This is a guide covering Anthropics PortraitPro.
Table of Contents
What is Anthropics PortraitPro?
PortraitPro is a photo retouching tool designed by Anthropics. This powerful AI-driven retouching tool can handle complicated facial retouching tasks very easily.
Retouching a face is always a complicated task. It takes a long time because it requires a precise balance between what can be potentially accomplished using a photo retouching tool and what appears as an acceptable result.
It is very easy to go overboard with the sliders and tools.
PortraitPro is primarily designed for retouching portraits, notwithstanding, there are some extended applicabilities. One of them is replacing the sky.
More on that later. Today we are going to discuss the main features of this tool and find out if it fits your requirement.
The latest version of the software is 21 and this is a review of the latest version.
It has been the tradition of Anthropics to include incremental improvements in each of the new versions that they have launched.
And true to their commitment version 21, too, has a bunch of new features.
What Makes PortraitPro Such a Formidable Facial Retouching Tool?
The most striking thing about PortraitPro is how you can make delicate retouching to a face in a very short time frame.
There are dozens of options that allow you to tweak things like the shape of the face including the forehead and the jaw, the eyes including options to individually tweak the left and the right eye, modify the eyebrow shape, the shape of the lips, the nose and so on.
And this is just a start.
There are tons of other changes you can do. For example, you can change your hair color.
You can select from an existing panel of hair colors or click on the color chart and pick the hair color of your choice.
You can change the shine level, tweak the fill light options, adjust the blacks, the contrast, and the vibrance and do much more.
What’s New In Version 21?
There are a bunch of improvements in version 21 of the software. Let’s quickly take a look at some of them.
1. Lighting Brushes
Lighting Brushes as the name suggests is a tool that you can use to colorize certain areas of an image while also affecting the brightness levels.
You can control both the color and the brightness as the software assesses the background and foreground areas before applying the changes.
2. Sky Replacement
I recently reviewed the Skylum Luminar AI and it has a breathtaking sky replacement tool. PortraitPro 21 also comes with a new Sky Replacement tool, and it is pretty decent. It has been taken from the Anthropics LandscapePro software.
The sky replacement tool can take the existing sky in your image and replace that with any of the options you choose from the sky replacement panel.
This tool is helpful for natural light portrait photographers and especially those who love to incorporate a beautiful sky in their portraits.
The built-in AI automatically masks and blends your photograph taking care of the elements in the foreground and background to give a smooth and seamless result that is extremely believable.
Is it Better or Worse than Skylum Luminar AI?
The Sky Replacement tool in PortraitPro is decent but I have seen better results with Skylum Luminar AI.
Luminar AI does a much better job of auto-detecting the parts of the frame that forms the sky much better than PortraitPro does.
Therefore implementing these changes is easier to effect in Luminar AI than in PortraitPro.
There are some similarities though. For example, I have noticed that the final image assumes the color tones of the new sky which makes the whole thing natural, the same as that in Luminar AI.
3. Clone Tool
I reckon every one of you is aware of what a Clone Tool does.
For any of you who have previous experience in Photoshop, you should be familiar with this tool and how useful it can be, especially when retouching skin imperfections or removing unwanted elements from landscape images.
PortraitPro 21 also comes with a new Clone Tool that gives you the power to remove skin imperfections as well as blemishes and anything else that you want to replace in an image.
This tool would copy the color information and textures from one part of the photograph and paste that onto the area in question.
In my experience Lightroom does a better job of selecting a replacement patch than PortraitPro does.
4. Remove Noise Tool
Almost every photo editing software has some sort of noise removal tool built-in. PortraitPro 21 has the Remove Noise tool which has been bundled in the latest version.
This tool does the same thing, that is, it removes noise. But what the designers say is that the tool would remove noise without eliminating detail from the image.
What I have seen is it does take away a little bit of the detail. In that sense, it is not the best when it comes to noise reduction.
Topaz DeNoise AI is a much better tool in that sense. You can get better results in Lightroom.
5. History Tool
The history tool is useful as well. It lets you roll back changes that you no longer want.
It is useful in the sense you can experiment with a lot of tools, tweak the sliders, apply the effects and see how it affects the image and if you don’t like can always go back using the history tool.
Other new tools introduced in version 21 include a layers option, a free stock photo option, backgrounds, and an overlays option.
But I haven’t included them in this discussion because you can always go back and check them out yourself.
Just download a trial version of the software and feel free to experiment with it.
Usability As A Standalone Tool
PortraitPro can work as a standalone tool or be used as a Smart Filter within Photoshop and Lightroom.
However, my opinion is that with increment improvements in the software and now with the new tools made available in version 21 there is no need for PortraitPro to be used as a Smart Filter.
It can very well work as standalone software that allows you to make all your portrait-related editing and retouching at one location.
That said, many users would prefer to use PortraitPro as a Smart Filter depending on their editing workflow.
For someone like me who loves to keep editing chores simple, the PortraitPro Studio version comes with RAW handling capabilities, and therefore I would go with the standalone version.
Anthropics PortraitPro Learning Curve
The thing that I have noticed using the tool for a couple of days is that there isn’t a long learning curve.
For someone who hasn’t used PortraitPro before I think the interface is quite easy to use.
The tools are intuitive, and you can immediately start tweaking things with no introduction at all. And that is always a good thing.
That said, you cannot hope to become a master in using the software after having used it for only two days.
There are some tools like the Lighting Brushes which will require some learning to master.
Thankfully, Anthropic offers a bunch of tutorials for us to help us along the way.
What Does PortraitPro Cost?
Portrait Pro 21 comes in three different pricing options – Standard, Studio, and Studio Max. You can opt for the Standard version which is priced at $54.95.
This version allows you the full AI-powered portrait editing solution plus free online customer support. You also get a background replacement tool that comes bundled in the package.
The next version is the Studio. This one cost $84.95. This one has everything that the standard option has plus you get RAW and DNG support.
That means you can directly open RAW and DNG files in Portrait Pro. This version also allows you to integrate with Photoshop and Lightroom.
The third option is Studio Max. This one cost $169.95.
This one includes everything that this studio option offers. Plus, you also get fully automatic batch processing of your photos.
This is useful when you have a lot of photos to edit at the same time.
You can save a lot of time by not having to edit all the photos individually.
Is PortraitPro Better Than Lightroom?
PortraitPro is an application that is geared exclusively towards retouching portrait photography.
If you want to retouch landscape photos, for example, you will need to use the LandscapePro tool. It does not offer any suitable retouching tools for landscapes, or any other genres.
However, Lightroom caters to a broader segment that covers all genres of photography.
As a secondary tool specifically used for refining your portrait images, yes PortraitPro makes ample sense.
There are a bunch of retouching effects that you can do pretty easily in PortraitPro and repeating them in Photoshop and Capture One is a long drawn affair and in Lightroom, they are near impossible.
If you are a professional who does portrait photography as a career you got to have PortraitPro on your computer.
I would recommend both Lightroom / Photoshop and PortraitPro to complete your editing suite of tools.
Rajib is an avid travel photographer and an overall shutterbug. The first time he ever clicked an image was with an Agfa Click IV back in 1984. A medium format film camera. From that auspicious introduction to photography, he has remained hooked to this art form. He loves to test and review new photography gear. Rajib travels quite a lot, loves driving on Indian roads, playing fetch with his Labrador retriever, and loves photography. And yes, he still proudly owns that Agfa Click IV! You can find my Model Mayhem profile here.