Photo editing has never been more popular, with influencers, content creators, and businesses all harnessing the ubiquitous tech to create and enhance images and assets.
If you need to make alterations to your photos, whether it’s touching them up, creating a digital montage, or anything in between, the best photo editor out there is undoubtedly the industry-standard Adobe Photoshop. But such power comes requires a Creative Cloud subscription that may not chime with the budget you’re working towards.
For one of the best Adobe Photoshop alternatives, look no further than ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2023.
ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2023: Pricing & plans
- Affordable whether you purchase the software outright or subscribe to it
Not only will you find Photo Studio Ultimate’s price more affordable, you’re also given two options.
The photo editing software can be yours outright, for the one-off price of $150 / £132 / $239AUD. This includes a year of free updates and technical support.
Of course, as you’d expect these days, a subscription option is also available. This not only covers Photo Studio, but also includes Gemstone Photo Editor, Video Converter Pro, Photo Studio for Mac, and Luxea Video Editor.
You’ll get free updates and upgrades as long as your subscription remains active, you’ll be allowed to share these apps with up to five users per product, get 100GB of cloud storage, and have access to tutorials and workshops. All this for only $9 / £8 / $15AUD per month or $89 / £79 / $142AUD per year.
- Pricing & plans: 4/5
ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2023: AI tools
- AI can produce great results, but as expected the output depends on the quality of the image
The latest version of Photo Studio Ultimate brings numerous new features to an already impressive photo editing app. We can’t cover all of them here, but those that grabbed our attention the most were based on machine learning algorithms, or AI.
Take ‘AI Actions’ for instance. These can be accessed via the Edit section, in a panel that also contains the Histogram and Color parameters. These are tools designed to speed up your workflow. You can actually perform the same actions manually, especially if you know your way around the software, but if you lack the skills or the time, these allow you to make complex changes with just a click of a button.
You’ll find Actions to isolate specific elements in your photo, enabling you to blur the background, or desaturate it (or both). You’re able to select the subject, or even the sky. We tried to make things trickier for the AI, by using a photo of a cloudy sky over a grey sea, but it was clever enough to know the difference and made the right selection. Impressive.
Another new computer-assisted tool is AI Face Edit. This one you’ll find in the Filter sidebar, left of the interface. Obviously, you need a face to work with (sorry pet lovers: it has to be a human face – Photo Studio Ultimate didn’t understand that a dog or a cat have faces). Select the tool and after a few seconds analyzing the image, you’re then offered a series of parameters which you can modify, such as the face width, cheekbones, eye size, and even the direction in which the eyes look.
But that’s not all. You can edit the points the AI generated with which you’re able to make those changes. Altering the points is as easy as dragging and dropping, helping improve the output even further.
As for the results, well, they will actually greatly depend on the quality of the source image, although we must say, performing virtual plastic surgery, as it were, both looked great, and was somewhat disturbing at the same time. After all, when does a photo turn into a digital construct? But putting this ethical dilemma aside, AI Face Edit works surprisingly well.
- AI tools: 4/5
ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2023: Photo stitching
- A clever idea, but doesn’t appear to have any editing options
Who doesn’t love panoramic views? Being able to compose a shot that is much wider than your camera’s lens would allow is a fun thing to do. It’s easy to take the shots one at a time, but the tricky part is stitching them all together to create an expansive canvas.
As we’re sure you know, smartphones can do all that for you straight out of the box, but these little lenses lack the depth and quality of dedicated DSLR cameras, so a stitching tool is most welcome when working with images taken from ‘proper’ cameras.
Photo Studio Ultimate 2023 makes this as simple as you could imagine: select your photos, click on Process > Panorama, wait a few seconds, and you’re done – or rather, the software is done.
We couldn't, however, find any way to edit the output. We did locate options to alter the file format, and select where to save the resulting image, but what if there’s an issue with the merge? It seems you’re stuck with it. We’ve tried it a few times, and most of the results were nigh on perfect, but we did encounter some bad outcomes too, mostly if there happens to be an object in the foreground.
- Photo stitching: 3/5
ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2023: New tools
- Lots of welcomed improvements and new capabilities across the board
Photo Studio Ultimate 2023’s new features aren’t just about clever AI. It also introduces some new color presets, for instance. You’ll find five in ‘Food’ and another five in ‘Vintage’. Presets are a great way to make color changes quickly and, often, effectively. As their titles suggest, the first five are aimed at making your food stand out, while the next five are there to give your photo that ‘old-style’ feel.
Of interest is the new Shape Selection tool. Once selected it now behaves like a similar tool you’ll find in Photoshop: keep on clicking around an object to create your selection and move the points to refine it. You can add curvatures to create a more precise round marquee. It’s a very good tool, well implemented.
Photo Studio Ultimate is a versatile photo editing app, and the latest additions make this affordable software better than ever. Like the company's video editing software, this photo editor is a hidden gem worth trying.
- New tools: 4/5
ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2023: Scorecard
|Pricing & plans||Affordable subscriptions and lifetime licenses||4|
|AI tools||Excellent AI implemnentation||4|
|Photo stitching||Good idea, with limits||3|
|New tools||Plenty of new and updated tools for photo editors||4|