Corel PaintShop Pro X6 Review
Mac users, we're pleased to announce Macphun's all-in-one photo editor Luminar is now available for purchase with special launch pricing. (Existing Macphun customers get a further discount.)
We rated Luminar as "Highly Recommended", and you can now visit the Luminar web site to try it for free.
The Edit screen is much the same as what you'd find in other editing suites with a list of drop down tabs along the top, some quick links and a list of tools to use within the action that you're highlighting down the left side of the image.
Like other editing tools, the icons down the left side have multiple options to them and you have to click on one to have a look at the others available. If you don't choose anything, you can move the mouse up and down the list and all drop menus will open up as you hover over them.
Blessedly, the undo button on the Edit section is much faster than in the Adjust section. However, there are still areas where you have to wait. And in some cases, wait unnecessarily. If you want to perform a High Pass Sharpen, the system has to proof your image first. No-one knows why. Then after every action, it has to proof the image over until you're either done or you're sick of waiting.
The Clone brush is still nowhere near as good as what Adobe released on CS4. The softest setting still has a visibly hard edge to it, which makes it a nightmare for certain work. For example, we wanted to remove an object from a complex pattern. We understand it's more than what the Object Remover can cope with, so we would do a bit of cloning after to blend it all in. Unfortunately, the Clone tool wasn't up to the task and we ended up finishing it off in Photoshop.
If you've never used the Retro Lab in Corel PaintShop Pro X6 before, it's a cool little area for adding manual retro filters to your photographs. It feeds into the current fad of adding blurry filters and soft gaussian effects to pictures after spending thousands on the sharpest lenses.
The Lab is split into three sections covering the range of focus, colour adjustments alongside a Curves grid. There are two images at the top. The left is the original that allows you to place the area of focus which is a sweet-spot that the program leaves untouched while the adjustments radiate from that point. You can have it as big or small as you please. Once you get the hang of it - which doesn't take long - it's a simple case of trialling settings and seeing if you like the results. We did get problems with the quality of the pictures from the Retro Lab. The darker areas created a type of moire effect on light and shadow.
We mentioned earlier about the PaintShop Pro membership and that's a new feature in X6. It's free to join and offers extra downloads, brushes and textures. There's also special offers and access to webinar sessions. Also new in X6 is 64-bit performance. Maybe that's where we went wrong as only got to test the 32-bit version. There are two new selection brushes. The Auto selection allows you to drag a box over the area and the program will locate the area it thinks you want to select. It's very intelligent and surprisingly accurate. It will take going round it to clean up the lines, but for a large area you want to select, it's great to get a chunk of the work out of the way. The Smart selection lets you “paint” over the area and it will choose the selection area from that.
Perfectly Clear and FaceFilter3 are two extra programs available on the Ultimate version of Corel PaintShop Pro X6 X6. Perfectly Clear by Athentech Imaging is a plug in which is accessed via the Effects tab in Corel PaintShop Pro X6 once you've opened an image. It uses a series of pre-sets and allows you to create your own if you use certain features a lot. You can then change features such as White-balance, Colour, Clarity and Tone. There are multiple radio buttons to tick within these sections and the changes are practically instant. A navigator is available at the bottom of the window and if you move around the image, the changes you've made disappear so you can see what's happened so far. It works a lot faster than Corel PaintShop Pro X6 does although loading the new changes from Perfectly Clear into PaintShop Pro can take some time.
FaceFilter3 is a stand alone program and is designed to make quick fixes to portraits by locating certain areas of the face in advance. It's done by placing marker points on the face in key areas such as eyes, nose, mouth and around the jaw line. You can then add make-up, defocus the background or remove wrinkles. The markers tell the system where the eyes are or what shape the eyebrows are, so it doesn't affect them. It's interesting how it works and certain areas work very well. The skin smoother is effective, as it the make-up application. Although, not having any experience of using make-up, our end results looked more like Aunt Sally from Worzel Gummidge.
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