Unlike its archrival Adobe Photoshop, Corel PaintShop Pro will not move to subscription-only pricing. The next edition of Corel's photo editing software for Microsoft Windows is being released to current customers on Thursday, with public availability slated for September 4, said a Corel senior product manager.
X6's predecessor, Corel PaintShop Pro X5, was very feature-rich, with new capabilities like face recognition, mapping, and ShareMyTrip, noted Rick Champagne, senior product manager for Corel's photo and video products, in a briefing for DigitalCameraReview.
"But with X6, we decided to take a step back and look to the future," he told DigitalCameraReview. "We conducted the largest user study in the history of PaintShop Pro."
Corel Wants More Customers
Results showed 76 percent of PaintShop Pro users to be photo enthusiasts and 21 percent to be using the software in their careers, for purposes such as office newsletters, classroom lesson plans, business presentations, and digital signage. Only 3 percent are professional photographers.
In contast, 5 percent of Photoshop's users are professional photographers. PaintShop Pro is also "higher in photo enthusiasts but lower in 'use in career,'" according to Champagne.
With X6, he suggested, Corel wants to continue to meet the evolving needs of enthusiasts -- or "serious hobbyists" -- while attracting more users among the other two groups. Some 58 percent of Corel's enthusiast users compete in photo contests, he observed.
Survey: Users Don't Like Subscription Pricing
Also in the study, Corel determined that, when given three choices, 81 percent of current customers would be either ver likely to choose a non-subscription plan -- ro "purchase the software as it is is offered today." (Other possible choices here included "neither unlikely nor likely," "somewhat unlikely," and "very unlikely.")
Yet 69 percent said they would be "very unlikely" to choose a 12-month subscription plan, and 83 percent would be "very unlikely" to opt for a month-by-month subscription.
"So we have made the decision not to offer subscription plans for PaintShop Pro X6," Champagne said. Corel, he added, will not take the step to subscription pricing for PaintShop Pro unless users show that this is their preference.
The survey also indicated that customers wanted to see improvements such as a refined user interface (UI) and speed enhancements to effects, brushes, and file Open/Save.
Cleaner UI, Smoother Workflow, New Tools, and a 64-Bit Architecture
Consequently, X6 will offer a cleaner UI; smoother workflow between the Adjust, Manage, and Edit sections of the UI; and a faster 64-bit architecture for both the Pro version and the pricier Ultimate edition. Users will be able to install either a 32-bit or 64-bit edition of either package on their PCs.
Also new are a Discovery Center with video tutorials, an Auto Selection tool for "quickly selecting an object by dragging a window," and a Smart Selection Brush for "creating a selection with a quick brushstroke," Champagne said.
In addition, for the first time, Corel will offer the PDF Users Guide within the software itself. In X5, Corel included a portion of the Users Guide within the software, but users had to go to the online Corel Community in order to access the full guide.
Also in X6, Corel wanted to create more value for the Ultimate Edition, according to Champagne. As a result, Ultimate now rolls in more than $300 in professional quality photo editing tools, including a set of automatic image correction tools called Perfectly Clear, along with a collection of royalty-free images, brushes and textures.
Those who purchase either Corel PaintShop Pro or Corel PaintShop Pro Ultimate will also get "free standard membership" privileges which include free webinars, plus downloads of KPT Collection Plugins (32-bit only); service packs; a content pack with brushes, picture frames, and picture tubes; and the PaintShop Pro X6 Scripting Guide and API, for "automating and extending PaintShop Pro," he said.
Corel is pricing the software at $79.99 for PaintShop Pro X6 (or $59.99 for an upgrade) and $99.99 for PaintShop Pro X6 Ultimate (or $79.99 for an upgrade). A bundle combing PaintShop Pro X6 and VideoStudio Pro X6 -- Photo & Video Suite X6 -- will be priced at $129.
Starting September 4, product information will be available on Corel's web site.