Perhaps a touch less powerful than the most elaborate photo-editing packages, Corel has expanded Ulead's PhotoImpact and blown it up. The download file is nearly double the size of the last version, but PhotoImpact X3 makes a concerted effort to compete with Adobe. Positioned between Elements and Photoshop, this app delivers everything most users need: editing tools, effects, and ready-made elements for creations.
The wide variety of textures, frames, effects, animations, and brushes wouldn't necessarily justify the download, but the app is more or less a snap to use. Wizard dialogs let you instantly create attractive and functional Web-page objects, including buttons, image maps, bullets, and backgrounds. The program works with layers, too. The traditional photo-editing interface has only one peculiarity: the main docked panel, which can hold all the other panels and quickly hide and show them. It also lets you quickly switch among work-space layouts. Beginners, for instance, can display just the controls for basic editing.
All in all, this powerful graphics program will appeal to photographers and Web designers who need a significantly cheaper alternative to monster packages such as Photoshop.