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Binuscan Photoretouch Pro, Version 1.0
The final version confirms the promises of the beta


Some months ago we did a preliminary test in Macuarium and we got the impression that this application would be a serious Photoshop competitor in the worlds of DTP and Photography.

First impressions

Photoretouch Pro does not pretend to be a program for creative people like Photoshop and the like. It is conceived to treat the scanned images and get them ready for press, either in CMYK or RGB (film scanner). The version we tested was an Alfa (0.81) and held quite a lot of promises although many functions were not ready yet.

Figure 1

Last week we received the 1.0 version (free for registered users) and all our past experiences were confirmed. The process of opening a scanned photo, apply color profiles, adjust them, retouch the image to remove impurities, etc.. is fairly superior to Photoshop.

Of course, we are supposed to change some acquired habits, but the results obtained are pretty impressive with very little effort. Also, we can adjust manually any parameter if we are not satisfied with the final result.

Final version reviewed in depth

The program comes in a nice Aqua style package and includes a CD with the application, a black bag to store everything including a color chart, a corresponding slide of 10 by 12,5 cm so that we use them to perform color profiles of the scanner or digital camera, and a complete manual in three chapters that explain how to work with the program and perform the color profiles with a surprising clarity. In order to make a color profile we simply scan one of the color tables and the program compares it with its own version, then the conversion is performed automatically.

Figure 2

In figure 3 we can see the interface in Binuscan Photoretouch Pro

Figure 3
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with an image scanned using Vuescan under Mac OS X.1 with all the scan controls set to zero. We can easily appreciate how the image is too dark and lacking contrast.

In figure 4 we can observe the difference when the profile for the scanner used is applied. In figure 5 we can see the same image with the profile already applied.

Figure 4

Figure 5

Evidently, the image still lacks contrast and color but we can solve that using one of the best tools of the program: the RECO Auto process. In figure 6 we can appreciate the application window

Figure 6

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and in figure 7 the final result.

Figure 7

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This image is practically identical to the original and up to now we had not been able to scan correctly this slide due to the limitations of the scanner and its driver. The result is really surprising. Of course we can use the manual focus and we have two options for that. The one shown in figure 8 is the advanced focus option.

Figure 8

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One of the most useful tools in the program is one for "painting processes". It works like the air spray tool but instead of applying colors it applies processes. In figure 9 we can see how we can adjust a process of curves for converting a dark gray sky into blue

Figure 9

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for, at a later step shown in figure 10, applying it to the image without making complex selections and with the opacity and brush of our choice.

Figure 10

Another very useful tool is the "vacuum cleaner" that, as its name suggests, cleans up the dust that could be found in the scanned originals. It can be set to clean the white spots, the black ones or a mixture of them both.

Figure 11

In figure 11 we can see how a blue spot is cleaned, a defect in the original slide. It works as the denoise tool in Photoshop but with the extra advantage of being able to apply it only to the chosen regions without modifying the rest of the image. To make the selections we have available a very simple and well thought-out tool that we can see in figure 12,

Figure 12

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where we can also observe the other version of the 3D interface, we personally like the other one better, which can be changed at any time.

Figure 13

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In figure 13 we can observe a peculiar feature of the program, the possibility of using an X-ray option to detect defects in the scanning process of the image that otherwise would pass unnoticed. In the image we can appreciate a line in the right hand side which is caused by a dirty or defective pixel, not detected in the monitor but which could appear in the printed image...

Last but not least, we have to mention that we have available classical tools for cropping (great), straightening bent photos, an erase tool that allows us to remove processes in certain parts without affecting the original image, multiple undo, an algorithm to avoid the artifacts of the JPEG compression, a magnificent tool for pattern removal, and many others that we do not comment here for the sake of brevity.

Figure 14

In figure 14 we can take a look to the window with the CMYK export options with a lot of possibilities. The manual describes de formats and explains how to use it in a simple way making the life easier to the prepress novice.

9 out of 10: the promise is confirmed

All in all, we can say that Photoretouch is a great application with a section regarding color correction that is several steps above what is found in Photoshop and results as the perfect program for use in prepress and photography. In the next version a layer manager will be added so that it will improve the application further.

It works almost perfectly under Mac OS X, the only glitch we found was a sudden quit of the application when performing the first color profile due to functions not yet implemented.

We have chosen to give this application an overall mark of 9 out of 10.

© Roberto Tolín Sommer 2.001


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