Powerful Full-Body Shaping—in the Right Hands and Situations
Review by Jessica Maldonado
I previously reviewed PortraitPro 12 and 15 for Photoshop User and had high praise for both versions, so I had high expectations for PortraitPro Body. And it’s an impressive piece of software. Upon opening an image, you follow simple prompts to mark up the body structure/skeleton of your subject and then use sliders to adjust bodies from head to toe—I marvel at the algorithms that must underlie each slider. Then, there are additional Liquify-like tools for further sculpting, and a pared-down version of its parent-program’s facial corrections. As with the original PortraitPro, it’s also a ton of fun to use.
Yet, I’ve struggled regarding what to say about PortraitPro Body. As is always the case with retouching software, it’s far too easy to take it too far and get over-retouched, unrealistic results. Somehow the chances of this seem multiplied with full-body manipulation.
If you routinely have clients who ask to be morphed into perfection and you’re not a master of Photoshop, then you’ll find PortraitPro Body extremely useful. It came in super handy when I wanted to quickly composite my daughter into a shot of her Barbie Princess dolls: Nip in that waist! Elongate those legs! Done! Because the frivolity of the project allowed me to embrace the extreme retouching capabilities, it was awesome and guilt-free. Conversely, if you can be trusted to use it judiciously, all power to you, go for it. Use it to correct posture, to improve symmetry, or to save an otherwise great shot by adjusting a flaw in the subject’s pose. PortraitPro Body may eliminate the need to hire a professional retoucher for small corrections like these.
Somehow, there’s more of an ethical issue for me with body contour than with skin smoothing. Do ethics have a place in software reviews? My perspective on full-body retouching is that the artists who have a “need” to do it—and will take the time to do it well—already know how to do it in Photoshop, and don’t really need a dedicated piece of software to guide them along; they’ll move bit-by-bit making intelligent, anatomy-based decisions. I worry that people who are likely to use PortraitPro Body may be more apt to go overboard with thinning and reshaping. This is my opinion, and my lack of trust in human nature, more than an issue with the product, which is quite good. ■