Using Perfectly Clear as a Standalone Application
While you can still use Perfectly Clear as a plugin or external editor, it also runs as a stand-alone application. This means that you can open both RAW and traditional photos directly, crop images to whatever size you need, then print or export to popular file formats for sharing.
Running Perfectly Clear as an Application
To launch Perfectly Clear, you’ll find a folder called Athentech inside your Applications Folder or Start Menu. You’ll find a folder called either Perfectly Clear Complete V3 or Perfectly Clear Essentials inside. Launch either the Perfectly Clear or Perfectly Clear Essentials application to get started.
If you’re on Windows, you’ll also find a Desktop shortcut.
Opening Standard Files
Once you’ve launched the application, it’s time to give it some files to work with. Opening files is easy. You can:
- Choose File > Open and then navigate to select files
- Drag images to the center work area.
- Click the center work area and then navigate to select files
- Drag files onto the application icon in the Dock or Windows start menu
Opening RAW Files
If you open a raw file supported by Perfectly Clear, you’ll even get advanced controls. You can choose from the following options:
- Open. This will simply open the RAW files using their default settings and no direct adjustment to the RAW data. A high-quality file is parsed and opened by Perfectly Clear.
- Develop. This option lets you selectively adjust the RAW file with sliders for detailed control. You can refine the exposure, tone, and white balance for the file.
Once you choose an option, the file will either open directly in Perfectly Clear or go the RAW Editor to be developed. You can also mark a checkbox called “Remember this choice” to open all RAW files the same way. If you want to override this in the future, just click the “Gear” icon in the Raw Adjustments Control Area.
If you choose to Develop the raw files, you’ll find several useful adjustments. These are focussed on three primary tasks: fixing tone, fixing white balance, and removing lens imperfections.
- Exposure. Adjust the global exposure for a photo. You can add or subtract up to 3 stops of light from most raw files.
- Highlight Recovery. This command specifically attempts to recover lost details in the brightest areas of a photo.
- Fill Light. This option is useful for filling in parts of an image that are lost to shadows.
- White Balance. This preset menu lets you choose from useful presets that match closely those found in DSLR and mirrorless cameras.
- Temperature. You can refine the color temperature for a shot manually to achieve a proper white balance. The slider is based upon degrees Kelvin.
- Tint. The Tint slider is used less often but is used to adjust the shot when gas or older fluorescent bulbs are used. A scene may also have a lot of green, and this can help balance that.
- Lens Correction. We have custom profiles for many lenses that allow the raw development settings to be fine-tuned based upon the camera and lens used. This is generally a good option to leave checked.
When satisfied with the RAW file you can click the Sync Settings or Synchronize buttons to apply the adjustments to all open RAW photos. To open the RAW photos into Perfectly Clear click Open.
User Interface Overview
Now that images are open, let’s discuss the user interface quickly. This is a high-level overview, but be sure to visit the Help menu within the application for more details.
Across the top is the toolbar.
- First is the zoom in and zoom out buttons to change your view. Use the keyboard shortcuts of Cmd + or – on Mac or Ctrl + or – on Windows to zoom.
- Next is the magnification level. You can press the Z key once to zoom to 100%. Press the Z key again to fit the entire image.
- To judge the effects of the Perfectly Clear plugin, you can try the three different view modes. These make it easy to judge what’s happening to your image.
- The default view, Full Preview Window, shows only the before or after at a single time. You can click and hold on the image or press the spacebar to see the before and after state.
- The next button is the Double View which lets you view a side by side comparison.
- The third choice is Split View, which shows you the before and after in one frame. You can also press the spacebar to toggle the before and after view.
- Next are the presets. Click the drop-down list to switch between groups. You can click on an icon to apply a preset. You’ll find several different sets of presets built into Perfectly Clear and more available for sale on our website.
To control Perfectly Clear, you’ll find two panels. If you don’t see the panels, just press the Tab key to toggle their visibility. You can quickly change your view to make it easier to work. Press the Tab key to hide or reveal both panel or click the triangles along the side edge to open and close them individually.
The left panel contains both the default and user-created presets. These are organized by function and can provide either a one-click fix or a great starting point. You can also create an unlimited number of your own custom presets. You’ll also find creative LOOKs here to stylize your image. You’ll find more training on LOOKs and presets on our website.
In the right panel, you can take complete control over the corrections applied to your image. To turn an adjustment off, simply click the checkbox next to it toggle on/off. You can also click on the blue dot for an adjustment group to turn off multiple effects. If you’d like to make more room, you can also collapse or expand each section.
Crop Your Images
Once files are open, you also can crop them as needed. Cropping changes the shape of an image or which pixels are visible.
- To start cropping, click the Crop button. An overlay appears over the image.
- You can drag the corner of the Cropping Overlay to remove parts of the image. The cropping box can also be dragged into a new position.
- If you need to crop to a specific aspect ratio, click the Aspect Ratio preset list. You can choose from a wide range of popular sizes in the list. If you need a custom size, choose Custom and enter the ratio for width and height.
- You can rotate the image in 90° increments using the first button below the aspect ratio selection. The next two buttons allow you to flip the image horizontally or vertically.
- Please note, cropping is per image. You cannot sync cropping to a group of images or store it with a preset.
- You can switch between four different composition guides while cropping with the buttons at the bottom of the crop tool. The first is a grid to help check for alignment. The second is the rule of thirds and the third is the golden ratio which help with positioning a subject. The fourth is the Golden Spiral which is useful when cropping. You can fins many useful articles about the artistic decisions when cropping available online.
Navigating with the Filmstrip
If you’ve opened up multiple images, be sure to try the Filmstrip for easy navigation. If you don’t see the filmstrip, click the triangle at the bottom of the screen. You can easily click a thumbnail to move to the next image.
If you have several similar photos open, just click the Sync settings button. This will sync the adjustments applied to the current image to the remaining images. All adjustments will be synced except for Crop, Graduated Filters, and Finishing Tools
When you finish editing, just click the Save button to save a single image. If you want to save multiple images, click the Save All button. You can specify where to save the images, how they should be named, and what type of files to export. After saving the images, you can choose to close them or leave them open for further editing.
Don’t have Perfectly Clear Version 3.5? Get it today!