Corel shows HD love in photo, video apps

Corel's updates to its photo and video editors for multimedia enthusiasts includes more effects and features geared toward high-quality images and video.

On Tuesday, Corel updated two of its multimedia apps for enthusiasts. Both Corel PaintShop Photo Pro and Corel VideoStudio Pro have updated from version X2 to X3. You can try them, exclusive today from CNET Download.com.

What do the new version numbers mean for the consumer? Thanks to more users graduating from point and shoot cameras to higher-end digital SLR cameras, and from regular to high-definition (HD) videos and TVs, both of Corel's multimedia products for aficionados introduce HD support. Corel has also acknowledged an uptick in the popularity of social networks by baking in more sharing options, specifically for Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube.

Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3

Corel PaintShop Pro X3

Corel PaintShop Pro X3

(Credit: Corel)

Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3 (free to try, $99.99 to buy) adds a few significant enhancements and new features. Shutterbugs will appreciate the new RAW feature (called the RAW Lab), which is a specialized editor for processing RAW images. It's a feature similar to what can be found in Adobe's Photoshop Elements and Photoshop Lightroom.

In addition to sprinkling some new editing tools into PaintShop Photo Pro X3, Corel has also turned on the ability to import and export HD videos. The multimedia photo editor contains templates for photo projects like those in Corel Digital Studio 2010 (full review). Though the templates offer simple, visually exciting ways to get started on a photo book or a slideshow, those who dip into them often will find themselves limited to the same handful of designs.

As a bonus, Corel is optionally bundling its Painter Photo Essentials 4 app that applies a filter to photos to give them an artistic painterly quality.

Corel VideoStudio Pro X3

Corel VideoStudio Pro X3

Corel VideoStudio Pro X3

(Credit: Corel)

Corel's video editing and processing app, Corel VideoStudio Pro X3 (also $99.99 to buy after a free trial period), adds more advanced-level features to its midlevel tools. The app now sports a darker, sleeker-looking interface. In addition to a simpler menu for easy editing is now an advanced edit menu. Some menu items, feature arrangements, and tabs have been tweaked to improve the accessibility of certain tools. A project mode with built-in templates is also making its way into the app for the first time. The fresh ability to transfer the attributes from one video clip to another may not be monumental, but for many people editing videos, that type of instant copying will be instrumental, not to mention will smooth over a frustrating workflow snag.

HD is key to Corel's reworking. VideoStudio Pro X3 adds burning to Blu-ray in addition to the standard DVD format--you can do both with the bonus DVD Movie Factory Pro 2010 app that comes as part of the package. As with other Corel products, online sharing includes YouTube and Vimeo video upload sites, Facebook, and mobile phones. Corel boasts that version X3 of its VideoStudio Pro editor is 2.5 times faster than version X2.

All together now

As with other products in Corel's line, Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3 and Corel VideoStudio Pro X3 present a straightforward design and useful editing tools that new users can pick up right away. Neither program is as strong as professional apps, which can also cost much more, but there are nice tools above basic levels for editing photo and video projects and outputting them to multiple formats, including print and video projects. If you're a midlevel (enthusiast) user who doesn't relish the fuss of pro software's many hidden (and sometimes obscure) filters and features, you should give these two multimedia apps a trial run.

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