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ACDSee Pro 8 review: New editing features plus online storage

Jon L. Jacobi | Dec. 18, 2014
ACDSee Pro is considered one of the premier photo organizing and editing packages, and for good reason. Although sometimes awkward, it's powerful and "gets it" when it comes to the needs of photographers. Version 8 adds some nice new editing features that "get it," a subscription-based purchase option, and some rather expensive online storage.

ACDSee Pro is considered one of the premier photo organizing and editing packages, and for good reason. Although sometimes awkward, it's powerful and "gets it" when it comes to the needs of photographers. Version 8 adds some nice new editing features that "get it," a subscription-based purchase option, and some rather expensive online storage. 

ACDSee Pro 8 fulfills four major functions: organizing images, viewing images, non-destructive editing with filters (called Developing), as well as traditional destructive editing (which alters the original image). That's destructive only upon saving the file — you're always free to undo changes up to that point. The array of filters in both Develop and Edit modes is vast, and includes split-tone editing, perspective correction, lens distortion correction and other modern must-haves.

The edit tools in ACDSee are close to Photoshop's in variety, but easier to find, being nicely labeled and accessed via a pane on the left side of the window rather than from a confusing, icon-only palette. Everything related to file import and export is handled as a plug-in with ACDSee, so you can easily extend the programs capabilities in that area should new cameras or standards appear.

One reason ACDSee has endeared itself to the photographic community is that it makes it super-easy to organize and view large groups of files, as well as edit metadata (date, location, camera settings, etc.). Not only is there an integrated organizer of significant power and utility, but PicaView puts a preview of any image file in the Windows Explorer right-click context menu. Personally, I'd rather it were at the bottom of the context menus rather than the top, as I perform non-image related actions more frequently — but if your computer life is photo-centric, you'll like it. New to version 8 is a background cataloger that searches and adds files while the computer is otherwise idle.

ACDSee Pro 8's new editing features include pixel targeting, i.e. editing only pixels of a specific color or tone. There's also a new fill tool that operates in the same fashion, as well as an edit history window so you can see exactly how your image arrived at its current state. 

With the introduction of the SeeDrive online storage and sharing component, there's now an easy, albeit expensive ($109/ 20GB, $129/40GB, and $199/100GB per annum) way to share your ACDSee work between devices. SeeDrive is seamlessly woven into the main interface, opening as a pane whenever you click on 365 button. That's not particularly intuitive, or even correct — 365 is the subscription licensing scheme, which makes for one of those awkward moments I mentioned earlier. One trick ACDSee missed was not allowing you to upload photos to SeeDrive via right-click throughout the program. You can only upload via a file browser opens beneath the SeeDrive pane. It works nicely, but doesn't anticipate epiphanies.

 

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