Nik Collection 2018 by DxO - FREE with selected X-Rite products!

Corel PaintShop Pro X9 Review

We put the latest version of Corel PaintShop Pro through its paces to see what improvements and enhancements X9 brings.


|  Corel PaintShop Pro X9 in Corel Paint Shop Pro & Painter
 Add Comment

Features
Ease Of Use
Performance
Verdict
System Requirements

PaintShop Pro X9
 

PaintShop Pro X9 is the latest version of PaintShop Pro and comes equipped with new tools and enhanced features that save time, make photo editing easier and allow users to be more creative. Corel's also worked hard to reduce the complexity of the software so that the user has a more enjoyable experience when working in PaintShop Pro and again, it speeds workflow up. 

You can buy PaintShop Pro X9 (64-bit and 32-bit versions) as a standard or ultimate edition. The Ultimate edition costs £10 more and comes bundled with AfterShot 3, Corel Live Screen Capture and Perfectly Clear 2 SE. There's also a PaintShop Pro X9 and VideoStudio X9 Photo Video Bundle available. 

As with previous versions, PaintShop Pro X9 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 and is subscription free. Here, we put the new features and tools of the latest version of the software to the test to see if Corel's software can still rival its competitors.  

 

Corel PaintShop Pro X9 Features

 

New features of PaintShop Pro X9

  • New From Templates - Create projects from templates
  • Screenshot featuring Smart Capture - Capture screenshots to send to friends or even clients with ease 
  • Gradient Fill tool
  • Text Presets
  • Export Edit History
  • Guided Tour 
  • Batch Smart Photo Fix


Enhanced features of PaintShop Pro X9:

  • Text Tool
  • Support for RTS-compatible pen tablet or device, including the Microsoft Windows Surface family of PCs
  • Windows Server 2016 support
  • Batch Processing 
  • Scripts 
  • Real-time editing 

 


 

 

For those who haven't used PaintShop Pro software before, X9 is very much in-keeping with the style of previous releases in that it has 3 applications in one format. Once you open the software up you'll find Manage, Adjust and Edit tabs which give you access to tools specific for that particular task.

There are loads of tools on offer, some of which are automated while others give you much more control over the image editing process, and there are also options to create batch edits, custom presets and scripting to speed up your workflow. A variety of file formats are also supported, including RAW.

Those who are new to the software can access the online help / learning centre and watch video tutorials which are linked to from the 'help' menu. There's also a PDF guide and new to this version of PaintShop Pro is a step-by-step guided tour which is designed to help you find your way around the features and interface. If you're a more experienced user, you can turn the guides off. 

 


 

 

Corel PaintShop Pro X9 Ease Of Use

When you first open up Corel PaintShop Pro X9 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. 

The Manage tab is where you organise and tag your images. You can add place details, star ratings and even people to specific photos. With the 'people' option, 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. You can also view images by date and create / add image tags to shots. 

There's a full-screen preview option that allows you to 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 and to the right of the window is a column which stores the camera's data which can be edited / added to. 

 


 

 

Adjust: Here's where quick edits can be made or if you're new to photo editing, you can use 'Smart Photo Fix' to make edits for you. 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 red-eye, cloning and a makeover option that fixes blemishes etc. Edits are easily made by adjusting sliders or inputting figures. 

 


 

 

Edit: This is where you have much more control over the tools and options you use to edit your photos. The layout is very similar to Photoshop with tools down one side and windows such as Layers down the other. There are also various options available across the top of the interface giving you an abundance of options to choose from as well as tools to play with. Overall, the Edit panel is really easy to navigate and responds well. 

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 X9 Performance

When we reviewed PaintShop Pro X8 we said that switching between work areas wasn't as responsive as we may have liked but in X9, changing from Manage to Adjust or Edit is a quick process and the software also opens up at an impressive rate. We didn't encounter any load issues when applying edits this time either which is a positive and tools run smoothly without any jittering. 

Toolbars have been simplified even further to make the software easier to navigate / use and more popular photo effects can be applied in real time which speeds up workflow and just makes them more pleasing to use as you don't have to open up dialogue boxes and then close them again to see how a particular effect looks. 

Batch processing was added in X8 and this has been improved further with the inclusion of Smart Photo Fix and the Gradient Fill tool has had an overall to make it easier to use. 

Here, we take a look at what's new in Paintshop Pro X9 in more detail:

 

New from Template 

With New from Template, you can create cards, posters and other creative designs from templates. You can also save your own layouts as templates to speed up future projects. There are a few templates available for free but quite a few of them do come with a charge if you wish to download and use them. They're not expensive by any means, a couple of quid is all they cost, but we just thought it was worth noting. 

The templates use placeholder images that you replace with your own images but it's all done using the layers panel so if you're new to photo editing, you may find it hard to get to grips with it at first if you've never used layer editing before. We also found that adjusting the image once we'd inserted it into the template was a bit fiddly at first but after spending some time playing around with the tool, it did get easier. One slight, but only slight, annoying thing is that to move the image you have to hover over the shape in the centre of the picture so a crosshead of arrows appears. It would be nice if you could just click and drag from any section of the image but as we said, this is only a small niggle. 

 


 

 

Gradient Fill Tool

This tool can now be adjusted on screen, which makes it so much easier to use as dialogue boxes can be annoying. The tool can now be selected and dragged across the canvas, selection or shape, plus the gradient's colours and transitions can be adjusted directly onscreen and customised via nodes that are shown on the gradient line in real time. 

 


 

.

Text Presets, Plus Enhanced Text Tool

If you want to add text to your images you can with the text tool or alternatively, there are new text presets available, some of which are free and others you have to pay for, which give you more creative options. The text toolbar has also been simplified which is good to see as this makes it quicker in use and you can even customise it so tools you don't use are hidden. 

 


 

 

Export Edit History 

The new Export Edit History feature can be used to quickly share your workflow with others or if you often make tutorials, you could use it as a way to remember what edits you made on a specific photo and in what order. A new Save session history to text file command in the History palette captures all session edits to a text file so you can recall them later, or you can use the Save Edit History command in the Image Information dialog box for a complete edit history. It's not a tool everyone will use but it's a nice little extra that will make some people's tasks easier and quicker. 

 

History

 

Batch Processing with New Batch Smart Photo Fix 

This isn't a new feature but it's worth talking about as the Batch Process Wizard now has an option for running Smart Photo Fix, which automatically analyses a photo and applies optimal colour, brightness, sharpness and saturation settings. You can also apply watermarks, apply a particular script or resize numerous photos in one go. Talking of scripts, PaintShop Pro X9 scripts can now be run in a Silent mode, which stops any dialog boxes used in the script popping up, so you can apply them faster. For those who don't know, scripts are a great tool for speeding up repetitive tasks and common photo edits you may make to several different photos as they can be automated rather than you sitting there and applying them all one-by-one manually. 

 


 

 

Screenshot featuring Smart Capture

If you regularly capture and edit screenshots then you might be pleased to hear that Corel has introduced a one-stop tool for bringing a screen capture into PaintShop Pro X9 for editing or annotation. It's a useful tool for those who regularly create presentations but the average photo enthusiast, you probably won't use it that often (if at all). 

 


 

 

Other New / Enhanced Tools For Photographers

When using Paintshop Pro X9 you can use your RTS-compatible pen tablet or device, including the Microsoft Windows Surface family of PCs, and there's no stylus driver to install which means you can begin editing straight away. 

X9 also supports depth-aware photography as in the Adjust workspace, you can save time editing XDM photos captured on a RealSense-equipped tablet or camera by applying effects to objects based on their distance from the camera.

PaintShop Pro X9 is compatible with Windows Server 2016 and RAW support for 15 new cameras from well-known names such as Nikon, Canon and Leica have been added.

Other standout tools which aren't new but are worth a quick mention are: 

  • Magic Move Tool - A content-aware tool that automatically replaces the background when you move an object or person.
  • Smart Selection Brush - Simply paint over an object to select it, and you can build or reduce the selection with additional brushstrokes.
  • Auto Selection Tool - This tool lets you enclose an image area in a bounding rectangle that automatically detects and snaps to edge.
  • Magic Fill - A content-aware feature that can make unwanted parts of an image vanish. 
  • HDR Processing - Create HDR images without opening other software. 

 

Value For Money

Corel PaintShop Pro X9 (standard version) is available for £59.99 while the Ultimate version is priced at £79.99 and as this is a one-off fee, not subscription based, it's actually really good value for money. Even more so when you compare it to Adobe who now offer their popular products through their Creative Cloud memberships and for the photography package, 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. Plus, with PaintShop Pro X9 you're essentially getting a Lightroom and Photoshop alternative without having to purchase 2 pieces of software which makes it even more appealing. 

Other alternatives include Adobe Photoshop Elements which can still be accessed without a Creative Cloud membership for around £70 however, it doesn't offer the advanced options PaintShop Pro X9 does, such as RAW editing and HDR creation. There's also Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 11 or OnOne Perfect Photo Suite 10, both of which scored well in our reviews. 

 

Corel PaintShop Pro X9 Verdict

When compared with PaintShop Pro X8, Corel PaintShop Pro X9 offers a few more features as well as performance improvements and when you combine this with what was already on offer, you're getting a lot of features and 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, plus it is subscription free which will save money in the long-run. Corel has worked hard to make PaintShop Pro fast and effective and we have to praise them for continuingly trying to find ways to speed up workflow for its users.

There are tools in PaintShop Pro X9 for both the beginner and more advanced user that are useful and easy to use and the Guided Tour is a nice added feature that means someone with very little photo editing experience can learn how to use the software with ease. Some of the new features aren't things every photographer will use but there are plenty of other tools that will be used regularly and new features such as the templates and the improvements to batch processing are something which is more likely to be used by a wider audience. 

The interface still looks good, with little tweaks here and there to make it even easier to use. Plus, the software responds quickly and we experienced no lag issues while using it which is always good to report.

Corel said that they wanted PaintShop Pro X9 to be functional, save time and be less complex while still offering new tools and improvements to old ones and after playing around with the software, we can definitely say they've achieved this. 

For those looking for an Adobe alternative that's subscription free, Corel PaintShop Pro X9 is a good choice and we are happy to Highly Recommended it. 

Visit the Corel PaintShop Pro X9 Pro website. 

Corel PaintShop Pro X9 Pros

  • Excellent value for money 
  • Advanced as well as auto controls 
  • Lots of features
  • Quick to install

Corel PaintShop Pro X9 Cons

  • Some of the new tools aren't for everyone
  • Not all of the tools are self-explanatory 

Features4.5/5
Handling4/5
Performance4/5
Value4.5/5
Overall Verdict

 

Corel PaintShop Pro X9 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 hard disk space (2 GB recommended)

  • 1280 x 768 resolution, 16-bit color display (1366 x 768 resolution, 24-bit or higher color display recommended)

  •  DirectX 9 or higher compatible video adapter with latest driver


Support this site by shopping with one of our affiliates: Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon CA, ebay UK, WEXPark CamerasAdobeSamsung, Microsoft, 7DayShop, Photobox, Save 10% with Eversure Insurance.
*It doesn't cost you anything extra when you use these links, but it does support the site, helping keep ePHOTOzine free to use, thank you.

Other articles you might find interesting...

Corel PaintShop Pro 2019 Ultimate Review
Corel PaintShop Pro 2018 Ultimate Review
Corel PaintShop Pro X8 Review
Save 20% On Corel PaintShop Pro 2019 Ultimate
Corel PaintShop Pro 2019 Has New Creative Tools
Corel PaintShop Pro X9 Photo Editor Brings New Tools & Featu...
PaintShop Pro X8 Update Speeds Up Brush Performance And More

There are no comments here! Be the first!


Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.