ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2021 is set to launch with a host of new features, including a number of new tools focused on color editing and batch processing. Along with new features, the entire suite has received a boost to performance. Want to see what’s new?
As the number and size of files in a photographer’s library grows, just finding the images you want to work with can start to be a challenge. Different tools approach this problem in a number of ways, from catalogs, sessions, and libraries, to just using your operating system’s file browser to open the relevant file.
With Photo Studio Ultimate, there’s no need to import files to a catalog. Instead, you can just browse your drive, with thumbnails rendering dynamically as you browse. You can still organize your files with keywords, categories, and tags, but the overall time from import to browsing can be much faster than competing methods. There’s been a number of improvements to batch resize and rename operations, with a wide variety of options.
One major upgrade is the facial recognition functionality. The software will automatically find faces in your photos, allowing you to organize or search by named persons. As the software learns, names can be automatically suggested or even embedded into the photo for safekeeping. If you’ve already built up a dataset in another product like Lightroom or Picasa, this update to Photo Studio Ultimate supports importing that facial recognition data, saving you a ton of time in rebuilding that info.
The asset management side has seen some significant improvements to performance. Photo Studio Ultimate launches up to 100% faster (in my case, under four seconds, compared to Lightroom’s seven seconds), while you can switch between modes up to 50% faster. Raw decoding has also been improved. Overall, the browsing experience feels snappy, without any significant delays.
Along with the dozens of existing editing tools and panels, the 2021 version adds Color Wheels and Tone Wheels. These stood out to me as some of the most interesting additions to this update. The color wheel offers a very interesting way of working with HSL and contrast across a range of colors. Whether you want to breathe some life back into bluish-grey skies or go as drastic as a huge color adjustment, the tool makes it easy. What I found unique was the live preview of the affected range of colors. It worked great, isolating the user-selected color range against a black and white version of your photo, quickly redrawing as you moved the selection via color wheel or color picker.
Overall, the additions feel like a great improvement to an already strong editor. If you like the file management paradigm behind this tool, or are looking for a lifetime license option that delivers modern features and compatibility, this is a great option. I really enjoy some of the unique takes on existing workflows, as well as the depth of customizability to the tool defaults and views available. ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate is releasing late September, but is available for preorder now on ACDSee’s website.