Radiant Photo first got my attention because it touted quick edit controls and stellar AI detection. I’m all about timesaving, easy to use features, so I put it to the test. Would these features take my photos from OK to Oh Yeah?!?
But first, let’s review working with Quick Edit. When you drag an image into Radiant Photo, the AI detects the scene and precisely analyzes each pixel. A starting adjustment is then applied to the photo. All of this occurs in just a few seconds. You are then presented with a slider that you can drag across the photo to compare the original vs the edited version.
For in-depth manual editing you can access the Detailed Edit screen, but in Quick Edit mode there are seven essential tools that appear on the right panel. You’ll see the editing tools that were automatically applied, but of course you can make your own adjustments. This is non-destructive editing.
The Smart Editing panel offers the strength, color, and deep skin tone adjustments. Strength is powerful and deals with the contrast and tone of the image. It also seems to improve the image sharpness. Color helps adjust overall tint and vibrancy, and Deep Skin Tone helps correct saturated skin tones.
Below these are the Quick Edit adjustments, which include Exposure, Light Diffusion, Depth and Vibrancy. Exposure helps correct the light exposure in every pixel. Light Diffusion is useful to soften the light. Depth helps increase the contrast and clarity. Finally, Vibrancy adds saturation to the less-saturated colors.
Putting it to the test
To test the software, I used various vacation photos taken with my Samsung Galaxy. In these photo comparison examples, the part left of the divider/slider is the original.
First up was an interior Westminster Abbey photo. I thought the software may brighten the photo a little, but it adjusted strength the color to 100. And what a simple difference! The AI’s Auto Radiant preset did a great job of making vibrant colors show on the flags, sharpening up the details, and evening out the exposure.
My next photo was a landscape from Sicily. The software correctly identified the photo and applied the landscape preset. Less strength, color and exposure was applied as compared to the prior photo, but the changes made the pillars pop. The end result was a richer and more evocative photo.
For my third test, I used a more somber and gray landscape shot. The software again applied the landscape preset to the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon photo. The photo was greatly improved, allowing the turquoise hues of the icebergs and glacial water to be seen. The stones became more vivid and the image lightened up.
I was surprised at first that the software didn’t choose the landscape-winter preset, which adds depth to the photo. After all, this photo is of ice and gray skies.
But, although the winter setting makes the photo seem more dramatic, it did omit some of the shades of blue on the icebergs and brightness. I have found that Radiant excels at bringing out color and exposure of individual pixels, so this AI decision makes sense.
For my last test, I loaded a photo where half the palace was being blasted by midday sun and the other half was in the shade. Radiant again chose the landscape preset. I notice it tends to do that when it notices sky, as there isn’t an architecture preset.
It did a great job of bringing out the color. It automatically boosted the exposure slightly and provided more balance to the photo. The black and gold trim popped more, as did the bricks.
I thought the left side in the shadow may have been overdone, so later I backed off the Strength slider, applied Depth and got a noticeable boost out of light diffusion. The aptly named Quick Edit mode allowed me to do all this in under 20 seconds.
Realistic AI processing with complete control
In summary, Radiant Photo does what it claims. It uses smart AI to improve your photos without overprocessing. It doesn’t do everything, but it’s not meant to be the only tool on your computer. It gives you a good head start in the editing process so you can use your time for more advanced affairs. On the flip side, the main drag on the software is the delay in updating your photo with any manual changes made to the slider values.
In my test cases, the software did properly interpret the scenes and seemed to choose the proper preset to apply. In all cases the photo was improved, although the discerning photographer probably would, and should, spend a few more seconds manually tweaking the settings. Since you can essentially train your Smart Presets, your results will get better over time. It’s this level of customization that makes it intriguing.