Photoshop Addons

Arcsoft Portrait+ 3 Review: Retouch Portrait Photos without Learning Photoshop

Looking for a way to retouch skin, facial expression, and more? Portrait+ is an extremely easy to use Photoshop plug-in that makes retouching portraits so easy.

Retouching Skin

One of the the most useful feature of Portrait+ is the skin retouching algorithm they use. Arcsoft calls it “Skin magic” and it does feel like magic for those who have never retouched skin in Photoshop. Skin magic lets you smooth skin without making it look blurry and improve skin tones. See the image below for a before and after comparison of the skin smoothing effect.

Before skin smoothing
After skin smoothing

So how does Portrait+ know where to retouch? The skin areas are automatically selected and it does a very good job selecting skin tones – we weren’t able to find a photo where Portrait+ couldn’t select the skin tones properly. But in case that you can’t select skin tones, Portrait+ lets you paint in the areas to correct it.

image

In addition to skin smoothing, you can also improve skin tones with the “Change Skin Tone” and “Brighten Skin” settings. These settings are useful for evening out skin and removing redness from skin irritations. You can also use it to make skin look more pale or vivid.

Skin tone in Portrait+


Enhancements

After smoothing skin, you’ll want to work on the finer details like the eyes, cheeks, and lips. This is where the enhancement features are useful and also where you have to be careful because you can easily overdo some of the settings.

image

You can easily transform a portrait with subtle improvements simply by enabling all the effects. All of the effects with the exception of the “Remove Eye Circles” let you adjust the intensity from low to high. Some of the settings can start to make it look like a different person but they still look natural and realistic as long as you stay below the medium range. Thankfully, there’s a side-by-side comparison mode you can use to remind yourself not to overdo any of these settings.

Portrait Enhancements on Low
Low enhancement settings make faces look more awake and pleasing.

Portrait Enhancements on Medium
At medium enhancement settings, most effects retain a natural look but others may start to look unnatural.

Portrait Enhancements on High
High enhancement settings are just there in case you need them. Some enhancements are safe to use on a high setting while others can make the face look alien. Unless alien looking people are your thing, try not to set everything on high.

Our favorite enhancement is the one that removes eye circles. Because Portrait+ uses face detection, it automatically improves the area around the eyes simply by enabling the setting.

Remove Eye Circles Before
Remove Eye Circles After

Makeup

In addition to smoothing skin and facial enhancements, Portrait+ can also apply makeup. You can add lipstick, make eye lashes look thicker, shape the eyebrows, and more.

image

By default, we found that the makeup effects did not align with many of our photos but this is because the facial key points are not properly align. Portrait+ uses face detection and it does a great job but sometimes it needs to be tweaked by hand. This happens more frequently if the head is tilted in the photo. Adjusting the points is as easy as dragging them around. There is even a small thumbnail on the bottom-right to show you where the point should appear.

Adjusting key points in Portrait+

After adjusting the key points, the makeup effects are all aligned. Here’s how the effects look before and after adjusting the key points.

Key points before
Key points after

Before and After Alignment

Here’s a before and after example with all the makeup effects applied. Since I’m not a makeup artists, I had some difficulty picking makeup that would match the subject. Nonetheless, here are the before and after results of the makeup. The effect that amazed me the most is the lip gloss; it’s realistic and the gloss is adjustable. Some of the eyebrows and eyelashes can start to look unrealistic if the wrong settings are used but for the most part, they are easy to use without much adjustments needed. Real makeup will always look better but when it’s not available, Portrait+ makeup effects are your next best bet.

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