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Better Than the Number One
on December 17, 2008
I have been negligent in reviewing the Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 Ultimate image editing program because I wanted to be sure about what I suspected when I began using it a couple of months ago. "This program is better in many ways and cheaper than the top rated Adobe Photoshop Elements version 7."
I was reluctant to believe that hunch at first. I have both programs installed on a VISTA laptop. Both installed easily and without problem. Both function perfectly without any of the crashing and buggy performance described by other reviewers. I have been using the two programs interchangeably for awhile and eventually noticed that I was opening and using the Corel Paint Shop Pro program more often than the Adobe software. That was the prompt that I needed to offer this review, but my observations do not intend to say the Adobe Photoshop Elements program is necessarily inferior--I simply prefer the Corel software and find it less complicated to use. I will attempt to tell you why.
First, the Corel home screen is easier to see. I found the Adobe Photoshop Elements screen sort of dark and foreboding. The two screens are similar in how the toolbars and menu items are arranged, but not all that much alike in how they are applied. I think the Corel program is more intuitive and logical than the Adobe system.
Both programs have all of the usual features like red eye removal, cropping, brightness adjustments and cloning. These are mostly straight forward, but the Corel program strikes me as less complicated in these areas than the Adobe.
I should admit at the onset--I have yet to master the "Layers" functions in either program. Be that as it may, I am pretty familiar with the rest of the tasks offered by both programs.
Adding images to the organizer pallet at the bottom of the main Corel window is a snap. The "saving as a copy" option in the Corel program is very helpful. Image color adjustments can be made in a number of ways in both programs, but Corel Paint Shop offers better options for changing hue, saturation and texture. I was happy to find how easily edits can be reversed with undo opportunities along the way. The image straightening and adjusting perspective features are worthy of note as is the skin smoothing and tooth whitening options. There is even an option in the Corel program to make a person appear thinner. I never thought I would use that tooth whitening thing, but I have.
I found the Corel feature called "Browse effects" to be particularly useful because it brings up a familiar outline style listing of everything the program does all in one place. One doesn't need to click around on various icons and menu items in order to find the function desired. Clicking through this "Browse effects" list brings up thumbnails that illustrate the choices involved. One could almost use this feature and ignore the array of icons and menus situated around the main window.
I have used the Corel "time machine" function a few times to give vintage appearances to certain photos and find it to be fun if nothing else. The same is true for the frames and distort features along several other artistic effect functions that I doubt most people would use very often. The reason I mention these options is to point out the presence of several functions that are really just amusing to use and probably not essential to serious photo editing.
The ability to adjust the appearance of the home window in the Corel program is appreciated, but I have not messed with that at all. I like the looks of it as is.
Oh, one more thing--adjusting the "layers" in an image may have been included in both programs as a means to humble the user. Just kidding...
If you are trying to decide which program to buy and think the Adobe Photo Shop Elements program is definitely number one you should certainly consider the Corel alternative. I would recommend you buy the Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 Ultimate instead of the Adobe Photoshop Elements program Version 7 not because they are so different in what they do, but because they are so similar in almost everything else except the price and ease of use. The Corel Paint Shop software is easier to figure out and it is significantly less costly than the Adobe program. Then of course there is the matter of how I found myself using the Corel program more often than the Adobe program. I think that says something.
I recently loaded the Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 Ultimate software into a new Windows 7 laptop and it went in perfectly and quickly. The program seems to open up and run faster than it did on my VISTA machine. I like it even more. Just thought you would like to know.