Customer Review

38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Far superior to many cheaper (or free) alternatives, 22 Feb. 2011
This review is from: PaintShop Photo Pro Ultimate X3 (CD-ROM)
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I used PaintShop Pro back in the early days, so it was nice to get my hands on the product again and put it through its paces. What struck me was how little had changed since the 90s, most of the tools were the same ones I used back then, although with some useful added extras. The interface looks smart in places, while in other places looks really dated. Some of the controls are therefore slightly cumbersome to use, and quite a number don't have a preview capability. There are still little annoyances now, even 15 years on, that I would have thought they'd have fixed by now. For example, the "Sharpen" and "Sharpen More" tools which don't allow you to specify by what degree you would like to sharpen, and still no clear ability to select (or re-select) areas of a specific size, or make minor adjustments to cropped areas.

However, despite the old annoyances, I am impressed, and have always been, by the wide range of tools, effects and filters that are available. I have recently used the product to rescue some old black-and-white photos of relatives, clean them up, add colour to them, cut them out and place them on new backgrounds. This allowed me to try out the Scratch Remover tool, for example, which can also remove telephone lines from photos and works very well. The Colour Changer tool is really rather good at adding skin tones back to an old black-and-white face, while the Object Extractor tool is a much less painful way of cutting someone out of their existing backdrop, and placing them on a new background.

I still love the old tools of course, the Smudge tool is always handy for covering up imperfections or blending in cuts, while combining the Magic Wand and Freehand Selection tools makes selecting practically any object or shape a doddle. The tools are grouped into categories on the toolbar, which is helpful, because there are too many to sensibly display in a single pane.

I have previously lacked confidence in using layers with graphics applications in the past, because other products have made them so complicated to use, but PaintShop Pro makes it easy, and I found myself using and manipulating layers naturally - the way it should be done.

It's nice that the product comes with a printed user manual, and the online help documentation is very useful, especially the help messages that explain how to use the tool you have just selected. This does make PaintShop Photo Pro a product that is relatively easy to use, without losing any of its power.

Re-branding the product to make it more appealing to camera enthusiasts and especially DSLR owners, due to its ability to manipulate RAW images, is probably a good tactical move. It is well worth investigating this product if you've been disappointed with the lack of power that many similar and cheaper products bring you (and especially the freebies that are shipped on CDs with new cameras). PaintShop Pro is far superior to many of the photo editing tools that have emerged over recent years, because it has its roots as a general graphics editing package and is not just targetted at photography.

I will be using PaintShop Photo Pro as my main graphics editing package from now on, and am very pleased to have become re-acquainted with it.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 15 Mar 2011 09:38:03 GMT
R. Martin says:
Not just this review, but the others which say basically the same thing have convinced me to stick with the version I already have thanks.
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3.6 out of 5 stars (94 customer reviews)
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