Paint Shop Pro – spruce up your photos

So you’re back from vacation, you’ve downloaded all your photos to your PC, but you’re not convinced by the quality of the images. What you need is to retouch them, adjusting colour balance, eliminating red eyes, setting sharpness and removing noise. While it won’t equal a great picture at first try, at least it’ll get you rid of all the imperfections. Corel Paint Shop Pro (PSP) is a hands-on and complete photo editor that intermediate users will take to their liking.

We instantly fell in love with PSP’s easy-to-handle interface. Select the tool panels you need and drag and drop them into the main window. The best way to work with PSP is via the left hand panel, a descriptive menu of all the actions you can undertake, like printing, retouching, collage, or adding text and graphics. Clicking on one option will give you access to a sub-menu with more choices. You can always go back to the main menu by clicking on the house icon. If you have multiple images opened you’ll be able to access them in no time thanks to the tab-browsing feature. The only element that we didn’t like was the image browsing pane at the bottom of the interface, which we found to be pretty cluttered.

Corel is aware that the majority of users have nor the time or the experience to retouch their photos in depth. For these users, there are the “one step photo fix” and “one step noise removal” buttons, to edit your photos in one click. Paint Shop Pro offers numerous editing variations like Illumination, 3D, Texture and Edge effects. Just like Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro works with layers, making it easy to have a history of all the changes you have made to your photo. Although PSP offers fewer effects and editing tools than Adobe’s stellar creation, we believe there are enough options to keep the photo enthusiast well occupied. We appreciated the extra features like photo collage, to create an original mash-up of your favourite pictures, or web share to upload your images to an online photo album. You can also easily create a custom card thanks to the text editor.

The only real drawback to Corel Paint Shop Pro is the lengthy installation process and having to create a Corel account to install the program. However once you get past that step, you’ll be happy to know that the application starts up fairly quickly and does not overuse memory. Beginners will find the help file to be very complete and simple to use.

Paint Shop Pro is an excellent photo editor offering the whole range of tools and effects that you would expect, and a bit more. A well structured interface and clear cut options make it a good choice for beginners.


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