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Corel PaintShop Pro X8 Review

We look at the latest version of Corel PaintShop Pro X8 with new tools and enhanced features.

| Corel PaintShop Pro X8 in Corel Paint Shop Pro & Painter
BUY NOW COREL PaintShop Pro X8

Ease Of Use
System Requirements

Corel PaintShop Pro X8 Review : Corel Paintshop Pro X8 PaintShop Pro X8 is the latest version of PaintShop Pro and comes equipped with several new tools, enhanced features and of course, essential tools all photo editors rely on. You can buy PaintShop Pro X8 as a standard or ultimate edition, depending on what you want and how much budget you have. There are also 64-bit and 32-bit versions available on download. The difference between the standard and Ultimate versions is that Ultimate comes with a collection of add-ons which includes AfterShot 2, on1 Perfect Effects 9.5 and Perfectly Clear 2 SE.

The software is designed for the photo enthusiast who wants software that can act as a photo manager, editor and adjustor in one easy-to-use package that won't break the bank. Here, we put it to the test to see how good the latest version really is. 


Corel PaintShop Pro X8 Features


New features of PaintShop Pro X8

  • Text wrapping
  • Magic Move tool
  • Selection style options
  • Tolerance setting on the Smart Selection Brush 
  • Lens Correction
  • Higher resolution 4k monitor support
  • Before / After button
  • Save behaviour and Save as options
  • Swatches in the Material Properties
  • Cutter Preview for Shape Cutter and Text Cutter 
  • Gradient Preview 

Enhanced features of PaintShop Pro X8:

  • Batch processing
  • Selection tool options 
  • Faster & more responsive
  • Layer workflow
  • Camera RAW Lab

PaintShop Pro X8 features 3 applications in one: Manage, Adjust and Edit which give you access to tools specific for that particular task, keeping the interface clean and making it easier to use / understand. As well as those listed above, other tools you'll find in PaintShop Pro X8 include the Smart Selection Brush, various palettes for adjusting and sorting images, the Auto Selection tool, Magic Fill, HDR processing and much, much more. To quicken the editing process, options to create batch edits, custom presets and scripting are also included. Plus, a variety of file formats are supported including RAW file support from more than 300 camera models.

For those new to the software, you can access the online help / learning centre and discovery centre where video and text tutorials can be viewed. There's also a PDF guide and 'getting started' windows built into the software which provide an overview of tools / features. 


Corel PaintShop Pro X8 Ease Of Use

When you first open up Corel PaintShop Pro X8 you're welcomed by the Manage screen but you can switch to another work area with ease by selecting the appropriate tab found towards the top of the interface. 


Manage: For those who have used Lightroom and are considering switching, you'll be familiar with the layout of the Manage workspace and options it offers. For those new to image management, you'll soon find your way around the interface as it's really easy to navigate. 

When opening and accessing images, the software responds quickly and once opened, you can organise and tag your photos. You can view images by date, create / add image tags you can use as search parameters, add place details, star ratings and one other interesting option which is people. With this tool you can create separate folders for different people and each time you add new portraits, you can ask the software to scan the photo and it will use face recognition to organise your photos. Then, when in thumbnail mode, you can view the portrait grouped together, add a name to the group (if a new face) or add the images to a 'people' collection you've already created. 

Using the full-screen preview you can quickly zoom to 1:1 / 100% / Actual pixels by just clicking the mouse on an area you want to zoom into, should you wish to take a closer look at one part of an image.

To the right of the Manage workspace area is a column which stores the camera's data which can be edited / added to. 


Corel PaintShop Pro X8 Review : PSP X8 Manage Work Space


Adjust: Here you can make quick edits to an image by adjusting sliders or inputting figures. The usual options you'd expect to feature in this area do appear along with artistic filters you can apply by simply double-clicking on the one you want to use. When using the preset filters, you are given a preview in a thumbnail sized image but you have to double-click the effect and actually apply it to make it appear on your larger shot. There's also options for cropping images, straightening photos, removing redeye, cloning and a makeover option that fixes blemishes etc. Corel have made all of the options easy to use and edit so even someone who's not used editing software before should find the Adjust workspace useful. 


Corel PaintShop Pro X8 Review : PSP X8 Adjust Window


Edit: This is where you can access all of the controls / features / tools of PaintShop Pro X8 you may want to use to edit your images. There is an abundance of options to choose from as well as tools to play with and the layout isn't overly complicated, making the edit panel easy to navigate. Due to the amount of tools available, it would take a long time to review each individual option but we have looked at the new features in more detail in our performance section. 


Corel PaintShop Pro X8 Review : PSP X8 Edit Window


Corel PaintShop Pro X8 Performance

The software opens up at an impressive rate and saves images / shuts down quickly, too. Switching between work areas isn't lightning fast, but it's not so slow you'll be sat twiddling your thumbs either. However, we did occasionally have some performance issues when applying some edits, particularly presets, where you could physically see the effect loading on the image line by line or the load bar taking a while to fill up. 

There are plenty of useful tools found in the Edit option (too many to mention in fact), all of which are accompanied by tips from the Learning Centre which appear in a column on the right hand side. They're really handy for beginners, but those who have a little more photo editing knowledge can simply close them if not needed. 

Corel say that brushes are more responsive and are quicker to use by 40-120% and after playing around with a few of them, edits are applied smoothly and we didn't experience any lag issues with the tool. Plus, the brush sizes have also been increased which makes it easier to apply edits to more of the image at once. Corel also says that you should see up to 50% faster performance when using the Enhanced Smart Edge function however, we still experienced a little lag when using this function on some tools. 

With Paintshop Pro X8 comes a barrel full of new features, of which we've tested the performance of below. 


Text Wrapping

Text Wrapping lets you wrap text inside any vector shape or selection. It's a handy feature should you wish to add text to a specific area of an image that's not a regular shape. Choose your shape or draw your selection using any of the selection tools then select the text tool and type your text. When you do, the text automatically wraps within the shape you've created. It's a great time-saver and as with many of PaintShop Pro X8's features, is easy to use. 

Corel PaintShop Pro X8 Review : Text wrapping function in PaintShop Pro X8


Magic Move Tool

With Magic Move you can select an object or person in your photo, move it to another part of the image and the software will automatically fill the empty area so that it matches the surrounding background. It's basically a content-aware feature and when it works well, it is a great little tool but it can take some time to get to grips with. To figure out how to use it we had to refer to the online help guide as it's not obvious what you need to do at first but basically, there's a little icon you press after you've made your selection and this tool allows you to move the selection. After doing so, the empty area is filled with a content-aware fill that matches the surrounding background.

We did have to undo and readjust a few times, but it was nice to see we didn't have to be too precise when making a selection. We also found the empty area the software filled didn't blend with the background very well at first as the patterns in the wave looked too repetitive. However, with a quick adjustment of the Feather amount, it was blending rather impressively. It can take a while for the empty area to be filled but with the calculations the software will be performing, it's understandable. Overall, it's a neat little tool that can be useful once you've tweaked and edited your selection options a few times. 


Corel PaintShop Pro X8 Review : Magic Move tool in use in PSP X8

Left: Original image, Right: Person removed with the Magic Move tool. 


Tolerance Setting On The Smart Selection Brush 

Not all shapes are easy to make selections of and Corel have improved their Smart Selection Brush so selecting something like a person, for example, has got a little easier. You can adjust the tolerance setting which makes your selection more precise when you have areas which are close in tone or hue to work with. You can also tailor the selection tool to your needs by inputting height and width values or you can define a fixed aspect ratio for the selection. There's also various aspect ratios and resolutions listed, should you want to use a preset. 

The Smart Selection Brush is actually really useful and snaps to the edges of shapes really well. It's quick to respond and the tolerance setting allows you to make small but important adjustments to the tool to improve its functionality. 


Corel PaintShop Pro X8 Review : Selection Tool in PSP X8



Lens Correction

Distortions, chromatic aberrations and vignetting can now all be corrected in the Lens Correction section of the software. You have to be in the edit workspace or using the Camera RAW lab (new feature) to access this function and adjustments can be applied manually or automatically. The software did a decent job of removing the vignetting from the test image we used, although a much better result was achieved when we manually adjusted the settings. 


Corel PaintShop Pro X8 Review : Lens Correction in PSP X8


Batch Processing

This isn't a new feature, however it's worth talking about as the Batch Process Wizard now makes it easier and quicker to apply common actions to multiple photos. It has a neat way of applying a watermark to multiple shots that's easy to use as well as other options such as applying a particular script or resizing numerous photos in one go. Batch processing is a great time saver once you have your various options set and ready to go, plus it's pretty quick too. 

Corel PaintShop Pro X8 Review : Batch processing PSP X8


Other New / Enhanced Tools For Photographers

Adding a Before/After button in the Adjust workspace is a welcome change as you can quickly see what edits you've made with just one click, plus a before and after viewing option is also now available in Camera RAW Lab, too. In the Camera RAW Lab the interface is improved and the preview you see is much larger making it easier to edit RAW image files. There are also new save options which give you more control over the compression settings when saving your work and improvements have been made to the layers panel as now you can merge layers, expand or collapse groups of layers you've created and you can also search for a layer by name. They're only small changes but they make a big difference to the speed you can work at and also to layer organisation.  


Value For Money

Corel PaintShop Pro X8 retails for £59.99 if you want the normal version which for a one-off fee, offers rather good value for money, especially when compared to Adobe products which are now part of the Creative Cloud monthly pricing options. For the photography package through Adobe, which includes Photoshop and Lightroom, it costs £6.98 a month (£83.76 a year) or you can pay £17.15 a month just for a single application. Adobe Photoshop Elements can still be accessed without a Creative Cloud membership for around £70 however, Paintshop Pro X8 is much more like Adobe Lightroom and even Adobe Photoshop with built-in HDR creation and RAW editing rolled into one so it has much more features than Elements has to offer, plus it's £10 cheaper too. Other alternatives are Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 11 or OnOne Perfect Photo Suite 9.5, both of which scored well in our reviews. 

The Ultimate version is priced at £79.99, giving you a number of additional programs, although you may get by with the standard version if you don't need the additional add-ons it has to offer.


Corel PaintShop Pro X8 Verdict

Corel PaintShop Pro X8 offers a lot of features (new and old) and advanced tools for a great price. The software offers far more options and controls than free software on offer and indeed the basic software package Adobe offers. It is ideal for anyone wanting to edit images without having to practically take out a loan or pay a monthly subscription to do so. Also, it's an excellent tool for speeding up workflow with tools such as those found in Lightroom and Photoshop all built into one interface. Corel PaintShop Pro X8 gives you advanced controls which are easy to learn how to use, plus there are helpful guides, tutorials and a really useful search index should you need to check how a particular tool works. It's also packed with features and really useful auto tools that actually do a really excellent job. The interface looks great and generally, it's quick to respond and use. For those looking for an Adobe alternative, Corel PaintShop Pro X8 would be an excellent choice and we Highly Recommended it. 

Visit the Corel PaintShop Pro X8 Pro website. 

Corel PaintShop Pro X8 Pros

Excellent value for money
Easy to use 
Advanced controls 
Lots of features
Quick to install

Corel PaintShop Pro X8 Cons

Some of the effects / filters can be quite slow
RAW file editing isn't the quickest 
Not all of the tools are self-explanatory 


Corel PaintShop Pro X8 Review :

Corel PaintShop Pro X8 is ideal for anyone wanting to edit images without having to spend a fortune or pay a monthly subscription to do so.



Corel PaintShop Pro X8 System Requirements 

  • Windows 10, Windows 8/8.1, Windows 7  with latest service packs installed (32-bit or  64-bit editions)

  • Intel or AMD 1.5 GHz or faster processor  with SSE2 support (multi-core processor  recommended)

  • 2 GB of RAM (4 GB recommended)

  • 1 GB of free harddisk space (2 GB  recommended)

  • 1024 x 768 resolution, 16-bit colour display

  • (1366  768 resolution, 24-bit or higher colour  display recommended)

  • DirectX 9 or higher compatible video  adapter with latest driver

  • Internet connection required for accessing  online features and video tutorials

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Corel PaintShop Pro X8 SEARCH

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BHSnapper 14 14 United Kingdom
20 Aug 2015 7:42AM
A pity Corel don't develop a Mac version to rival expensive Adobe's Creative Cloud set. I'd happily drop Photoshop CS3 and Lightroom 5 for this!
dannyr 13 47 United Kingdom
24 Aug 2015 5:10PM
Anyone on a budget should take a look at GIMP, its free and powerful enough for most work. More of a learning curve though.
RamblinSam 9 31 United Kingdom
26 Aug 2015 6:52PM
I've been using PSP products for decades, so before it was bought up by Corel, and was a shareware product. It's been looked down on by Photoshop users, even though it has had some features before Adobe put them in theirs, and to my mind is more intuitive. Now that Photoshop is a subscription-based product, maybe at long last, it will garner the respect that it has always deserved.
Chazzzyb 12 10 United Kingdom
27 Aug 2015 12:17AM
I have been using paintshop pro foe many years and absolutly love the program but I went over to the Mac world and my love affair with this program has been denied to me .
Come on Coral get your thinking caps on and produce a Mac compatible version
BHSnapper 14 14 United Kingdom
2 Sep 2015 7:51PM
Had a look at the Gimp and I know many people like it, but I just didn't feel at home with it, compared to Photoshop and Corel. And too, Serif's Photoplus. But now I'm very happy playing with Serif's Affinity!
Just Jas Plus
21 26.4k 1 England
12 Oct 2015 2:55PM
The usual type of question - is it worth upgrading from PSx7?

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