Magazine Article


Anthropics Portrait Professional
Speeds up the time you spend retouching portraits

Final image of Christine, with a few years digitally removed.
Diane Berkenfeld

A split-screen with before and after views; sliders to tweak enhancements. The before image is on the left, the after is on the right.
Diane Berkenfeld

You're instructed to click on points on the face, which let the software know where the facial features are in comparison.
Diane Berkenfeld

Want to be able to digitally airbrush or retouch faces in only a few clicks instead of sitting at the computer for possibly hours? Then check out Anthropics' Portrait Professional software. According to the company's website, Portrait Professional works in a different way than photo-editing programs such as Photoshop. "This portrait enhancement software has been trained with hundred of examples of human beauty, and as a result you can add as much or as little photo enhancement as required--by simply moving sliders," reads the software's description.

The software comes in flavors for both Mac and PC users. Portrait Professional is a stand-alone program that enhances faces. To enhance an image, you open a photo within the software and are guided through marking up specific points on the face you wish to enhance. After you've marked up the image, the software runs its basic enhancement; on the MacBook Pro I tested it out on (featuring a 2.2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and 2GB of RAM), it took about 10 seconds or so.

Portrait Professional allows you to tweak most all of the adjustments further, depending upon whether or not you want a more retouched look or whether you want to depict the person closer to how they look in real life.

For anyone who has used Portrait Professional prior to version 8, this version improves the face sculpting and slimming and also offers enhancements to hair, eyes, and mouth, as well as an enhanced user interface. Portrait Professional Studio (which can do everything the standard edition can) works with 16-bit TIFFS and RAW files straight from many popular digital cameras. Check the website for the full list (

After using Portrait Professional on a number of photographs--of both men and women, young and old--I've found the software does a pretty good job, in a shorter time than it would have normally taken me.

When you first open an image, you're asked if the subject is female or male. The software then performs the requisite amount of enhancement.

I tested it out on photographs of my grandparents. The software was able to discern that although the faces had wrinkles, they most likely belonged there, and only slightly softened them. You wouldn't want to turn a 90-year-old into a 35-year-old by retouching with too heavy a hand.

The default screen is a split-screen showing a portion of both the "before" and "after" views. This lets you see how much enhancement was done automatically, and how much more you're enhancing if you choose to use any of the many sliders that let you control the amount of enhancement to the hair, eyes, nose, mouth, teeth, etc. You can change hair or eye color, remove blemishes manually, sharpen or smooth out skin, and even give the skin tone a tanned look. And you can always back down the automatic enhancements if you feel the software went too far initially. Other adjustments include the ability to alter overall picture qualities and crop from within the program.

If the majority of your work is portraiture, whether formal portraits or more candid photographs, you may want to try out software such as Anthropics' Portrait Professional to speed up the amount of time you spend retouching your images.