Despite a slightly annoying installation process, version X2 (read: 12) of Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo continues to offer the same high performance and full feature set of earlier editions. The digital image-editing program will fit the needs of many photographers and designers.
A well-designed and intuitive interface offers easy access to all of your digital images, and the individual components--such as tool selectors, palettes, and layer windows--can be dragged and dropped anywhere on the screen. Excellent one-click photo adjustments such as Smart Photo Fix or One Step Noise Removal will be godsends for photographers with busy schedules.
One of the most noticeable updates in X2 is the new graphite workspace theme, which gives the app a slick, 21st century look. A tabbed interface makes switching between photos a breeze, and the library organizer is available as either a palette tool or another tab in the image browser.
The organizer is one of the strongest features of Paint Shop Pro Photo, and a new Express Lab feature makes batch editing even easier. We did notice a CPU slowdown when using the organizer with large libraries, but otherwise the application was quite stable, even when editing very large BMP files. A new Learning Center provides contextual help for specific features, but we found searching the regular help topics to be more informative.
The installation is the most disappointing part of the trial. It requires registering for a free Corel account, which in turn requires a valid e-mail address. Adobe uses the same practice, but it's an annoying trend. You should also note that within the "Advanced" installation setting, Paint Shop Pro Photo is automatically set to become the default application for all your major image-file formats.
Once you get Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 installed and working on your machine, you'll find a very powerful photo editor and organizer that is quite easy to learn and use. A full 30-day trial gives you plenty of time to determine whether or not you'd like the full version.
Fix brightness, color and photo imperfections like red eye in a few clicks, or use precision photo-editing controls to create photos you'll be proud to share. The Ultimate edition features valuable extras like media recovery software, a creative content pack, Corel Painter Photo Essentials 4 and a 2GB USB flash drive over $200 in value.
What's new in this version:
The Ultimate edition features valuable extras like media recovery software, a creative content pack, Corel Painter Photo Essentials 4 and a 2GB USB flash drive over $200 in value.