Corel PaintShop Pro X9
• Large range of advanced image editing features
• Batch processing
• Video & photo slideshow feature
• Easy to create photo projects & share images
• Drop shadow options are limited
• No online photo storage included
Corel PaintShop Pro X9 is our favorite photo editing software. It has pretty much everything most people would need to edit, organize and share their digital images.
PaintShop Pro has always been the leading alternative to Adobe Photoshop for those looking for something slightly less expensive. This software offers all the tools you need in an easy-to-use interface. We looked closely at the Corel PaintShop Pro X9 to discover its best features.
You need Microsoft Windows 8, Microsoft Windows 7, Windows Vista or Windows XP with the latest service packs installed in order to use PaintShop Pro X9. There's also a requirement for a 1.5 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM and 3 GB of free hard drive space.
When it comes to RAW camera images, PaintShop Pro gives you the RAW Lab. Here you can manually adjust large sets of RAW photos as you load them into the computer.
The makeover tools can remove red eye, whiten teeth, remove blemishes (for those old age wrinkles) and even add fake tans. Boost the color in one area of the photo without affecting the look of the entire picture. Also useful is the Smart Carver tool, which lets you remove unwanted objects from your pictures without leaving anything to reveal they were there. This tool also allows for the expansion or contraction of objects without distorting them.
There are some new and slightly "gimmicky" photo editing tools in the latest release. For example the "Thinnify" feature is designed to make people look slimmer. Well, we can tell you now it doesn't really work. You might look slimmer, but you also end up looking rather odd.
One new tool we thought was actually quite useful was the Watermark feature. If you upload a lot of images onto the web and you want to copyright your images, this tool will automatically watermark your images. You can upload your own watermark, set the opacity, size and location and then batch process your files. Particularly useful if you're a professional photographer.
If you like to edit photos you've taken with your digital camera, there are plenty of useful effects such as One-Step Noise Removal and lens distortion corrections. You can also create depth of field and blurred effects very quickly, without having to create the effect with the camera lens itself. Merge HD photos you've taken at different exposures at the same scene to produce a detailed final image.
The PaintShop Pro package allows you to use layers and create artistic effects such as drop shadows as well as embossing and reflections. To really get the most out of Paint Shop Pro, it's well worth getting to the Smart Photo Fix tools. The full range of photo editing options is expansive and finely tuned - intermediate and more experienced users will appreciate the precise tone, color balance and exposure adjustments you can make using the program, while beginners can use the automatic settings.
When you save an image you have been working on, the original is automatically saved into a sub folder located within the original folder, so if you ever make a mistake you can always relocate the original.
Batch processing is one useful PaintShop Pro feature. If you've made significant changes to one photo you can apply those changes to a whole batch of other photos.
One interesting feature is the video and photo slideshow, where you can create combined video and photo presentations using the pre-designed templates. You can also capture stills from your HD video.
There is no online storage included.
If you've got more photos than you know what to do with, you're going to need an effective organizational system. Fortunately the PaintShop organizer is a quick way to sort, tag and rate your photos as you load them into your computer. The thumbnails and previews allow you to more easily find what you are looking for while the tag and rating system also separate out your favourites.
The photo loader tool automatically detects when a USB mass storage device is connected to your computer.
Send your photos directly to Flickr, Facebook and YouTube. The automatic photo resizing feature makes it easy to send pictures quickly by email.
You can also create photo books and other projects to show off your photos in the Creative Projects area. If you simply want prints, order them online or print them off on your PC.
Ease of use
PaintShop Pro is speedier and easier to use than previous versions and we didn't discover any performance issues when running the program on our PC.
The package as a whole is easy to use although there are some more advanced features that can take a little time to get the hang of. If you want to carry out a simple photo edit, the Express Lab mode is designed to speed-up simple image editing tasks and fix those common flaws that pop up in most photos.
PaintShop Pro has a new graphite workspace. It’s a bit too dark for our liking, but if you don't like it, it's still possible to switch back to the classic interface.
Help & support
There are plenty of tutorials and guides to help you get to grips with the program and also hone your photo editing skills. The Learning Center is particularly useful and allows you to improve your skills while getting on with the process of editing your pictures. Browse through the knowledge base and ask questions in the forums. Email support is available.
Corel PaintShop Pro X9 has it all - everything you need to edit, store and share your photos in one easy-to-use and effective package. The photo editing features are particularly advanced and both beginners and professional photographers will find what they're looking for in this package.
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