PhotoDirector 7 Ultra is a powerful tool for organising, editing and sharing your digital images.

Launch the program and you'll find it's split into six sections.

"Library" is where you import, view, rate, tag and generally organise your photos. There are plenty of time-saving tools on hand (face tagging, the ability to exclude duplicates when importing), but it's all very straightforward and easy to use.

The "Adjustment" section provides manual and fully automatic tweaks for colour, white balance, tone, sharpness and more, as well as crop and rotate tools, various healing brushes and a red-eye remover.

The "Edit" tab ramps up the creative possibilities with a range of more powerful tools. The People Beautifier provides options to whiten teeth, remove wrinkles, perhaps reshape your subjects for a more slimline look. The program can remove unwanted objects from pictures, automatically filling in the background. There's a bracket HDR tool, panorama creator, filters, frames, a watermarking tool, and more.

The new "Layers" tab supports up to 100 layers per photo, which you can manipulate with various tools (Pen/ Eraser/ Add Shape/ Text/ Selection/ Fill/ Gradient) and 14 blending modes.

When you're finished your work, the "Slideshow" section helps turn your photos into a video file, or a slideshow you can share directly on YouTube. The "Print" tab provides a great deal of control over any printouts you might want to make, and your projects can freely be saved and shared online via CyberLink's Cloud Services (you get 20GB free for one year).

PhotoDirector 7 Ultra's most significant new feature is the layer editor, a powerful tool which opens a whole new world of creative possibilities.

New Beautifier Tools like the Face Shaper, Eye Bag Remover, Eye Enlarger and Skin Shine Remover help you produce the perfect portrait.

There are smart new blur tools to create localised blurred regions, apply zoom or motion effects - with radial or focal zoom - as well as new Bokeh blur options.

Enhanced RAW support means the program can handle more file formats than ever, and 100+ lens profiles allows it to automatically fix a host of common lens flaws.

PhotoDirector 7 Deluxe is the baseline version of the program. It has most of the features we've described, but leaves out layer-based editing, auto lens correction, the Panorama creator, new Blur tools, a few other high-end filters and the 20GB of cloud storage.

PhotoDirector 7 Suite extends the package with ColorDirector, which delivers a stack of colour grading features for video: noise reduction, sharpening, RGB curve adjustments, video colour replacements, a live histogram, intelligent object motion tracking, split toning and more.

Verdict

A competitively priced alternative to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom that will appeal to home enthusiasts looking for a decent blend of powerful features and usability.