Corel recently released its latest version of PaintShop Pro X4 and includes 75 new features including HDR generation, adjustment layers, Photo Blend, better workspaces and an overall improved performance. I found that it’s actually 3 applications in one, which was a really pleasant surprise. We’ll be taking a look at most of the new features in our walkthrough.
Plus, we’re giving away 5 free copies of PaintShop Pro X4 this week!
Upon initial launch, PaintShop Pro X4 will display a quite intro and show you how to get around its new tabbed workspace. There are basically three tabs: Manage, Adjust and Edit.
The Manage tab essentially allows you to utilise PaintShop Pro X4 as a photo manager to rate, organise and tag your photos. Adding photos to PaintShop Pro X4 is easily with its integrated navigator. Once you’ve selected your photos, you can also add them into a particular collection.
While still in the Manage workspace, you’ll be shown the currently selected photo and its EXIF information. You’ll also be able to tag and caption the image via the info panel on the right (which is collapsable).
Moving on to the Adjust workspace, you’ll find yourself surrounded by basic image adjustment options like cropping, straightening, red-eye removal, blemish removal; as well as colour balance adjustments options.
There is also a simple one-click “Suggest settings” button which automatically enhances the image — usually, I never rely on image editors to correct my photos but the settings suggested by PaintShop Pro X4 were quite good!
When operating with a multi-image environment, you could be working on one image and switch to another without saving the applied changes. PaintShop Pro X4 has a built-in Auto-Save feature which automatically records your changes and saves the latest changes. It also saves a copy of your original image.
Finally, we reach the Edit workspace, which is the most advanced and functional workspace of the three. This is where the heavy duty image editing happens. you have your usual array of tools on the left and tool options in the top bar. Included in the latest version of PaintShop Pro X4 is Adjustment layers, which is seen on the right.
PaintShop Pro X4 comes with a lot of image effects and filters (more than you would guessed) and provides a very convenient Effects Browser, which displays a preview of how the effect would be applied to your image. This helps to allow you to select the effect you need.
And like so many image editors these days, PaintShop Pro X4 has also succumbed to the “film effects” craze and supplied a Time Machine loaded with various effects on different types of films and development methods.
Another welcome addition is the HDR generator, which not only seemed to work amazingly well, but also provided several different image presets. Usually, in order to achieve this, you’ll have to tweak a couple of settings manually in a HDR application like Photomatix but PaintShop Pro X4 takes all the guesswork out of the equation.
With the recent boost in interest in photography and image editing, a regular user will have to choose between a photo manager, a simple image editor, a HDR application and a more advanced image editor (which will most definitely cost more). Corel PaintShop Pro X4 is all that in one application — and it only costs $79.99. Buy it as a digital download from their online store.
We’ve got 5 free copies of Corel PaintShop Pro X4 to give away this week!
Here’s how you can be in the running to win one for yourself.
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This giveaway begins now and ends on Friday, October 21st. The winners will be selected at random and announced via email.
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