DigitalCameraReview.com
Corel Rolls Out a Socially Polished PaintShop Pro X5
by Jacqueline Emigh -  9/5/2012

For socially oriented photo enthusiasts along with professional photographers and Web designers, Corel on Wednesday rolled out PaintShop Pro X5, a new edition of its digital imaging sofware. The latest release brings new features such as photo mapping, face recognition and vacation trip sharing, along with enhancements to special effects and social media connectivity.

X5 builds on the "strong base" established by PaintShop Pro X4, a major redesign revolving around separate workspaces for Adjust, Edit, and Manage, said Craig Copley, Corel's senior product manager, in a briefing for DigitalCameraReview.com.

"We're giving people a wider toolset to work with," according to Copley.

New features known as Places and Share My Trip are integrated with Google Maps, Copley said. If a photo already contains location information, you can instantly show it on a map through a function in Places called Map Mode. You can also add location info either by dragging and dropping a photo on to a map or by using GPS data or Facebook check-in points.

"If I want to search by location, I can accumulate all of my photos from Taiwan, for example, into a collection," he illustrated.

Share My Trip, on the other hand, allows you to place your vacation photos on an interactive map, which can then be shared either through a blog, by uploading directly to Facebook, or by sending links to friends through Dropbox. Friends are also able to view the route of the trip, and to zoom in on the surrounding area through Google Street View.

Also in the social networking arena, you can now upload photos simultaneously to your Facebook, Flickr and Google+ accounts. "[The software] tells me who is tagged, but I can remove that info if I want people in the photos to remain anonymous," Copley noted.

Another new feature, People, is designed to let you organize photos of people more easily. It uses face recognition to automatically build collections of people with similar facial features.

New Special Effects

Also new are Retro Lab, for applying effects inspired by vintage-style pocket cameras, and Graduated Filter, for adjusting the color, gradient style, opacity, blend and rotation of selected areas of a photo without affecting other portions of it.

In addition, to make it easier to apply special effects, Corel has added an Instant Effects palette which lets your choose quickly from descriptive thumbnails in categories such as Artistic, Retro, Traditional, Portrait, Film Styles, and Black and White.

For more advanced photographers, Corel has added a new feature called Single RAW Photo, aimed at letting you bring out more detail by splitting a single RAW photo into three exposures and then recombining the exposures to create an HDR (high dynamic range)-style effect.

Corel has also expanded the HDR functionality of the product with a new Preview Alignment option and improvements to Exposure Merge, Auto Brush, and Batch Merge, Copley said. 

Available immediately as a download from Corel's Web site and through Corel resellers worldwide, PaintShop Pro X5 carries an MSRP of $79.99. Corel is also offering an Ultimate edition, priced at $99.99, which includes extras such as Nik-Color Efex Pro 3.0 photo filters and REALLUSION FaceFilter Studio 2.0 portrait enhancement tools. Alternatively, for $129, you can purchase Photo and Video Suite X5, a bundle combining the X5 editions of both PaintShop Pro and Corel's Video Studio Pro.