair (on men) with a sharpen brush just to contrast with the smoother skin. I have often come to view my photographs as a better version of the self and this software definitely helps facilitates that philosophy.
There is a free trial that can be downloaded or you can buy it from the link below.