Roxio was one of the keys names in the early days of CD-R, making Toast for the Mac and Easy CD Creator for Windows. The company has changed hands several times and is now part of Corel. See all software reviews.
In its heyday in the 1990s, one of Corel’s main tactics for sales was to put stacks of software in a box; thousands of images and fonts came with CorelDraw, itself an ever-expanding suite of apps. The company seems to be doing the same thing with recently acquired Roxio, as its Creator NXT Pro suite has burgeoned onto two full DVDs – or one very big download. See also: CD/DVD burning reviews.
This means a long and involved installation, entering five different keycodes if you want to install everything. Take a look at: Group test: What's the best CD/DVD authoring software.
At the core is the Creator app itself, still geared to burning all kinds of optical disc, and also to uploading material to sites like YouTube, Facebook and Google.
Most of the functions in its wheel of icons lead to creation apps, for burning audio CDs, creating DVDs (including Blu-ray) and editing video. But in several cases, there are bigger, better standalone applications included as alternatives.
For example, Roxio Photosuite loads up from the Photo button in the Creator app. It’s a perfectly serviceable image editor for occasional use, geared to making quick changes to photos to remove blemishes and red-eye from portraits, or adjust exposures and sharpness, or create cameos and other snap effects. It’s the kind of app you might get free with a webcam
It takes a step back into the shadows, though, when Paintshop Pro X4 moves into the spot. This is a Corel editing app with considerable credentials and a full feature set. Although one version behind current, it can still blend photos with bracketed exposures to build High Dynamic Range (HDR) shots, and combine detail from different images into composites.
There’s a RAW lab included, for more control over images than JPEG, and batch manipulation, so you can apply changes to a set of shots. The application supports adjustment layers, too, so you can experiment without making permanent changes to an image. Paintshop Pro is not far off Photoshop Elements in what it can do, so is a great inclusion in this suite.
There’s plenty for the sound enthusiast, too, but more for those wanting to convert tracks from analogue media, like vinyl or cassette, or adding music to a video.
So, there’s Izotope, which automatically removes noise and hum from an audio track. It can enhance voice and music, too, but with little control – it just does it.
There’s Roxio’s own Sound Editor, offering only basic editing and out-played by freeware offerings like Free Audio Editor.
The biggest sound application is Sonicfire Pro 5, designed to tailor music tracks to specific lengths of video. The clips cover a good range of music styles and the app offers control down to a single beat, if you need to emphasise a particular event in a video.
The main video application is Roxio Videowave, which is a mid-range video editor, sitting somewhere between a basic app like Windows Movie Maker and a semi-pro one like Premiere Elements. It offers separate timeline tracks for video, audio, overlay, effects and text, although only one of each, and a good range of effects and transitions. If you have handheld video to reproduce, the application can also stabilise it.