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112 of 115 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best PSP ever - and contender for best in breed graphics package!
PaintShop Pro - must surely now be the best in class.

First thing I noticed about the latest version of PaintShop Pro is that it is called just that - the 'Photo' that was introduced at version X1 has been dropped! Common sense prevails!

When I upgraded to Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3 (PC DVD) (from Paint Shop Pro 8) I was concerned that the package...
Published on 24 Oct 2011 by The Fat Monk

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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Latest and Greatest(?)
I must admit that I'm not what you would call an expert user of PaintShop Pro, but since I was already familiar with previous editions of the software it just made sense to me that once the upgrade was available that I would go for the update.

I never had any issues using earlier PaintShop Pro versions on my Windows 7 PC but apparently quite a lot of users did...
Published on 22 Sep 2011 by Sockymon


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112 of 115 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best PSP ever - and contender for best in breed graphics package!, 24 Oct 2011
By 
The Fat Monk (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: PaintShop Pro X4 Ultimate (PC) (CD-ROM)
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PaintShop Pro - must surely now be the best in class.

First thing I noticed about the latest version of PaintShop Pro is that it is called just that - the 'Photo' that was introduced at version X1 has been dropped! Common sense prevails!

When I upgraded to Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3 (PC DVD) (from Paint Shop Pro 8) I was concerned that the package may have become merely a photo editing package rather than the full graphics package it was before. Via the Amazon reviews and comments system I learned that X3 retained all of the graphics creation and editing tools, including the fantastic vector and layers functionality that makes these type of packages so powerful. The addition of the word 'photo' to the name appears to have been to only to highlight that the package is also good for editing photos - an unnecessary cluttering of an established name in my opinion.

Well, to be honest, that PSP was good for photo editing was debateable at the time. While PaintShop Pro _can_ edit your digital photos, I wouldn't have said it was the best. I have also reviewed Serif PhotoPlus X4 (PC) which I would consider a better photo editing package than PaintShop Photo Pro X3 - BUT that all changes with Paint Shop Pro X4.

As I have said in previous reviews of this software, I have never been a fan of Adobe Photoshop and have always considered PaintShop Pro to be far superior. The interface has always been better, it's easier to use, and is just as powerful, not mention being far cheaper. It even supports the same plug-ins as Photoshop. I've always had a niggling feeling that PaintShop Pro is a bit sniggered at by PhotoShop users though. Probably because PSP started out as a free package by a company called JASC and grew from these hobbyist roots into what it is today. PhotoShop, on the other hand, had always been a professional package.

So why do I now consider PSP has come of age with the X4 version?

The interface:

PSP has had a major overhaul for this version. X3 was nice, and the interface has always been easy to use, however the new version is leaps forward. It now takes the approach that many video editing packages do by splitting the interface into three workflow screens - Manage, Adjust and Edit.

I should point out that I have never liked photo / media managers much. But the 'Manage' function within PSP X4 is actually very useful. In the past PSP included a 'Browse' function that, though limited, was quite useful. This function disappeared at some point, but the 'Manage' tab more than makes up for that as it is essentially a really nice, very powerful image browser.

The 'Adjust' tab is where you effectively do your photo tweaking - remove red-eye, ajdust brightness and colour temperature etc. The kind of things you would find in a photo editing package basically. Most functions are presented in a handy side-bar here.

The Edit tab is effectively the PaintShop Pro of old. Here you still have access to most, if not all, of the photo editing functions but via the more typical menu bar structure. But here you also have the very powerful graphics creation and editing tools. You can work with bitmap or vector images of just about every conceivable format. You can mix vector layers with bitmap layers, as you would expect. There are adjustments and blending layers to create some clever layering effects. To be honest I could go on and on and on - basically if a graphics tool is available in another graphics package, the chances are it's also present here. This package is just so powerful.

The whole interface is now a dark theme as well - which I would consider much better for photo editing and graphics work as it is less distracting than light themes. That's probably a personal preference though - I like all my screen themes to be dark!

What's new:

It's not so much new features (other than the interface) as improvements to old features - some of these improvements being almost complete overhauls.Everything just seems to work a bit better and a bit quicker. (I didn't actually have any stability issues with X3 under Windows 7, but I know others have.)

The HDR function has been massively expanded and is now equal, if not superior, to dedicated commercial HDR plug-ins for other software. And there is a photo-merge function which allows you to take the best bits of a series of photos - for example those family get together photos where there is always someone gurning on each photo you take; you can now combine the photos so everyone has the perfect smile.

There are other new features though, and it would be wrong not to mention a few of them.Selective focus and the new Vignette effect are nice for creating special effects and the package also supports dual monitors now - another nod to video editing which will allow you to organise your workspace more effectively.

Ultimate edition:

Is the ultimate edition worth the extra tenner? Not for the picture tubes and Fotolia images, but defintely for the NIk effects.

The inclusion of 200 Picture Tubes is a bit of a waste of time in my opinion. They can be fun but you're unlilkely to use them for anything other than a childrens party invitation! Royalty Free Fotolia images - this seems like more of an advert for Fotolia than really being any great addition to the PSP package.

That leaves the Nik Color Efex Pro 3.0 package. Rubbish name, brilliant set up plug-in filters. The package is actually at version 4 from Nik Software, but version 3 is included with PSP. Beautiful black and white conversion, bi-colour filters, film grain, glamour glow, fog, high key... and many more. This package is brilliant. The v4 'select' package costs the best part of £100 (£72.41+vat), so if you want this functionality then a tenner is not a lot at all to pay for a slightly out of date version.

Zip it:

As another reviewer has mentioned. This package comes with a license code for a download of WinZip Pro. That's another £50 of software right there!

To upgrade or not to upgrade?

This is most defintely a worthy upgrade - even from X3 just for the interface and HDR improvements. If you using an earlier version then I would say it is definitely time to upgrade - this is by far the best PaintShop Pro version yet, and quite possibly the best photo and graphics package for the PC at the moment. There will be those who will stick with PhotoShop, but now they are simply throwing their money away.

What's more, you are getting over a hundred quids worth of extra software with this package (Winzip and Nik Efex) for much less than a hundred quid. If you look at it that way they are almost paying you to upgrade to the best PSP yet!
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great package for all your needs, 25 Oct 2011
By 
Bryan (uk) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: PaintShop Pro X4 Ultimate (PC) (CD-ROM)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Up to now I have always used Adobe Photoshop but when I saw Corel PaintShop Pro X4 Ultimate advertised I decided to give it a try.
What impressed me the most is the fact that the box came with a full colour User Guide - a real treat not having to look through a PDF upload when wanting to know something!
For me, personally, after installing the package, I found it useful to go through the manual and play around with the Manage, Adjust and Edit tabs. I particularly found the adjustments through photo-editing tools very useful and pre-knowledge with Adobe was quite useful here.
To get the best out of this package, I recommend spending time to sit down and play with the photos - ensuring to keep the original safely backed up - and remembering to save any alterations in a way to go back to them if you so desire.
One word of caution: before loading this package, make sure that your system - Windows 7, Vista or XP - has the latest service packs installed.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Love It!, 20 Oct 2011
By 
IM35461 "IM35461" (East Sussex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: PaintShop Pro X4 Ultimate (PC) (CD-ROM)
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I have used various version of PSP since 3.2.

Things have moved on a lot since those days :)

The latest version has many more features and to me perhaps more important is an actual printed manual which is about A5 size and is 180+ pages long.

The program can now auto post your output to Facebook or Flickr as well as do HDR images.

Installation was as expected easy and operation is also fairly straight forward.

The program auto catalogs all your photos (I have just over 18,000) so they can then be found by the date taken or by various other search criteria.

What is missing that surprises me a little is anything on Geotagging or the ability to show on a map where a photo was taken.

I also found that when loading the program sometimes by double clicking on an image that it could take a very long time to load (minutes).

All the features seem to work and are fairly easy to use.

Happy editing...
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply perfect!, 23 Nov 2011
This review is from: PaintShop Pro X4 Ultimate (PC) (CD-ROM)
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What more can you expect from photo-editing software like this? PaintShop Pro X4 Ultimate allows you to edit photographs with as many as 250 effects, use a wide variety of filters and combine several photos into one incredible image PLUS it gives you access to Fotolio image bank where you can pick up to 21 free pictures for all your editing needs! Another bonus is a nice, printed user guide - something very rare these days and so much easier to use than similar PDF or online guides offered with other programs of this type.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Massive Improvement on X3, 5 Oct 2011
By 
S. Porter (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: PaintShop Pro X4 Ultimate (PC) (CD-ROM)
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Firstly, I have to say that this is a massive improvement on Paintshop Pro X3. The move away from the cumbersome filmstrip navigator is an instant and welcome improvement. The installation is quicker, the interface is sharper and navigation is generally faster although booting-up can still be sluggish. The usual array of manipulation tools and filters are available to help enhance the presentation of your photos. These are spread across the three new workstation modes: manage, adjust and edit and this new layout helps to reduce the clutter whilst you work, which is another of the big improvements. Some commands can take a little longer than you might expect and your system may appear to hang as it works, so remember your patience. The basic tool settings generally produce acceptable results, but as is common, some tinkering with the settings can improve things greatly. If you're unsure about what you're doing, don't be afraid to experiment - so long as you don't overwrite the original image you can't really do any harm. Image format support is again very good (proprietary photoshop formats are an exception as usual), and the ability to manipulate RAW image formats is welcome, but this is still hampered by the lack of a common standard existing between the various competing camera brands.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paint Shop Pro is back on form, 25 Sep 2011
By 
Peter (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: PaintShop Pro X4 Ultimate (PC) (CD-ROM)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 was a bit of a lemon. The tools were fine, but the program was hugely sluggish, it would pause in the middle of doing something for no obvious reason, and it was also awkward to use - the browser pallette used up far too much of the screen and was fiddly to show and hide. And there was a tool for importing images from a camera that didn't work hugely well. It was sufficiently bad that I didn't even consider getting Paint Shop Pro X3, and instead switched to Photoshop Elements.

However, Paint Shop Pro X4 is a much better incarnation: it is to Paint Shop Pro X2 what Windows 7 was to Vista. Certainly you need a fairly powerful computer to do it justice, but it's much quicker, and it doesn't pause for ages while it creates thumbnails of all the images on your hard disk. Better, it supports dual-monitor setups with a tickbox that separates the image browser (now called the "Manage" workspace) onto one monitor, and the adjusting/editing workspaces onto the other, so you can see your thumbnails, inspect EXIF values, and zoom in to view images full size without getting in the way of the edit windows at all.

There are three work areas, selected by tabs at the top of the screen: Manage (the one you can separate onto a different monitor), Adjust and Edit. Adjust is a one-stop photo-fix screen that lets you apply a number of quick-fixes to your photos without having to get technical. The Edit workspace has all the traditional Paint Shop pro tools, plus some new ones (there is, for example, support for merging bracketed shots into one, to bring out detail in the highlights and shadows). The background erase tool is extremely effective, and if you accidentally wipe out part of the foreground, you can paint over it again (while right-clicking) to restore it.

Corel generously includes a free copy of WinZip Pro (actually, you just get the license key, but WinZip is a tiny program to download), and in this "Ultimate" version there are also some extra effect filters, and 21 free high-quality images (you can choose your own from Fotolia, but be aware that you can only download three per day, and if you want the full 21 images, you must download three per day for seven consecutive days). You also get a load of extra picture tubes, but I don't use picture tubes much.

If I had one niggle, it would be that this is yet another program that is only available as a 32-bit executable. I run a 64-bit operating system: it would be nice to have more 64-bit programs to use on it. Having said that, Paint Shop Pro X4 runs really quickly, so it's not much of a niggle.

Paint Shop Pro in its latest incarnation can do pretty much everything that Photoshop Elements can do, and it can do quite a bit that Elements can't. I still feel more comfortable with the Paint Shop Pro toolset than with Photoshop, and I'm hugely glad that I gave X4 a try.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely impressed, better interface, runs better & more compatible with Win7!, 18 Sep 2011
By 
MyKeyReviews (Hampshire, UK.) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: PaintShop Pro X4 Ultimate (PC) (CD-ROM)
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*I used this software on a PC with specs of; Windows 7 64-bit Operating System, Intel i7 960 3.2 GHz Processor, NVIDIA GeForce 580 GTX Graphics & 12GB RAM.*

With the instillation there are two parts with the ultimate edition, the first disk is actually just the "PaintShop Pro X4", this disk took for me around 10 minutes+ to install, the second disk which is the "ultimate" update only took 3 minutes top.

Corel has done a fantastic job in making not only the interface better than PaintShop Photo Pro Ultimate X3, but also the compatibility with Windows 7, a lot of users had severe issues with X3 running on Windows 7, while I liked the software, I must admit now and then I had some annoying crashes with the older version.

When you load up PaintShop Pro X4 Ultimate, you will be in the main tab called "Manage", altogether there are three tabs (located at the top/centre):

-Manage: Easily find photos via the folder search located on the left hand side, you can also view important photo information such as the type of camera the photo was taken with, type of file, which ISO setting you took etc... You can also rate, tag and add captions to the photo. There are two more tabs within manage mode; you can view more in-depth file/camera properties by clicking on the "EXIF" tab, then you have the "IPTC" tab lets you edit photo details such as adding in the creators name, address and contact details (great for professionals stamping their rights), and you can edit the image date it was created and specify where it was also.

-Adjust: This tab lets you adjust the image by cropping, straightening, red-eye fixing, cloning and adjust contrast, colour balance and noise.

-Edit: This tab is the main editing section, you are presented with tons of basic and advanced editing tools along with image effects and settings.

You also have a quick print tab on the right-hand side as well as sharing options such as; E-mail, Facebook, Flickr and Save for Office.

Oh, and the product came with a coupon to get WinZip 15 Pro Single User (PC) for free, which is currently retailed at around £50.

Overall this is a fantastic upgrade from the previous version, it looks better, runs smoother and is genuinely a better solid photo editing package than the previous, I have to say a big well done to Corel for going the right direction this time.

-EDIT-
I've also tried this on my other PC with specs of; Win7 32-bit OS, AMD Athlon 64 X2 Duel Core Processor 5000+ 2.61GHz, GIGABYTE GT 430 Graphics & 4GB RAM, naturally with lower specs the computer took a little longer to load the software than my main PC would, however the software works just as good!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive, 18 Oct 2011
By 
A. Skudder (Crawley, West Sussex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: PaintShop Pro X4 Ultimate (PC) (CD-ROM)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have to admit that I am not an expert with image editing. I have had Photoshop Elements for a few years and am quite intimidated by all the menus and options and still use some freeware for basic resizing/cropping-type operations. I found PaintShop Pro X4 to be comparable to Photoshop Elements and just as scary, but with some extra features that look good even to me. The scariness, by the way, is all down to my lack of skills rather than the software itself I am sure.

My PC is an adequate workhorse, but nothing special, running Windows Vista and with a nothing-special graphics card.

If I had to choose, I think I would choose PaintShop Pro over Photoshop Elements. It has some nice features like an easy-to-use HDR module that does the work of standalone programs which cost the same as PSP. Regular users of Flickr or similar sites will know how popular HDR is getting: nearly as popular as fake tilt-shift photos, often referred to as miniature effect photos. Talking of which, that is also a feature of PSP, which calls it selective focus.

Another good feature, although one I can't take advantage of myself, is that dual-monitors working is built in. If you have two screens you can have the image displayed on one and all the controls, menus, histograms, help and other stuff on the other screen. I'm tempted to get a second monitor just for that - one drawback of such feature-rich programs is that all the many toolbars and panels can leave only a small area for the image itself.

The package comes with a handy user guide with colour photos in the examples, which makes me nostalgic for when every bit of software came with a paper book like this instead of a PDF.

My only real reservation is that the difference between X4 and X4 Ultimate doesn't seem that great to me. You get a load of extra filters but they seem to be a bit gimmicky. If money is tight then go for the normal version and you won't be missing a lot.

I think I'm going to enjoy getting the hang of this.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Does a good job, 28 Jan 2012
By 
alisonontour (Surrey, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: PaintShop Pro X4 Ultimate (PC) (CD-ROM)
I spent far too long weighing up the relative merits of Paintshop Pro X4 versus Photoshop Elements. I had previous experience of Paintshop Pro 9 which I really liked. Sadly, once again, Windows 7 forced me to ditch a perfectly good bit of software. I decided to go the Paintshop route and am pleased with my choice. I don't think there is actually much to choose between the two contenders and the deciding factor was making a stand against the domination of Photoshop.
I like the "organise" function though I'm sure something like Picasa will do the job just as well. I haven't found the "adjust" tab particularly useful but the edit function is straightforward enough for basic tasks. I might never use some of the more complicated functions or the various effects but they are not getting in my way. I think this package works well for someone who wants to do fairly straightforward editing without a lengthy learning curve but also offers more complex functions if you want to learn more.
It takes a long time to come to life (hence the 4 *s) when I start it up but once I am using it it works reasonably quickly.
And, as others have already commented, it comes with a book - sheer joy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A worthy upgrade, 13 Oct 2011
By 
Mr Gumby "DH" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: PaintShop Pro X4 Ultimate (PC) (CD-ROM)
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I'm unbelievably old and have been using PSP for best part of 20 years, since it was shareware featured on cover diskettes. X4 is a significant step up from X3 and earlier versions.

Most obviously, it has a much-improved GUI. Corel finally seems to have got it right. There are three tabbed workspaces - Manage, Adjust and Edit. These cater for management and cataloguing of images, common editing tasks and then the full editor, supporting a nicely streamlined workflow.

Under the Management tab, PSP doesn't really offer anything its competitors don't, but it's caught up at last. Well, almost; it doesn't include facilities such as face-tagging, for example, but all the essentials are present and well-implemented.

Beyond the Management tab, few will need to go further than Adjust which makes straightening, red-eye removal, cloning, cropping, sharpening and a whole lot more very straightforward. Then the full-blown editor is available for anyone who needs even more control.

If you're a serious photographer, you'll like the enhancements to RAW file handling. In particular, the Camera RAW Lab now offers Highlight Recovery to make something of blown-out highlights, and pretty effective it is too.

Something else that's much improved is HDR Merge. It works well, enabling you to combine multiple images of the same scene taken with different exposure settings, e.g. one for the sky, one for the general scene and one for shadows, compensating for the camera's inability to capture a full range of light levels.

Photo Blend is great too. It lets you copy areas of one image into another. If photographing a group of people, you can take multiple photos and then combine the best shots of individuals into a single image.

There are many other interesting features, such as Selective Focus which lets you blur distracting foregrounds/backgrounds. It doesn't look entirely natural but is still useful. More nice touches include things like the Fill Light/Clarity filter which allows you to draw out detail in shadows.

Photoshop Elements (which I also use) does most of this and more, but I reckon PSP is easier for novices to get to grips with.

My conclusions are:

1. For PSP users, X4 is a worthy upgrade and will do everything you're likely to want.
2. For beginners, PSP X4 is a good option, offering quick and easy photo enhancement with a sophisticated editor on hand when you need it.
3. Photoshop Elements users probably have no reason to jump ship.
4. Of course, if you only want to catalogue your photos and carry out relatively basic edits, a free tool such as Picasa may be all you need.

NB If you downloaded a trial version of PSP X4, you won't be able to activate it using the serial number provided with the boxed version. You'll have to uninstall (takes as long as installing!) and then install from CD, then activate. That's rather annoying, especially since the chances are the CD doesn't have the latest updates.
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PaintShop Pro X4 Ultimate (PC)
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