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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 30 November 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
First of all, I love this software!

I've never owned dedicated photo editing software before - other than Google's Picasa - instead using the photo editing tools within full-blown graphics packages.

It's for this reason that I recently upgraded my copy of Paint Shop Pro to Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3 (PC DVD) which as well as being a fully fledged graphics creation tool, has also added a lot more photo editing features as well.

Then I got hold of PhotoPlus X4. Now, I've said elsewhere that in the past I associated Serif with cheap and cheerful software, but that I have now completely changed my mind about that. PagePlus X4 (PC CD) is a brilliant piece of software and now PhotoPlus X4 has gone further to prove how wrong I was in the past.

PhotoPlus is a VERY feature-rich photo editing package. Basic features such as colour correction, red-eye removal, horizon straightening, contrast/gamma/saturation etc corretion all work very well (so long as you don't push the sliders too far and create artifacts by over-doing things - not a fault of the software, more a tendancy for those not so familiar with the power of the software they are using).

The 'special effects' functions such as colourisation (including sepia toning, b&w processing etc) are also very good, and there are a good few, suprisingly good filetr effects as well (oil painting, water-colour etc).

But once again the feature that really won me over (thanks to my growing interest in this area of photography) is the HDR processing/merging.

[ Briefly, for those who don't know, HDR is a process whereby (usually) three or more photographs are taken of the exact same scene at different exposures - one under exposed to capture detail in bright, one correctly exposed, and one over exposed to capture the detail in dark areas. The HDR merge process and tone apping then combines these images to create a final image that is much more dynamic than can be captured in the camera. ]

In PhotoPlus X4 you are given far more control of the HDR process than in Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3 (PC DVD), and the results are quite stunning.

On a powerful machine you probably won't notice this, but on my aged laptop (900MHz Centrino) PhotoPlus is markedly quicker to do anything than Paint Shop Pro.

Put all this together, and at Amazon's price you have an indespensible photo editing tool that has all the features of far higher priced alternatives.

Combined with Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3 (PC DVD), I now have everything I need for graphics and photo work.

If you don't intend to create graphics, then PhotoPlus X4 is all you need.

It really is a superb piece of software.
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VINE VOICEon 23 November 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have been after some quality photo editing software for sometime, and the usual name associated with this is of course Adobe Photoshop. The problem for me, is that if you want a decent of the softward you are talking a seriously hefty price tag.

Not so with Photo Plus X4. With X4 you have a fantastic range of tools, editing options as well as some more fun options. When I opened the case to find simply a disc, I was quite concerned and immediately began thinking "Where's the instructions?!" but the beauty of X4 is that all the support and guidance you need is built into the software.

For example, if you are wanting to do a simple touch up on a print, you have the option of 'doing it yourself' (which you can choose obviously when you have used it several times) 'teach me' where it will guide you through the process so you learn how to do it in the future or 'do it for me' for either the quick, lazy or technophobe option depending how you see it!

I know its very easy to be sceptical of photo editing softward that isn't Adobe, but I truly think this is not only a viable, but very good and excellent value for money package which I would definitely recommend to others.
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on 26 December 2010
This is a good program to use to edit your photos and correct any anomalies such as red eye or telegraph poles appearing in the photo that you want to remove (you would remove it with the clone tool). It is very easy to use and there are good instructions on-line to help you to get to grips with the software. Although it is not as precise as Adobe Element9 it does provide features which are easier to use using the instructions provided. Serif Photo Plus X4 does have some features that Adobe Element 9 does not have and is worth having just for those features alone - plus the added benefit of what comes with the package. The book that you can send for to supplement the online instructions goes into quite some detail (without seeming hard or bewildering to use for the newcomer) and is a plus for its makers. All in all I found Serif Photo Plus X4 a very good deal at the price it was going for (£35) instead of its recommended price of £70 which I paid for it, but even at £69.99 (its recommended retail price) is very good value and well woorth the outlay to correct your photos and really make them shine photographically.
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on 30 April 2017
not suitable for my system
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on 24 April 2017
Excellent goods
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VINE VOICEon 9 November 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Finally PhotoPlus X4 has resolved a lot of the misgivings of earlier releases.

It now has much better auto fixes and lots of re-touches that work well.
(EXIF has been fixed and improved greatly. If you don't know what it means, ignore it, not important)

I am very experienced, so was glad to test it out.

What excels it over Photoshop Elements 7/8 is the ability to have a tool-bar and actually customise it - so I can put my favourite icons on the main tool-bar. Far easier to find the tools you need.

This is a major annoyance and even worse in the majordomo Photoshop CS4/5; which makes it hard to use and learn - fanbois love using the millions of Cursor key short-cuts, but I just haven't got the time to remember them all when a simple menu or button would do.

PhotoPlus X4 solves this nicely.

Good interface and and it is actually stable - I didn't manage to crash it and Serif software is famously wobbly under pressure as is Corel Paint Shop Pro X2/Ultimate - which is so bad it was unusable.

There is an excellent Tutorial and lots of quick guides in plain english, on-screen at the time of editing - which makes a wide screen really useful for a change!

I actually found it great fun to use.
I was very surprised at that!

Panorama software is included - its basic, a simple single line construction, no cross shapes for monuments which is what I tried it on, Coombe Hill Boer ware re-furbished monument.
Excellent - it stitched it together from 11 pics into one in a much shorter time than Elements 7
and it also made a 360 degree Quicktime movie. Not great quality, but great fun.

One bad point is, you can export a finished file into Photoplus to brighten it up etc, remove a bike or old lady in the bushes with dog - but you can't import it back into the program to make a 360 movie.
(You can't 'improve' 11 pics identically before stitching - they never match exactly)

Would I buy it?

YES

Note - once you own it - upgrades are offered at a reduced owners price - I've had an earlier poor version 9 and todays post offered it to me for twenty notes
This is in keeping with Serifs loyalty program, whereas it will cost me sixty to upgrade Elements or Corel PSP.
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on 1 November 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
When it comes to photo editors there's simply a huge variety of applications on offer to the consumer, from free apps to the professional high end apps like Photoshop CS5. Serif PhotoPlus X4 sits in between these extremes, it's a medium-end photo editor that also includes some nice features found on some high-end applications.

If you're already familiar with photo editing applications like Photoshop then you'll be up and running with PhotoPlus X4 quite quickly as its interface is very PhotoShop-like. A big help for PhotoPlus newbies is the Welcome panel that appears when the application is first run. This help feature offers automated assistance for many tasks, as well further help via a set of "show me how" links. This help system is very comprehensive and provides an excellent way of overcoming PhotoPlus's learning curve.

Photo editing features are extensive and include some capabilities found in far more expensive photo editors. PhotoPlus has full support for layers and incorporates powerful adjustment layers, this is where a complex edit to a photo has its own separate layer, so reversing any kind alteration is very easy. Additionally, if you want quick results, there is an excellent filter gallery that has a large range of artistic effects. A feature I liked is the pixel grid, which allows you to zoom in at the pixel level and edit individual pixels.

Quick editing of photos is accommodated by the PhotoFix Studio, this has a group of functions that allows you to perform common jobs like cropping and red eye removal and other types of photo retouching. It also enables more complex lens issues to be corrected. Photos can also be joined together to create a panorama effect using the built-in panorama tool.

Another great feature is the Image Cutout Studio, which makes removing objects from a photo very easy and is very well implemented. Objects can be selected intelligently by PhotoPlus by dragging over a part of an image, or you can fine-tune the selections by hand.

Actual photo management is handled by the AlbumPlus Organizer. This allows for photos and videos to be imported, as well as raw camera files, though unfortunately photos cannot be tagged as they are imported. The AlbumPlus Organizer can also be used to easily create slideshows, calendars, greeting cards, etc., and photos can be directly uploaded into Facebook. Geotagging of photos is supported but there is no face recognition capability, which is a bit of a limitation.

PhotoPlus X4 is definitely a great all-round photo editor that is ideally suited for someone who wants to enhance their photo collection beyond red eye or blemish removal. Performance wise it's very quick and responsive and doesn't seem to consume huge amount of system resources like many of its competitors, and includes a comprehensive set of tools that allows for very complex photo manipulation. The more advanced features do require a bit of learning but the built-in help system is great and provides some excellent hand-holding for PhotoPlus's more sophisticated features. As a non-expensive medium-end photo manipulation application I definitely recommend this product.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 14 November 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Serif PhotoPlus X4 is actually a rather good alternative to my existing photo-editing software, Paint Shop Pro Photo X2. Not only is it much quicker, it also comes with some powerful tools grouped together in "Studios" that noticeably increase my productivity when editing photos. It doesn't have all the more esoteric tools, but it has the ones that matter.

The workspace is uncluttered, with palettes flying out of sight when not in use. There are a fair number of help screens and tutorials, which are useful but are also easy to dismiss. The startup wizard can also be easily disabled.

"Photofix" is the studio I use most. It has most of what you need for your photo corrections all in one place, including straighten and crop (including presets for common aspect ratios), red-eye and spot removal (this latter one rather cleverly searches for a similar area to clone if you don't identify one yourself), and a powerful masking tool that will by default grow the selection in a quite sensible way. There's also a selection of filters: white balance, with presets of manual sliders, lighting (exposure/brightness/contrast/shadows/highlight/black-point), curves (which lets you adjust RGB curves separately), hue/saturation/lightness, Black & White Film (which lets you reduce the image to black & white using colour filters), chromatic aberration, which allows horizontal colour offsets, lens distortion, lens vignetting and an unsharp mask.

"Cutout Studio" uses a "paint to select" approach with adjustable brush sizes and adjustable grow tolerance. It lets you paint on selections and unselections. It's very easy to make a quick selection and refine it quickly. You then just need to select an edge width and blur and you're done.

"Filter Gallery" has a number of filter-type effects, including fine-art (the oil filter is particularly good, although it does leave vertical streaks on plain areas), and the usual selection of distortion, blur, sharpen, edge detection, noise and so on, all of which have several types of filter.

"Pressure Studio" is just for the configuration of your pressure-sensitive device.

All of the above can also be selected from the normal menus. The selections menu has a sophisticated set of subcommands, inclusing grow, feather, select cimilar and so on. There's also an option to select by colour range, and a paint to select similar to that used in the Cutout Studio. You can't choose what criterion is used to select similar, but the program seems to do a good job of working it out.

There's a good selection of tools, including a very good clone brush.

There's a channels tab, so you can view red, green or blue channels separately, but I couldn't see an easy way of creating a duotone picture using different hues for highlights and dark areas. This is unlikely to concern many users.

Import options include TWAIN support and screen capture, and export includes PDF, and around 20 other popular graphic formats (including all the common ones). The export optimiser letss you choose options specific to the file type, such as compression ratios for JPG files. It's worth noting that PhotoPlus encourages you to save using its own proprietary "SPP" file format: you must specifically export to save in a different format (however, if you open a file, you can edit it and save it back in the same format). I noticed what might be a slight bug in the SPP files: you don't see a thumbnail in the file open dialogue unless you have already viewed the folder using Windows Explorer. Not a major issue, but mildly inconvenient.

Photoplus X4 supports RAW image files, and 8 or 16 bit channels in both colour and greyscale. It's an RGB program - I couldn't find an option for working in CMYK. Nor could I find a JPEG artefact-removal tool. All of the options I use frequently are in there, though, and the program is FAR more responsive than recent versions of Paint Shop Pro Photo.

There's no real contest - I'm a convert to PhotoPlus X4 for the vast majority of my photo-editing needs.

Note: There are a couple of bonus programs included. One is "PanoramaPlus X4", a panoramic photo-stitching app and the other is the "Serif AlbumPlus Organiser". I let the organiser loose on my photo library (about 33,000 photos) and about 45 minutes later it reported back with an "out of memory" error. Never mind - I wanted this package for editing, not organising.
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on 10 October 2010
This photo software package is great and does many tasks only available in higher priced products. The more recent version is versatile and easy to use. Highly recommended.
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on 14 June 2011
Warning - This software is NOT compatible with Canon EOS 550 Raw Files.
It may be a good product but it is totally useless with my Canon camera.
Sent back to Amazon for a refund.
Before you buy, check to see if it is compatible with your camera :
Go to the Serif Website
then submenu - Support & Community, then Support Portal, then Knowledge base, then Serif Software, then Photoplus/
Then type the question :- Are my camera raw files compatible?
You will see a list of cameras which they say are ok, if your is missing, it won't work.
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