Editor’s Note: Perfectly Clear is offering Photofocus readers a special $99 bundle, including Perfectly Clear Complete and SharkPixel presets. A $163 value!
In theory, a skillful user of Lightroom or Photoshop can massage a photo to shine, highlighting the best features of a scene, minimizing distracting elements and directing the viewer’s eye to whatever it was that first attracted the photographer to the scene.
In practice, optimizing images can take a LOT of time and effort, even for a photographer who is relatively comfortable with image processing. The sheer numbers of images a trip can generate can become overwhelming. Even editing a stack of images down to a manageable number to even decide which image on which to concentrate one’s processing efforts can consume a lot of time.
I used to think one-step processing, using tools like Aurora HDR 2019 and Perfectly Clear Complete, was a cop-out — a shortcut which took away too much control over the look of the image from the photographer. But I have come to realize such software tools have a place in the workflow of any photographer who generates a lot of images and has aspirations to keep up with processing them.
Although I’m reasonably proficient with Lightroom, many times I find that even with considerable effort, I can’t quite get the look I’m after as readily with Lightroom as with another product.
In the past, I happily used Perfectly Clear version 2 to shortcut some of my processing. Recently, I’ve been thrilled with the HDR capabilities of Aurora HDR 2019. So I jumped at a chance to test out the latest version of Perfectly Clear, called Perfectly Clear Complete (PCC).
PCC is simple to use. From Lightroom, I select Edit in > Perfectly Clear v3. A copy of the image to be processed opens in PCC. There are multiple different looks which one can click through. The default is to the effect at 100%. Any effect can be dialed up or down as desired. You can also run Perfectly Clear as a stand-alone application.
Here are my first experiments with PCC, applied to images languishing unprocessed from a diving trip to French Polynesia five months ago.
My second effort, a waterfall scene from the island of Tahiti:
In general, I found the Landscape look, one from the Perfectly Clear Essentials suite, more natural looking and more suited for my preferences than other options in The Great Outdoors suite.
I was also curious how PCC would perform with underwater images.
My final comparison on this test drive is a wide angle blue water shark scene.
If you’re like me, you’d much rather be out in nature taking photographs than slaving over them afterward in front of a computer. Perfectly Clear Complete has given me hope that I may one day “catch up” on my backlog of images to process!