For true digital photo buffs as well as the less artistically inclined, Corel on Wednesday unveiled PaintShop Pro X4, the latest edition of its extensive but relatively inexpensive Windows-based photo editing app.
Photo editing tools are no longer the province of professional photographers only, noted Craig Copley, Corel's senior product manager, in a briefing for NotebookReview.com.
Many end users today want to spruce up personal photos they're posting to social networking sites,or to enhance images they're adding to business Web sites, blogs, and newsletters.
The Windows-based PaintShop Pro X4 is designed with this whole gamut of customers in mind.
Three new workspaces for ease of use
For greater ease of use, Corel has redesigned the product around three new workspaces: Adjust, Edit, and Manage. The tools needed for performing tasks in these three categories are readily at hand through clickable icons in the respective workspaces, according to Copley.
"The workspaces are where everything is. You can just get in there and get started," Copley remarked. "But the workspaces aren't just for beginners. The idea is that you can quickly make a lot of changes."
In the Adjust workspace, for example, you'll find tools for cropping, straightening, and color balance and brightness.
Corel has also provided expanded help, including video tutorials, according to Corel's senior product manager.
For users who want to share the results of their work online, PaintShop Pro X4 is tightly integrated with Corel Organizer, an app that offers direct posting to Facebook.
Advanced tools for photo experts
At the same time, though, isn't about to leave its long-time user base of digital photo enthusiasts out in the cold.
Corel PaintShop Pro X4 also provides a large aresenal of advanced tools. With an HDR (high dynamic range) tool named photo blend, for example, you can perform digital photo tricks that even seasoned paparazzi would envy, removing a person from a photo, or combining the best poses from each group member in a group shot.
Another tool, dubbed fill light clarity, lets you fill in dark areas of a photo with "more exposure to get more light and details in there," he said. Meanwhile, a new effect known as vignette adds a "diffuse glow" to images.
The 18 months spent on development -- including both internal and external beta tests -- also produced a product with a smaller footprint, for quicker downloads, and GPU acceleration, for faster load times, Copley said.
Corel PaintShop Pro X4 is available immediately for $79, or for $59 as an upgrade. Corel is also offering a free one-month trial version.
An "Ultimate" edition of the product can be purchased for $99, or through a $79 upgrade. Corel PaintShop Pro X4 Ultimate adds professional-level tools such as royalty-free images from Totolia; a premium collection of Picture Tubes; and 52 filters from Color Efex Pro.
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