COREL PAINTSHOP PRO X8 (PC)
Now available in version X9
Provides you with all of the tools that you are likely to need
- but don't push it too hard.
Incredible value for money.
- I'm not at all sure that I would recommend Corel Paintshop Pro X8 to the beginner - though the Learning Centre panel will help out the new user.
- As its name implies, it is more for the advanced worker familiar with photo imaging software.
- It certainly includes all of the tools that a beginner would need, but it goes well beyond this with tools that require some background knowledge of their function and relevance in image processing.
- The Manage sections enables image organisation.
- The Adjustment section allows you to make basic adjustments.
- The Edit section provides the tools for more refined image processing.
- Batch editing: watermark, resize
- Accurate selections: PaintShop Pro X8 (now X9) lets you define a selection size by height and width, or with a fixed aspect ratio, making for easier and more precise selections.
- Lens Corrections: Applied automatically within the Edit workspace or the Camera RAW Lab. This enables the correction of distortions, vignetting and chromatic aberrations that may be introduced by your camera lenses.
- Faster Brush work: brushes operate more quickly and more responsively.
- Layer Enhancements: layers can be searched for by name, selected layers can be merged, with layer groups easily expanded or collapsed.
- Graduated Filter Effects: Colour gradients can be added to your photos to simulate the eect of using dierent camera lens filters. The wide range of gradient controls allows for more creativity and experimentation.
- Third-party Plug-ins supported: Support for 64-bit versions of third-party plugin tools and support for Adobe Photoshop plugins.
- Useful web design tools: Optimise images for online use (e.g. image mapping to link HTML with your graphics, Slicing and Rollovers to create designs that work seamlessly with web pages.
The welcome screen promises much, including short learning videos :
However, the heart of the software lies in the opening processing screen which begins with a browser page
under the heading of "Manage":
A screen view opens for the folder selected (top left) the image you want to select is highlighted and its file details appear in the right-hand column.
- Moving on to the Adjust Screen (orange tab above image) presents you with a range of processing tools (left-hand side) and some Presets (right-hand side).
- The Adjustments available include a Smart Fix (e.g. for brightness, shadow and highlight control, and saturation), White Balance, Brightness and Contrast, Fill Light, Clarity, Vibrancy, Local Tone Mapping, High Pass Sharpening, Digital Noise Removal, and a Clone Brush.
- You can see why the beginner might struggle with some of these, but if you are up to it, these tools work effectively, and allow quite fine adjustments to be made.
- The third screen available to you is the Edit Screen (deep orange tab above the image).
- This provides access to several Quick Adjustments (I know - why are these under Edit and not Adjustments?) including the facility to: Rotate the image, Crop it, Straighten it, Resize, or Automatically change the Brightness and Color.
- I find this separation of adjustments on to two different screens somewhat puzzling and a bit confusing). This Edit Screen also carries a column of tools (down the left-hand side):
These are all fairly standard tools that can be found in any of
the image processing level available for advanced image
- It is also useful to be able to work with a double screen view that allows the Before and After images to be shown together as you make the changes to the image.
- There is a necessary facility to be able to Undo your changes in single steps.
- Working in Layers is also possible.
- Conversion to monochrome is available on the Adjust Screen, with Presets provided as a starting point.
- Fine-tuning of the image is then possible using the tools down the left-hand side.
- As for File Sharing there is an option to share through Facebook, Flickr or Google +.
In summary Corel Paintshop Pro X8 (now X9) provides you with all of the tools that you are likely to need.
Some will love the way it is designed. It is certainly able to provide a processed image in relatively short time. The only draw-back may be the limitations when using camera RAW.
The price (at time of writing) in the UK is £59.99 (for version X9) and this reflects its status for advanced use and this may influence your choice. There is also a PaintShop Pro X9 Ultimate edition with some additional assets available for £71.99.
It is well worth checking out the further information provided on the Corel web site - just CLICK here and it will take you straight to the Paintshop Pro X9 page.
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