We reviewed the beta of Paint Shop Pro X in the December issue of PC Advisor and while impressed by the commitment to development undertaken by Corel, we were concerned that it required some improvements in performance.

The good news is that the final version is much faster, particularly when applying certain filters. While version 9.0 of the program concentrated on providing a competitor to Photoshop – at a fraction of the price – that could happily be used by professionals, Paint Shop Pro X has made a number of innovations that make it more accessible to occasional users.

The improved Learning Centre streamlines common tasks and provides context-sensitive help and will be a big aid to those who are less experienced but want to access various time-saving tools. The Retouch Tools, for example, can provide a complete makeover for a portrait in moments – removing wrinkles and blemishes – and the Red-Eye removal will be useful for amateur snappers.

Paint Shop Pro also packs in and improves many of the other features that have made this a popular option in the past, including extensive vector tools for adding drawings as well as slightly more gimmicky tricks such as the Picture Tube and Warp brush. Professionals will be more attracted by advanced features for colour management and batch processing, getting through time-consuming

Paint Shop Pro X: Specs

  • 500MHz Pentium II processor
  • Windows 2000/XP
  • 256MB RAM
  • 500MB hard disk space
  • 500MHz Pentium II processor
  • Windows 2000/XP
  • 256MB RAM
  • 500MB hard disk space

OUR VERDICT

The fact that Corel has now bundled Photo Album 6.0, tutorials and Pixmantec RawShooter – for working with RAW files directly from your camera – makes this particularly good value. As performance is also improved in the final release, Paint Shop Pro is highly recommended for serious amateurs or professionals who want most of Photoshop's power without the price.

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