Image Editing With Paint Shop Pro 9; A Software With Its Own Approach And Style

Photos © 2004, Jon Sienkiewicz, All Rights Reserved

For certain tasks, Paint Shop Pro 9 produces results faster and easier than other products in its category. For novices, or for those among us who haven't mastered all of the intricacies of more sophisticated software, this latest version of Corel's popular image editor provides simple and satisfying solutions for some of digital imaging's more complicated problems. In this article I'll
cover three specific situations where Paint Shop Pro 9 does a great job.

Eliminating Purple Fringe Color
The first situation where Paint Shop Pro 9 excels is in the elimination of purple fringe, that nasty neon-like violet glow that clings to the highlights and along the light-to-dark borders in some images. Strictly speaking, it's not Chromatic Aberration, but that's what Paint Shop Pro 9 calls it. No matter. Using Paint Shop Pro 9 to eliminate it is as simple as can be.

Open the image you want to correct, and make the following maneuver on the main menu bar: click Adjust to Photo Fix to Chromatic Aberration. A new window opens to display your image in two side by side panels. Click the Zoom button until you reach a suitable magnification. In the right panel you can navigate to the affected area. In the left, use the cursor to outline a sample of purple pixels. Up to 10 samples can be collected per session. A color swatch above the Range legend displays the approximate color range that you've selected. Click the Proof button to preview the results.

The Radius setting controls the extent of the correction. The default value is 10, and Paint Shop Pro 9 recommends values between 4 and 20 for best results. In general, use the lowest setting that gets the job done.

You can check the Result on New Layer button to create a new layer to hold the corrections. This protects your original, unedited image. If you do not correct this box, corrections are made on the same layer as the original image.

Reducing Noise
The next task Paint Shop Pro 9 performs with excellence is the elimination of noise from digital images. Virtually all digital cameras can produce noise if the ISO setting is cranked up high enough. Some cameras have a real knack for noise making, especially at longer shutter speeds. Paint Shop Pro 9 is a whiz at making the noise disappear.

Many folks use Neat Image, a terrific free-to-try, cheap-to-buy package that does a great job of noise reduction. It has its flaws: it's slow, and must be launched separately. Paint Shop Pro 9 does a nearly equal job of eliminating the destructive effects of noise, and does it much faster. At the default setting for both programs, Paint Shop Pro 9 has a slight performance edge.