PhotoPlus X2 Digital Studio (PC)
- PhotoPlus X2 is Serif's outstanding Vista certified digital darkroom dream
- It offers an unrivalled combination of professional power and usability features
- A complete digital image editing powerhouse
- Total power to professionally fix, edit, enhance, and share digital images
- Powerful and professional-level editing capabilities
- Dedicated image-fixing studios for correcting common photo and camera problems
- Support for Photoshop files and plug-ins.
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- Platform: Windows XP / Vista
- Media: DVD-ROM
- Item Quantity: 1
PhotoPlus X2 is Serif's outstanding Vista certified digital darkroom dream. With powerful and professional-level editing capabilities, dedicated image-fixing studios for correcting common photo and camera problems, plus support for Photoshop files and plu
Serif's latest bitmap editor knocks spots off its similarly priced competitors. And it isn't far short of the pro-level either -- PC PlusSee all Product description
Top customer reviews
When it comes to features it has the ability for layer masks, whereby you can make changes to layers and it isn't deleted, great for graphic design etc. You can even record your actions as macros, which is a boon when you applying to bulk set of images. Another great feature for the price is the ability to edit RGB channels, although you can't go as far as CMYK. In one way this is reserved for professionals and this tool I suspect is targetted at Photoshop Elements.
Another nice feature is Makeover Studio, which allows you to spruce up photos so they look like a magazine cover, it has an option to do it for you, which is great for people who are new to photo-editing, it's limited but still great. You have the normal adjustment layers, but a great adition is Filter layers, this allows you to change effects and also change the overall settings, this one feature adds allot to the package and in no time you will be creating masterful photo's.
Another thing is you can read photoshop CS2 PSD files, I imported a few photos, which had multiple layers and effects and it did manage to retain the layers it lost one effect, but still that was pretty good.
If there is one downside it is the performance of this product and by no means do I have a slow machine, I have a quad core intel with 3gb RAM. But certain large prints took allot longer to process, adding filter effects etc just took longer than in photoshop. History pallete not that great(well in comparison to Photoshop) Also, the manual seems non-existence and help files could be better.
If this is no issue, then I see no problem with going with PhotoPlus X2, rather than Photoshop Elements. It has more under the hood and is overall a great package. But, if you are a professional then maybe this may not be for you.
For home users there is no verdict, I would rather choose PhotoPlus X2 than Photshop Elements 7.
So what's it like? Pretty good actually. There are quick and easy 1-click fixes to common problems - remove red eye, change contrast, hide scratches - and more advanced features that belie the cost of the software. Manipulating the image through masks, filters and layers is the stock in trade of Photoplus X2, and having used the vastly more expensive photoshop CS3, I was surprised how many tools and functions they shared.
I already had a copy of DrawPlus X2 before getting this software, and the two work very well together. Exporting files for different projects, e.g. for inclusion on a website or for printing is easy to do and the software will guide you through this process if any of the settings are unfamiliar.
Overall, Photoplus X2 is excellent value. It may not have the backup and vast amount of material behind it that photoshop has, but it is a very good product all the same. If you are new to digital image mastering, I would recommend starting with this software.
PhotoPlus's only real competitor's now are Adobe Elements 7 and Paint Shop Pro X2 [both also superb image editors]. Although PhotoPlus now has improved support for hi-end camera RAW images, Photoplus X2 does lack paint Shop Pro X2's support for HDR [hi dynamic range] photos. Also, although PhotoPlus Studio's AlbumPlus SE Pro does let you create slideshows, burn discs and so on, it lags well behind Elements photo database organiser's abilities. That said I shun such image databases, preferring the simplicity of logical folder names and Nero 8 burning software. Also, whereas PhotoPlus 11 [that's still available] runs on just about anything Pentium PC wise from Windows 98SE/ME to XP/2000 (not Vista), this new X2 version is certified for 2000, XP and Vista only. Like any image editing software, it also needs 2-3 Gb system RAM, a DirectX9 3D graphics card and a modern fast processor to run quickly and smoothly. However X2's minimum spec is any Pentium PC with 500Mb hard drive space and 256Mb RAM [if you are a rather patient sort].
I am very computer and Photoshop CS3 Extended literate, but I think those with more limited PC skills wouldn't find using PhotoPlus X2 a problem though. It has walk though guides like Adobe Elements 7.0, and offers some automation of editing tasks with the `How To' tab, which guides you through common tasks. There are also a few 'Do it for me' links that perform the described action, such as creating a layer or applying an effect. PhotoPlus also has the equivalent of Photoshop's shadow/Highlight (as does Elements 7), an essential tool for those scanning film as it brings out detail in dark shadows. PhotoPlus's use of standard Windows colour scheme is also better for editing than Elements trendy charcoal grey interface, as you can read black text on white easier than white text on grey, and it's actually difficult to tell which image window is active using Elements 7.
PhotoPlus X2's best new feature though is filter layers, which let you apply filters to images non-destructively. Even Photoshop CS3 - at ten times the price - didn't get this feature until 2007, so this alone is a good reason to upgrade from v11. Plus there are a couple of other gallery improvements: There are new `patch and blemish' tools, e.g. to improve image imperfections on skin tones, and there's `makeover studio' to say fix red eye and brighten teeth, an improved `QuickFix studio' that `runs faster', and improved filter effects and B&W conversion. There's also the new `outline' layer tool that draws outlines round objects and text. However PhotoPlus's extract tool isn't as good as Element's version for selection of image features. PhotoPlus also scores heavily with it's powerful batch process, which can say automatically copy, resize and convert a series of TIF images to compressed jpg ones within a folder. This batch processing offers excellent automation of many tasks.
PhotoPlus undercut Photoshop by a significant margin years ago but with the release of Adobe Elements real competition arrived, so PhotoPlus has dropped its price further. Advanced users will still head to Adobe, particularly PhotoShop Extended CS3 (at £500+) or perhaps Photoshop Lightroom 2. PhotoPlus is a decent buy though, with all the required editing tools and scanner twain support, it will even accept Photoshop plug-ins. Check it out at serif.com - there's often on-line offers and Serif's upgrade prices get very cheap as the latest version nears the end of it's life. Once you register PhotoPlus, and you can't actually avoid this or the software won't run, expect a yearly phone-call and emails from Serif (UK) offering the cheap upgrade, and a deal on other Serif Software.
So recommended for those on a very tight budget - once you get past the learning curve the software isn't bad at all, and is a steal when occasionally offered for under £30. Plus Serif will often offer an upgrade to the next version for under £15 after it's been around a while. Adobe want nearer £60 for Element's upgrades - just £10 off the full £70 licence. You can even buy Serif PhotoPlus v10.0 or v11.0 from Amazon resellers [or eBay] if you really need to save the pennies or you still have Windows 98 (and upgrade cheaply later). PhotoPlus X2 offers a good balance of power features for advanced image manipulators coupled with ease of use for home users, although it may lack some tools for serious photographers. But always remember that you can pick up Adobe Photoshop Extended CS3 and the the latest Adobe Elements 7 + Adobe Premiere 7 (video editing) combined package heavily discounted if you qualify for the Adobe educational discount price (non-commercial use and a child in full time education from primary School upwards in the house, or you work in the education sector).
Most recent customer reviews
I love all the serif stuff so would recommend it to everyone
There are all the photo manipulation tools you would expect to find in high end photo software...Read more
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