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Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3 - Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3

By Cliff Smith

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3

Summary

Our Score:

9

The latest version is more than just a cosmetic upgrade. It adds a number of new features and makes significant improvements to many existing ones. Among the new additions are several advanced editing tools including the Smart Carver, a re-sizing tool that can be used to remove unwanted objects from images while keeping the proportions of the main subject intact. It appears to use a similar detail-detection algorithm to Adobe Photoshop's revolutionary Content Aware Scaling feature, although it isn't quite fast or as good at retaining the proportions of objects in the image. It is certainly a useful feature however, and makes a somewhat quicker alternative to painstakingly clone-stamping out unwanted details.

Also useful is the new Object Extractor which uses edge-detection to help select objects from a background. It can cope surprisingly well with blurred edges or fuzzy details such as hair, and is more effective than simply feathering the edges of a point-to-point selection. The tool has to be applied manually by painting over the object, but if you use a graphics tablet this is relatively easy.

Other new features include a Vibrancy booster, an on-image text editing facility basically identical to that in Photoshop, and the ability to make HD video slide shows. More importantly for DSLR users PSP now includes a fairly good Raw processor with batch processing capabilities. It is fairly basic and doesn't have features such as lens distortion or chromatic aberration correction found in Adobe Camera Raw, but it can be used to adjust white balance, exposure, saturation and noise reduction.

Alex 5

February 15, 2010, 3:31 am

There is only one drawback to PaintShop Photo Pro X3 that Corel continues to neglect and that is making a native app of it for the Mac.

Pbryanw

February 15, 2010, 9:01 am

Although on the Mac, if you want a cheap alternative to Elements, there's Pixelmator http://www.pixelmator.com/ Not sure if it's as fully featured as Photo Pro X3, but it has a lovely native Mac interface.

Hal Trachtenberg

February 15, 2010, 11:35 am

Here's the deal for me. I originally used Corel PSP X2 as my only photo editing program. However, I eventually switched to Nikon Capture NX2 because I did not like the way PSP X2 handled the NEF RAW files. However, once I switched to Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit, I wanted a program that runs in 64, so I began using Lightroom 3 beta, which I eventually preferred over Nikon Capture. I have now switched back to Corel PSP X3 after being dissatisfied with Lightroom's ineffective noise reduction. Now I am using both LR3 and PSP X3. I use the LR 3 for most of the editing and use Corel mainly for noise reduction, when and IF needed, but only after the photo has been converted to jpeg. I find PSP X3 crashes often when trying to work with NEF (Nikon) RAW files.

MrGodfrey

February 17, 2010, 11:40 pm

Excellent review Cliff. Just one thing missing - how stable and system-hungry is it? With Photoshop it's safe to assume the buyer will also invest in a powerful computer, but consumer-level software like PSP (PSPP?) needs to run reasonably well on fairly average systems - in my case dual-core machines around 2GHz with 4Gb of RAM and relatively low-end graphics cards. Other reviews have criticised X3 for being exceptionally slow, and some have also mentioned frequent crashes.





I am seriously considering X3 for desktop use - I have Elements 8 on the laptop and it's pretty good but I find the organiser frustrating and would like more control, while CS4 is overkill and far too expensive. But all the benefits of PaintShop are for naught if it wont't allow me to open and edit my 14mp RAW files without grinding to a halt or crashing. Any thoughts on this? Thanks.

Cliff Smith

March 3, 2010, 5:19 pm

My system spec is a dual-core 2.4GHz with 4GB RAM running Windows XP Pro. Having now used the program for several weeks I've not experienced a single crash. It is a little slow to start up, but once it's going it's noticeably quicker than PSPP X2. It uses around 100-160MB of RAM depending on what it's doing. I've had no problems opening 14MP Raw files, 50MB TIFFs or any other image files. In my opinion it's a much better option for a hobby photographer with a DLSR than Photoshop Elements. For one thing the organiser doesn't crash when presented with over 20,000 photos, which Elements 8 does.

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