I've used Adobe Photoshop since 2004 as a professional photographer. However since Adobe has stared to only offer it's Creative Cloud versions, I've decided to look into other brands. (I explain more below.) I've used Adobe Photoshop Elements, GIMP, Corel PaintShop Pro X5 and X6. Of these alternatives Corel Paintshop X6 easily comes out on top.
The interface with Paintshop Pro X6 is beautiful. The menu system has been mildly revamped since X5, making it easier to navigate and faster.
The engine in X6 has also seen some improvements. Compared to my X5 versions (on the same computer), X6 runs at about 10-25% faster (my estimate) for every process. So when I apply effects to my images, I see them applied with less lag time. This is great because I get my work done faster. 10-25% doesn't seem like much, but over a 5 hour day of straight work, I am saving around 20-30 minutes.
This year's new X6 version has some pretty cool new add-ons. My two favorites are:
1) Perfectly Clear auto-correction. This is a $200 plug-in for Adobe Photoshop, but included at no extra cost with X6!. Perfectly clear is simply amazing! Finally there is an auto-correction that I will actually use. I feel that Perfectly Clear even out-performs Adobes many automated macros (auto-levels, auto-color, auto-contrast, etc). Perfectly Clear automatically applies a combination of lighting, color adjustments, and image sharpening. Then you can refine its effects, with tint correction, exposure, contrast, vibrancy, fidelity, sharpening, noise, and skin tone sliders. Plus there are presets for portrait, landscape, noise removal, and more. If you were to use only Perfectly Clear and no manual editing, Corel X6 would still be an incredible deal. You can learn more here: athentech.com
2) Corel's FaceFilter is my other favorite add-on (included in the X6 software). FaceFilter shows you each part of the face in your photo and lets you apply changes to each part: each eye one by one, the nose, mouth, and jawline. Then it gives you different skin filters: male, female, healthy, smooth, and more. Some let you even add makeup. Finally you can reshape the contours of the face or even the person's body. Anti-aging has never been so easy! The best part is that these filters actually work very well. The changes are realistic and not out of proportion.
Aside from these two great new plug-ins, Corel Paintshop X6 has a bunch of other automatic effect filters called Instant Effects. These are located in the side menu system and are easy to find and fast to apply.
To say that I'm impressed with Corel is an understatement. Last year's X5 version was good, but this new X6 version is great! I can finally see myself permanently moving away from Adobe's Suite. And Corel's sub-$100 price tag sweetens the deal even more! If you are new to image editing or wanting to move away from Adobe CC, Corel is the brand you need to check out.
Why I don't like Adobe Creative Cloud... or any Cloud products for that matter.
1) SECURITY!!!! Last month Adobe was hacked and the private information of over 150 million users was stolen! Enough said!
2) Adobe has officially announced that it will "continue to sell CS versions (non-cloud) but will not update them" any more. What non-sense! The $700 I spent for Adobe Photoshop CS6 last year will soon be worthless as the software will not receive any more updates. What if my next Windows 8 update affects CS6? Will Adobe tell me "sorry, you're out of luck"? I feel like Adobe doesn't care about it's customers after this move!
3) Having my software on cloud slows down my productivity. Every time I open the program it has to log online, check for updates to my software versions, and compare file versions between my PC and the cloud server. I do not like waiting an extra 15-30 seconds for this check and I especially do not like having to update my software before I can use my program. I will update it on my own time when I am not time-crunched for work.
4) Cloud software runs slower because my computer must constantly access the online cloud server while I use the software.
5) It uses up my internet bandwidth. If I was paying per GB I'd be really upset. I'm not so this isn't a big deal, but some ISP contracts will set limits to GB downloads each month. When this limit is reached, then download speeds drop significantly. With cloud interaction taking up more bandwidth, there is risk of all my streaming data slowing down towards the end of each moth. Expect performance drops in Netflix, Prime, and Hulu.
6) Monthly fees are far more than I would pay to own my DVD copy of their software. I usually by a version and use it for 2-3 years before updating. Paying each month will increase my expenses 2-3x.
7) Being tied into a cloud software contract forces me to agree with and pay any additional fees they charge me and any increase in monthly usage. I like to make my own decisions about my finances and do not like to be tied into contracts that can change at a drop of a dime.
8) The cost for third-party plug-ins / add-ons to Adobe is outrageous! Some cost over $200 to add a single functionality. Corel includes many of these same add-ons with their software. So for the price of a single third-party add-on for Adobe, I could pay for all of Corel and have money left over.
There are more reasons to list, but I think you see my picture....
Final word about Corel Paintshop Pro X6.... Ultimately I feel that this is currently the best software available for image editing. Sure Adobe Photoshop is the market leader, however with it's recent changes I see Corel Paintshop Pro as narrowing the gap. Corel gives me everything that I already use in my line of work and many new automated features (macros/plugins) that I will get a lot of use.
If you are looking for a solid performing photo and graphics software, this is the one you want! I hope that Corel makes huge gains in their popularity. They are deserving it after many years of great software!
I have worked with PhotoShop for years (an enhanced version) and I just never seemed to click with it.
I remember that years ago, I worked with Paint Shop Pro via Corel. Back then, it really took up a lot of memory and seemed a bit cumbersome.
I recently added to my family and wanted to get a decent software package to record my little-ones and our vacation. I was pretty hesitant about going back to PSP, but I really am glad that I did.
You really don't have to have much experience with photo editing with PSP--it will walk you through your task and yet let you customize your project so that it doesn't end up looking like a corny photo Christmas card from Walgreens.
The differences from the version I had years ago against todays version (X6) is profound to say the least. You can load HUGE files on your system without any freezing, also, the interface is really simplified without dumbing it down for a newbie user that would limit someone with some experience in photo editing. And by the way, if you are a newbie, this is a GREAT program to start with anyways--you'll be a pro in no time, and, average users may consider their career options towards graphics.
There are so many incredible features to this version, I would have to write several pages on the features/benefits themselves. But, here's a few diamonds:
-Faster HDR Rendering
-All new and VERY helpful video tutorials
-Adds any type of effect you can imagine
-Retouches photos to remove red-eyes and even wrinkles (I look 10 years younger:)
And those above are just a few great enhances that Corel has made to the PSP 6X version.
Overall, you get a whole lot of bang for your buck on this program. I have never come across a photo editing software program that comes close to this.
Oh, BTW, each software box comes with FREE membership for updates, creative content, & other offers.
If you found my review helpful, please click the 'yes' button below. I don't get paid, but it's nice to know if I'm doing well.
All the Best to
You and Yours.
Now that Photoshop has gone to an online subscription model instead of releasing physical products, it's up to all the other contenders in the image editing arena to show what they have to offer. Enter Paint Shop Pro X6 - the latest in a long and illustrious career that's been a favorite of many image editing aficionados, even if it has played second fiddle to Adobe over the years.
On the tech side, X6 Includes both a 32 and 64 bit version on the same disc, so those without a 64 bit processor or operating system aren't left out in the cold. I was also happy to note that it doesn't switch all your image file associations by default (a very annoying habit certain other programs have), but it does give you the option when you first open the program to select associations.
For those used to Photoshop or the online tools that mimic it, Paint Shop Pro has a significantly different layout, which may take some getting used to, but it's arranged fairly intuitively and finding tools isn't difficult. This version uses three major tabs at the top of the screen that give access to different tool subsets: "Manage" for arranging, tagging, and viewing your photos, "Adjust" for adding templates and pre-done effects, or "Edit" for the full-blown scale of different image tweaking options.
Although obviously it can be used to create your own logos and images, Paint Shop is more focused on fixing photos, so all of those types of tools (red eye removal, removing noise, sharpening images) are the ones that are front and center and easiest to find. If you don't care to take the time for manual tweaks, or want a good baseline to start with, you can use "Smart Photo Fix" (the equivalent of Photoshop's "Auto Adjust"). What's nifty about this feature is that it brings up all the slide bars for the various color aspects that are changed, letting you make your own modifications from the auto fixed levels.
While loaded with options and templates, x6 is also geared towards the new user not familiar with image manipulation. The "Edit" tab features the "Learning Center" on the right side that explains, step by step, how to use whatever feature you currently have selected. It does take up a portion of the screen, but it's incredibly handy if you aren't immediately familiar with how to use the straighten tool, the clone source tool, etc.
All the typical features you'd expect are there, but there are few interesting ones worth mentioning. This version has a lighten/darken brush for changing specific areas of the photo, rather than brightening the entire photo at once. There's a "smart carver" tool for removing specific parts of the image while preserving the segments around it, which is much easier than trying to slice out sections on your own and then make edges line up. It's very useful if you want to slice out say the middle third of a picture or some small part in the upper-corner or something. Additionally there's the "smart selection" tool that searches for shapes and guesses at what area of the image you specifically want to select, while the "magic wand" automatically selects nearby areas that are the same color. They are definitely cool ideas, but work better with some photos than others, and you may end up just free handing a selection anyway.
Overall X6 is a very solid edition of Paint Shop Pro and well worth picking up for anyone wanting to get into photo editing, and while the layout is a little complicated, it's not tough to get the hang of.
PaintShop Pro X6--it's reasonably priced for photo editing software, and does everything most basic people want to do (and more).
X6 has a better interface than X5, allowing geotagging and face recognition. It does have 64 bit operation capability. It comes with a few plug ins--not as good as Ultimate...but it runs pretty slow, and if you have loads of RAM, you will prefer PhotoShop over this one as far as performance.
This is a good photo editing program, and I'd have totally recommended it, but on the 4th of September, Corel came out with PaintShop Pro X6 ULTIMATE Corel PaintShop Pro X6 Ultimate . I use 64 bit software-- and this new version gives a 64-bit user a great edge, improving the power of PaintShop X6. It is super fast, and allows you to work with more images (cataloging as well as in process). There is an accelerated speed for applying effects (for both the 32 and 64 bit versions). Opening files is faster, and working with HDR is faster. The Ultimate works with Photoshop plugins, too. There's a new brush for selecting objects, making it easier than both this version of Corel PaintShop X6 as well as Photoshop. The new auto select actually DOES snap to the edge of the image selected. (That's a new one, right?) It comes with new and useful plug ins (for free) like Perfectly Clear, which does one-click auto image enhancements. FaceFilter(3) also is included, which makes portrait editing a breeze (no more paying for Beauty Box).
So, if you're looking for reasonably priced photo editing software, I'd go with the Ultimate. Skip this one.
The title of my review is "A great choice for the right user" for one reason...if you are a Web / Graphics professional (or intend to be one), you'd better have "Adobe Photoshop" on your resume. Photoshop is still THE industry standard for this kind of software and if it is your intention to seek employment as a Web / Graphics professional, much of your credibility will come from using the expected industry standard tools.
That said, Corel PaintShop Pro X6 sells for about $650 less than Photoshop, and unless you are a Web / Graphics professional who requires many of the high end features in that package, PSP will meet (and exceed) the needs of most people looking for a ribust image manipulation / enhancement program.
The Corel PaintShop Pro X6 installation MAY annoy the "one click" lovers out there. After the initial install, you download the PDF Users Guide separately, and there are three "additional content" modules you can download once you apply for a (free) Corel membership: KPT (Kai's Power Tools), Script Guide (with scripts) and Creative Content (brushes, etc). All three are "exe" (executable) files, you simply download and double click and they are automatically installed into the appropriate directories.
You'll either be amused by the KPT filters or you'll roll your eyes and avoid them. "Back in the day," they were extremely popular and sold as a stand-alone product (along with Alien Skin and a few other similar products). But like drop shadows and bevels and every other Photoshop trick, they were abused and became somewhat antiquated. That doesn't mean that you won't find them to be useful. It's just that when it comes to filters and the way they are seen by Graphics professionals in 2013, they've sort of become the equivalent of Miley Cyrus twerking...not everyone's cup of tea. Caveat Emptor.
Years ago, when Paint Shop Pro was a product of JASC Software, it was THE affordable solution for hobbyists and photo enthusiasts. It was popular die to its user friendliness, and as I stated above, unless this is how you make your bread and butter, you may WANT Photoshop, but you may not NEED it. I have friends who were GIVEN ( ! ) copies of Photoshop and gave up very early in the game because they found it "too hard to learn." Since PSP has become a Corel product, the learning curve is a little steeper than it was in the JASC days, but it is also more feature-packed.
If you've used image software before, the interface won't be totally foreign to you. There are palates as well as toolbars that run along the top and left. If you're going to use the program for "red eye removal" and similar tasks, you'll probably pick up what you need to know pretty quickly. If you're into creating art or doing major restoration / reconstruction, you're going to move a little slower. But the tools are there for you and the "Learning Center," which you'll find on the right side of your screen, is especially helpful.
If you've used Photoshop or its stripped-down "Photoshop Elements" version, you will find that things like layers and text behave a little differently here. I've never been a fan of the way PSP handles text, but it's a minor quibble. All you really need to know is that you can produce extremely polished and professional results with this program, with a MODERATE learning curve (expect one, and don't tell me later that I didn't warn you).
All things considered, PSP is WELL worth the sale price. I've had friends who have passed layered Photoshop files back and forth between Photoshop and PSP, and there are occasional glitches. The two programs don't work together "seamlessly," and if they did, you'd have two software companies sitting across from each other in court (remember Macromedia, anyone?). As long as you don;t plan to collaborate with Photoshop users, it's not a problem, but if you do...problem.
One more caveat: PSP is also available in an "Ultimate" edition for approximately another $20. That gets you three modules that are NOT in this version..."Perfectly Clear" (one-click image corrections), "Face Filter" (retouching tools), and "Creative Collection" (similar to what's available as a download in this version). I haven't tested the "Ultimate" version, and Corel only offers a downloadable trial version of the "Pro" version. If you think you MIGHT want to spend the extra $20, I suggest you go to Corel's product page for Ultimate and review what's there.
In conclusion, please just consider what I've written here regarding your intended use of the product. That will help you decide if it's right for you, and as I said up front, it's a great (and affordable) choice for the right user.
I love taking pictures with my digital camera and enjoy sharing them with family and friends. Paint Shop Pro X6 allows me to organize and edit my pictures as well as to share them with family and friends. I like some of the improvements in this version as well.
I upgraded from Paint Shop Pro X5. Key new features for me include a faster 64-bit performance, an easier more intuitive interface and a nice learning library of tutorials.
I find this loads and works a bit quicker than last year's version. I also am able to have more pictures open at the same time.
The interface is more intuitive. At the same time things that have worked well in the past were kept. For people who are not familiar with the software there are some basic tools like "One Step Photo Fix" that will make a photo look better without having to manually change anything. "Smart Photo Fix" allows you to do more but is simple to use. You have the choice of modifying the brightness, saturation and focus of a photo by just moving your mouse arrow across a bar on the screen. Finally, there are countless combinations (well I counted to 35 single adjustments and just stopped) of adjustments you can make if you know how to use this software.
The best changes made to this version of Paint Shop Pro are the tutorials which are all collected in the "Discovery Center." There are video tutorials that start with basic information on how to use a digital camera and how to take photos and then address concepts like "depth of field" and "color theory." There are also video tutorials on how to use the software in detail, quick tips and photo editing projects. They are organized in an easy to use and easy to follow fashion. There is also a great written user's guide if you don't like the video tutorials.
There is a lot to this software that I have never come close to using in earlier versions. The video tutorials have helped me use the software to a much greater level and given me great tips on taking better photos as well.
My only issue is there seems to be no free phone support. You can e-mail questions for a period of time after purchase and I believe you will get a call back if the issue can't be addressed by e-mail. Still, I would rather have a support line that I can call for installation and basic use questions. You can purchase product training for $29.00 and photo training for $49.99.
I think this is a very good product and I love the way the video tutorials are collected in the "discovery Center." This really gives a person who does not have training in photo editing a chance to use this to its fullest potential. If there was free phone support this would get five stars.
This is a difficult and highly subjective review. Corel Paintshop Pro should be a five star program for most folks but it fell slightly short for me. I probably won't for you,though.
Let me explain. I'm a long time, perhaps too long time, user of Adobe's Photoshop. Like many others, I'm stuck at CS 6 because I refuse to move to the blind-rental-trust-Adobe model that the newest version, CC, is. While CS 6 is working for me now, presumably at some point, I'll need to move on so I decided to give Corel's competitive product a try to see if I could make the switch to it and dump the Adobe product and rid myself of that company's arrogant policies.
I was and remain highly impressed with Core's product. It consists of three parts each with subparts. The three parts are a portfolio management area, an area to do modest corrections (Adjust) and lastly an area (Edit) to do serious editing ala Photoshop. Each of these areas are represented by a tab so switching is easy. You load a file into the program and then click a tab to enter any of the three modes. If it's a RAW photo, you'll be taken to a RAW processor which works fine, but isn't a patch on current ACR versions. For those wishing serious RAW processing, I'd suggest an added program such as one from your camera maker or DxO Labs.
The file management area is, in my view, superior to Bridge in Photoshop but I'd not rate it over Lightroom. Still, it's darned good. The Adjust area will suffice for most folks' vacation sort of snaps where they need to make slight changes to exposure or similar issues. While there are some sliders, most of the adjustments are click it and watch the improvement type.
The final area is Edit where you can really get into the soup accessing serious photo modifications. The list of tools is extensive and easily meets the 80/20 rule of the Adobe product. That is, you will have at least 80% of the tools you can find in Photoshop and for most people, that's more than 100% of what they'll need not just to edit photos, but to satisfy their creative juices.
I found some of the tools superfluous for me such as the many 'Instagram' sort of filters but I know many like these. The selection is huge and you can spend hours messing with them for any given photo. Some obscure tools you can find in recent Photoshops such as Puppet Warp are missing but that's a good example of a tool which will not be missed by 98% of the target market. While a powerful tool, it's not understood by many and used by many fewer.
Some filters or tools seemed bizarre to me. For example, there is one said to slim folks down in a photo. It does but it slims the entire person down so you may want to slim a waist a bit or tuck a double chin, but what you end up with is a completely narrower person including the head. I saw no use for this aside from making caricatures.
I was initially frustrated by this 'slim' tool because I often remove 'muffin tops' or other bulges from portraits. Later in the manual I found the solution which are a bunch of 'warp' filters Adobe calls liquify. These worked superbly and in my view, more controllable and higher quality than the Adobe versions. Using these tools, you can idealize your subjects. What more can you ask?
The highly powerful layers area is not quite up to the latest Adobe standards but much more than most can use or even understand. The important aspects of layer use is all there and to add some zip, there is even an artistic sort of trace layer reminiscent of the old 'Paint' program. The substitute for Content Aware Fill, a major if controversial element of Photoshop, isn't nearly as successful. Selections work similarly and are similarly easy or difficult depending on your point of view.
I succeeded in adding various commercial filters from TopazLabs, Nik and others to this program without reinstalling but just pointing Corel's product to the installation folders. Easy peasy. The documentation is via a .PDF file downloadable from Corel's site. This means if you have an iPad or other e-reader which can display a .PDF, you can use the reader to learn the program while using the program on your computer. This is a much better way than switching your computer screen from reading the docs to doing the work. If you haven't an e-reader, then not so good.
So then why the four instead of five stars? It's due to my not being able to produce the results I wanted to the fine degree I wished using this program. I don't think it's the program's fault but rather me being stuck in a Photoshop frame of mind. Sort of like an old dog and new tricks issue.
Clearly the design of this program will make it much more accessible to anybody new to photo editing or who isn't mired in the often screamingly frustrating Photoshop UI. I would recommend this program to anybody who wishes a full on serious photo editing program. Bluntly put, I think anybody who is wanting a program to do photo editing would be a fool to choose Photoshop over PaintShop Pro - unless you are in some special area which may demand that product. If so, you know who you are.
Learning Photoshop is a painful excruciatingly long road where I was up to a reasonable speed here in an hour. Photoshop is a good example of a program that's grown 'like Topsy' while this program is clearly designed in the whole.
Highly recommended for all but those vanishingly few who have some special need for Photoshop or who, like me, have so much invested in our learning of Photoshop that moving on is difficult in the extreme. I wish to commend this program to those of you who now do some photography and who wish to take themselves to the next level. Clearly this program will be all you need to reach that next level and well beyond.
Paint Shop Pro has been around a long time. I have used it since its first version came out. Each version seems to add new features and enhancements , although the user interface sometimes becomes a little harder to follow. In this latest version, I see little change in the user interface, so that is nice for those of us who are used to using the previous version.
Paint Shop Pro X6 is a good solid value, especially when you consider that the Ultimate edition, which includes some powerful plugins. The interface has been cleaned up a little but I think it is still a little cluttered compared to earlier versions, which in my opinion seemed to have a little cleaner interface. Paint Shop Pro has added a 64-bit version, which has increased the software's performance in my opinion.
The latest version has numerous powerful effects and editing tools, face recognition, geo-tagging with maps, tutorials, and a good assortment of vector drawing tools. I am running it on Windows 7, and it seems to work just fine and the program redraws quickly as you apply special effects to your photos.
All in all, for the price, I think this is a solid product and hard to beat when you consider its fair selling price. I give this product 4 stars and would recommend it to any one who needs a rich featured fairly simple to use photo editor.
Lets be clear, Photo Shop is still the program for professionals. But, and that's a BIG BUT, it costs almost $700 more than the latest release from Corel... Paint Shop Pro X6. So unless you are a pro in the field or on the path to being one, save the big bucks and go for Corel's Paint Shop Pro.
The Corel PaintShop Pro X6 installation is easy and straight forward. The downside, after installation and sighing onto a free access you via internet, you can add "additional content" modules: KPT (Kai's Power Tools), Script Guide (with scripts) and Creative Content (brushes, etc). All three are "exe" (executable) files, you simply download and double click and they are automatically installed into the appropriate directories. But KPT only works if you are running the 32 bit program. Why they were not included on the installation CD is just strange.
I installed the 64 bit program. It is significantly faster than Paint shop Pro X5 (32 bit only) I previously ran. I was presently surprised when in the "Manage" section it `instantly' loaded 100 plus photos I had in the folder. When I say instantly, I mean in less than 1 (one) second all the photos were in the preview window. Many other features are considerably faster as well.
Overall, as compared to Paint Shop Pro X5, there are many nice upgrades in this version. Highly recommend !!
Ran into some problems but.........
UPDATE: Coral called from Canada. "Steve" was very helpful and remotely removed some registry entries from my computer. He then remotely installed the program with updates and it's working just fine. This is the kind of customer support you hope for. Steve spent 45 minutes on the phone and remotely did all the necessary changes on my computer to remove files left behind that were stopping a new install. Kudos to Coral and Steve.
on July 28, 2014
I ordered the Paint Shop Pro CD rather than do the download. This cost a little more, but PSP is still fairly inexpensive software. Installing Paint Shop Pro 6 went OK, with only one small problem. The CD did not start the installing process when put in the drive, so I went looking for the setup.exe that gets things going. After this, the installation went ahead with no further difficulty. I did not have any of the registration difficulties some other users have reported. Corel asks that you get 'membership' at their site. Again, this was completed with no problems.
I am finding that learning the program is more difficult than I though it would be. There is a learning curve that has to be overcome for those not familiar with photo editing software. The video tutorials and .pdf user guide both help, but it's still slow going. The software seems to work OK; there have not been any software freeze-ups or crashes. Has Paint Shop Pro X6 met my expectations? I can't fully answer that question yet. Eventually it might, but it's going to take awhile. Maybe I'll be able to better answer that question sometime in the future. Right now, four stars seems about right.