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In August 2022, I was fortunate enough to look at ACDsee PSU 2022. I found the software to be user-friendly, easy to understand, and great value for money. However, it didn’t offer too many new features, and this was somewhat disappointing. Roll on a few months, and I’ve been given ACDsee Photo Studio Ultimate 2023 to review. Consequently, I couldn’t wait to see what was new, and how it stacks up against its peers.
The first point to note is the price increase! Now, this software is still great value for money. However, whenever you begin creeping toward Adobe prices, you give your fanbase a few more things to consider. The next area to observe is the familiar layout. The single interface comprises 5 easy to navigate tabs. Furthermore, you can prioritise specific folders for ease of use. Finally, some nice new features enhance this all-in-one photography software. As such, this is a go-to option for amateurs and those who want something a little more straightforward.
What’s new in ACDsee Photo Studio Ultimate 2023?
ACDsee Photo Studio Ultimate 2023 includes AI-powered selections. Now, this may sound fancy, but to dumb this down, it’s similar to the edit mode on a Google Pixel phone. For example, you can auto-edit large areas of your pictures, instantly remove unwanted items, and so forth. However, let’s take a closer look at each tool.
AI face edit is a fun and interesting option that allows you to adjust eyes, increase and decrease other features, and generally lark about with people’s faces. This was an interesting option that produced some nice results. Yet, it had to be used with some key editing tools if you wanted to hide blemishes or adjust skin tones. Now, this may seem minor, but a one-stop-shop option within this mode would have increased usability.
AI actions are an incredible option if you want to make sweeping alterations to any image. Here, you can change your backdrops with ease, remove items, blur images, or simply create a striking colour foreground on a black and white canvas. When this mode works well, it is straightforward, and the results speak for themselves. Yet, when it goes wrong, you must manually adjust the end product, and this can be fiddly and time-consuming.
The new elements keep coming.
Photomerge was an option I was most excited to play with. With three areas to use, it is an interesting inclusion to the ACDsee software. However, ACDsee Photo Studio Ultimate 2023 hasn’t quite nailed this editing mode down. Unfortunately, the HDR option isn’t expansive enough, and exposures are all over the shop. Furthermore, the Photo Stack mode created additional problems when exploring high-contrasting imagery. Finally, there is a Panorama mode to play with. This was my go-to area and the one that I had the most success with. But, word of warning, once you complete your edit, your files are saved as a JPEG. Consequently, it can no longer be edited, and that was just annoying. As such, you must edit all images before using the Photomerge option. This was a little counterproductive, but something that can be altered by the developers down the road.
A massive improvement to this year’s update is the Shape Selection Tool. This simplified pen tool allows you to accurately select any object within an image. However, it takes a bit of getting used to it, but once you master it, you’ll love how it works.
Like its predecessor, ACDsee Photo Studio Ultimate 2023 has a fantastic UI to work with. With an easy-to-navigate single interface, it is phenomenal for newcomers and veterans alike. The UI comprises 5 well-labelled tabs. Manage, Media, View, Develop, and Edit make up this incredibly intuitive and user-friendly software.
The two main areas of use are Manage and Develop. These tabs offer incredible cataloguing as well as amazing raw processing power. Here, you can adjust the main elements of your images with ease. Accordingly, you can play with lens correction, fix red eye issues, crop, rotate and straighten, soft focus, split tones, adjust white balancing, and much, much more. What’s more, your original image remains safe as ACDsee Photo Studio Ultimate 2023 creates a unique file.
If you are new to photo editing, or you simply want an easy life, then the Edit tab will be your best friend. Here, you can make sweeping adjustments to each layer without too much stress. However, the options available to you are limited in comparison to other market-leading competitors. This will disappoint some high-end users, but ACDsee Photo Studio Ultimate 2023 has never been marketed towards this USP. Instead, it focuses heavily on photographers that want a pleasant result without the brutal learning curve.
Consequently, ACDsee Photo Studio Ultimate 2023’s all-in-one approach will be phenomenal for some, but underwhelming for others. If you are used to the leading elements of Adobe, then this won’t float your boat. However, if you want something a little less demanding, then this will tick many boxes.
How does ACDsee Photo Studio Ultimate 2023 compare?
This year’s ACDsee Photo Studio Ultimate 2023 is a vast improvement on last year’s instalment. With some nice new features, the same excellent UI, and a straightforward approach, there is plenty to shout about. Yet, the results aren’t as sharp as Adobe, and it is missing some features that high-end users will desperately need. Accordingly, this will be perfect for many people, but professionals will be underwhelmed by what’s on offer.
This isn’t to say that ACDsee Photo Studio Ultimate 2023 can’t be used by everyone, because it can. Nonetheless, you must be aware of its limitations. However, for the price, you get an incredible piece of software that can’t be disregarded. Subsequently, I recommend that you buy it here!
Price: £134.99 for a perpetual license or £79.99 a year or £7.99 a month for a subscription service. The advantage to the latter is that you receive continued updates for the length of your subscription.
(More information on ACDsee can be found here!)