Like Adobe, ACDSee has been round for the reason that early days of digital pictures. Despite its comparative lack of identify recognition, ACDSee’s skilled photo workflow and editing package deal, ACDSee Photo Studio Professional, has lengthy had partisans preferring it to Lightroom. ACDSee continues to develop its software program, and face recognition is the largest add for the 2019 model. Some of this system’s instruments, similar to its Light EQ adjusters, are significantly good. It’s additionally one of many sooner photograph workflow apps, however it nonetheless falls in need of opponents like Editors’ Choice Adobe Lightroom in preliminary uncooked digital camera file conversion high quality, effectiveness of corrections, and interface usability.

Pricing and Starting Up

ACDSee now emulates Adobe in providing its software program by means of a subscription mannequin, however you can too purchase a easy one-time obtain for $99. Subscriptions begin at $89 per yr (or $8.90 monthly), which permits as much as 5 customers to put in the software program (Mac or Windows), plus ACDSee Web galleries for showcasing your work and 50GB of SeeDrive Cloud Storage. You should purchase 50GB extra for $25 or 100GB for $50.

The software program runs on Windows 7 by means of Windows 10. There’s additionally Photo Studio for Mac ($99.99), now at model 5, that works on macOS 10.12 and later. That program additionally converts uncooked digital camera photos, performs batch operations, and geo-tags maps, however it lacks the Windows model’s face recognition, LUT help, and native brush changes. The Windows program, reviewed right here, requires a 64-bit CPU and a minimum of 2GB RAM (6GB RAM or extra beneficial), an Intel i3 or higher processor, 512MB Video RAM (VRAM), a DirectX 10 suitable graphics adapter, 1024-by-768 show decision (1920-by-1080 beneficial), and 2GB of obtainable arduous drive area.

I put in the appliance on a 4K-monitor-toting Asus Zen AiO Pro Z240IC, the place it occupied 461MB of disk area. That’s effectively underneath Lightroom’s 2GB, however greater than CyberLink PhotoDirector’s 370MB.

No matter the way you receive the software program, you want to join an account and reply to an e mail verification. The program then restarts, has you select a default photograph folder, and then you definitely’re able to edit pictures. The subsequent step goes by means of an introductory wizard with a quick-start information. This takes you thru this system’s options, and is thorough and useful.

After selecting your photograph folder, you get the choice of constructing a catalog. This is a database that permits non-destructive modifying, saving your edits individually from the unique photograph flies. After modifying, you merely export a model of the edited picture. Lightroom makes use of a catalog in precisely the identical means. With both app, you may maintain pictures on no matter storage you want, and the catalog will maintain observe of its location. The catalog additionally shops any group you do with a photograph, similar to key phrase tags, rankings, notes, and extra. As with most such software program, ACDSee Photo Studio Professional prompts you to create a backup of the catalog file every month.

You can use ACDSee as a Photoshop plug-in, convert Lightroom catalogs for it, and combine with OneDrive for cloud storage.

What’s New in ACDSee Photo Studio Professional

The newest model of ACDSee Photo Studio Professional provides fairly a number of new instruments and capabilities since we final examined the software program. Here’s a cheat sheet of what is new for the 2019 mannequin:

  • Face Detection & Facial Recognition. Automatically identifies faces and assigns a reputation to them.
  • New Brush Capabilities. You can now use the comb for vibrance, white steadiness, and colour changes.
  • Improved Convert to Black & White. The instrument is accessible in Develop and Edit modes.
  • Color LUT help. This enables you to apply highly effective LUTs (lookup tables), presets for various colour seems.
  • Support for HEIF. Decodes this excessive effectivity media container format (utilized by newer iPhones) for photos and picture sequences.
  • Luminosity Selection. Creates choices primarily based on the brightness in photos.
  • Keyboard Shortcuts. These at the moment are customizable in Manage mode.

Some different current additions since our final assessment:

  • Smart Erase. The equal to Adobe’s Content-Aware fill instrument—letting you simply take away objects from photos with constant backgrounds.
  • Liquify Tool. Allows you to distort objects in photos with out compromising high quality.
  • ACDSee Mobile Sync. Wirelessly and immediately ship pictures and movies on to ACDSee Photo Studio out of your cell system.
  • Actions Browser. Manage recordings and batch apply any of 125+ preloaded recordings to a number of photos directly.
  • Keyboard Shortcuts. Optimize your workflow with predefined and customizable hotkeys.
  • Pixel Targeting. Select and masks by concentrating on particular brightness ranges and colours inside the picture.
  • Grain Tool. Give your photos an outdated, movie grain look.
  • Polygon Selection Tool. Select round edges and irregular shapes.

Other highlights embody help for high-DPI shows, Snapshots that allow you to make copies in mid-edit, Dehaze and Skin Tune instruments, and a wide selection of filters and results.


I discover ACDSee Photo Studio Professional’s interface friendlier than that of Capture One Pro or DxO PhotoLab, however Lightroom CC is easier—unsurprising, as that has fewer instruments. The ACDSee software makes use of the usual three-panel view, with image-source folders on the left, viewing space within the giant center part, and instruments and properties on a right-side panel. You can select from three interface colours: gentle, silver, and charcoal. Like Lightroom, however in contrast to DxO PhotoLab and Capture One, ACDSee Photo Studio Professional makes use of a modal interface. These are principally tabs throughout the highest of the appliance window that change the interface primarily based on what you are doing within the app—organizing, modifying, exporting, and so forth. The interface is versatile, letting you undock and auto-hide panels when you like.

I just like the clear icon design for mode switching, in contrast with CyberLink PhotoDirector’s primary textual content buttons. The 365 button subsequent to the mode buttons enables you to add pictures to ACDSee’s cloud storage. Photos and View solely differ within the variety of photos you see on the display (heaps for the previous, one for the latter). Like Lightroom and PhotoDirector, ACDSee Photo Studio Professional now enables you to customise which modes seem within the interface (except for Manage, which, for apparent causes, is required) in Tools > Options > General > Mode Configuration.

Taking a web page out of cell apps just like the iPhone’s Photos app, ACDSee Photo Studio Professional’s Photos mode exhibits you each photograph in its database, grouped by date.

The program helps contact gestures, which I examined on my touch-screen PC, pinch-zooming and swiping by means of pictures in a folder. I discovered, nonetheless, that these interactions weren’t very responsive or dependable. Lightroom Classic’s contact help is means forward of ACDSee’s on this regard. Also, buttons and menu selections are too small for the occasional display faucet. The app displayed simply high quality on a 4K-resolution display in my testing, nonetheless.

Organizing and Importing Photos

As you would possibly anticipate, importing and organizing occurs within the Manage mode. You can select to rename information on import and to enter metadata, similar to key phrases. You cannot, nonetheless, apply adjustment presets, and typically the import is much less strong than what Lightroom and PhotoDirector supply. Unlike Lightroom, ACDSee Photo Studio Professional would not require you to import: as with DxO PhotoLab, you may merely open a photograph file wherever it sits and will probably be added to the app’s database.

ACDSee can open video and music, in addition to pictures, however I want it had been simpler to inform this system solely to show pictures in Manage view. Lightroom makes it simpler to see simply your final import. ACDSee helps uncooked digital camera codecs from hottest skilled and prosumer fashions. The help is up to date often for brand spanking new cameras, although it is slower to help new fashions than opponents are. For instance, there is not any help for the Canon EOS R.

Import high quality, or uncooked file conversion, is one other subject. In a number of picture checks, ACDSee did an appropriate job of changing uncooked digital camera information, however it was bested by each Lightroom and Capture One, with the latter revealing essentially the most element and the previous extra pure colour and lighting with well-exposed photos. Results range by digital camera mannequin, nonetheless; a check shot from a mirrorless Canon M10 appeared higher in ACDSee than in Lightroom, whereas a 5D shot appeared higher in Lightroom. I examined a Nikon, too: Shots from a D850 appeared practically the identical in ACDSee and Lightroom, with the latter higher by a nostril for element and naturalness.

Raw Import

On the left is ACDSee’s preliminary uncooked digital camera file conversion, and on the best is that of Lightroom.

Organization choices embody rankings, color-labels, captions, and classes (similar to People, Places, and Various). You do not get practically as a lot assist in getting into key phrases as you do with Lightroom; you are by yourself for creating grids of preset key phrases. You may also group pictures into Collections and Smart Collections. In order to create a brand new assortment, you right-click on the clean space within the left folder panel. It works, however it’s not very intuitive. The Collection pane wasn’t even enabled after set up; I needed to flip it on from the Panes menu. An picture basket enables you to maintain pictures you need to work with in a brief tray under the primary show space.

Maps and Faces

One enjoyable group characteristic is maps. ACDSee Photo Studio Professional can use GPS encoding in information which have it to point out the photographs on a map. You may also drag photograph thumbnails onto the map to create pins for his or her areas. I discovered the characteristic inconsistent, typically together with pictures taken nowhere close to the place you clicked on the map. Lightroom does a greater job with maps, although, with thumbnail slideshows proper on the map exhibiting pictures shot on the location.

ACDSee Faces

Face detection has come to ACDSee with the 2019 model, however as with another organizing options in this system, it isn’t as well-thought-out as in some competing merchandise, similar to Lightroom and PhotoDirector. The program routinely finds faces in your assortment. To see them, you’ll want to be in Photo mode (not Manage mode, which might make sense to me), after which allow the Face Detection pane. You see the detected face, and you might discover that the area underneath the photograph enables you to kind a reputation. The program did discover different pictures with the identical particular person’s face, however it would not clearly take you thru the method as different software program does.

Adjusting Photos

In Develop mode, you get all the usual gentle and colour correction instruments—Exposure, Contrast, Saturation—together with issues like vibrance and readability, which have turn into requirements for prosumer software program. The interface for adjusting this works effectively, with giant bar sliders. Reset buttons helpfully seem for every part during which you make an adjustment, and B&W instruments are only a click on away.

Switching to Standard mode for the Light EQ instruments presents detailed sliders that allow you to regulate extra specific ranges, one other good instrument I have never seen in different software program. The Auto button solely seems underneath the Light EQ controls whenever you open them, and you may click on it to get this system’s best-guess settings. Even cooler, you may regulate with a wand instrument over the picture that adjusts brightness primarily based on the realm underneath the cursor. It’s kind of just like the iPhone’s “tap on the screen to set exposure and focus” characteristic, minus focus.

ACDSee consists of instruments to right pincushion and barrel distortion primarily based on identified traits of the tools used. The program accurately recognized my digital camera mannequin, and utilized the auto-fix, making a refined enchancment to a wide-angle shot, however there have been nonetheless skewed objects on the picture’s edges. You can enhance the impact, however I missed Lightroom’s Upright possibility, which fully aligns vertical strains. ACDSee fares even worse relating to chromatic aberration correction. In my checks, it barely affected inexperienced and purple fringing that Lightroom and DxO PhotoLab had been in a position to fully eradicate.

ACDSee Develop Tools

ACDSee handles cropping pretty effectively, however the instrument is not included in Develop mode (it’s important to go to Edit mode). It now defaults to unconstrained facet ratio, which I favor. I additionally like how one can cover the realm exterior the crop, and the way spinning the mouse wheel modifications the photograph’s angle. You may also straighten a photograph with a tenet, however there is not any instrument for auto-straightening primarily based on the horizon like Lightroom’s. Note that the straightening instrument is present in Develop mode.

You can use brushes (as much as eight of them) for many Develop changes, however there is not any subtract brush. The Magic possibility does a pleasant job discovering edges, even in complicated areas like palm leaves. As talked about, new brush capabilities embody vibrance, white steadiness, colour overlay, colour EQ (saturation, brightness, hue, and distinction), and tone curves. The final is a cool functionality that I have never seen elsewhere. You cannot nonetheless, use brushes with the Effects in Edit mode.

Edit Mode

ACDSee Photo Studio Professional’s Edit mode is the place you discover pixel-level instruments similar to retouching, watermarking, and textual content overlay. The mode sports activities an extended checklist of instruments down the left panel. Some Develop instruments are additionally present in Edit, however I might favor a design that retains instruments of their place, giving the Edit mode a friendlier look.

New for the mode is the Smart Erase instrument. This is equal to Photoshop’s Content-Aware Fill instrument, and does a good job of routinely eradicating undesirable objects from a photograph. Note the eliminated grey tape on the best facet of the close by picture. Lest you suppose that this type of instrument is gimmicky or simply for hobbyists, it’s best to know that Rhein II, the most costly photograph offered ($4.3 million) up until 2014, used digital manipulation to take away folks and objects.

Haze Removal

The Dehaze instrument labored effectively sufficient on my check winter panorama shot, however it tends to jack up the distinction greater than I might like. I do like that it affords a brush for making use of dehaze simply to chose areas of the photograph. One distinction from Adobe’s instrument is that that permits you to add very lifelike haze; ACDSee’s slider can solely take away haze. DxO PhotoLab does one of the best job at haze removing out of the field with its computerized corrections, and it would not introduce a colour solid, as Adobe and ACDSee do. The screenshot above compares the dehaze instruments in ACDSee, DxO, and Lightroom (left to proper), all set to 50 %.

Skin Tune in ACDSee Pro

Skin Tune is a instrument for portrait photographers. The three instruments on this set—Smoothing, Glow, and Radius—make straightforward work of creating folks’s mugs look dreamier. One factor I might want for on this instrument, nonetheless, is a Before-and-After view.

Noise removing is within the Edit mode, and it does clean out noise, however there is not any Auto possibility, so it’s important to eyeball it. There is, nonetheless, an fascinating View possibility that solely exhibits the noise, not the photograph, in grey scale. ACDSee throws in 10 LUTs to be used with the brand new LUT instrument, and so they’re enjoyable to strive, with names like Elegance, Film, and Tinsel. You may also import LUTs in CUBE and 3dl codecs. The up to date Black & White conversion instrument is certainly highly effective, with brightness sliders for eight colours. I want to see presets for the B&W conversion, nonetheless.

The new Grain instrument did not actually idiot me, however I suppose you would tinker with the slider controls for Amount, Smoothing, and Size to get a convincing sufficient look. There are 22 inventive particular results, together with Grunge, Orton, and Stained Glass. These are enjoyable, old-school Photoshop-like results to play with, however there aren’t AI filters that apply Van Gogh and different artists’ types intelligently. In addition, you may file your edits as Actions, or use prefab Actions that apply grain, movie types, fade, and extra. Further, this system helps plug-ins.


ACDSee principally feels snappy to make use of and navigate. It additionally distinguished itself one my timed import efficiency testing. I examined it by importing 157 24MP uncooked information in CR2 format from a Canon EOS 6D. Each file weighed in at about 25-30MB. I examined on an Asus Zen AiO Pro Z240IC working 64-bit Windows 10 Home and sporting a 4K show, 16GB RAM, a quad-core Intel Core i7-6700T CPU, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M discrete graphics card. I imported from a Class 4 SD card to a quick SSD on the PC.

Photo Software Import Speed

ACDSee posted a 2:19 (minutes:seconds) time on the check. That is respectable in contrast with different packages I’ve examined. ON1 Photo RAW took 1:49 for the import to finish, Lightroom took 2:35, Capture One took 2:41, and PhotoDirector led with 1:03. AfterShot Pro took 1:04, however that was only for including pictures to its database and creating previews, with out really shifting the picture file information.

Sharing and Output

ACDSee Photo Studio Professional’s 365 mode is the start line for sharing. In truth, the mode embeds an online browser into the appliance, the place you signal right into a cloud account. Once you log in, you may add pictures through the Transfer sub-mode, together with by drag-and-drop. As in Lightroom Classic’s Publish Services view, you see on-line pictures on the highest of a cut up gallery thumbnail view and native ones within the backside. You can drag-and-drop photos to the ACDSee’s on-line storage, known as the SeeDrive.

By default, you add JPGs to 365, however you may select uncooked information with related information. You can designate native folders to sync with the web storage, however syncing solely occurs whenever you click on the Sync to Web button. There’s no hyperlink to your on-line gallery from the appliance, and the one sharing choices are e mail, Twitter, and internet widget.

At, you may see all of your synced pictures, and the general public can see them too, when you permit it. The enticing, darkish picture pages present tags and permit feedback and downloading. There are some interesting pictures on the Popular web page, however when you’re in search of a social pictures expertise, it is arduous to beat Flickr. Instagram, although extremely popular, is a distinct beast, extra about social networking than pictures, and would not supply issues like EXIF and even full-size viewing.

In any case, I might somewhat see ACDSee put its effort into higher instruments for immediately sending photos to Flickr, Facebook, and SmugMug, somewhat than into creating its personal internet galleries. There are right-click choices that do allow you to ship pictures to these companies in addition to to e mail, however they are not as strong as Lightroom Classic’s equivalents.

When it involves that old-school output possibility, printing, ACDSee Photo Studio Professional affords a full set of instruments, with a good selection of layouts together with customized layouts. It may also present gentle proofing with gamut warnings. It helps the EXIF 2.2 printing customary, and allows you to select between having this system or the printer deal with colour administration.

Will ACDSee Convert You?

ACDSee Photo Studio Professional is a robust photograph organizer and editor, and the corporate continues so as to add worthy instruments to its sizable editing-tool repertoire. I am unsure a subscription mannequin is sensible for this product, nonetheless. Despite its advances, ACDSee nonetheless trails Adobe Lightroom Classic, PCMag’s Editors’ Choice software for pro-level photograph modifying and workflow administration when it comes to interface design and image-correction instruments.

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