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Athentech Perfectly Clear Photoshop Plug-in Fixes Your Photos in One Step


Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Based on features, easy-of-use
and value for the money.

Benefits: Applies 11 corrections automatically in just one step. Supports JPEG, TIFF, PNG and RAW files. Supports layers and selections. Available for PC and MAC. Compatible with 64-bit, Photoshop CS3/CS4/CS5 and Elements 8/9.

Cons: Expensive

NEWEST VERSION 1.6.2 compatible with CS6, more robust red-eye detection and removal, improved sharpening, better stability with very large images

Download the software free trial at www.athentech.com/Products.html

Perfectly Clear Software

Perfectly Clear filter

The Perfectly Clear Photoshop plug-in applies automated, 1-click correction to selected images. At first I wondered why a person would need this plug-in when Photoshop itself is so powerful and someone with reasonable skills can make the corrections using that program alone. Why spend extra money for a plug-in? I decided to download a trial and find out.

I used Perfectly Clear on a few of my problem photos with exposure, drab colors, noise and other issues. The plug-in corrected my images in only one step, and it took only a few seconds, compared to the probably 10 minutes or so per photo it would have taken me to make the corrections using Photoshop alone. In most cases the corrections were comparable to what can be achieved in Photoshop, though there were a couple really tough photos with serious exposure problems that I wasn't able to fully correct. The corrections are automatic and the plug-in is very easy to use, although there is also an extensive help manual and a series of online videos. If you have a series of images having the same issue, say underexposed, you can create an action and use Automate/Batch to process all these files with Perfectly Clear.

How Perfectly Clear Works

Once installed you'll find the pluf-in in your filters menu. Upon opening, you'll see that your image takes up the first two-thirds of the Perfectly Clear window, and the right third has the correction settings. You can toggle between your original image and the corrected image and view the before/after images split horizontally or vertically.

automatic image correction

Eleven different corrections are made automatically and you also have the ability to fine tune each photo with independent controls, meaning you can tweak the sharpness without affecting color, etc. You can use one of the six default  presets (Default, Landscapes, Portrait, Noise Removal, Fix Dark and Tint Removal) or create your own. In many instances the default setting may be enough, but in some cases you will need to fine tune. Since 11 corrections are applied, you will notice the resulting file size is much larger than your original. Some of my files more than doubled in size.

Perfectly Clear supports TIFF, JPEG, PNG and there is RAW support for over 120 cameras. It  works on both 8 bit and 16 bit images within Photoshop (raw files are converted using Adobe Camera Raw). It can be used on layers, a selection and with actions and it works on both 32 and 64 bit operating systems. In addition to Photoshop (CS3 and above), it also works on Photoshop Elements 8 and above.


Perfectly Clear image before correction  Perfectly Clear Photoshop Plug-in

Image Before and After Applying the Perfectly Clear Plug-in

I found Perfectly Clear ito be a robust automatic correction tool and apparently others agree. It is licensed by a number of large online photo companies to automatically correct their customers' images. Most self-serve photo kiosks also use this software for auto correcting.

Do You Need It

You can make similar corrections using Photoshop's built-in features, but you certainly can't do it anywhere nearly as fast, and it also depends on your  level of Photoshop expertise. Unless you are fairly experienced it can be much harder and take many more steps and tweaks to achieve the corrections that Perfectly Clear can make in seconds. The downside is that it does cost a lot ($199), but if you have a lot of images to process it is worth it. Athentech also has a plug-in for Lightroom as well as iPhone and iPad apps. The company just launched an Android app and there is a new stand-alone product.

Perfectly Clear Plugin for Photoshop

You can download the software free 30- day trial at www.athentech.com/Products.html

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