I enjoy my photography, and I enjoy manipulating and drawing graphics.  However, maybe like most people I can not afford, or justify spending the best part of £600 on Adobe Photoshop.  I must admit I have never even used Photoshop, and whilst I would quite like the kudos of being able to say that I had ‘photo-shopped it’, unless I win the lottery soon, or land some seriously big contracts then it will remain out of reach for me.  I have no doubt that it is a first class product, although some say notoriously difficult to get to grips with, and a lifetime to learn it properly.  Factor in as well the 1.5 – 2 year cycle of new versions of software, and it gets seriously expensive, I could buy a new PC every year for that sort of cash investment.

OK so some may argue that Adobe cater for the ‘casual’ user (read poor) with Adobe Elements (currently version 6), which it does to some extent, Elements I have found is too ‘stripped’ of some of the heavyweight features that makes Photoshop worth getting in the first place.  Sure it’s great for those that just want to correct an exposure, crop a picture or remove red eye, but I have found other ‘elements’ of this back to basics package too restrictive.

Thank the Lord for the snappily named Corel Paintshop Pro Photo X2.   PSP Photo X2 is most often compared with elements due to it’s affordable price tag of around £70.  This is doing PSP Photo X2 an injustice as Corels product is more closely matched with the features that can be found in Photoshop.  X2 has been given a cosmetic makeover for this release and sports the graphite grey that is very much in vogue at the moment in art and design packages.  It is stuffed to the gills with advanced and desirable features such as HDR photomerge, auto preserving of the original image, perspective correction, selective colour change, enhanced makeover tools and enhanced black and white filters for producing half decent monotone images.  I have been using this software since it’s release in 2007 and have found it to be very stable and mature product, which in my experience is very unlike Corel, I have been a Corel Draw user for many years and have found Corel Draw releases very buggy and unstable, until the 2nd or 3rd patch is released.  This software however runs reasonably quickly on my 1.6mhz dual core system with 3gb ram and is a pleasure to use.

Interestingly Corel now own three photo manipulation software packages Photoimpact 12 (previously developed by Ulead), Corel Photo Paint and now Corel PSP Photo X2 (previously developed by Jasc), one has to ask why?  However Corel in my opinon Corel have come up trumps with X2, and it provides a perfect platform for photo editing, and whilst not the coverted Photoshop, it’s getting closer all the time.