Alien Skin Software gave me a chance at Photoshop World to test drive their latest plug-in for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. I’ve been playing with Image Doctor 2 for a bit now and I want to tell you what I have discovered about it.
First, let me say right off the top that this is not cheap software. Image Doctor 2 retails for $199. If you are a Photoshop Elements user, that may seem an insane amount to spend on a plug-in for a base program that cost $100 or less. Usually I would agree without hesitation but Image Doctor 2 is made up of a specific set of tools that would possibly make it a good investment for anyone who takes high volumes of photos and edits heavily – or wants to but can’t get the hang of the skill set.
I’d never worked with a plug-in before but installing Image Doctor into Photoshop Elements 6 for Windows was simple. Once installed, it showed up in my list of filters. To use it, I just select Image Doctor from the filter list and that takes me into the plug-in’s tools.
Many of tools in Image Doctor do things that you can already do in Elements if you have the skill and the time. But Image Doctor 2 makes them easier and faster – a real plus if you need to cut your editing time or want to improve the results you are getting.
For instance, with Image Doctor’s Smart Fill tool I was able to remove objects from my photos and get results that I have never been able to get before from using PSE with tools like the Clone Stamp Tool. And I was able to do it in only a few minutes, where with PSE’s built-in tools it can take eons of minute adjustment to get unsatisfactory results.
I was thrilled with the results working on this picture below. I took it at Epcot in the Japanese pavilion. Of course, in a place like that it is hard to avoid getting people in your picture. Using Image Doctor, I was able to get results I was satisfied with when I tried to remove the people.
Several of Image Doctor’s tools are intended for portrait use – the skin softener and blemish concealer tools. I put these to work on a super close-up picture that my 4 year old took of my husband. Under those shooting conditions we could all use a little help (especially a guy with five o’clock shadow) and I was pleased with the results that I achieved. I was able to turn a random preschool shutter click into an affectionate portrait of my husband with some skin softening and some blemish removal.
The fourth tool in the Image Doctor 2 tool set is the JPEG Repair tool, which can help improve the quality of over-compressed images.
I’ve just scratched the surface of what this program can do with these tools, but the repairs I did above are ones I know that are common among scrapbookers. The tools have many adjustments and custom settings that allow for getting just the result the photographer wants from their image. And of course, when they are done, they just exit the tool box back to PSE!
If you frequently edit the people or things in your photos to improve the image (or would like to), Image Doctor is unquestionably a powerful tool to have in your photo editing toolbox. It will save you time and get most users better results than they could achieve on their own. I am certainly getting a lot of use out of it. If you can get past the sticker shock (especially as an Elements user), I’d highly recommend it. A free 30 day trial of Image Doctor is available via the Alien Skin web
site if you’d like to try it out before deciding if it is worth the price.
Image Doctor 2 is available to purchase by download from Alien Skin Software’s website, or from Amazon.com. It works on the Windows or Macintosh system platforms, and is compatible with Adobe Photoshop CS2 or later, Adobe Photoshop Elements 5 or later (Windows), Adobe Photoshop Elements 4 or later (Mac), Adobe Fireworks CS3, or Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2.