With a revised interface and several helpful new tools, Corel PaintShop Pro X4 is a significant upgrade from the previous version. The image management and editing software takes care of your organizing, editing and sharing needs. Overall, the program offers 75 new or enhanced performance features that include high-dynamic-range processing, tilt-shift lens effects, fill light and clarity filters, and vignetting. With a faster processor, the program now can make adjustments in real time, such as noise reduction and tone mapping.
Navigation is fairly simple, with all of the program’s functionality falling under three tabs across the top of the screen, allowing you to move easily in and out of different workspaces: Manage, Adjust and Edit. Windows only. List Price: $79. Contact: Corel, www.corel.com.
This is where all of the organizing, browsing and previewing takes place. A palette along the right side of the screen shows file metadata, and the Organizer palette at the bottom categorizes images into Trays, making it easier to work with multiple files. You also can upload images to Flickr and Facebook directly from the Organizer.
For doing common editing tasks quickly, the Adjust tab contains brightness, color, saturation and other sliders, as well as tools for cropping, straightening, removing red-eye and more. The One Step Photo Fix feature applies six common photo corrections to your image, while Smart Photo Fix analyzes it and suggests settings for automatically correcting color, brightness, sharpness and saturation. You can apply the suggested settings or do them manually for more control.
This tab contains a more extensive range of photo-manipulation tools, such as creating layers or adding special effects.
High Dynamic Range.
With HDR editing, you can combine photos with multiple exposures into one image that retains the best details of each exposure. To do this in PaintShop Pro X4, simply select the desired thumbnails and click Exposure Merge. From there, you can adjust color, tone, contrast and other elements until you’re satisfied with the final result. For processing sets of bracketed images, there’s a Batch Merge tool that applies a custom, uniform look to several photos at the same time.
This tool lets you merge a few photos into one, so if you’re working with a group portrait and you want to change someone’s facial expression, you can brush out the face and replace it by brushing in a better-looking shot. If you simply want to remove an object, such as a car or telephone pole, you can brush it out.