Alien Skin Image Doctor

"A Great Set of Image Repair Filters!"
| Type of Product | User Level | Features |
| Product Analysis | Final Comments | System Requirements |
Type of Product



Alien Skin's Image Doctor is a new set of filters used for image repair. Alien Skin is known for its effects plugins (Eye Candy and Xenofex) for such programs as Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, and other image editors; and now with the release of Image Doctor they have created another great plugin product. But this set differs from their other software as it is a collection of powerful photo-retouching and image-repair filers which allows you to remove blemishes and defects, quickly repair over-compressed JPEGs, and seamlessly replace unwanted details and objects.

Image Doctor is available for Windows and Macintosh. Pricing: $129.00. Registered users of other Alien Skin products will receive discount pricing when ordering directly from Alien Skin Software. See their web site for more information:

User Level
Advanced Beginners, intermediate, and advanced computer users. The product is useful for both professional and novice photographers, photo editors, service bureau professionals, graphic designers, and Web designers.


Image Doctor's features include:

  • Compatible host programs: Adobe Photoshop 5.5 or later, Paint Shop Pro 6.0 or later, Fireworks 4.0 or later. See Alien Skin website for additional hosts.
  • Smart Fill: Removes large objects from complex backgrounds by filling the area with pattern.
  • Scratch Remover: Removes long, narrow defects such as scratches, tears, creases, and wrinkles.
  • Spot Lifter: Removes spots and blemishes, seamlessly blending them in with the surrounding area.
  • JPEG Repair: Diminishes artifacts from over-compressed JPEG.
  • Repair Type: Selection-based repair or entire images.
  • Preview: Large resizable preview window with visible underlying layers and ability to switch between filters.
  • Before/After: You can toggle back and forth between the filtered and unfiltered versions of image.
  • Undo: Unlimited undo and redo.
  • Shortcuts: Photoshop style keyboard shortcuts.
  • On-screen Tips: Help text provides instant guidance for each filter control.
  • Command Menus: Use settings and presets. Zoom in and out of preview image.
Product Analysis

Installation & User Manual
Installation is a snap. The printed User Manual walks you through the process and gives specific information for installing the product on Macintosh OS X and Windows XP. And it discusses each filter and provides tutorials and tips. The Manual is also provided in PDF and HTML format.


The easy-to-use Alien Skin software user interface is better than ever in Image Doctor. Command menus are accessible when you call up each of the Image Doctor filters. Windows users will see the menus at the top of the filter preview window; and Macintosh users will see them in place of their usual menu bar. The menus available are: Edit, Filters, View, Settings, and Help. The large preview window, on the right of the screen, is resizable and allows users to examine an effect with all layers in the image visible. A variety of sliders and controls are on the left of the screen and on top of preview window. These sliders and controls work in a logical "top-down" fashion with the topmost slider controlling the repair effect in each filter and subsequent controls blending repaired areas into the surrounding image.

JPEG Repair
jpeg repair
JPEG Repair revitalizes over-compressed JPEGs. You can remove blocky compression artifacts while retaining detail and adding grain. Repairs can be made to an entire image or as needed to smaller selections. It's impossible to restore details lost in the compression process, but JPEG Repair can reduce the visual impact of over-compression by removing artifacts, blurring image edges, and adding noise. If you have images with an undesirable pixilated look, this filter is perfect and does a successful job of removing it. See image to the left for a before/after view.
Smart Fill

smart fill


Smart Fill replaces large objects and defects by intelligently blending repairs into backgrounds. It can remove signs and trash from landscapes, unwanted tourists from vacation snapshots, and uninvited guests from party photos, leaving no visible seams. This is an excellent filter that gives you great results. You just select the portion of your image that you want removed, select the texture size, regularity and feathering options, and then place the Texture Source Box over your source area from which you want Smart Fill to extract the replacement texture and then the unwanted portion is seamlessly replaced. See graphic to the left for a before and after view.

Scratch Remover
scratch remover

The Scratch Remover is perfect for removing unwanted background details such as tears, dust specks, or creases from photographs. You can use it to erase long, thin objects, such as microphones or telephone poles. It also works great for removing text such as time codes, from your photos or video captures. To get the best results, it is advised that you divide your work into sections when a defect spans several visually different areas. In the example on the left, eight separate selections and applications of Scratch Remover were used to get the best result. Even though this filter takes some fine-tuning and you have to work on small segments of a scratch at a time, I thought it did a good job. See image to the left for a view of a before/after shot and a view of separate selections.

Spot Lifter

spot lifter

The Spot Lifter removes blemishes while preserving the texture and detail of the underlying image. Spot Lifter is useful for erasing skin flaws such as birthmarks, acne, and beauty marks. You can easily reduce dark circles, shadows, and wrinkles around the eyes. And it also removes low-contrast photo imperfections such as watermarks, stains and dust. Spot Lifter is non-destructive which means that it removes the unwanted details, but leaves behind a subdued version of the original selection. This is another filter that gives you great results. In the example on the left, you can see that the shadows and puffiness under the eyes have been removed yet the realistic texture of the skin is still intact.
Final Comments
Alien Skin's Image Doctor is a worthwhile package for anyone working with photo-retouching and image-repair. The interface is clean and easy to use. I especially liked the Smart Fill and the Spot Lifter. This is the first set of image correction filters from Alien Skin and we look forward to see what they produce in future versions.
System Requirements


  • Pentium II-class processor
  • Windows 98/2000/Me/XP
  • 64 MB or more of physical RAM


  • Power PC processor
  • Macintosh System Software 9 or later; OS X 10.1 or later
  • 64 MB or more of physical RAM
Graphics: Adobe Photoshop 6.0
Web Page Design: Macromedia Dreamweaver MX
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