Photo by Scott Bourne – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons

Yes there are what seems like hundreds of plugins out there for photographers to use in post-processing. One that is not new but is new to me is called Perfectly Clear from Athentech. I saw demos of this product at Photoshop World and was blown away by what THEY could do with it, so I decided to check it out for myself.

I downloaded copies for Photoshop and Lightroom. The Lightroom version gives you choices of working on images that include the LR corrections or not. Nice touch.

The basic premise is that this product offers one touch improvement of your digital photos. It’s aimed at everyone from amateurs who don’t want to learn the complicated, deeper programs that exist for post work to busy pros who need to process hundreds of images a day and want a quick, speedy, reliable solution.

The technology behind this plugin is impressive. If you’ve ever made prints at Walgreens, Black`s, Tesco, photobox, photoworks, or Olympus you’ve already used Perfectly Clear. It works in the background on some of these solutions.

The developers have done their best to mimic the actual physics principals of light. Each Pixel is independently corrected. And corrected fast. I was able to get salable images from a variety of digital images in under 10 seconds.

The presets (landscape, portrait, noise, etc.) are relatively good. When manually tweaked they become great. I tested the Portrait preset on the image above. The plugin did a nice, subtle job on smoothing her skin and balancing the image. There would still need to be individual retouching in Photoshop to remove blemishes, etc. but the plugin got me most of the way there in 10 seconds. Impressive.

You have an option to create your own presets and can make the following corrections:

White-balance Tint correction
Tone Exposure
Contrast
Colour Vibrancy
Fidelity
Clarity Sharpening
Noise removal
Portrait Skin Tone
Light Diffusion
Auto Red-Eye

The retail price is $199 but in celebration of adding longtime SmugMug COO and landscape photographer Andy Williams to their management team, the company is running a current special that drops the price to $120. They offer a 30 day free trial at http://www.athentech.com so you don’t have anything to lose. Try it and buy it if you like it or move on if you don’t.

I only have one very tiny complaint about Perfectly Clear. It would be nice if the program automatically installed the corrected image on a new duplicate background layer – the way Nik Color Efex Pro does for instance. It’s no big deal. You just have to remember to manually duplicate the background layer before launching the plugin. This gives you the option of blending in the effect or erasing it completely in some areas of your photos where you don’t want it applied. Other than that, the program is just what the doctor ordered.

The program isn’t as deep as some of the other offerings we’ve reviewed at Photofocus but the trade off is that it is much easier to use than some and less expensive in some cases. The results are what counts and the results we got from Perfectly Clear were perfectly great.

Highly recommended.

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