Corel has released Paintshop Pro X6 and before we look at their newest
offering, here's a brief review of previous versions of the program.
There are approximately 2.6 million users worldwide using Version
X3 through X5 which is a very
loud voice that needs to be heard.
User ratings of the software
emphasize “…. ease of
use, quality, and value for money.” The
majority of these users are photo-enthusiasts, and one quarter of all
users derives some income from use of the product.
PaintShop Pro, however, has not been
Version X4 which we reviewed
two years ago was not without its faults;
Version X5 was considered
(unfairly by many) to be patch 4 for version X4.
Corel listened very
carefully to what their customer base was saying and with Paintshop Pro
X6 their clear goal is “…. reconnecting with
our customers…..” .
Current users were surveyed about the use to which they put the
processed images for competitions, the same for photo prints, and
two-fifths made prints in sizes in excess of 16x20. These are serious
users who cannot be ignored. The three
innovations which were most desired were
Photo Retouching Tools
Improved Speed of Processing;
it is these
aspects which Corel have incorporated into the latest version of
Cloud Computing vs Boxed Product
Unlike others, Corel will not be
pursuing the monthly subscription route; outright perpetual licence
remains. More than 80% of the surveyed customer base
wanted the outright purchase option.
PaintShopPro X5 came with a host
of filter and other goodies such as
Geo-tagging, social networking features, face detection, enhanced HDR,
and RAW/JPG stacking, but the most significant
change was 16bit image processing across the range of effects and
adjustments, meaning output TIFF files were 16bit and not 8bit as in
other comparably priced software.
growing use of DSLR and more sophisticated phone cameras sets the
demand for higher specification
processing software. PaintShopPro has been
available in two flavours for many years, namely the ‘Pro’ version
which appeals to the ‘photo-enthusiast’, and the ‘Ultimate’ which
They say that you should
never judge a book by its cover, but the marketing guys have their eye
fully on the game. The boxed editions of the software sport
different covers, the Pro version aimed at the enthusiast has a ‘family
event’; whereas the Ultimate version displays the dedicated worker at
sunrise/set with tripod and DSLR in the spume waiting for that all
PaintShop Pro X6
From September 4, 2013 PaintShop Pro X6 comes into the big league
because it has 64bit processing capability just like
its main rival. If you've no idea why 64bit processing is a good
thing then this 64bit link to
find out what it means ...
64bit gives it the facility to access the juicy extras
in the plugins chest which were inaccessible until now.
All of the
updated Topaz range and Anthropics Portrait Professional Studio 64
amongst those which are yours for the using without going elsewhere.
The OnOne Perfect Suite
operates on *.8li
files which are not read by PaintShopPro.
The ‘Object Remover’ too uses
the 64bit engine. If you purchase the Ultimate version of PaintShop Pro
X6, the ‘goodies’ include PerfectlyClear
Imaging (“the world's most robust automatic image correction” plugin)
and FaceFilter3 by Reallusion
(the Ultimate Photo Beauty Kit).
The 64bit technology confers other spin-offs, including ...
The speed of processing
throughout is greatly enhanced (as a beta tester for this product that
was one of the first comments shared
within the team).
RAM in excess of about 3.5Gb can be utilised
(larger images and greater numbers of layers can be accessed and your
workflow is faster and slicker) the processing engine itself can be
run more efficiently.
In my humble opinion, the layers technology
is more intuitive than that in, say, Elements.
improvements sit between 18% and 80% over the benchmark PaintShopPro X5
for your images has been improved too, with the ease of editing the
Repetitive workflow operations can be speeded up since
been improved and a Scripting Guide is available.
So what do you get for your money?
The Marketing guys stress that the
customer base demands ‘more bang for
the bucks’. Features, price and
performance are what the customers
need. Both PaintShop Pro X6 versions are shipped with free ‘Standard
Standard Membership is the
Pack of brushes,
frames and tubes; the Service Packs; Scripting Guide and access to
Webinars. Returning to my comment about appearance, the
design team has given the UI a complete overhaul. “It was time to hone
the fit and finish of PaintShop Pro.” Minor adjustments to the
screen appearance and the way in which the software interacts with the
user have produced an interface which just looks so much better.
Support is at the centre of the new ‘Help’ tab.
Now all of the
webinars, tutorials, and on-line help is directed from one node – the
Corel have employed a professional
photographer to write photography support pages to supplement those for
software assistance. Beginners will surely benefit from this.
help in the program remains a feature, but if the user has an internet
connection the software will search for the latest help on-line.
The Smart Selection Brush included in PaintShop Pro X6 makes partial
image editing, masking and
edit/copy/paste a much easier process.
From the Organiser Tray in the Edit Workspace, a ‘double-click’ opened
the image of one of Edinburgh’s landmarks. The contrast was low,
necessitating a curves layer adjustment.
to get a better idea of how you can do this simple adjustment.
PaintShop Pro X6 has a button for ‘Contrast’ as a start to making an
The Curves adjustment layer then needs to be combined with the layer to
which it applies Layers > Merge
> Merge Down
With the building looking better, it was time to improve the sky.
A previously adjusted image taken on the same day a few metres away,
with a better sky was dragged from the tray into the layers
palette. So it is ‘click and drag’ for the image from the tray
into the layers palette.
This process was not possible before PaintShop Pro X6.
Smart Selection Brush does just that. It selects
intelligently. Once the selection is made you can use it to make
a mask or you can adjust the selection or you can copy the selection to
use it elsewhere.
With the Smart Selection Brush selected and the feather set at 4; the
area set to ‘outside’; anti-aliasing opted for; smart edge chosen, it
was merely a case of painting the area to be moved to its own layer
above the sky layer Edit > Copy
and Edit > Paste as New Layer
Brush Variance Video
The Final Word
It’s difficult to cover all of the nuances and features in this new
version of the software. The overall appearance is just so much
more appealing – little changes but significant in their overall
The power release of the 64bit engine is the ‘bit under the hood’ you
can’t see, but it is what you feel as you work because you can do so
much more, so much more quickly.
The Smart Selection Brush makes sector editing and adjusting easier,
and masking a dream – that Smart brush is smart!
And it’s less than 4 month’s rental on the other 64bit program we often
My advice is simple: download a FREE 30 day trial from Corel, give it a
full test and then shop around for
the best bargain on this new, and amazing version of Corel's PaintShop