Corel Paintshop Pro X8 Ultimate

This week I got my hands on a copy of Corel Paintshop Pro X8 Ultimate and I must say I was pleasantly surprised.

Coming from PSP X6, I wasn't sure what to expect as I skipped X7 because it didn't seem like a worthwhile upgrade. PSP X6 already had everything I needed so the upgrade to X8 took me a while to decide on.

For those of you who haven't been able to decide on upgrading, here's a preview ...



As you can see, nothing much has changed as far as the basic interface goes. In fact, to me it looks exactly the same as PSP X6 and that's a good thing.



Keeping the interface the same means that regular users will feel right at home, with no need to search for anything or struggle to do what you were previously accustomed to doing.

Corel has done some extensive work under the hood though and this is primarily why I'm glad I went for the new version.

I had several reasons for upgrading and one of those was the fact that Corel Paintshop Pro X8 Ultimate now ships with Corel Aftershot 2. For those unfamiliar with Aftershot, it's a RAW editor and although not on the same level as Canon's Digital Photo Professional, it comes quite close. This makes it a pretty decent RAW editor in my book.

Why would I want Aftershot when Canon's Digital Photo Professional is so great you may ask? Well, I got a new Samsung phone a while ago and its camera can now capture RAW photos. Since my Canon software can't edit these files, it's a nice free extra from Corel that now allows me to shoot RAW with my cellphone, and edit with a professional grade RAW editor. Also, Corel Aftershot 2 is much more powerful than Paintshop's Camera RAW Lab which also supports these RAW files from my phone.

I hope you're not disappointed but I've decided I'm not going to do a full review in this post. I'll be using PSP X8 for all my new posts for some time to come and this will give everyone a good idea of how the new version works.
I think this will be much more useful than trying to sound clever about Paintshop's new features vs some other Editor as you always see with the standard type of review.

Well then, back to Paintshop.
The interface has seen a lot of performance improvements, at least it does on my Dell. Editing and preview updates feel a lot smoother and faster. Obviously when you are working with large Tiffs there will be a couple of seconds delay but this is to be expected as I don't have a monstrous machine with 32GB of RAM. I work primarily on my Dell laptop with an  Intel I5 cpu with 8GB of RAM.

Corel Paintshop Pro X8 Ultimate comes with some other free add ons like Perfectly Clear which, by the way, is embedded in Paintshop's function menus and that means you open it straight from Paintshop and the changes are applied back into Paintshop.

Perfect Effects 9 also ship with the new Paintshop version along with some more free stuff that you download straight from Corel's website. I haven't had time to test everything yet which is why I'm not listing these by name.

Overall, the most important changes for me has to do with the enhanced editing experience. As always, Corel has focused on making life for photographers easy and simple. Don't we all deserve more time behind the camera?

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