The world of photo editors is highly saturated, but every now and then a program pops up that isn’t necessarily a game-changer, but is still worth your attention. One of these programs is PhotoWorks, a relatively new photo editing software for PCs.
At First Glance
The first thing you notice about PhotoWorks is that it takes cue from the most popular image editors and has a dark and minimalistic interface. The tools and features are located under tabs, creating a clear workspace. There is also a search bar that allows users to find the needed tool right away rather than clicking through multiple tabs. The lower bar features buttons that let you view the unedited photo as well as a split-screen comparison of the original and the processed shot. PhotoWorks offers non-destructive editing, this is why there is a reset feature that aborts any changes done to the image. Also, as is normal, you can redo/undo stuff as needed.
PhotoWorks has no library module, so you can either open your picture by clicking the Open photo button or just by dragging your image straight into the software window. The software is also equipped with a content preview bar that allows users to navigate via a file explorer. PhotoWorks claims to support over 450+ RAW formats, as well as JPEG, BMP, PNG, and TIFF. However, batch processing is not available.
Let’s dissect PhotoWorks tab by tab to find out what this photo editing software can do.
The Enhancement Tab
This is where you start off. The tab itself breaks into three separate tabs – Main, Color, and Sharpness.
The tools in the Main tab allow users to make adjustments to certain basic aspects of the photos, including but not limited to saturation, contrast, dynamic range, and exposure. You can either perform editing by dragging a slider, or just punching in the value – much like you would in Photoshop or Lightroom. The Color tab grants users control over the HSL of certain colors, while the Sharpness tab allows you to add more clarity or a bit more blur to your shot.
The Enhancement tab also features the Auto correction tool that is arguably more full-featured than the one found within Photoshop, as it comprises correction of tone, contrast, and color all in one feature. This function is capable of detecting the picture’s “genre” and performing the necessary changes. You can also choose whichever aspect of the picture will be enhanced, as well as control the effect degree with a slider.
The Tools Tab
This tab features the essential instruments like cropping, geometry correction, noise reduction, as well as a few niche tools like background change, image overlay, and curves.
The Crop tool comes with a library of common cropping profiles and grid overlays aimed at improving the picture’s composition. The Geometry tool is a handy instrument to fix any perspective distortions and to straighten slanted photos. The Image Overlay feature is the developers’ first step in introducing layer editing to their creation, but it is admittedly not as robust as the layer features often found in other photo editing softwares. The Change Background tool is a nifty little tool that might catch the eye of more casual users who don’t like to fiddle with complex settings, as the feature allows to remove or change the backdrop of a picture in a few brush strokes (quite similar to a feature found in inPixio Photo Studio).
Seasoned pros might be delighted to find more advanced instruments like the Curves, Noise Reduction, and built-in 3D LUT presets. The library of 3D LUT effects offers over 30 profiles, but can be expanded with your own presets. Just as with the Auto correction, the intensity of the applied effect can be controlled with a slider. Unfortunately, this photo editing app for PC is not equipped with tools for fixing chromatic aberration.
The Retouch Tab
The tab starts with the Portrait Magic feature – an AI-driven module that allows for one-click beautifying effects. These auto retouching profiles (something that you won’t see in Photoshop) fix most common imperfections including blotchy skin, sunken eyes, oily glare, yellowish teeth, etc. Manual adjustment is also possible. However, thanks to the content-aware AI, manual retouching does not require masks and selections.
The AI’s capability to recognize facial features is heavily exploited in the Face Sculpt feature, a tool that lets users slightly tweak any facial feature – eyes, lips, chin, nose – with a slider drag.
The Healing Brush, the Clone Stamp and the Patch tool can be used to get rid of minor imperfections as well as larger flaws. With the aptly named Adjustment Brush, you can change a certain part of your photo without affecting the rest. You can do individualized toning, sharpening/blurring, or any other adjustment.
The two remaining tools under the Retouch tab are the Graduated Filter and the Radial filter that also allow to make local adjustments.
The Effects Tab
This tab contains various creative effects. This includes adding realistic sulight, applying a grain effect, and stylizing your pictures with Tone Mapping. Arguably, the biggest appeal of this tab is the built-in filter collection. Comprised of 180+ effects, the library is divided into several categories, including but not limited to vintage, toning, lighting filters, HDR, Color Splash, photographic film imitations, and so on. Every effect is scalable. Besides, PhotoWorks allows users to create filters of their own.
The Caption Tab
This last tab is dedicated to adding texts, date stamps, and various stickers. There are dozens of pre-designed text styles as well as the option to create your own styles of logos and watermarks, and a handful of stickers.
Overall, this photo editor for computer seems like pretty solid, user-friendly software. PhotoWorks balances somewhere between being a perfect photo editing starter pack for newbies – as it mostly relies on automatic edits and has all of the necessary tools and presets built in – and a decent alternative to more top-end programs for pros. Unlike Luminar, Paintshop PRO, or Photoshop, PhotoWorks is surprisingly undemanding in terms of hardware. The downside is that it is a photo editor for PC, meaning there is no Mac version available.