[Windows] Automatically remove skin imperfections from people in photos with Magic Skin Filter

2013-03-07_220703Okay, I admit — the title of this post is a bit crud. Describing this program as removing “skin imperfections” is a bit mean to the people who’s photos this program is used on. However, that is the best way I can think to describe Magic Skin Filter. It claims to “beautify” photos using “automatic portrait photo smooth skin software”. Let’s see if it is worth your time.

WHAT IS IT AND WHAT DOES IT DO

Main Functionality

Have you ever heard of how professional photographers and whatnot sometimes edit out skin imperfections in their models from photos using Photoshop? That is basically what Magic Skin Filter is looking to do, except Magic Skin Filter is a lot quicker and easier to use than manually editing a photo with Photoshop.

Pros

  • Allows for easy one-click “beautification”, with little to no input needed from the user
  • For those that do want to customize, allows control over brightness level and smooth adjustment
  • Has a ‘Skin Recognition’ feature
  • Changes to images are seen in real-time in the program, so you can see exactly what you will get after outputting
  • Supports batch processing
  • Supports JPG/JPEG, PNG, GIF, and BMP inputs
    • Note: Developer does not specify exactly what input image formats are supported. However, as per my tests, at least JPG/JPEG, PNG, BMP, and GIF are supported; other formats may or may not be supported.

Cons

  • Some may disagree, but in my opinion the output images appear very unreal and fake. No where close to what a professional can accomplishing using Photoshop.
  • Can only output images as JPG
  • Has no online or offline Help file. The program itself is fairly straightforward but without any sort of Help, it has hard to determine what some settings are. For example, what exactly does ‘Skin Recognition’ do? I have no bloody idea. I’m guessing it allows the program to automatically detect the skin areas of a photo and apply the changes to those areas only but I saw no difference with this feature enabled and disabled.

Discussion

Meh. I really don’t like Magic Skin Filter-like programs. Why? Simply because they are to automate something that cannot be automated. I don’t know about the future but, at this moment in time, we simply don’t have the technology to build programs that can automatically “fix” photos like a professional can do manually via Photoshop. The same goes for “beautifying” photos, such as removing skin imperfections. Of course I gave Magic Skin Filter a fair test (otherwise I would be unethical) and it didn’t disappoint; it performs exactly as I figured — badly.

Using Magic Skin Filter is really easy. You simply load in the image(s) you want to beautify and output images; the program automatically beautifies your input images and there are only four settings that you can customize if desired: ‘Increase Brightness’, ‘Smooth Adjust’ (‘Amount’ and ‘Power’), and ‘Skin Recognition’. However, easiness and automation are worthless if the program is unable to produce quality outputs. And, in my opinion, the outputs of Magic Skin Filter are bad.

To be fair, it should be mentioned I tested Magic Skin Filter on photos of my wife. My wife is the most beautiful woman ever and there is no way to enhance her beauty any further. So Magic Skin Filter was at a natural disadvantage from the get-go. However, I also tested Magic Skin Filter on other photos and all tests lead me to the same conclusion: Magic Skin Filter makes photos look unreal and fake.

You don’t have to believe me. Simply check out the examples the developer shows on his/her website:

msf_1

msf_2

msf_3

msf_4

msf_5

You are welcome to disagree with me, but to me all the ‘After’ photos are unnaturally bright and a bit blurred. And the reason for this is actually pretty simple. From what I can tell, the way Magic Skin Filter “beautifies” photos is by a) increasing brightness and b) blurring (‘Smooth Adjust’ is blur). That really is all this program does — increase brightness and blur — and it shows in the outputs.

CONCLUSION AND DOWNLOAD LINK

Typically dotTech reviews are objective with objective criticism. However, the nature of Magic Skin Filter leaves us no choice but to issue a subjective opinion: we feel Magic Skin Filter does not “beautify” photos but rather makes them look fake. As such, no matter how easy it is to use and how automated it may be, there is no way we recommend this program to anyone. You may, of course, disagree with us… in which case we urge you to download the app and try it as a trial before purchasing. However, if you agree, then there is no need to download this program.

So, then, what is our recommendation? As I mentioned earlier, there simply is no way use a program to replace the job of a professional. If you really want to “beautify” a photo or fix imperfections, you best bet is to hire someone who is adept at using an image editor or learn how to use an image editor yourself. You can start by looking at the best free image editors for Windows. Best of luck.

Price: $19.95

Version reviewed: 1.1

Supported OS: Windows

Download size: 1.1MB

VirusTotal malware scan results: 0/39

Is it portable? No

Magic Skin Filter homepage

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8 comments

  1. KC4COP

    Ashraf:

    Any attempts at humor aside what I am saying is that in my opinion the results obtained with a single layer program such as “Magic Skin Filter” was unfairly compared with a much more expensive multi layer photographic enhancement program (“Photoshop”) and if an amateur takes the results obtained with Magic Skin Filter and adds a layer or two to correct for skintone and the removal of a small blemish (such as removal of a blemish using the inexpensive program “InPaint” I believe that the result obtained by the amateur would favorably compare with the quality said amateur would get if they were to use “Photoshop”. The price of final images from the 2 programs for the quality obtained in the final product would not be comparable.

    As I checked out of a grocery store earlier today I looked at the front of some magazines featuring photographs of female models. I did not think any of the photographs looked any less or more fake than the photographs touched up by “Magic Skin Filter”. The samples from the magazines and from the Magic Skin Filter website seem to rely on removal of a possible blemish in a change in skintone and perhaps the color of the iris of the eye. I have to guess it is because the magazines did not show pre-and post doctored images.

    In no way was my comment intended to be personal. If it sounded that way – or resembled in any way a personal attack – I humbly apologize. My point was intended to point out an “apple” and “oranges” comparison between a less than $40 photo enhancement program and a multiple hundred dollar program. Further I believe that the final resulting photograph enhanced by an amateur adding 2 additional layers of corrections to results obtained from “Magic Skin Filter” would be as realistic as that same person could get using “Photoshop”. By my eye I could see little if any difference in realism between the post corrected “Magic Skin Filter” photograph and the magazine photographs taken by a professional photographer.

    I also mentioned that I discerned that the developer of “Magic Skin Filter” put a great deal of effort in the development of his program. Since there is a difference in opinion of how realistic his results are I think he should be given some credit when compared with the team effort at Adobe. I think that he did pretty darn good work getting rid of all the freckles in one series of pictures.

    I hope that I clarified the intent of my original comment. I do not believe that the final results obtained in the series of examples of what can be expected with “Magic Skin Filter” were all of equal quality. I think some of the results were pretty darn good. My opinions are that of a solar physicist not a professional photographer concentrating on photographing people rather than solar events.

  2. kc4cop

    Ashraf:

    I understand that you are evaluating a single product, “Magic Skin Filter”, and not a breve of products tacked together. Yet, you are comparing today’s offer on GiveawayoftheDay.com with “Photoshop”. Photoshop is hardly a one step process for retouching photographs. For me to be fair in evaluating a product that promises great rewards in a single step, and further to compare the product with a multiprocess program costing many times the selling price of “Magic Skin Filter” I am willing to use a little ingenuity and imagination and look a bit past the selling hype needed to market this type (photo enhancement) product.

    Using the before and after photographs that the developer of “Magic Skin Filter” chose to display on his webpage is a giant step toward honesty. I admire this. I wish that the developer had gone a little further and stated in plain language that other steps and/or programs might also be employed to give an additional realistic appearance to some photographs doctored by “Magic Skin Filter”. I see nothing wrong in that admission nor do I see anything wrong in using more than one “layer” (a technique used in Photoshop) to complete beautification of a lovely lady. My personal evaluation of “Magic Skin Filter”, sees a great deal of work by the developer going into producing this program. I also think that the developer has assessed a very realistic price for “Magic Skin Filter”. I cannot say the same thing for “Photoshop”. An adjustment in brightness and contrast with a limited use of “InPaint” could make the posted photographs adjusted with”Magic Skin Filter” look as good as any amateur might hope to get using Photoshop.

    When it comes to making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, I believe that the end effect realized by using “Magic Skin Filter” is comparable with what one can best hope to get using expensive products such as “Photoshop”. Some limitations do not come from faults in a program.

    I cannot say that your review is not tainted a bit. One who publishes the fact that his wife is a most beautiful woman in the world shows obvious bias. Besides, there are not 2 women that can claim this title.

    KC4COP

  3. Bub

    I thought that the second picture looked like a reasonable airbrushing job. The rest did look fake to me, to varying degrees. In particular, the fourth one made her look like an extraterrestrial.

  4. Mark

    Personally I neither need nor understand the need for a dedicated software for altering appearances, especially one THIS basic, when excellent freeware such as IrfanView are available that can do the same and much more. Some time ago a program called Perfect365 was reviewed on these pages that seemed far more promising, although, as Ashraf concluded and I agree, the results, quite often, came off looking fake and cheesy. They offer a fully functional demo that adds a watermark to the output but that can be taken care of, I suppose.
    [@Matias] Isn’t it better for Ashraf to be prepared beforehand in case she does come by checking on him, huh?