Cyberlink overhauls photo, video apps with 64-bit support, new features aplenty


posted Monday, September 9, 2013 at 1:00 PM EDT

Taiwanese software company Cyberlink has just taken the wraps off new versions of its photo and video editing packages, PhotoDirector and PowerDirector, as well as related apps ColorDirector and AudioDirector. Cyberlink is probably best known for creating DVD and Blu-Ray playback and authoring apps that come bundled with many desktop and laptop computers, but with these new releases, its imaging software gets quite a boost in feature-set that may help it better appeal to consumers and enthusiasts.

Cyberlink PhotoDirector 5 brings support for 64-bit processing, and improvements in speed for opening, browsing, and editing files. In some cases, the performance increase can be dramatic. The company suggests, for example, that raw file import is now achieved in one-third of the time required by PhotoDirector 4.

PhotoDirector 5 also sports a new automatic, profile-based lens correction feature, which corrects for distortion, vignetting, and chromatic aberration with 60 different lens types, with new profiles able to be downloaded from the company's website. If you prefer, you can correct for these defects -- as well as keystoning -- manually, instead.

Introductory video for Cyberlink PhotoDirector 5.

Cyberlink has also added an RGB curves tool to PhotoDirector 5, and improved the app's noise reduction feature set. There's an auto denoise tool which adjusts the correction appropriately for each image, and a photo texture recovery tool which attempts to recover texture detail lost in noise processing.

Further changes in PhotoDirector 5 include a multi-frame HDR tool with automatic alignment and ghosting correction, capable of merging up to five images into a single frame, plus a split toning tool and support for video slideshow creation at up to 4K resolution.

Cyberlink PowerDirector 12, the company's video-editing app, likewise brings significant improvements in performance. The company predicts a 40% increase in H.264 encoding speed, and a tripling in rendering speed for CPUs with AVX2 support. (That's Intel's Haswell and upcoming Broadwell processor microarchitectures.) The app now features content-aware editing that includes face, motion, zoom, pan, and speech detection, and can correct for variables such as poor exposure or camera shake automatically.

PowerDirector 12 introductory video.

PowerDirector 12 also brings new Multicam Designer and Theme Designer tools. The former makes it easy to edit synchronized clips by simply switching between camera angles with hotkeys, while the latter provides a range of presets that let you create animated slideshows of your photos and videos. There's also a new Subtitle Room function for captioning your videos, complete with .SRT import and export functions.

A variety of new effects are available, including an auto cross-fade function and an adjustable motion-blur for overlaid picture-in-picture objects. In total, the app includes over 400 effects and transitions, including Tilt-shift Lens Flare, Magnifier, and Water Reflection. Other changes include 5.1 channel Dolby Digital Plus support, the ability to import Microsoft PowerPoint slideshow files, and an enhanced green / blue screen ChromaKey tool.

ColorDirector 2 and AudioDirector 4, meanwhile, look to be useful accompaniments to PowerDirector 12. Cyberlink ColorDirector is a color grading app, and brings support for 64-bit processing and 4K ultra high-def video, dual-monitor editing, a live histogram tool, a pseudo-HDR effect, video noise reduction and edge sharpening tools, RGB tone curve adjustment, and lookup table conversion. AudioDirector lets you refine the aural portion of your movies with new support for 4K video, surround sound panning, visual display of applied effects (and there are six new effects available), plus seamless track transitions, profile-based noise reduction, CD export, and the ability to convert between different channel schema, bit depths and sample rates. Additionally, you can use a free iOS app to record new sound clips to add to your library when out in the field.

CyberLink PhotoDirector 5 is priced at US$100 on the Mac / Windows platforms. PowerDirector 12 carries pricing of US$70 in Deluxe form, or US$100 in Ultra form. (Differences between the versions are listed here.) ColorDirector 2 and AudioDirector 4 are priced at US$130 apiece.

All four apps are available immediately. They can also be purchased in various bundles, including PhotoDirector Suite (US$150; adds ColorDirector 2); PowerDirector 12 Ultimate (US$130; includes two NewBlueFX effect packs and 3 Creative Design packs); PowerDirector 12 Ultimate Suite (US$250; adds ColorDirector 2 and AudioDirector 4); and Director Suite 2 (US$300; adds PhotoDirector 5.)