Customer Reviews: Portrait Professional Studio 11 [OLD VERSION]
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on May 7, 2013
The software is great. It would be a good deal at twice the price, and I would pay that ... except that I did pay for the software and I can't even use it. The software uses an activation token that prevents you from installing it on more than one machine. The problem is that the software determines that you haven't legitimately installed it if anything changes with your system. When I plugged my laptop into a docking station, the software stopped working and demanded an activation token. "No problem", I thought, since I had purchased the software and had an activation token. When I entered the token, it told me that it couldn't activate the software since the token had already been used. Um, yeh, I was the one who used it on the very same laptop I was trying to run it on. So now I have to submit yet another support ticket hoping to eventually get them to reset the activation token so I can use the software I purchased on the same machine I originally installed it on.

This software is DEFECTIVE BY DESIGN. I love how much time is saves when it is working, but since you can't count on the software working, I'm shopping for a different plug in that does at least some of the stuff this software does before the activation token defect pops up.

This is a really sad case of anti-piracy measures crippling the software's functionality for legitimate purchasers.

THIS PORTION ADDED 5/29/13: So far this company has been excellent about resetting the activation token. The wait has not exceeded 24 hours (I ordered a new computer today and they reset the authorization token within an hour or so of my request). So while the copy protection scheme is being implemented in as nice a way as possible, I still think it is a terribly punitive measure to take against legitimate purchasers in order to reduce piracy. Google took over Nik Software and their software was sold to me with NO copy protection. I purchased it and have used it without incident -- it is simply there, ready to go, whenever I need it. If my laptop breaks, I know I can install it a replacement laptop without getting permission from anybody. This would be the best Photoshop plug-in ever made if only Anthropics would follow in Google's footsteps and trust that their product is good enough that legitimate consumers will pay for it -- and a premium to not deal with a very aggressive copy protection scheme.
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on February 27, 2013
Portrait Professional takes a unique approach to editing pictures of people. Where a typical image editing suite gives you a toolbox and various methods to apply them to the image, editing an image in PP11 is a two-part process. The first step is selecting the boundaries of the face. It does an excellent job of auto-detecting eyes, lips, and noses, though sometimes it can be difficult to get a good draw on the jawline, especially if it's a 3/4 shot where the jawline disappears into the neck and cheek. You spend some time adjusting the blue boundary lines and hit the space bar to move on.

The next screen is where you do all of your adjusting. Having told the program where the facial features are, it can intelligently present you with sections of adjustments for skin processing, eyeball fixin', lip adjusting, hair coloring, and just about anything else you can think of. There's even a slider to make your subject appear more tan. You can shorten someone's nose, pull in sagging cheeks, change the color of someone's eyes... there's a lot you can do in here. Of course, it's easy to go overboard, but the real power of Portrait Professional 11 comes when it's used responsibly. Starting from a preset with no facial structure adjustments, and minimal skin processing, you can take a look at your image and decide what needs addressing, one element at a time.

One area that the program absolutely shines is in skin processing. Whereas the skin smoothing feature on most image processing suites is just a blur tool with edge detection, PP11 is able to use what it knows about the subject's face to keep shadows and highlights and contours where they ought to be. The basic skin smoothing adjustment looks similar to what I've gotten from spending 20+ minutes adjusting layers and blending options in Photoshop, only this gets it done in seconds, and it looks totally natural.

As thrilled as I am with the image editing capabilities, I'm also very glad to see that a good amount of thought went into the file management aspect of things as well. With this Studio version, you can open RAW files directly. The last group of adjustment sliders is called Picture Control, and allows you to adjust white balance, exposure, contrast, vibrance and tone curve. While this may not eliminate the need for a host program like Aperture or Lightroom, it's good to see that you can do a fair amount of editing right in-program. You even get the ability to save each picture as a project file, making it very easy to come back and change one of your adjustments and re-save. This is akin to having a PSD file where you can go back and fiddle with the individual layers. I can't tell you how many times I've done a ton of edits to an image in Nik, only to realize that I missed or screwed up one aspect and have no way to go back and re-tweak it. This will save you at least once.

This is an incredibly smart and powerful program, and I heartily recommend it to anyone dealing with portrait work.

edit: One thing that does bother me, however, is that if you have the Studio version, presets made in the plugin version do not carry over to the standalone version and vice-versa. I also don't see any way to save/export presets, so it may not be possible to use a setting that you made in plugin mode appear when you want to do the same thing as a batch job.
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on November 4, 2013
I really like this software.

Pros: Easy to use, fast, user friendly interface (everything is explained), and no issues at all with software
Cons: Sometimes heavy handed, can make people look too processed.

I use this primarily to edit portraits and then do everything else in another program, but this is great and cuts down my time, by smoothing out skin, hair, and any other imperfections. I have learned to turn off and turn on various filters, and create amazing photos.
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on March 16, 2013
I have only one complaint about this product. I have two PC's which it installed in both, no problem. Well if there is an update, and you update one computer, it won't let you do the other. It tells you that the Token, which is usually a Key Code, is taken, and you can't put it back. I had to do a System Restore, to at least get the original to work. I am waiting an a reply on what to do, but if I pay for this software I should be able to do what I want.
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on July 8, 2013
I would have gave it 5 stars except I have to keep re-loading the software onto my laptop evertime there is a update for Windows. Last time a had to get a help ticket from the company and wait for them to reload the license. However, the good part is they support it and get me back up in running within 24 hours or less.
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on April 28, 2013
This is the most amazing software. Right out of the box I could use it. No learning curve. I have used (struggled) with Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro. My main interest is restoring old photographs. PPS11 focus is on the head and face & that is really what you want to bring out in photographs. I downloaded the trial & within minutes of transforming one old (and poor quality) photo I had results far superior to anything I had achieved with the two "biggie" programs mentioned above. My only question is why they chose that "ugly, demonic and scary" picture on the front of such a great friendly program.
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on January 7, 2014
I am not a techy guy and most programs have entirely too many options for non-commercial use but PORTRAIT PRO 11 is exactly what I need. Self explanatory and easy applications. If you like to tinker and tweek parameters all day you wont get the pleasure here but you will get the desired results. Im completely sold on this product and HIGHLY ENDORSE IT.
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on January 17, 2015
I just bought version 12 of Portrait Professional Studio, and they STILL haven't fixed the problem with their activation token security... Now I'm sitting around without access to the program waiting for someone somewhere to respond to my trouble ticket...are you kidding?? I can't be down for 24 hours at a time, unexpectedly whenever the program decides it doesn't want to work. Come on Anthropics!!!!
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on July 12, 2014
This is a hit or miss. For subjects with flaws like acne, this is great (although it removes freckles, too). For subjects who are already attractive, they come out looking like cartoon characters. Some of the corrections are great, others are awful.
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on August 26, 2013
Unlike the satisfied user I cannot get PP to answer a support ticket. I bought this program a couple of years ago, and then my computer crashed. Instead of trying to get it reinstated I suspected an updated version so I bought it a SECOND TIME. Just a month ago my hard drive went bad. After the new one was installed and I reloaded programs I contacted PP and asked for a download. I had purchased the Studio Version TWICE. They downloaded me the bare-bones program which for commercial purposes is worthless. Twice I have contacted them and twice they have refused to answer my emails. They advertise getting back to support tickets "within 48 hours or sooner" but they have never answered mine. I was courteous in my requests and just wanted them to do the right thing. I've had no trouble getting re-initiated programs from Adobe which is known for its "protective nature" and yet they are easier to deal with than PP. Obviously their "support" varies from customer to customer.
If you buy this program, I hope you have better results than I did.
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