Corel’s Paint Shop Pro X; An Old Favorite Has A New Home... And A New Lease On Life Page 2

Tool And Brush Sets
A lot of my photography has been about picturing people, and making them look as good as they want to see themselves. The tools of a good digital image-editing application should make getting really clean, final images from scans and digital camera files a straightforward task. They should also make retouching and repairing image flaws a seamless task with a good variety of brushes. Paint Shop Pro X has a broad selection of new and refined brushes for removing spots, scratches, correcting blemishes, whitening teeth, brightening eyes, and even a Suntan Brush to easily and efficiently clean up and retouch all kinds of images. In addition, there are several effective filters available to enhance and alter the look of an image. There are also a good set of tools to remove distracting objects and transform images effectively from color to black and white or sepia, even to emulate the look of infrared black and white film.

Like most contemporary imaging applications, Paint Shop Pro X recognizes different photographers will use their images in many different ways, from printing album pages to making wall décor with special effect edges and frames to reducing and saving a copy of a file to send by e-mail or to use in the context of a web page, even as part of a collage. Paint Shop Pro X supports all of these easily and effectively.

Smart Photo Fix

Paint Shop Pro X includes a comprehensive dialog called Smart Photo Fix that can be used both automatically and manually. It provides suggested settings and then supports making interactive slider adjustments, yielding before and after detail comparison thumbnails. The sliders support overall, shadow, and highlight brightness adjustment, saturation adjustment, sharpness, as well as the ability to use eyedroppers to set a neutral color balance by clicking on black, white, and gray in the full on-screen image, and more. It is effective, efficient, and can be learned very rapidly.

Evaluation And Recommendation
In the relatively short time Corel has had Paint Shop Pro they have upgraded it significantly. They have added full color management support, raw digital camera file conversion, and a host of internal improvements, making it a fully competitive application for digital photographers using PC Windows XP. With both a training CD bundled with the application and a comprehensive, easily accessed learning support inside the application, beginners and even those with experience can gain a full range of editing and adjustment skills. Perhaps the most surprising thing about a program with this level of sophistication is its modest price. The list price for Corel's Paint Shop Pro X is $129 and is offered currently on their website for $99 and $59 as an upgrade for previously licensed users.

Retouching Tools

The program provides an easy way to learn and work with tools that produce very clean, professional-looking results. It also has just about the most effective set of retouching tools I've ever used. In addition to a classic Clone brush, there is both a Scratch and Object Remover, a one-click brush that swiftly removes dirt, cracks, lines, and blemishes. It is not just an ideal portrait retouching tool set, but makes cleaning up scans of Kodachromes and black and white film scans almost a pleasure.

For more information, contact Corel Corporation, 1600 Carling Ave., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1Z 8R7; (800) 772-6735, (613) 728-8200;