Just when you thought there were more than enough raw photo editors out there, one comes up with some fresh thinking and excellent results. This new editor is called Radiant Photo.
According to the company, when you upload a photo into Radiant Photo, in seconds, you’ll see a radioactive version of it. In most cases, this will be 90% of the required editing. This is possible because the software uses AI scene detection, smart presets, and advanced algorithms to truly understand the image and its content. It is optimized on a pixel-by-pixel basis to bring out true colors, with just the right amount of contrast and detail enhancement.
The software creators don’t see this as an alternative to Photoshop, Lightroom, or any other app you edit with, but they see it as saving time to get most editing done with very smart AI algorithms. If you don’t like the results, you can modify the image using tools familiar to most editors, such as highlights, shadows, vividness, and saturation. There are also toning tools and some that most users have not seen before, such as Fidelity, Depth and Light Diffusion. There are also some AI-based controls for photos. Any combination of settings you want can be saved as a preset, and you can load images in batch. This can be great for wedding photographers and others who have a large number of photos when time is of the essence.
The software was created by professional photographers, and they assembled the team to create the software they wanted. The group has around 267 years of combined experience. They believe that every photographer can benefit from years of innovation and experience.
How it works?
It is very easy and fast. The software is offered for Windows, as well as Intel and Apple Silicon Mac devices. I had a few days to use the beta version, so my comments have the usual beta alerts. The program is not finalized and will probably perform better than this trial version. However, it never crashed, and I had no obvious glitches. I’m not a young portrait, but a landscape photographer, so my testing revolved around that.
This is a picture taken by a drone. On the left is the original raw image. On the right is a Radiant Photo. It took about three seconds of processing, and I never modified any part of the image.
I still had some work to do in Photoshop or Luminar Neo, to bring out the shadows and reduce the highlights, and I could have done that in the editing controls provided by Radiant Photos, but the software brought me home, which is impressive.
Below is another drone photo from Lone Pine, California at sunset.
Again, you can see the improvement without the editing tweaks at all. About 75 drone photos were taken on this flight. I could upload them all and Radiant Photo could do this kind of work on all of them without making a single edit. Or I could make some adjustments for that time of day, save it as a preset, and the software would have taken the batch and optimized it.
The program automatically identifies the type of photo you took, even underwater photos. I gave him a 17-second picture of the Milky Way, and I immediately recognized it as a night view and applied sharpening and noise reduction to it. I thought it gave me a really good start in editing this photo. Here’s a before and after image, the original raw image on the left, the auto-processed image on the right. Not bad for three seconds of work.
Of course, one can do this manually. This is a photo I took in the mountains of Arizona, with a copy of the Radiant Photo on the right.
I think it was good, and again, it will just need another light editing touch to finish.
I took my original raw image and sent it to Luminar Neo. You can see it below. I used the AI slider, with a very slight sky for tweaking. I got to about the same place, but of course, I never touched the Radiant Photo version, while I had to make adjustments inside the Luminar Neo.
I thought Radiant Photo got the rock tone a bit more subtle, but it’s pretty close in Neo.
For output, you can select PNG, JPEG, 8-bit TIFF, or 16-bit TIFF. Of course, the program will keep the original.
Although I don’t do pictures, here is an example provided by the company. In my view, the result looks natural and not overly enhanced. It does a good job with shadows, under-eye circles and teeth.
I wondered why there was no option to save images as a DNG file, because that’s what I love about DXO Pure Raw. DNG in, DNG out. I just got a response from Radiant Photo team member, Florian Schuster:
We offer the 16-bit TIFF format because it basically represents the gold standard when it comes to final images. Please keep in mind that we are not only changing some basic raw sliders but pixel-by-pixel editing, including image retouching. Therefore, DNG is not an option, and even in terms of quality it will offer lower quality than TIFF.
I would like to add that you can upload any image in Radiant Photo, even a JPEG. It might make some improvements, but it does its best with a raw image as it has a lot of data to work with.
Who is this program for?
I found it very useful. If you have a lot of photos and want a head start on getting them ready for further editing, I think Radiant Photo will come in handy. As I mentioned earlier, it would be a boon for wedding photographers and others who come home from a business function with a barrel full of photos and want to get a head start on the job.
I’ve never seen Radiant Image make a bad decision editing a raw file. Sometimes there wasn’t much difference between editing the original and bright photo, but it never hurt the photo, and it usually improved the color balance and dynamic range.
The ability to further enhance the image without switching to another app is a plus, and you can live comfortably with Photoshop or Lightroom Classic as a plugin. Also, Corel PaintShop Pro compatibility will be available at launch in September.
What I like
The creators have achieved their goals. It uses artificial intelligence and makes changes without straying too far. The raw image is almost always optimized, which is no small feat.
There are plenty of sliders that allow you to further enhance your images, and you can save this work as a preset. I don’t think using AI here replaces your creativity. reinforces it.
What is missing?
The only way out of the program is to export the image. Most will do this in 16-bit TIFF format. I’d like to see a way to connect with Photoshop, Lightroom, Luminar, or any of the other raw editors. I know there are plugins for Photoshop and Lightroom, but I’ve often used the app as a standalone program.
Get a radioactive image
Radiant Photo will be available for download by September 15, 2022. Customers can already pre-order the software here and get a free preset package as a pre-order bonus. Also, there is a 30-day money-back guarantee, so each customer has 30 days to try everything and decide whether or not they want to continue using Radiant Photo.
Radiant Photo starts at $129 / €139 / £129 for either the standalone or plug-in version. Customers who want both options, standalone and plug-in, can opt for the $159 / €169/£159 package.
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