PaintShop Pro X8 Standard & Ultimate Review An alternative to Photoshop CC, with no cloud subscription

Corel-Painshop-Pro-X8-Review-Featured

Paintshop Pro X8 Review In Few Words (Mini Review)

PaintShop Pro X8 is a good Adobe Photoshop that only costs a fraction of its price. It can do many of the things Photoshop can. On the top of that, you don’t need to keep paying for a subscription like in case of Photoshop.

When it comes to the actual work, PaintShop Pro X8 comes with many nice features that are easy to use, even for those who are not versed in Photo-editing, though it is recommended you learn how to use the program. Something that can be done freely thanks to the Discovery Center from Corel.

If you are looking for an art software, there is a good chance PaintShop Pro X8 will have all the features you want, and since it is a robust option for editing photo, you are very likely going to be satisfied with it.


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Pros Of Paintshop Pro X8

  • A good Photo-editing software for those who can’t afford Photoshop.
  • The Ultimate version of PaintShop Pro X8 contains a bonus pack, a collection of additional programs that enables you to do more.
  • You can buy the software once and use it for eternity, without the need to pay monthly subscription like in case with Adobe Photoshop.

Cons Of Paintshop Pro X8

  • The preview feature of the program can be a bit choppy, even on a powerful computer.

Paintshop Pro X8 Features

  • Good application for Photography, painting, and managing your own photos.
  • Get all the versatility of Paint Shop Pro, plus a great collection of premium photo software and content (With Ultimate version only).
  • Paint Shop Pro X8 is an easier, faster choice for comprehensive photo-editing and graphic design.
  • Available on Disk or as a download.
  • Compatible with Windows 10, Windows 8/8.1, Windows 7 with latest service pack (32-bit or 64-bit editions).

Paintshop Pro X8 Is Suitable For:-

  • All sorts of Photo-Editing.
  • Painting & creating artworks on the side, and it already supports pressure sensitivity.

An Ultimate Solution To Manage, Adjust & Edit Photos

PaintShop Pro X8 is a good Photoshop alternative for anyone who is looking into a program to Manage, edit & adjust their photos.

In this review, I will give you a tour of all the things you need to know about PaintShop Pro X8, and so you could decide whether it is for you or not.

An Alternative To Photoshop CC

A cool thing about PaintShop Pro X8 is that you can pay for it only once, and use then it to your heart contents, that makes it a good alternative to Photoshop CC, which requires a monthly or yearly subscription. While you can still buy a full Photoshop Elements today, there is no guarantee that Adobe won’t turn it into a cloud subscription in the future. In additional to that, PaintShop Pro X8 has some features that are not available in Elements, like the support for 16-bit images, which is great in case you want a program to use for extensive image editing.

What Are The Differences Between Paintshop Pro X8 Ultimate & Standard Editions

PaintShop Pro X8 comes in two versions, standard & ultimate. The Ultimate is more expensive, but it offers additional things than standard.

When it comes to photo-editing, both the standard & ultimate editions of PaintShop Pro X8 does exactly the same things, however, the differences between the two comes to the bundled stuff. Ultimate comes with bundled software, like ON1 Perfect Effects 9.5, Corel® AfterShot™ 2 & Perfectly Clear by Athentech Imaging. While these versions doesn’t have everything you will get by buying them separately, they are good & useful to have nonetheless for the price difference.

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Also, PaintShop Pro X8 ultimate edition comes with Creative Collection, which includes tons of brushes, textures & royalty free backgrounds to use to your heart content.

Here are what the 3 software that comes with PaintShop Pro X8 Ultimate can do:-

  • ON1 Perfect Effects 9.5:- Tons of customizable filters and presets.
  • Corel® AfterShot™ 2:- Helps you manage large photo collections, and enhance your RAW files.
  • Perfectly Clear 2 SE by AthentWech:- And easy way to automatically correct your photos.
  • Creative Collection:- An extensive collection of brushes, textures and royalty-free backgrounds for you to use.


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Two Versions In One

When you install PaintShop Pro X8, you can either install the 32-bit version, the 64-bit version, or both. The 32-bit version is useful in case your computer doesn’t support 64-Bit, or in case you have 32-bit plug-ins you want to keep on using.

Once you run PaintShop Pro X8, you will be presented with the user interface, which we will take a look at right now:-

Paintshop Pro X8 User Interface

There are 3 sections in PaintShop Pro X8, each do a certain functionality & user interface, which can help streamline your workflow.

The user interface sections of Paintshop Pro X8 are Manage, Adjust & Edit.

Manage

is PaintShop Pro X8’s way to help you organize your photos, you can rate pictures or tags them and view pictures based on all that. You can also do the following, and more:-

  • View your photos in slideshow
  • Switch to existing the photo to edit them in the editor.
  • Find photos based on tags and other information associated with them.
  • It also allows you to have smart collections, where pictures that meet certain criteria can be displayed, like recently edited pictures, or photos from last month.

To a good degree, the manage section is like a photo organizer, it is similar to adobe bridge equivalent in Photoshop. Also, if you have used Picasa, Adobe Lightroom, or any application that manages photos, then you have a very good idea about what Manage section is.

The Adjust Section

This is the section where you can make tons of adjustments on the photos in the selected folder.

in more than one place, PaintShop Pro X8 can suggest to you which settings you should do, which is useful in case you are inexperienced on photo editing, or just quickly want to see how better your image can be, you can try these settings.

The Edit Section

Is the editor, where you can manipulate the photo to your heart contents, you can do many of the things in the other tabs here, but it may not be as fast. If you plan to use PaintShop Pro X8 for painting in additional to photo-editing, this is where you can get your work done.

Support For Photoshop Brushes

In a world dominated by Photoshop, the web is full with all sorts of brushes that are made for it. Fortunately for us, PaintShop Pro X8 can import Photoshop brushes as well, without the need to do any converting. All you need to do is to choose File -> Import -> Custom brushes, and PaintShop Pro X8 will allow you to choose Photoshop or PaintShop Pro X8 brushes to load.

Choppy Preview

One of the things I didn’t like about PaintShop Pro X8 is how kinda choppy the preview felt, even though the computer I tested it on was very powerful enough to run Photoshop CC blazingly fast. It is not that it made it the application unusable or anything, but this is something I hope Corel to fix in future versions.

Things You Can Do In Paintshop Pro X8

In case you are wondering what you can do with PaintShop Pro X8, here is an extensive list of some of the things you can do with it:-

Magic Fill

slow

Erase unwanted objects from your photo, to do so, you only need to select the object and PaintShop Pro X8 will do the work for you. This feature is the equivalent of content-aware fill in Photoshop.

Painting Tools

painting-drawing-tools

In additional for being a good software for editing & managing your photos, PaintShop Pro X8 is also has a variety of tools to allow you to paint & create artworks as well.

Vector Tools

PaintShop Pro X8 has various vector tools, either to create shapes using the pen tool, or to draw from pre-made shapes.

Location Mapping

photo-mapping

You can map your photos to real world location, which is done by using the GPS data stored in your photos by your camera at the time you took the photo, your camera must has GPS support for this to work. You can also assign locations to your photos manually using Google maps directly from within PaintShop Pro X8.

Share My Trip

share-my-trip

This compliments the Location Mapping feature, with Share My Trip, you can create a slideshow to link your photos to a MAP. Once you create the slideshow, you can upload it to dropbox & share it on Facebook.

When anyone run the slideshow, they will see a map where the picture was taken, along with the picture itself. This feature also integrates beautifully with Google map, and people may use Google street view to see the place where the photo where taken.

Social Media Sharing

social-media-sharing

Share your photos to your social media accounts directly from within PaintShop Pro X8. This feature supports many of the popular social media networks, like Facebook, Google+ & Flickr.

Discovery Center

video-learning

The Discovery Center from Corel contains tons of free tutorials to help you learn PaintShop Pro X8 or become better at it. The projects & tutorials there range from Photography, photo-editing, and Raw images editing. Corel even has a YouTube Channel for the Discovery Center.

Scripting Engine

powerful-scripting-engine

Record & automate any common task you do with the scripting engine in PaintShop Pro X8. If you came from another art program, you are likely going to be familiar with this feature.

3rd Party Plug-Ins

third-party-plugins

PaintShop Pro X8 supports many plug-ins, which are external programs that can be added to it to extend its abilities. The plug-in support includes 64-bit plug-ins.

The plug-in support is not limited to PaintShop Pro’s own plug-ins, but it also supports Adobe Photoshop plug-ins (According to Corel’s website).

Supports A Wide Range Of Photos

PaintShop Pro X8 supports tons of file formats, both when it comes to importing or exporting your photos, this includes the support for PSD file format, the file format used by Adobe Photoshop.

PaintShop Pro X8 allows you to export your photos to the following extensions:-

BMP, CAL, CALS, CLP, CUT, DCX, DIB, EMF, EPS, AI, PS, GIF, HDP, WDP, IFF, IMG, JP2, J2C, J2K, JPC, JPX, JPG, JIF, JPE, JPEG, MAC, MSP, PBM, PCX, PGM, PIC, PPM, PNG, PSD, PSP (PSPIMAGE FILES), RAS, RAW, RIF, RIFF, RLE, SCT, CT, JPS, PNS, TGA, TIF, TIFF, WBMP, WBM, WEBP, WMF

And it allows you to import all the following file formats:-

AI, BMP, CAL, CALS, CGM, CLP, CMX*, CT, CUR, CUT, DCX, DIB, DRW*, EMF, EPS, GIF, HDP, HGL*, HPG*, IFF, IMG, J2C, J2K, JIF, JP2, JPC, JPE, JPEG, JPG, JPS, JPX, MAC, MPO, MRW, MSP, PBM, PCD*, PCT, PCX, PDF, PGL*, PGM, PIC, PICT, PNG, PNS, PPM, PS, PSD, PSP (PSP image files), RAS, RAW, RIF, RLE, SCT, SVG, SVGZ, TGA, TIF, UFO, WBM, WBMP, WDP, WEBP, WMF, WPG**

Note:- WPG is not supported in the 64 version of PaintShop Pro X8.

Portrait Retouching Abilities

portrait-retouching

This feature makes it easier to retouch faces using a variety of tools, some of the things you can do here are removing of red-eye, getting rid of blemishes and unwanted lines, smoothing the skin, making teeth look whiter, or unify the skin tones.

Extract Objects From Your Photo Quite Easily

object-extractor

With this feature, you can separate objects from your photo & use them in other one, or to add your own background behind it.

A Step-By-Step Photo Editing Software

comprehensive-photo-editing

The 3 tabs user interface in PaintShop Pro X8 covers all your photo-editing needs, each tab supports a different way of working, and has its own unique interface. Here are what the 3 interfaces can do, I explained what each of the 3 tabs can do in more details earlier in this review:-

  • Adjust:- Crop, straighten, retouch, and fix photos.
  • Edit:- Further refinement, painting, composition.
  • Manage:- Browse, tag & organize.

Retro Lab

retro-lab

With Retro Lab, you can make your photos looks as if it were taken so long ago.

Add Instant Effects To Your Photos

instant-effects

This feature, which you can access from the Manage tab in PaintShop Pro X8, allows you to select from tons of effects, like Film Style, or Black & White, and apply it on your picture.

Selective Focus

selective-focus

You can imitate tilt-shift with this feature, Tilt-Shift is a feature in many digital cameras, where only the middle part of the camera has focus. Even if your camera or Smartphone can’t produce images with that effect. PaintShop Pro X8 allows you to produce that effect without the need to buy a new camera.

Web Tools

web-tools

Save your photos use it on the web using Web Tools. Some of the things you can do here is to slice your images, so that the image would load as multiple parts on the browser, which could speed up the loading speed of the image.

Webtools can also create rollover buttons, which are buttons that change appearance based on when the mouse hover them, or when you actually click on them.

Photo Restoration

photo-restoration

Have a damaged old photo? You can easily restore it using the photo restoration tools in PaintShop Pro X8. For one, the fade correction tool can help you restore the lost color & contrast.

And the scratch remover tool can remove scratches from them. There are more photo restoration tools to PaintShop Pro X8 than the two I just mentioned.

And so on.

A Wide Variety Of Text Tools

comprehensive-text-tools (4)

Create a variety of text, using PaintShop Pro X8’s various text tools. You can create text using any of the fonts installed on your computers. Text can have any color you want, and it can be either vertical or horizontal. Also, PaintShop Pro X8 supports many of the common word processor tools, like text aligning & leading adjustment.


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New Features In Paintshop Pro X8?

In case you came from an older version of PaintShop Pro, and you are wondering what features are new in this release, following is a comprehensive list of what is new in this version of the program.

Text Wrapping

text-wrapping

This feature makes it easier to automatically wrap text fill a shape or a selection. Something useful in marketing materials or when you create layouts

Magic Move

magic-move (1)

This new tool makes it easier to move objects around your photo, without the need to rebuild the background behind the object. As PaintShop Pro will do the work for you here.

To be quite honest, I have tried this tool on multiple images, and it didn’t work as expected.

If you are familiar with Photoshop, this tool is equivalent of the Content-Aware move in it.

Note:- Whether you are using this tool in Photoshop, PaintShop Pro X8 or any other art program, this tool is not always perfect, but it can help speed up your editing in a lot of situations.

Precise Selection

precise-selections

Define selection by height, width, or aspect ratio. This can be used in tons of situations, like cropping pictures to fit a certain aspect ratio.

Lens Correction

lens-correction

Depending on the kind of lens you have in your digital camera, there may be some distortion in the photos you take that needs correction, the type of distortion depends on the type of camera lens you used and what kind of photo you took, there may be some distortions caused by the len that needs correction.

The lens correction is part of the Raw Lab, and it lists a number of lens that are already supported, and it your camera len is not supported or anything, you can manual apply the corrections on your photos.

4K Monitor Support

4k-monitor-support

The icons of PaintShop Pro X8 has been enhanced so that even if you have a high resolution 4K monitor, the user interface will look fine in it, and the icons won’t look choppy or small there.

Faster & Larger Brushes

faster-larger-brushes

Many brushes in PaintShop Pro X8 has been optimized, which gives The increase is between %40 – %120 in performance.

Also, the largest brush size allowed was increased to 3,000 pixels, as opposed to 999 in the previous version.

Layer Enhancements

layer-enhancements

Layers now are easier to use. And now you can search for layer by its name & merge selected layers.

Enhanced Features In Paintshop Pro X8

In case you came from a previous version of PaintShop Pro, and you wanted to know the improvement on the existing features. Following are a list of the enhancement of all the previously existing features:-

Batch Mode

batch-mode

Edit many photos the same way all at once with the enhanced batch feature. Apply Watermarks or resize many photos all at once. Batch mode can also be used to delete specific information from your photo as well, like the location it was taken in.

Smart Edge

smart-edge

Smart edge works faster by %50 now. Smart Edge is a feature that allows you to select objects on your photo, all you do is to click & drag around the object, and PaintShop Pro X8 will do the rest for you.

For Photoshop users, this is equivalent to the Magnetic Lasso Tool.

Built-In Learning Center

built-in-learning

The learning center, which gives you tips as you work & make your life easier. The learning center now comes with extra tips for you to work on your photos.

The Learning Center work in multiple of ways, for one, it shows you many categories, each contains common tasks that PaintShop Pro X8 will either do for you, or guide you along the way for that. This is useful in case you want to do a common task, but you don’t know how to do it specifically in PaintShop Pro X8. That’s especially the case if you migrated from another photo-editing application.

In case the task is something that PaintShop Pro X8 for you, you can either go with the default parameters, or adjust the settings of the action to suit your needs.

The learning center also displays instructions on how to use any of the tools available in PaintShop Pro X8, all you have to do is to select the tool, and it displays steps on how to use it.

The learning center can be opened by selecting View > Palettes > Learning Center from the main menu.

Camera RAW Lab

camera-raw-lab

The camera RAW lab now comes with a bigger preview window. It also comes with a Before & After window to make it easier for you to see how your adjustments are going.

Text & Shape Cutting

text-shape-cutting

Fill text & shapes with images easily with the Text & Shape cutting. This feature now has the Cutter Previous button, which allows you to see how the text looks like before you cut it, and without having to lower the opacity of the text layer.

Graduated Filter Effect

graduated-filter-effect

This is one more trick that used to be done using camera’s lens, one that you can now do even if you don’t have a camera that supports that feature,create

Add unique color gradient on the edge of your photos

As much as I tried this feature in both PaintShop Pro X7 & X8, I couldn’t find what changed in this feature. It could be the performance though.

Preview Gradients

Preview-gradients

In material properties dialog, you can now preview gradients changes as you make them.

Faster Saving

faster-saving

Saving to PSPImage files, the native file format of Painshop Pro, is up to %50 faster now.

Paintshop Pro X8 System Requirements

  • One of the following Windows versions:- 32-bit or 64-bit Windows 7 with latest service pack, Windows 8/8.1 or Windows 10.
  • Intel or AMD 1.5 GHz or faster processor with SSE2 supported (multi-core processor recommended).
  • 2 GB RAM (4 GB or higher is recommended).
  • 1 GB hard disk space (2 GB is recommended).
  • The display resolution should be at least 1024 x 768, with 16-bit color display (having a 1366 x 768 resolution with 24-bit or higher color display is recommended).
  • DirectX 9 or higher compatible audio card with latest driver.
  • Internet connection is required for online features and tutorial videos.
  • Windows compatible CD/DVD drive for installation.
  • ON1 Perfect Effects 9 is compatible with 64-bit systems only.

And Finally

PaintShop Pro X8, the old Photoshop alternative, came bundled with many new features & enhancements. Which includes tuned performance and features to make editing easier, like Magic Move. It is a software I recommend to anyone looking for a good Photoshop alternative that’s cheaper, or one that doesn’t require a cloud subscription, then you found what you are looking for.

I hope you liked my PaintShop Pro X8 review, and see you again in another review. ^^


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SweetMonia
I am an anime artist, and huge fan of digital art. I love drawing with pencils too. But I rarely do that anymore nowadays. Since some aspects of digital art can be tricky, I try my best to explain the concepts as easily as possible.