NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, November 2011
Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3 Ultimate
A software review by Sharon Rump,
Member, Sarasota PCUG, Florida
July 2011 issue, Sarasota PCUG Monitor

http://www.spcug.org
pcugedit (at) verizon.net (click to email author)

I have been using other products for years to edit photos. When I was given the opportunity to check out Corelís latest offering, PaintShop Photo Pro X3 Ultimate, I eagerly jumped in to learn something new. I was very excited to open the box and find two small books included. The first one was the Getting Started Guide which is just walks you through what you can do with this program. The second, the User Guide, while small, packs a lot of helpful information to get you on your way to working with all of the features offered in this program. Little software comes with a printed guide and that is what I find the easiest to use when you have a particular issue you want to find out about.

Installation was very simple with no problems. When I opened the program I was a bit disappointed as the work area was black which I really do not prefer. But, the program that I have used for a long time has gone to a dark background so I guess it must make the image that you are working with stand out more and after a while, you get used to it.

The program includes the Organizer, Express Lab and Full Editor.

Corel PaintShop Photo Organizer allows you to look at all of the photos on your computer and you can choose the size to view, the order in which to view (time taken, file size, name, format), the EXIF information and the ability to rate your images. Here you will find everything you could possibly want to know about an image.

The Express Lab presents many tools to quickly make edits to an image, many of them with one simple click.

Upon opening the Full Editor the first thing that I noted was ďThe Learning CenterĒ which is a pallet down the left side of the workspace. There are lots of options which include Get Photos, Adjust, Retouch and Restore, Collage, Text and Graphics, Effects and Print and Share. Clicking on each of these options opens up a more detailed listing to give you more content to help with your learning. There is also a Corel Guide which is available from the Help menu or by clicking a small round red button on the right hand side of the screen. This opens up a window that has lots of hyperlinks to tutorials that are being added to the Corel website, templates and new styles available for download as they become available, trial software available from Corel and updates and improvements to the program. I was very impressed with all of the learning tools available.

There are lots of automatic things that you can use on an image when you arenít quite sure how to tweak or enhance an image and then if it isnít exactly what you want you simply use the History Palette to undo that step.

Palettes of the features available are simply turned on and off with a simple click so that you can set up your work area to meet your specific needs. Sometimes I seem to click the wrong place and things disappear. That is another learning opportunity as when I search to find out how to undo something that I lost I generally find some new things.

One of the new features is the Object Extractor which makes it easy to take something out of a picture and place it somewhere else. Since working with photo editing programs, I have learned that you should never rely on what you see in a picture as these programs make just about anything you can imagine possible.

The Smart Carver tool will let you also let you remove an object from an image and then you can change the scale of an image. It did a good job to make me look a lot thinner with no one else the wiser.

There are batch processing options that allow you to change the type of images you have or simply rename them with options you prefer. Most of the time an original image from a camera has a name that you would not be able to use to identify your image and these tools make it much easier.

There is a monitor calibration wizard that will help you adjust the contrast, brightness and color so you are seeing your work in the closest to natural colors as possible. You can pay big bucks to do this and Corel includes it in this program that is packed full of possibilities.

Also included on the CD is Project Creator that will guide you creating a photo book, greeting card, collage, calendar or slideshow. I had so much fun creating a few projects and it really make you look like a pro with all of the included templates. You can print these yourself or order them online directly from the program. There is also the capability of posting your photos or video that you create on Facebook, Flickr or YouTube.

There is so much packed into this one little box that I canít believe it retails for only $39.99 directly from the website at corel.com.

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