In the last issue of Shutterbug I reported on Adobe Photoshop Elements 8, and this week Adobe is celebrating their 20th anniversary of Photoshop. Usually when I have a product report like Elements 8 in an issue it results in some questions in my e-mail box. This time most were whether Elements 8 has any more 16-bit file support than previous versions. The answer is that Adobe for now considers 16-bit support professional and so the user should have Photoshop CS 4 which does offer that and much more. Are there any other options? Yes, fortunately we still have many competing manufacturers making many products like automobiles, so we are not stuck with one choice of what to drive.
For the Elements user who wants more support yet does not want to or can’t afford Photoshop CS 4, Corel just made the PaintShop Pro Photo X3 application available. And although Corel has owned this software for just a few years, it has a solid history as an image editing application for Windows users as long or longer than Elements. So how does it compare? Well for the readers of Shutterbug who have questioned me and probably many more who want to move to doing “professional” photo editing, this new version of PaintShop Pro Photo X3 does have support for 16-bit image files.
In addition it has new and improved features that an Elements user may want and need, like a new Organizer, support for Raw format with their Camera RAW Lab so digital camera files can be converted and adjusted, a multiple photo adjustment feature that makes batch processing easier, a Smart Carver image object remover to eliminate unwanted bits and pieces of a photograph, Express Lab that bring the more frequently used image adjustment tools into one window on your computer screen, an Object Extractor that makes masking complex image objects more precisely and easier, and finally amongst the new, Project Creator to output your newly made photo files as books, collages, cards, and most importantly photo slideshows. It supports HD video format slideshows and provides also easy ways to share on YouTube, Facebook and any new internet media to come probably.
Most important to serious digital photographer computer users, PaintShop Pro Photo X3 has all of the image correction and adjustment tools, including gamut optimization or as Adobe calls it Levels, brightness/contrast, color balance, color hue and saturation adjustment, about everything you are used to and expect. The off-side of that is the names and dialogues can be different; but, with just a little effort and thought you can do all the image color correction and adjustment and practice will make the process as easy as using any other software, and there are others, that have also offered advanced manual control of the attributes of digital photographic image files. Corel PaintShop Pro Photo X3 is now about the most complete of serious photo image applications, and the least costly with a list price of $99.95, (and often offered for less) - take a look at