Perfectly Clear is not an image enhancement plug-in. Rather, Perfectly Clear is an image optimization or correction plug-in. It should not be thought of as your “creative” editor, this is what Nik, Topaz, Alien Skin and OnOne are for. Perfectly clear has a very different purpose. Its job is to overcome the limitations of your camera and sensor technology. And it does this on the pixel level. So, rather than apply Perfectly Clear after your RAW or creative processing, it is recommended that you run your un-edited RAW files through Perfectly Clear first, and then do your “normal” enhancement to achieve your creative look if you desire.
Lets take a look at a few examples that should help you understand how Perfectly Clear works and just how powerful it really is.
The first image below is what the RAW image looked like straight out of camera with no adjustment whatsoever. Pretty drab and flat. (remember you can click the image to make it bigger and then scroll through all images.)
The next image has been run through Perfectly Clear using the “default” setting while making just a couple of tweaks to the exposure and contrast sliders. There are not many sliders in Perfectly Clear, so not much to worry about. (see screen capture below) The mulit-patented technology behind the scenes is doing a very good job. It is important to let Perfectly Clear work on the un-edited RAW file (meaning all sliders zero’ed out). It does a better job and will never clip or blow out shadows or highlights if you do. A pretty big difference!
For the last image, I felt the Perfectly Clear version was a tad bright, all I did was use a Curves Adjustment layer to bring down the mid tones and then add a slight “S” curve to enhance the contrast just a touch.
Lets look at another, this from the streets of Havana. Again the first image is an un-edited RAW file.
Next is the file run through Perfectly Clear. This time the difference is more subtle as the RAW capture from the Fuji is pretty good to start with. Still, look at the color of the car, the pink on the walls, the tones in the street and the overall depth that PC gave the image. It feels more alive to me.
And the last image below was created in Alien Skin Exposure 6 as a creative old film look from the Perfectly Clear optimized file.
One last example. When I processed this image two years ago, I blended two exposures to get what I needed. This time with Perfectly Clear, I used just one with better results. The first image is the RAW file unprocessed.
And the next with Perfectly Clear applied using the “fix dark” preset and then tweaking the exposure and contrast sliders just a touch. Wow! I’d say that is a big improvement. And please notice the true colors. I really appreciate that Perfectly Clear does not alter my colors, in fact it restores them to what they should be!
And the last image below was finished with Lightroom only. I used the adjustment brush for the sky, shadow slider to open up the shadows a bit and the highlight slider to reign in the brights. A touch of vibrance and clarity and I was done.
Armed with this new knowledge, the first thing I will be using on my images is Perfectly Clear first. Is it perfect software? Does it work perfectly every time? No, there have been a few, very few images where I did not like the result.
You should know that you can batch process your images using Perfectly Clear. This makes a lot of sense when you have a lot of images from a a specific shoot like a wedding or portrait session etc. And you can create a preset in Perfectly Clear that can be applied to the entire set of images that are being group processed. This is a huge time saver and another big benefit of this plug-in.
I would suggest this VIDEO on Youtube for more details about batch processing using Lightroom. And this VIDEO is an excellent overview of what Perfectly Clear does and why.
If you can’t tell, I’ve had a paradigm shift about Perfectly Clear after learning what is really going on and when to use it in my workflow. I highly recommend it! Click on this link to give it a try and SAVE 20%.