Akvis Enhancer Review
In addition to online services and camera manufacturer’s software, Google’s Picasa does a fair job of enhancing images from your camera – and it’s free. At the other end of the spectrum, Photoshop includes clever shadow and highlight tools, sharpening filters and colour-management features that make correcting under and overexposed photos much easier than it once was.
With that in mind, is there really room for a commercial, standalone application that does the same job? That’s the question we asked ourselves as we put Akvis Enhancer through its paces. Aimed squarely at home users tweaking their own digital snaps, Enhancer is easy to use. With many images you can use the default settings to generate enhanced output with more balanced lighting and sharper detail. The effects are non-destructive – allowing you to flip between before and after shots altering parameters to get a better result.
Once you’re happy, you can commit the changes to disk – saving over the original or as a new image. There are post-production tools, with gamma and individual colour channels editable. This section previews in real time, while the Enhancer tools must be applied first. But there’s little here that Photoshop can’t already do just as well, and faster.
Enhancer comes into its own in High Dynamic Range mode. In HDR mode, the package compares the tones in a sequence of images. These have to be identical apart from the exposure levels – so the technology won’t work with shots with lots of movement in them. Enhancer combines the detail and range in both images, with impressive results.
At close to £40 for a home licence, This is a great alternative to Photoshop if you already have tools to crop and resize images. The package comes with a plug-in version too, but it’s the standalone edition that’s worth having.