Friday, May 30, 2014

Impressions: Athentech Perfectly Clear

Yesterday I downloaded the "beta" version of Athentech's upcoming stand-alone Perfectly Clear software. I've heard many good things about Perfectly Clear so I wanted to try it for myself. Since the "beta" version is free to try, I figured this was a good time.

Perfectly Clear has been around as a Photoshop plug-in for a little while now. I don't use Photoshop, so the stand-alone PC version is what I would need in order to use it. The $200 expected cost is much, much too steep for me, but "beta" users who provide feedback are promised a discount. We'll have to wait and see just how much that will be.

After downloading and installing the software, I fired up Perfectly Clear and found it to be simple and intuitive. The learning curve was very short. If you have ever used any post-processing software, you won't have any problems figuring this one out. There are a few drop-down windows, a few boxes to check or uncheck, and some sliders. Everything is arranged in a logical manner.

The idea of this software is to quickly and easily make improvements to your photographs. There are a handful of preset 1-click adjustments, all of which can be modified after selected. Athentech did a great job of creating presets that actually work well. You can pretty easily make your own preset adjustments, as well. It only takes a few seconds to see what this software will do to a particular photograph. Perfectly Clear really is a quick way to improve your images.

Most file types are compatible with Perfectly Clear, including RAW. No surprise that my Sigma Merrill RAW files are not compatible. This software could be the first, last or only stop in your post-processing workflow. It can even batch process groups of images.

In my case, I used Perfectly Clear to adjust already post-processed images. I wanted to see if the presets would improve the photographs. I found that it often did, even if just a little. I would say, and this is just  playing around with the software for one evening, that 50% of the photographs were improved running it through the software, 20% were made worse, and 30% saw no significant change. Again, these were already finished photographs. I've posted some before and after examples below.

I haven't had a chance yet to play around with unedited images, so I'm not sure how well Perfectly Clear works as the first or only stop in post processing. I've read there are some photographers that use it that way, and I've seen enough of the software that I can say that it has potential as such. But I'll hold off judgment until I see for myself.

Does Perfectly Clear save time in post-processing? It certainly can, but it could add additional time, depending on exactly how it is used. Does Perfectly Clear improve photographs? Often yes, but certainly not always. This software is a great tool to have, but I'm not sure that it is worth the hefty price tag.
Rock Behind Ice Plant - Morro Bay, California
Original version.
Rock Behind Ice Plant - Morro Bay, California
Perfectly Clear version.
California Summer Feeling - Stallion Springs, California
Original version.
California Summer Feeling - Stallion Springs, California
Perfectly Clear version.
Central Valley Vista - Stallion Springs, California
Original version.
Central Valley Vista - Stallion Springs, California
Perfectly Clear version.
Taylor - Stallion Springs, California
Original version.
Taylor - Stallion Springs, California
Perfectly Clear version.
Zebras Below The Castle - San Simeon, California
Original version.
Zebras Below The Castle - San Simeon, California
Perfectly Clear version.
McWay Falls View - Big Sur, California
Original version.
McWay Falls View - Big Sur, California
Perfectly Clear version.
Tender Wheels - Barstow, California
Original version.
Tender Wheels - Barstow, California
Perfectly Clear version.
Brake Wheel Shadow - Barstow, California
Original version.
Brake Wheel Shadow - Barstow, California
Perfectly Clear version.
Coastal Boy - Stallion Springs, California
Original version.
Coastal Boy - Stallion Springs, California
Perfectly Clear version.
Unused Bed - Hinkley, California
Original version.
Unused Bed - Hinkley, California
Perfectly Clear version.
One Tree - Tehachapi, California
Original version.
One Tree - Tehachapi, California
Perfectly Clear version.

1 comment:

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