Managing Files Efficiently

 
ACDSee Pro 3

ACDSee Pro 3

 

Ambarin Afsar puts ACDSee Pro 3 to some extensive image database management tests to discover that the software has a bundle of photo managing and editing abilities.

Most of us end up shooting gigabytes of images every day. In such situations, it becomes even more important to store and manage these innumerable files. ACD Systems’ latest professional release, the ACDSee Pro PhotoManager 3 claims to simplify our workflow.

A Feature-Packed Bundle
ACDSee Pro 3 has undergone several design changes from its previous versions and now includes a tabbed interface. A photographer’s workflow is usually divided into managing images, viewing, editing and uploading them online. Similarly, ACDSee’s interface is divided into four logical tabs—Manage, View,Process and Online. The Process tab is the most interesting of the lot—it allows you to edit non destructively, and also offers some additional pixel level adjustments. For instance, one can make marquee selections and use tools like Spot Healing, Cloning, Levels, Curves and even Lens Correction features. Moreover, this version has a useful Advanced Color Editing tool that helps you make target-specific colour adjustments. Interestingly, the Online tab provides access to a free account with 2GB storages pace on ACDSee’s official website. It also offers uploading options to Flickr, Facebook, SmugMug and FTP servers.

Interface Woes
For a first-time user, the interface looks a little intimidating and takes some getting used to. Through the use of tabs, ACD has tried to simplify the overall workflow. However, the division can become tedious as each tool is tool is scattered over toomany tabs and sub-tabs. At times, weneeded to click at least 5–6 times to access a simple function! Also, the View window is a little redundant—the workflow wouldhave been a lot smoother had we been ableto view and inspect files within the Manage tab itself. Neither can we edit images in the View tab, nor can we tag or catalogue them.

ACDSee Pro 3 as an Editing Tool: Although ACDSee Pro 3 is essentially a photo manager, the program includes a number of editing tools. We particularly had fun using the single-click Special Effects presets. The effects range from Mirrored, Sepia, Bulge to even Water, Rain and more! Not only do they help you create a unique look, but can also be customised further using sliders. That said, it is important to note that if you have not used image-editing software before, each of these tools seem complicated.

ACDSee Pro 3 as an Editing Tool: Although ACDSee Pro 3 is essentially a photo manager, the program includes a number of editing tools. We particularly had fun using the single-click Special Effects presets. The effects range from Mirrored, Sepia, Bulge to even Water, Rain and more! Not only do they help you create a unique look, but can also be customised further using sliders. That said, it is important to note that if you have not used image-editing software before, each of these tools seem complicated.

A Competent Performer?
Despite these rough edges in terms of the interface, the Manage tab makes the software worthwhile. You can batch process images, sort them by camera, EXIFdata and even group them using ratings. It is simple to build organised libraries that are searchable by keywords. Thus, you can easily sort out piles of folders, which you were too apprehensive of doing earlier. You can also preview and manage other files, including videos and audio clips. The RAW editing module is powerful, but ACDSee does not match up to some of its competitors that provide more sophisticated image quality algorithms. As we recently saw in a test published in our August issue, Adobe Lightroom 3 is probably the best software in the marketin terms of how noise removal without sacrificing detail. This is where ACDSeePro 3 falls short. It also does not do a greatjob at retrieving highlight details.

Good, Bad or Ugly?
There are various workflow managers available in the market—the notable ones being Lightroom 3 and Aperture 3. While both these software are popular for their editing capabilities and finesse, they have short comings when it comes to managing files. ACDSee Pro 3 is a more efficient workflow manager, and provides great image managment capabilities, along with some fun features. However, a complex interface and the lack of intensive detail retrieval make it seem slightly expensive on the pocket. But, if you require a good management system that will also help you perform daily image adjustments, then ACDSee Pro 3 is good package for you.

Final Ratings
Features
Feature-packed, but can get confusing
27/30

Ease of use
Interface takes some getting used to
23/30

Performance
Slow processing, photo editing tools could bemore refined, but efficient image manager
30/40

OVERALL:80%
Value for Money:3/5stars


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