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54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Corel PaintShop Prox X5 Ultimate

I am an IT lecturer and also run a web design business. In my work I have to do a lot of photography so get to use all the hardware and software that is out there. I have used Corel X4 for the past 9 months and was very pleased with it.

This software has been reviewed on a PC with the following spec.

Intel i5 CPU
12 GB 1066 DDR3 RAM
OCZ vertex 256 GB SSD
1 TB 7200 HDU

I use the OCZ Vertex as my boot drive and could never go back to using a HDD to boot and run my programs from. If you do photo, video or CAD a think an SSD drive is essential to break the hard disk bottle neck. My system is very fast now I have this configuration.

Any photo software needs a lot of processing power and it just won't be much good on older machines (any make) . It will take ages to do most processes and will hang your system for a past time. Check your hardware will run it before buying.

What do you get

You get a colourful box with 2 disks in and a welcome note. The manual is now online rather than printed as it was in X4.


You need to load the PSP X5 disk first and enter the serial number from the back of the disk sleeve. It loaded with in about 1 minute. You are asked to open an online Corel account from which you get updates and access to help and tutorials etc.

What's new since X4

Most of the changes seem to be under the bonnet as the interface looks almost identical to X4. What they have done is refine many of the tools and add extra options and fix a few stability options with larger files. The Raw processing of files from my Nikon D7000 seem faster and the output is slightly sharper than before. They have added some more text and artistic tools so that images can be turned into logos and letter headings without jumping out to a DTP package. There are also some new filter effects (the graduated one is very useful and helps save over exposed skies) These are the new features over X4 from the Corel Website:

NEW! Instant Effects palette: Includes a variety of preset effects and styles such as Artistic, Film, Black & White, and Landscape, plus users can create their own!

NEW! Retro Lab: Create and apply old-school color and contrast effects to photos to achieve a distinctive look inspired by early or toy cameras
Enhanced! High Dynamic Range tools: Create intense B&W contrast, easier photo alignment, and the application of presets to HDR batch processing

NEW! Single RAW Photo: Allows users to create HDR results using a single RAW photo

NEW! Graduated Filter effect: Semi-transparent color gradients that simulate the effect of using different on camera filters
Enhanced! Layer Styles: Includes the ability to apply styles such as drop shadow, glow and reflections directly from the Layers palette

NEW & Enhanced! Paint Brush: New Watercolor brush plus enhanced ability to import Adobe Photoshop brushes

NEW & Enhanced! Corel Guide: Built-in instructional videos, easy-to-follow tutorials and free downloadable content such as PictureTubes(tm), picture frames, brushes, presets and more

NEW! Places: Maps photos to specific real-world locations that enable users to quickly view and search photos based on their geographical info

NEW! Share My Trip: Share your travel photos online with a slideshow that links photos directly to an interactive map

NEW! People: Face recognition technology that helps users identify and tag individuals for easier photo management and social sharing

In use

Corel has kept with its Adobe like charcoal and black work space. The software works on a work flow principle so that the user works across and down the menus to achieve the desired result.

The software works on two levels. The first being load a photo and click the Adjust drop down and click One stop photo fix. Here the software does basic auto adjustments like brightness and contrast. This menu also contains many adjustment criteria from colour through to lens distortion correction. Just about anything can be done to any picture here. The second level of use is for the more experienced and deals with full manual manipulation using layers and masks. By using these you can get some really good effects but the learning curve is steep here as it is with all other photo editing packages. There is plenty in the package to do just about anything you can imagine to a photograph.

Corel has included an excellent array of self help tools on the right hand side of the workspace which guides the user through some very complex edits. This self help section is very well put together in my opinion and I have used it to produce some nice HDR work and multi layer images. Anyone new to photo editing may find any of the packages a bit daunting at first but I think Coral does a good job of hand holding through its various processes.
There are also a variety of special effects labs that are quite fun to use. These include ageing pictures, multiple filter effects and black and white. These are quite easy to use and fun to play with - experiment, that's what using this software is all about.
The adjustment workspace is still destructive and you need to manually save a copy of each process as there is no way back unless you do this. WHY Corel have you not added non destructive editing like all the competitors ? I don't mind as I always keep manual backups as I go so that I can see how I achieved an effect so that I can reproduce it again later on. Corel needs to address this but this is advanced use and I don't expect many users will make the mistake of not saving as they go.

Social Networking and image management

This has been developed in this version adding Facebook uploads and a better face recognition system allowing geo tagging. I don't use any of these functions as I have my own tried and tested (simple) way of managing my pictures which has never let me down so I am going to stick to it.

Plug in software

The Ultimate edition comes with several extras including a face make over package, filters and frames plus some stock images to use and practice on. I will update this review when I have explored this disk in more detail.

How does it compare

I think this is down to personal taste. I have Photoshop CS6 at work and all the Adobe software to go with it. This is very expensive and has a huge learning curve and I employ people to work on this for me to produce our clients images and Websites. For my own pictures I have not found anything I cannot achieve relatively quickly in Paint Shop Pro. I have also used Photoshop's Elements, Lightroom (probably the most accomplished a slick software at this time) and Serif's PhotoPlus X4 successfully but I do have a soft sport for Corel and have used Paint Shop since it first came out when it was owned by JSAC so I familiar with it.


A good editing and management package that works best on fast hardware, like any photo editing package. There is room for improvement, non destructive editing is long overdue and puts Corel behind its main competitors. Corel wins, for me, on the sheer volume of effects and potential the software has so I will keep using this along with their After Shot Raw processing package. Corel's backup and email help is good and there is an online forum of enthusiasts that will help with just about any task.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 16 July 2013
Adobe have priced me out of upgrading Photoshop from my version (CS3) but a new camera means new RAW files to process so I had a look at the alternatives (and I am NOT paying to rent software from the Cloud!). I settled on PaintShop Pro because of its ability to use Photoshop plug-ins but, to be honest, the functionality of this product is so great that my plug-ins are completely superfluous. I have been amazed by how effectively it works. I have been using it for a few weeks and there is nothing that I was doing with Photoshop that I cannot do just as well (if not better) with PaintShop Pro.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 4 December 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've had every version of PaintShop Pro ever since I got Version 6 for free on a magazine cover disk, MANY years ago. I loved it, and instantly upgraded to PSP 7.

The odd thing is, PSP7 has been one of the first things I've installed on every PC ever since. The later versions of Paintshop Pro... not so much.

Yes, of course, each new incarnation includes a couple of new features, and on the quite rare occasions when it would be nice to use one of them, I fire up the latest version. Then I spend a while fumbling my way through the less-than-user-friendly interface, use the effect, save the picture... and head back to good ol' version 7 again to finish the job.

Or, increasingly, I just use The GIMP...

If you have no other 2D image editing software, you could certainly do MUCH worse than PSP X5, but before handing over all that cash, you might like to have a look at something like the GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program), which is completely and utterly free with no hidden charges or extras, and which (unlike Corel) won't insist that you sign up to their 'community' before you can even access a help file (This is bad enough, but even after giving them my details and signing up, I find the darn thing STILL doesn't load the help files. A MAJOR black mark to Corel for this, and it's the reason this is a two-star review).

I've found that GIMP will do just about everything I wanted PSP X5 to do. It may not have the easiest interface to master, but it's no worse than Paintshop's, and if you really felt the need you could certainly buy a very good 'teach yourself GIMP' book for less than half of the price of PSP X5. And when GIMP updates, you just download the next one for free, instead of having to pay a small fortune for two or three more Paintshop Pro features.

Bottom line... It's OK, but seriously, you should check out some alternatives before buying.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 March 2013
I had stuck with PSP Pro 7 for years with patches to make it work on Vista then Win 7.

Decided it was time (long over due, but PSP Pro 7 was so good) to upgrade to new photo editor.

Adobe product range was my initial thought, but full Photoshop too expensive and rest of product range confusing as to which one I needed.

Conversely PSP was straight forward - just select PSP X5 or Ultimate. I chose Ultimate, but in reality for what I needed straight PSP X5 would have been fine. In my opinion add-ons in Ultimate are not that valuable. Others may have a different opinion. Anyway price difference not that great so prefer to have all the bells and whistles just in case.

PSP X5 shows a lot of advances over my old PSP Pro 7. I particularly like the auto-adjust features and makeover functions for portraits.

Only slight criticisms is that it occasionally does auto saves that seem to take a long time. I initially thought program had crashed. It had not. In fact program seems very stable on by 32 bit Win 7 computer.

Also literature suggested that X5 can still read old .FPX format (Kodak). This is not the case, but easy workaround - just did a batch convert of all my old pictures using PSP Pro 7 to .JPG. Better to keep data in a vendor neutral format anyway.

Overall a great product and excellent value for money. Only area of improvement might be some algorithm speed-ups. That is not to say this is a major issue.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 December 2012
This is the first version of PSP I've used since way back when JASC used to be a company, as since then I made the switch to Photoshop. When I saw PSP X5 Ultimate includes the popular Nik Color Efex 3 filters I thought it was worth another look, so here goes....

The main interface is split into sections for Manage, Adjust and Edit.

The manage section is essentially a folder and file thumbnail browser with basic functionality for editing meta data. I use Adobe Lightroom for this functionality, but had a quick dig around PSP and it's mostly solid, but the RAW file processing is very basic - much better results can be obtained by using the software that came with the camera or the aforementioned Lightroom.

The Adjust section is used to make quick basic changes to an image such as cropping. A set of instant effects are also available on this screen, divided into groups such as Artistic, Landscape, Portrait, etc. These are one-click filters and provide no customization if the effect isn't quite right, but if you're lucky they may be of value. The traditional Film Styles filters produce interesting results. If you change anything on the Adjust screen and then try to switch to the edit screen you have to save the file - in the latest version of Photoshop Elements, when you do the same thing it creates a set of layers for you to further customize, and this is an area where PSP is falling behind - the adjust screen in PSP seems to be almost a completely separate 'editor'.

The Edit screen is where the traditional PSP commands and editor reside. The toolbars, panels and buttons have relatively large icons and this makes them feel easier to use than Photoshop (i.e. they have bigger hit areas for the mouse). The interface is a dark grey colour, which seems to make the colours in photos stand out nicely. If you have multiple files open, they appear in a tab strip just below the toolbars but they can be tiled side-by-side if required. The main toolbar provides quick access to scanning, printing, resizing, rotating, and zooming to 100% and fit-to-window - this feels refreshingly easy and quick after using Photoshop.

There are several tools for editing photos ranging from the basics (Levels, Curves, Channel Mixer, etc) through to more advanced stuff like a surprisingly effective one-click Purple Fringe/CA removal tool and White Balance tweaking - without having to dive out into a RAW program. The scratch-removal tool also makes short work of removing cables (and other largely-straight items). The standout feature for photographers is the inclusion of Nik Color Efex 3, a popular range of photographic filters (although since Google have acquired Nik I'm expecting these to popup in Picasa soon). PSP also provides a great introduction to HDR photography by way of the HDR dialog - this takes several photos and merges them, then provides several 'previews', created with different settings, from which you can select the best. Basic batch processing is available but this can be extended by way of Python scripts (although when it comes to batch processing, free software available far outstrips most paid-for stuff).

A set of design tools is included, and this is an area where PSP stands out from Photoshop Elements. There's a set of vector drawing tools, layer styles like drop-shadow, emboss and bevel can be applied in a similar way to Photoshop, and the program includes functionality to slice up an image for use on a website.

A couple of negative things to note: the help system is now online-only - it's becoming common to assume everyone has always-on internet, as Photoshop does a similar thing. Opening PSD files in PSP doesn't seem to end too well either - any layers seem to be discarded or mangled, so this won't be a good choice for anyone sharing files with Photoshop users. And a final point, on installation a Windows Service (Protexis Licensing Service V2) is installed - this isn't obvious from any of the installation screens and I'm not sure why it's necessary - it claims to only check the licence once so I'm not sure why it has to be running permanently.

Altogether, Paint Shop Pro X5 Ultimate provides an amazing amount of functionality for the price. For designers on a budget the extensive design tools make it stand out above Photoshop Elements, and for photographers the filters including Color Efex 3 plus the HDR functionality make this a good choice. For beginners though perhaps Photoshop Elements is a better choice - there are simply a lot more online (and offline) resources available.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The computer specs I used whilst using this software were:
* Windows 7 64-bit Operating System | Intel i7 960 3.2 GHz Processor | NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 Graphics Card | 12GB RAM.

First initial installation was fast and error free which took around 4 minutes to complete (this is to install 'PaintShop Pro X5'), the "ULTIMATE" part is all on the second disk which gives you extra effects, royalty free stock images & an additional software which supposedly makes it easier to retouch your portrait photos.

It was the second disk which actually took awhile as you have three separate things to install.

After everything was installed I had noticed it hadn't uninstalled the previous version 'X4', normally with upgraded software it overwrites the old one or at least gives you an option which would have saved me more time.

Upon loading the main program up, you are instantly greeted with a registration option, it indicates you should register so you can be updated with the latest patches etc... This is where my first problem began; for some reason it wont let me register, because the "connect online and register now" brings me back to the same message, and when I click "Register now using a Web Browser", I just get an error message, Definitely not the best start to using the software.

After this initial problem, I had just clicked "register later" to close the window and continue with the software, to which you are presented with the default "Manage" page, here you can quickly go through your photos, do quick touch-ups like rotating, adding instant effects and organising your photos & pictures, I can imagine people liking this part, though it's not quite for me so I've changed the default tab as "Edit", which you can do by going to "File" - "preferences" - "general program preferences" - "default launch workspace" - "edit".

To the right of the manage tab is "Adjust", this tab is fantastic for those who want to do quick adjustments like image by cropping, straightening, red-eye fixing, cloning, contrast, colour balance, noise and more.

Then there is the edit mode, the interface has a very clean and simple look, easy to navigate (pretty much exactly the same as the 'X4' interface), just with a few extra bits and bobs.

Overall the software is still really good (apart from that registration problem, which may be a server error, in which case I hope they sought it out soon), but the overall package seems way too similar to X4 and I personally feel there is no need to upgrade, and for those who don't own any of the versions, I would only recommend this 'X5' version if the price isn't too much different from 'X4'.

So to sum it up, just stick with 'PaintShop Pro X4'.

- EDIT 27th October 2012 -
The registration now works, though I still stand on my opinion that it's not worth the upgrade.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Having used both X3 and X4, I must say that at first, it feels like little has changed. This fault lies with the interface first and foremost, which buries everything in rather unintuitive menus and panels, and makes the program just a little difficult to get into if you're a newcomer. You really need to knuckle down and experiment, or know where to look already.

And that's the biggest weakness of PaintShop Pro - it's almost as if too much has been packed in, too many 'easy to use' effects which end up clogging the menus and making it all downright bewildering. On the other hand of course, it's a great thing that there are so many filter options - but to carve out a useful workflow with this tool is not an easy task.

Similarly, some of the processes for working with files don't seem to flow very well. I found this was the case with the 'non-destructive editing' process. I made some changes to an original photo, and for a few minutes panicked that the program had saved them over the original, ruining it. Fortunately, it really is non-destructive, and the original was safe, but the way the program presents files made it seem like the opposite. Perhaps that's just a case of having to learn the program's foibles and behaviour, but being used to other software, I could do without these panics!

On the positive side, it DOES do a lot, it IS a powerful piece of software. If you persevere with PSP, you will reap the rewards, as there's so much post-processing and funky editing you can do with it. It's just hard to find the time to do that if you're so used to other, more mainstream products.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 29 May 2013
X5 ultimate I found was a bit of a disappointment, really. I've been a fan of Paintshop for a few years.
Its still nicely designed and a very capable product, but in terms of new features, I don't see much of a difference to previous versions. Even as far back as X3. Some artistic finishes to photos have even been removed, such as art frames. I was expecting a lot more, since I went for the so called Ultimate version. I'm now wondering what warrants such a selling point. However it still does a great job of doing some basic clean-ups of photos and the like. Good job, Corel. But its still nowhere near what I was expecting and hoping for.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 7 March 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I am by no means a professional user of photo editing software but I have been using PaintShop Pro since version 7 and I have X2, X4 and now X5. I use PaintShop Pro for editing photos for projects like birthday cards, invitations, photoalbums etc. I don't really see much reason to upgrade from X4 (if you have it). There have been only minor tweaks as far as I can tell, like now working with Google+ and ability to tag photos and share interactive photo-maps with GPS, none of which I would use. The interface is the same as X4 and the majority of the functions have stayed the same. Installed fine and running on windows 7 no problem (alongside X4 which I havent uninstalled). The bonus features that come in this Ultimate edition are also not great. Nik Color Efex Pro was included in X4. Reallusion FaceFilter Studio seems a bit of a toy to me - you can change the expression on a face with cartoonish results. If you dont already have a photo editing programme or want to upgrade from X2 or earlier then this is still a great programme. If you have X4 don't bother.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 March 2014
I'm a professional stock photographer. I've worked in this field for 9 years now. My total experience as a digital photographer is 12 years now.

I've always used PaintShop series and it never disappointed me. It may miss some of PhotoShop's features, but it's still powerful enough to be considered a professional's tool.

I'll address two important issues:
1. Is "Ultimate" version worth it? It most certainly is. I was a little sceptic, but now I can't imagine my workflow without Nik Color Efex Pro 3.0 (a plugin that comes free with Ultimate version). It has a lot of fantastic options for vignetting, artificial polarizing filter effect, color changes, cross processed colors, graduated filters and more. Go for it.
2. Is it better compared to Adobe Lightroom? It most certainly is. Lightroom is more of a gallery manager with simple corrections like contrast, saturation etc. Here you can work with selections, masks, layers - serious stuff.

I fully recommend it!
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