Let me preface this review by giving you a little background on myself, and my qualifications for reviewing the software. First of all, I am about as far from an artist as you can get. However, I do have extensive experience in graphic layout and web design, and have been using Paint Shop Pro since version 4 was released.
I will be writing this review from the point of view of an avid PSP user with limited experience using PhotoShop and The GIMP.
Installing this program was truly a breeze. It required very little user intervention, and finished very quickly. The program is contained on a single CD, and actually comes with quite a few extra applications. As soon as you insert the disc, a menu pops up asking what you want to install. Simply choose Paint Shop Pro, and off you go.
When you start up PSP X for the first time, it will look much like the picture to the right. You should notice two new features right off the bat. First of all, there is now a “Learning Center”, which is very similar to the help topics found in Adobe programs. Simply click on a topic, and you will see information about that topic. In addition, you will see the Browse palette. This is not really a new feature, so much as it is a re-development of a classic PSP feature. Now, rather than having to open the Browse window by itself, you can set it up as a palette, so you can keep it open and accessible while you’re working on other things.
In reality, there are only a few new features, but almost every existing feature has been enhanced and re-worked, making the new experience truly enjoyable.
They have completely reworked the photo editing features, including new red-eye reduction (which is brilliant), teeth-whitening, skin-tanning, blemish-removing, purple-fringe removal, color balancing and much more.
In addition, Corel has seriously enhanced the performance of PSP. Once you open the program, you can close it and re-open it very quickly. The first time you open it, it may take a short while to load, but if you open it a second time without re-starting your computer, it will load almost immediately. The Undo and Redo features have also been improved.
For people that have not used PSP since the earlier versions, a lot of things may surprise you, as the program has improved and changed by leaps and bounds since versions 4 and 5. For those of you that have used PSP version 9, you will feel very comfortable using this new version, but you should be impressed by the new functionality.
One more thing I have noticed within PSP X (it may have existed in previous versions, but I don’t recall ever seeing it before) is native support for opening PDF files. Not only can you open the PDF files within PSP X, but PSP treats them as scalable graphics, so you can choose at which resolution you would like to open the file. It also now has native support for opening CDR (CorelDraw) files (rightfully so, since it is now developed by Corel)
There are a few more things I would like to mention at this point, on which I have both positive and negative opinions, but I will simply report them objectively because of my mixed emotions.
First of all, when you start PSP X for the first time, it will most likely take a rather long time, as it will automatically check the web for updates. It will find available updates, and will open a new Internet Explorer window (whether that is set as your default browser or not) showing you the available updates. You can then download those updates for free.
In addition, PSP X comes bundled with a few other pieces of software. Animation Shop is not one of those programs. However, it does come with the following programs:
- Photo Album 6
- Lynda.com Training Videos
- PixMantec RawShooter Essentials
- MyPublisher BookMaker
Most die-hard PhotoShop fans will probably still look down their noses at Paint Shop Pro. However, I must say that, as far as bang-for-your-buck is concerned, Paint Shop Pro is heads above PhotoShop. With Paint Shop Pro, you get almost as many features as you’ll find in PhotoShop, and it’s affordable for just about everyone.
Not as compatible as PhotoShop
As far as bang-for-your-buck is concerned, Paint Shop Pro is heads above PhotoShop.