on 28 January 2014
Having used Paint Shop Pro 7 for a long time I needed a replacement. I'm no expert either at photography or graphics programs, so I find all the latest software baffling. I was delighted to find I could begin using PSPx6 straight away because the features and commands I'm used to are still there. It's also very friendly, click a command button and if you want it a basic instruction appears at the right of the screen. Help is very good and tutorials are available that seem easy to follow.
Corel Paintshop Pro was originally a less expensive alternative to Corel's premium priced Painter software. Over several years, Painter has receded in popularity and many choose Paintshop Pro as an alternative to Photoshop Elements or even Photoshop itself. With Adobe's subscription-based purchasing scheme now in force and enforced upgrades, only a few professional users can justify its regular monthly or annual membership fees and less frequent users are looking for an alternative. This could well be it.
The program is provided as a disk-only package although users of tablets or notebooks not having a DVD drive can also download the trial and license it with the serial key on the back of the CD sleeve. There is a small quick-start guide but no manual, although full documentation is available on-line or via the program's extensive Help system and new video tutorials.
The program offers a wide range of functions and several easy-to-use ways to provide a quick fix to your images, including Smart Photo Fix and its range of Creative Effects which replicate many of the third-party filters available. That may be all that some users need but you can also use its more standard tools to do things the long way, adjusting many different elements until you achieve a satisfactory result. On the downside, in comparison to the large range of books about using Photoshop (and a few others for Elements), there are very few that cover Paintshop. Similarly, there is a huge range of third-party video tutorials about Photoshop but very few about Paintshop. However, if these materials are used more for their ideas and solutions and less about specific commands and menu tools, they could have some value for Paintshop users.
If you own them, the program can use just about any filter or suite intended for Photoshop although some will be rather similar to its Instant Effects.
The program does need plenty of memory, so if you have 3 or 4GB fitted, you may have a problem and the program may be slow to load. With 8GB or more, those issues should disappear. However, that is true of any advanced photo editing package and a faster multi-core processor will also provide benefits.
I had used both the X4 and X5 versions of the product and had installed the trial version on a previous PC and found all quite satisfactory. The X6 version had then worked well with 12 and 16Gb of RAM and a quad-core CPU.
I have used Paint Shop Pro since version 7 and I suppose because I have always used it I find it easier than Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.
If I want to do something quickly I still turn to Version 7 but I do enjoy using all the new features on the later versions. The difference from Version X5 to X6 are on a level of a service pack really just enhancing already existing features with the addition of a FaceFilter and new technology on the one click image corrections.
Unlike a lot of software the different versions happily exist together on your PC without insisting on the removal of earlier versions.
Luckily I have seldom used Corel Support as I know from past experience that you seldom get acknowledgement or a reply. A number of reviewers have commented and been frustrated by this.
On the Installation of this boxed set of Corel Paintshop Pro X6 (PC) I did have problems.
I had installed a trial version before the box set version and the startup nag screen kept asking me to enter the serial number if purchased.
Entering the number only gave an error message as Activation Failed.
Trying to install from the disc gave an error message "A problem caused the program to stop working correctly".
A message to Corel Support as expected had absolutely no response.
Many days later I read on a Forum of a similar problem as was directed to some Corel FAQ's which identified the problem.
This was quickly resolved as follows:-
"Please note that you cannot activate a trial version using the serial number from a box version. Only download versions and trials requires activation. If you purchased a box version and installed a trial previously, please uninstall the trial and reinstall from the disc."
on 31 August 2014
I have been using Paint Shop Pro for about 8 years.I have versions,10,X1,X2,X3, and X4.I was excited to get X6,as my main hobby is doing Graphics and Digital Art.Sadly,there is a problem with my copy which closes every time I attempt to use masks.
If I avoid masks the program is working well.However,masks form a large part of my techniques at present.
I am in touch with Corel,but resolving the issue is painfully slow. Corel is a huge world wide company with millions of customers and I understand that makes connecting difficult,but I am really disappointed with their service.
Paint Shop Pro, in all it's forms,is mind blowing technology and a user friendly format.
The only limit to the program is your own imagination.For improving photos and creating glorious images it is second to none.
I would have given five stars,but for my problem with masks.
Even the quick-snapper will find lots to interest them here. Want to remove an object, animal or person from a photo and devise a 'better' photo based around it? Want to remove red eye, apply some fake tan, change the colour of clothing? Change skin complexion? You can even make yourself look thinner! The power at your fingertips would have been something from a sci-fi novel ten years ago. Truly amazing.
Having a few thousand photos from a recent US trip this is a great programme for getting them organised, basic editing and then playing with some cool effects ... My daughter loves playing with the Vintage/retro looks and artistic effects. You have the opportunity to work with Raw images as well and the transformations there can be brilliant - still working through all the editing tools but initial thoughts very positive.
The introduction of a 64bit version of PSP greatly speeds things up on a 64 bit machine. Sadly, however, manly of the plugins supplied with PSP are 32bit only and so if you want to take advantage of that extra sped you'll still have to install and revert back to the 32bit version (also included) to use those.
Other than the 64bit version and a couple of cosmetic tweaks there's very little changed here from the excellent PaintShop Pro X4.
Since X4 I've always gone for the 'Ultimate' version as the bundled plugins seemed worth the extra. With X6 I can't say the same and would recommend just going for the standard version. If Corel had managed to get hold of 64bit versions of those plugins then maybe I would have been convinced, but not when they are only 32bit and therefore need you to run the 32bit version to use them.
My PaintShop Pro X4 Ultimate review has full details of why I love PSP over any other graphics and photo editing package - it's not just a photo editor, it's a FULL vector graphic creation tool.
If you have any PSP version from X3 back, then this is a very worthwhile upgrade. If you have X4 or X5 then I wouldn't bother unless you regular edit massive graphics files and would therefore benefit from the extra speed the 64bit version brings.
One final note, Corel have already released Service Pack 1 for PSP X6. Sadly reports are that if you can get past the myriad installation problems (corrupt packages!) then the SP actually breaks a few features as well so is probably best avoided for now.
I should point out that I haven't been using PaintShop Pro for as long as I would have liked before reviewing. I've been using Photoshop in various guises for about 15 years now and I currently use CS5 as my daily drawing package. I've never been entirely happy with Photoshop's interface, but historically it has done things other programs have not, so necessity has bred familiarity. I got this copy of Paintshop Pro essentially to see if I liked Corel's approach any better, but since I have not made the switch you may conclude that the answer was no. The following explains why.
First impressions using PaintShop are that it appears to be very similar to Photoshop - but not exactly the same. This is good and bad. Good because Photoshop is a fine piece of software to mimic, bad because if there's something you don't like about Photoshop, then you may well find you don't like it in PaintShop Pro either. Annoyingly the little changes go as far as the keyboard shortcuts, especially the use of Ctrl, Alt and Shift, have the same actions (like add to and remove from current selection), but on different keys (that can't be remapped), making the transition very frustrating. Obviously this is not a flaw in PaintShop, or Photoshop for that matter, but it is a pain.
This is not a simple piece of software to learn, so it is very good news that Corel provides lots of learning resources for free when you buy. There are also lot of little help panels scattered around the interface and some simplified interfaces for common photo retouching tools. The software is split into three parts, a photo organiser (that Corel call a manager), an image adjustment area and an image editor. Annoyingly you can't switch between the three at any time - if you're editing an image it forces you to close it before switching to the adjust interface, which belies the point in having everything in the same software.
I wanted to use the editing/drawing features and these are the most complex in the program. Like Photoshop you can create multiple layers per image and mix them around differently to achieve different effects. Getting into all the little complexities of the editor will take time and patience to get the best from, though simple things can be achieved quite quickly and easily.
Other quirks include some editing features that can only be previewed in a little sample section of an image and then applied to the whole thing once you click OK. This seems a little archaic these days and does not appear at all in CS5. In general Effects (the equivalent of Photoshops Filters) can be previewed real-time, but some are so slow as to be very impractical (even running the 64bit version of the software). This basically shows that Corel's program is not as well optimized for speed as Adobe's and, for me, that is a pretty big problem.
Another area where Corel lags behind Adobe is in their smart selection tools. Corel's versions are similar, generally good and great to have, but I don't find them to be as precise and require a few more tweaks to get the region of the image that you want. One set of features that I do like having are the colour reduction tools, though these are probably only of interest to software and maybe web developers.
While installing the software on a 64-bit version of Windows 7 Pro was totally painless, I have experienced at least one crash since installing. I was very surprised, upon re-launching the software, to find that it had managed to save a fully recoverable version of my edited image (unlike other programs that try and fail), so top marks there.
I am, of course, being a little unfair comparing this £40 software to another that retails at ten times that. That PaintShop Pro X6 stands up to this comparison is actually a pretty good result. A more fair comparison would be against Photoshop Elements 12, the equivalent package from Adobe, but I'm afraid that I don't know that one at all and I can't comment on the content.
PaintShop Pro X6 is a powerful and very complete package for the price and I would not tell anyone not to get it. In fact I would have a devil of a time choosing between it and Photoshop Elements, but luckily both have free trial versions that you can download and install before making your mind up. Be warned that you will need to learn how to use BOTH packages while comparing them, which will probably make choosing a pretty time consuming exercise.
on 3 December 2013
I've used Paintshop Pro since version 4 in 1996, working with versions 4, 4.12, 7, X3 and now X6.
If you're new to the software, I can highly recommend it - it's huge bargain compared to PhotoShop, still containing all the features the vast majority of users will ever want to use, while being much more user-friendly than the free open-source GIMP software.
Surprisingly, this installed alongside version X3 instead of upgrading it, with both versions running happily together, although having given X6 a good test I've now uninstalled X3.
Compared to version X3, on first sight not much has changed in X6. The icons have been face-lifted, but all of my tools were where I expected to find them so I could carry on working with the software without any 'relearning time.'. The performance is meant to be improved in this 64-bit version of the software, and I would say that applying complicated filters and options it does seem a little faster, although I've made no attempt to time this.
There are two new tools in particular that seem interesting - the 'auto selection tool' and the 'smart selection tool'. The auto selection tool lets you draw a rectangle around an object, and then will attempt to identify and select an object that lies within the rectangle. This did a good job but not a perfect one - in no case I tried did it select the object perfectly, but it did enough that it made the work a lot quicker, only leaving me a few sectors to clean up manually instead of the whole image. The smart selection tool lets you 'paint' over an object and it will attempt to select along the edges of the object. I had less luck with this than with the auto selection, but under ideal circumstances it can save a fair amount of time.
The available help within the program seems of a very high quality, and links to good quality videos and explanations of its features. The handling of RAW files is improved, but not enough to tempt me away from LightRoom or Canon's Digital Photo Professional Software.
One downside of X3 remains in X6; it does take the software a long time to initially load. If I now I'll be in and out of it I do make a point of leaving PaintShop Pro open, otherwise it quickly becomes frustrating having to wait for it. Once loaded, though, I've no complaints about the performance.
on 30 October 2013
I have used this program in one version or another for years. I was excited at the promised speed increase from this update, as it is now a 64 bit program. Sadly, there is no speed increase I can detect. I counted 20 seconds from selecting a photo to entering edit mode, and this is on a laptop with 8Gb RAM and a quad 64 bit processor running Windows 8.1 64 bit.
As, apart from improved selection tools, this seems to be the only change, I would recommend not "upgrading" but stay with an older, faster version.
Edit: After only a short while of use, Corel have issued an update, Service Pack 1. Updating from within the program, or by downloading the update and running it, both give a series of error messages in Windows 8.1, resulting in a final fatal error. The update is uninstallable. First there is a CRC error, then a Cab file error, then the installer stops with an error message. Not good enough, Corel! Go to the bottom of the class!
Edit: Corel eventually fixed the install problem. I have had to install beta drivers from AMD on my laptop to get the program to run properly in Windows 8.1 in switchable graphics high performance mode, and now the load time for an image is around 8 seconds, which is better. I am increasing my rating.