Serif PhotoPlus X8
• Huge number of photo editing tools
• RAW editing studio
• Easy to use
• Lots of quick-fix features
• Extensive selection of help articles and tutorials
• Not for Macs
• No online storage
Serif PhotoPlus X8 is our favorite photo editing software - a compact, well-priced photo editing package with plenty of quick-fix features and enough detailed editing tools to satisfy the beginner and the more experienced photo editor alike. Serif PhotoPlus X8 is a go-to solution for all your editing needs. Well-priced and versatile, this is a best buy.
PhotoPlus is simple enough for a beginner to use but more experienced editors will also find what they’re looking for in this comprehensive collection of tools. What's good about the Serif photo editing package? We checked out the software and investigated its must-have features.
You need Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7, 8 or 10 plus 512MB RAM (1GB for optimum 64-bit operation) and 340MB of free disk space (701MB optimal) to set up this software. The software is only suitable for PCs, not Macs. When you open the program you're faced with a welcoming help window which explains all the processes.
The Serif PhotoPlus X8 lets you work with RAW image files in the RAW Studio. When you open RAW files you are prompted with a separate window to make your pre-editing changes such as correcting the white balance and the exposure of your shots
You can also import HD and Adobe Photoshop files with the layers intact and make the adjustments you need in individual layers. Some users have reported issues with the RAW Studio failing to open certain files but when we tried the process we didn't encounter any problems with our files.
The software is good for people who want to apply a quick-fix solution to their photos. Remove red eye and blemishes, realign a subject for best effect, and adjust white balance and saturation. You can apply the quick-fix features to the entire photo or to small areas by using the brush feature. The Surface Blur feature removes "noise" from your images so you can use it to smooth skin tones, whiten teeth, remove wrinkles and blemishes, and revitalize old images that look grainy and scratched. You can preview the changes as you make them but also change back to the original if you need to.
For more advanced editing, you can remove people or objects from your picture with a cutout tool. Or merge photos with different exposures using the Merge feature. Serif PhotoPlus X8 gives you complete control over your colors with an excellent Hue, Saturation & Lightness tool. Change a range of hues at the same time, and transfer colors between layers or images so you have a consistent color scheme across a group of photos. There are plenty of creative effects to try out too. The brush and pen tools give you extra textures and styles and you can create your own. You can also add text complete with effects to your photos. A new cropping tool makes it easier to crop pictures to exact specifications. Live feedback tells you exactly what you are doing and how you need to crop in order to achieve specific aspect ratios.
Save time by processing batches of photos in one go, by applying resizing rules and other quick edits on a large number of photos at once.
There's no online storage, which is a shame as this feature is always a useful addition, but there is a tool to quickly backup your photos onto disk or to your hard drive.
The photo management tools in Serif PhotoPlus X8 are not quite as user-friendly as the ones in Photoshop but you can create categorized albums and tag and rate images so you can find what you're looking for more easily. The tags are colorful and you can create as many as you want in order to be able to find your images as quickly as possible.
The Export Optimizer tool allows you to export images in the best possible size and format for your needs and to preview image quality before you send. You can print photos, and import and export many compatible file types. Serif PhotoPlus X8 comes with a new-improved set of printing options including printing whole albums and multiple images over multiple pages.
You can also upload your photos easily to Facebook and Flickr. A good way to display your shots is on a Google map. If your photos have geo-tags they will automatically be placed on the may where they were taken, but you can also add pictures to their locations if they are not already tagged.
Ease of use
Editing your photos with PhotoPlus X8 doesn't seem to slow the computer down. The software uses multi-core technology to make use of the processing power in your PC so you won't experience major performance issues.
The editing tools are not as simple to use as some other photo editing software packages, it takes quite a precise hand to match the outlines of your subjects or objects. That said, the interface is clean and easy to use, and beginners will be able to pick up the basic editing features quickly. The icons are all self-explanatory and if you hover your mouse over an element you are presented with an explanation of the feature.
We like the Do This For Me option that does literally that, does the task for you and provides instant results. There's also a way of assigning tools and functions to keys on the keyboard so you can initiate regular tasks more easily.
Help & support
If you want step-by-step instructions you can look in the How To tab, or check out the video tutorials and articles. Serif also has phone and email support and there's a forum where you can share your views and questions with other users.
Even if you've never touched a photo editing program before you can get good results out of the Serif PhotoPlus X8. The tools are easy to use and there are lots of quick ways to get your photos looking great. The package is competitively priced and very good quality, making it a valuable asset to your set of digital media tools.
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