scanned in a scene in 12-bit per channel mode, taken with
an early version of high contrast Ektachrome, which was
an advantage to render the flowers brilliantly, but made
the blue haze in the background much too saturated. Corel
PHOTO-PAINT 9's Hue/Saturation/Lightness dialog
allowed me to click on just the blue channel and reduce
the saturation in it, making the scene much more realistically
Photos © 1999, David B. Brooks, All Rights Reserved
Corel PHOTO-PAINT is an application
with a long history and one that I have used off and on for as many
years. This latest Version 9 is not all that different in outward appearance
and the included feature set than the previous Version 8, or even 7
for that matter. However, using this new Version 9 was a much better
experience because of what I can best describe as refinement. Before
getting into how Corel PHOTO-PAINT 9 performed, let me first describe
what the package contains and generally what it is designed to do. The
name PHOTO-PAINT is about as broadly descriptive as you can get for
such an image-editing product. It has the tools, processes, and brushes
that computer artists need for painting and digital photographers require
to acquire images from scanners and digital cameras, color correct,
manipulate, and incorporate in a publishable document containing not
just photographic images, but graphic design elements and standard text
and manipulated type fonts.
through boxes of old slides to scan for testing I found
a lost set of portraits made for me when I was editing a
computer magazine a few years back. I have very few pictures
of myself, so I scanned this one. I looked much too florid
in the 12-bit scan opened in PHOTO-PAINT 9, so I decided
to try the Selective Color dialog, which is supported in
12-bit mode, and proceeded to modify just the red channel
to produce a more natural, lightly tanned skin tone. This
and all of the other primary color correction tools in Corel
PHOTO-PAINT can be applied to a raw 36-bit scan opened in
the PHOTO-PAINT workspace, making the editing application
an extremely powerful scan adjustment utility, and precluding
the too usual method of adjusting in the scanner's
software and then tweaking the 24-bit image file in an image
In addition to the main paint
and image-editing application, Corel also includes Bitstream Font Navigator
3.0 to organize, view, and select fonts stored in your operating system.
Canto Cumulus 4.0 is an acclaimed professional digital asset management
application; Adobe Acrobat Reader for access to documentation in Acrobat
.PDF format on disc; DigiMarc Digital Watermarking to record your copyright
within images; Human Software Squizz an image morphing utility; Corel
Capture 9 to record and save screenshots; and Corel Script Editor to automate
processes. The features within Corel PHOTO-PAINT 9 are more extensive
than just about any image editor consumer software product currently available.
They include in part:
· Artistic media brushes that may be used directly and as cloning
brushes to paint or repaint using all kinds of natural painting effects
as well as more imaginative options.
· Layered object effects can be created to manipulate, composite,
as well as add graphic elements like type with drop shadows over a photographic
· You can either open or save to a wide variety of graphics file
types making resources created in a number of different applications available,
as well as creating images in PHOTO-PAINT that can be used in other applications,
including Adobe Photo-shop, MetaCreations painter, among others.
was time to design and make myself a new business card,
so I made it a project to test Corel PHOTO-PAINT 9. I have
recently renewed an interest in flower photography so decided
on it as a background theme, and selected an image for the
· Ixla digital camera
support is built-in providing easy access to the images stored by most
of the popular brands and models of cameras.
· Full support is included for HTML output to create content for
· Encapsulated PostScript Export includes enhanced color management
to assure high quality printing and output to offset press reproduction.
· Images created in PHOTO-PAINT may be output in PDF format for
web or offset printing targets.
· A Wizard is included which makes output to a pre-press service
cropping the flower picture and sizing it to business card
proportions at 360dpi, I made two copies of this image file.
One copy received the affect of the SketchPad filter, and
the other the Impressionist artistic filter. I then blended
the two together adjusting the transparency between the
second layer and the background.
· More extensive and
controllable access support of color management is included, incorporating
the selection of one of a number of standard color workspaces with ICC
profiles which may be imbedded in output files.
· And in Corel tradition the package includes a clip art library
of 1200 items, 1500 royalty free photos, 750 floating objects, and 300
Working With Corel PHOTO-PAINT 9. Immediately after a quite smooth and
effortless installation, I set up PHOTO-PAINT's options and preferences
to suit my system, particularly how color management is configured with
my monitor calibration, scanner, and printer. This latest version of Corel
now has much improved color management control, and works effectively
with Windows 98 ICM 2.0. I then undertook putting the application through
its paces, first by acquiring images with two different Canon scanners
using their TWAIN module within PHOTO-PAINT. In all of the several images
scanned, with 24-bit and 36-bit output selected, the match between the
scanner software preview window image and what was opened in PHOTO-PAINT's
workspace was a very close match. PHOTO-PAINT is one of the few current
image editors which supports 12-bit per channel image data color correction,
so I deliberately used this to input raw, uncorrected data from several
scans to use PHOTO-PAINT to do all of the color correction. Corel has
been able to make nearly all of its tools for image value adjustment available
to correct images in 12-bit per channel mode, and I found them all much
easier to use and precisely tune the image characteristics to yield exactly
the qualities I wanted.
selecting the bottom 1/4 of the image and inverting the
colors, my next task was to apply the necessary text and
select type fonts. Corel PHOTO-PAINT 9 includes the convenience
of providing a preview image of the font appearance, making
this task much easier than most image editors to use.
I then used an image scanned
earlier and on CDR to create a new business card. After cropping and sizing,
I used some of PHOTO-PAINT's many artistic filter effects to create
two different layers, which I blended together using the object transparency
adjustment. Then after selecting an oblong rectangle at the bottom of
the image I used the Hue/Saturation dialog to reverse the colors. The
finishing step was to apply the text for the card by selecting the outline
Text tool option and then inverting the type and lightening it with the
Bright-ness/Contrast tool. This rather involved construction, with many
different steps was quite easily accomplished even though I was barely
familiar with this new version of Corel PHOTO-PAINT, which says a great
deal for the functional logic of the application's design.
selected the option of inserting type as outline selections,
which allowed me to manipulate the background underneath
by shifting the hue and lightening the values using the
HSL adjustment dialog. Then, with the text in place I merged
all of the layers and saved the file for printing.
Evaluation And Recommendation.
With previous versions of Corel PHOTO-PAINT I've always found there
is a lot to recommend as a professional-level image editor. At a quite
reasonable price, it becomes even more of a bargain when all of the wide
variety of artistic paint and clone brushes, as well as a large selection
of very diverse filters included are considered. Much of the difference
I found in Version 9 included streamlined and redesigned dialogs, making
them function much more controllably, and with the option of a small side
by side comparison thumbnail window or full-screen preview. In other words,
using the application is easier and more effective, although I did find
that with a 2-year-old PC it was rather slow. To use Corel PHOTO-PAINT
9 on a regular basis I would want a very current, fast, system with at
least 128MB of RAM and preferably more.
The Corel PHOTO-PAINT 9 list full price is $595. The upgrade cost is $149,
which is extended to include not just upgrading from almost all major
Corel products but side upgrades from other software brands as well. For
more information, including any special rebates, call (800) 772-6735,
or visit Corel's new web site at: www.designer.com.