Corel Paint Shop Pro X
- Retouch tools, More advanced features for professionals, Bundled with Photo Album 6.0
- Doesn’t offer all of Photoshop’s features
Offering excellent competition to Adobe Photoshop minus the hefty price tag, Paint Shop Pro comes recommended for both the casual and more professional user.
Price$ 229.95 (AUD)
Those of you who trialed the Beta version of Paint Shop Pro X would know what whilst it was an impressive program, it required substantial improvements in performance to be considered a piece of software worth investing in.
The good news is that the final version is much faster, particularly when applying certain filters. While version 9.0 of the program concentrated on providing a competitor to Photoshop - at a fraction of the price - that could happily be used by professionals, Paint Shop Pro X has made a number of innovations that make it more accessible to occasional users.
The improved Learning Centre streamlines common tasks and provides context-sensitive help and will be a big aid to those who are less experienced but want to access various time-saving tools. The Retouch Tools, for example, can provide a complete makeover for a portrait in moments - removing wrinkles and blemishes - and the Red-Eye removal will be useful for amateur snappers.
Paint Shop Pro also packs in and improves many of the other features that have made this a popular option in the past, including extensive vector tools for adding drawings as well as slightly more gimmicky tricks such as the Picture Tube and Warp brush. Professionals will be more attracted by advanced features for colour management and batch processing, getting through time-consuming.
The fact that Corel has now bundled Photo Album 6.0, tutorials and Pixmantec RawShooter - for working with RAW files directly from your camera - makes this particularly good value. As performance is also improved in the final release, Paint Shop Pro is highly recommended for serious amateurs or professionals who want most of Photoshop's power without the price.
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