Corel Paint Shop Pro X2 Review

Corel Paint Shop Pro (Windows Only)  PaintShopProX2

Corel’s Paint Shop Pro can (and has been) referred to as a poor man’s version of Photoshop (the real deal, not Elements) and with this new version, it may be worth giving it a shot.  Paint Shop Pro X2 includes more features (layers, for one) but is still maintains its ease of use.  A great program for someone just starting with digital photography but probably not for the hard-core Adobe fan.

Functionality and User Friendliness:

Paint Shop’s “all-in-one” deal definitely stands out as a “pro” — it combines full-fledged photo editing, painting, drawing, and image management into one convenient software package.  For those who are looking for basic retouching (think similar to iPhoto’s capabilities plus some), Paint Shop Pro is a great choice as it offers a good amount of “makeover tools” like:
•    red eye retouching
•    thinify (makes people look thinner, just as the name implies — some may find this a bit gimmicky but it’s a lot easier than trying to do it with Photoshop)
•    eye drop (think of it as virtual Visine — whitens the whites of the eyes)
•    blemish remover (a basic retouching tool)
•    suntan tool

For more heavy duty editing, Paint Shop Pro X2 also (finally!) supports layers, RAW editing (but only from a handful of cameras, so be sure to look yours up before buying), supports most Photoshop plugins, and lets you save your image in over 50 different formats.  Customizable toolbars and personalized workspaces that you can save, as well as effects and presets make it easier to jump back into your work.  You can also share those settings with others.  Paint Shop Pro also includes Corel Media One Plus, making it easy to showcase and share your photos.

Paint Shop Pro is only available for Windows XP and Vista.  For comparable Mac-compatible programs, check out Adobe Photoshop Elements as they both retail for about $99 USD.

Awesome Features:

▪    ExpressLab (see below for details)
▪    Integrated photo organizer.
▪    Web Tools (image slicing, mapping…)
▪    Fun special effects tools (Time Machine is a fun one: you can edit your photos to look like they were taken in the 1800’s or 1960, and anywhere in between.)
▪    One Step Photo Fix:  this feature auto adjusts brightness, colour, contrast, and sharpness in one click.  It doesn’t always do a great job but you can manually adjust things too.
▪    Easy sharing: one-click e-mailing and uploading (to the online photo-sharing site of your choice).

Features to Write Home About…

Express Lab:  I briefly mentioned this in the above section but I’ll mention it again because it was my favourite part of the program.  It’s basically a streamlined interface that lets you work with tools to quickly edit your photos.  Bonus: it’s really easy to use.


Context-Sensitive Help: in short, Corel’s learning center knows which tool you’re using and displays relevant help information.  It’s also got extensive online resources, forums, and phone support (for a fee).  The program is relatively easy to learn and with a little time and effort, not that hard to master.

Bottom Line:

If you’re a fan of Photoshop Elements but are looking for something new and with more heavy duty editing capabilities, or you’re familiar with Corel’s interface from other programs — this is a great choice for you.  Also good for editing newbies who need a “do-it-all” app for a small price.

Final Mentions:

Some tout Paint Shop Pro as a “graphic design” tool and although it has a lot of drawing and paint functions, I’d still consider it more of a graphic editing and photo editing software — for graphic design, I’m a big fan of Illustrator.

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This entry was posted on Monday, July 27th, 2009 at 1:27 am and is filed under Web Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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