Paintshop Pro X6, a good alternative to Photoshop

Since Adobe has gone to a subscription based software, where you rent the software monthly to use it, a lot of people, including myself, have been looking for an  alternative to Photoshop.

Yes, I know there is Photoshop Elements, but this is a stripped down version of Photoshop CS6 or CC.  In fact, in Photoshop Elements 12 they removed a number of features that prior version had and kept it as a 32bit program.  I am guessing they don’t want the Elements version to compete with the CS6 or CC version.

Anyway, I have found Paintshop Pro X6 from Corel.  The features in Paintshop Pro X6 blows away Photoshop Elements and is right up there with Photoshop CS6.  And the best thing is, you buy it, not rent it.  So what does it cost?

Paintshop Pro X6 comes in two version, the regular Paintshop Pro X6 and the Ultimate version.  Paintshop Pro X6 is priced at $79.95 and Paintshop Pro X6 Ultimate is priced at $99.95.  If you check places like Amazon.com you can save another $10 to $15 off these prices.

The difference between the two packages is, Paintshop Pro X6 Ultimate offers three extra add-on features over the standard Paintshop Pro X6.  They are:

1) Perfectly Clear by Athentech Imaging – This allows you to apply one-click image

corrections with their award-winning intelligent photo correction technology.

2) Reallusion FaceFilter3 – This is a stand alone program that will allow you to create beautiful portraits with versatile photo retouching tools.

3) The Creative Collection – This includes dozens of extra brushes, textures and royalty-free backgrounds.

Since there is only a $20 price difference between the two packages, I strongly recommend spending the extra $20 and go with the Paintshop Pro X6 Ultimate package.

Paintshop Pro X6 added some great features over Paintshop Pro X5.  In addition, it is now a 64bit package, which has dramatically increased it’s speed.

When you install Paintshop Pro X6 you are given the following choices:
Install both the 32bit and 64 bit versions.
Install just the 64 bit version.
Install only the 32 bit versions.

The reason for this is backwards compatibility with 32 bit plugins. So if you want to use 32 bit plugins with Paintshop Pro X6, you should install both the 32 and 64 bit versions.

On my system, I have only installed the 64bit version, since I am not using any plugins, except for the ones that come with the Ultimate package.

When you first install the software it will check for any updates and then when you first run Paintshop Pro X6, you will be asked to create an account with Corel.  This account will give you access to the Discovery Center which has a ton of tutorial videos.

When you first open Paintshop Pro X6 you will see the following screen:

Note: there are three tabs labeled Manage, Adjust and Edit.  This divides the program into the three modes of use.

Manage Tab
The Manage Tab is where you simply work with folders and image grids for organizing your photos, your collections and tagging of photos.  See the photo above.

Adjust Tab
The Adjust Tab allows you to change to the white balance, lighting, brightness, contrast, noise levels, color, cropping and more.  The Adjust Tab is great for cleaning up or fixing photos.

Edit Tab
The Edit Tab is what users of Photoshop are use to.  This is where you have the full range of tools for manipulating photos in the traditional way.

In the Paintshop Pro X6 preference settings, you can choose which Tab to open up in.  I have mine set to open in the Edit Tab as the default.

While some people have a hard time switching to a new program, I found that after years of using Photoshop, switching to Paintshop Pro X6 very easy for me.  You just need to remember, some of the tools maybe labeled something different or some of the functions you are use to maybe located in a different area, but they are there.

I want to address some of the complaints I’ve about Paintshop Pro X6 on some of the forums.

The Program Crashes
Some people on the forums have complained about the program crashing.  Almost all the time, the end user was trying to use a 32bit plug-in in the 64bit version of the program.  Yes, this will almost always cause problems with the program.  This is why they give you both versions of the program.  If you have 32 bit plug-ins, they you will need to use them with the 32bit version of the program.

I have to say, that I have been using the program for several weeks now and have NOT had any crashes.

Performance
This is the first 64bit version of Paintshop Pro X6.  The performance and speed has improved with this new 64bit version.  Yet, I read some people commenting on the performance of the software.

I am using Paintshop Pro X6 Ultimate on a AMD FX6300 CPU running at 3.5Ghz with a turbo mode to 4.1Ghz and with 16gigs of RAM.  I am not have any problems with performance on this system.  So, I decided to try the program on my AMD Dual Core laptop running 2.4Ghz with 4 gigs of RAM.

On this system I did see the performance drop on some functions.  For example, when using the Eraser Tool, if I would move the tool from one side of the photo to the other quickly, I noticed the actual background being erased was dragging behind the tool.

If I move the Eraser Tool a little slower, I didn’t have any problems.  I could NOT reproduce this on the AMD FX-6300 desktop system.

So if you have a older slower system, you might see a performance drop, but this really depends on you and how fast you are working.

Another performance complaint I read about was large high-resolution photos opened a little slow.  Again, I did NOT see this problem on the AMD FX-6300 desktop system, but I did notice it on my laptop.  It wasn’t bad enough for me to complain about, but is was a little slower opening on the laptop.

The Adjust Mode
Several people complained that in the Adjust Mode, there wasn’t enough tools.  In Paintshop Pro X6, the Adjust Mode offers simple fixes like cropping, straightening, red eye removal, white balance, adjusting of color and lighting.  I am not sure why people where complaining about the lack of tools in the Adjust mode, that is what the Edit mode is for.

The Manage Mode
When I applied an Instant Effect in Manage mode, it didn’t show up on my photo, though when moving to Adjust or Edit mode the affect was applied.  I am going to assume this is a bug in the program and hopefully Corel will fix it in an update.

Conclusion
Switching to a new program is not easy for everyone, there is always a learning curve of some degree.  I have talked to about a dozen people who have switch from Photoshop to Paintshop Pro X6 and everyone seems to be very happy with moving to Paintshop Pro X6.  Most of the people I talked to made the transitions to Paintshop Pro X6 easily.

If you’re looking for an alternative to Photoshop, Corel PaintShop Pro X6 is an unquestionable bargain and you won’t be missing much, if anything and the price of Paintshop Pro X6 can’t be beat.

You can test out Paintshop Pro X6 for 30 day by downloading the program from Corel.  Here is the web address:

http://www.corel.com

Latest Update for Adobe Premiere CS6

Adobe has released up date CS6.0.5 for Adobe Premiere. Please note: Once you install this update you will need to run the cuda.bat file again, as this update over writes the cuda card file.

The cuda.bat file is located on the second page of our article on Video Cards for Adobe Premiere CS5, CS5.5, CS6 and CC.  Here is the link:

https://www.studio1productions.com/Articles/PremiereCS5.htm

Nvidia is releasing new 700 series video cards

Nvidia has released the GTX 760, GTX 770 and GTX 780 video cards. If you are looking at buying a new video card, then skip the GTX 600 series and go straight for the new 700 series.

The 700 series offer more cuda cores, faster clock speed, a wider memory interface width and a higher memory bandwidth. With these better specs, you will get better performance.

We tested the GTX 770 against the GTX 680 and the GTX 770 was faster.

Right now I am testing the GTX 760 video card and it is slightly faster than the GTX 670. Also, I am finding the GTX 760 for only $249.

Again, if you are in the market for a video card, check out the new GTX 700 series.

Special Offers to Adobe Users

For those of you who are using Adobe products and looking to move on to new software since Adobe has gone to a rental system, Corel is offering specials here http://corelblogs.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/welcome-cs-users/

And XARA is offering http://www.xara.com/us/designer-pro/features/

In addition you can also do a google search on

grass valley EDIUS crossgrade

or

Sony Vegas Crossgrade

There are several resellers offing special crossgrade packages that will save you up to 50% off new editing software.

At Studio 1 Productions, we have moved over to Sony Vegas Pro 12.  It works great, we have had no problems with it.  I only have 1 computer with Adobe Premiere on it, just so I can open old projects.

 

Save Money Switching from Adobe Premiere to Sony Vegas 12

Here is a tip, do a Google search on “sony vegas 12 crossgrade”.  There are several vendors who are offering deep discounts when switching from Adobe Premiere to Sony Vegas 12.

This is what we have done since Adobe wants you to rent their software on a month to month rental system.  Personally, I like buying the software and using it until I want to pay for another upgrade.

Trouble with Adobe’s Creative Cloud, the next update for Premiere, After Effect, etc

If you haven’t heard Adobe is moving everything to the Creative Cloud and you will now have to “rent” the software each month with a annual contract.

Right now they are offering you a special price of $29.95 per month for the first year.  Then the price goes up to $49.95 a month.  You will get all of programs you had in the Creative Suite package and you can run the software on two different computers.

Now stop and think about this.  If I am paying $50 a month for the next 5 years, that comes to $3000 and that is they done raise the prices, which you know they will.

What if you are running Adobe products on 3 computer?  Well, you will need 2 subscriptions.  That will be $100 a month or $6000 over 3 years.

This brings up another major concern, how often is Adobe going to be raising the prices and how much are they going to be raise by.

If you sign up for the Creative Cloud and later decide you can’t afford it or don’t want to pay a monthly fee to Adobe, then they will deactivate your software and you have nothing.  That’s right nothing.  You won’t be able to open any of the work you created with the Creative Cloud software.  There is no exit plan for the customer.  It’s like once you decide to stop paying for the Creative Cloud, you never existed as far as Adobe is concerned.

Not everyone upgrades each time a new version was release.  They may upgrade to CS5 and then skip CS5.5 and upgrade to CS6 over the course of 5 years.  Upgrade this way is a whole lot less expensive than paying a monthly subscription.

This has people in an uproar on forum all over the net, especially the Adobe forums.

Yesterday, the Adobe forum moderators move all of the posting in to two locations.  You should read them and the arguments for the pro’s and con’s of this new subscription model.   They are:

http://forums.adobe.com/community/creative_cloud

http://forums.adobe.com/community/premiere/video_lounge

I strongly recommend you read the posts in the forums.

Adobe will NOT be offering their software where you could purchase it and use it for as long as you like or until you upgrade to the next version.  This was call a perpetual license.  The perpetual license will NOT be available on the new version of the Adobe software.

Now if you have, let’s say, CS5 or CS5.5 or CS6, you can keep using it.  However, there will not be any upgrade for the older versions.  You just have to use it as it is.  The good thing is you don’t have to pay monthly to use the software, because when you bought it, it came with a perpetual license.

Now Adobe said they will keep selling CS6, but for how long, nobody knows.  Some people on the forums have tried to buy upgrades from CS5 to CS6 and they couldn’t.  They could only buy a whole new package, as if you are a first time buyer.  People are mad about this too.

A lot of people have lost their trust in Adobe.

So what are people doing?

1. Some people are just going to the Creative Cloud and pay Adobe for the rest of their life and just hope they don’t raise their price too much.  Now remember, once they stop or cancel the subscription, they will have nothing to show for it.  It will be like they never had it in the first place.

2. Other people are just going to say on what ever version they have and hope it will be compatible with future operating systems.

3. While other people are taking this route.  They are not giving Adobe another penny of their money and they are either starting to look around at different software or they are making the move to new software right now.

Number 3 is the way I am going.  I am not giving Adobe another penny.  When I found out about all of this on Monday, May 6, I was furious.  I was planning on upgrade to the new version because of all of the bugs in Premiere CS6.

Oh, what about the bugs in Premiere CS6, is Adobe at least going to fix them?  No.  They say the might, but some of the bugs will require major over haul to the software and Adobe is not going to go back and fix the problems.

The problems are fix in the Creative Cloud version that will be release around June 17.  While that’s nice, how about all of us who paid for the CS6 Master Collection?  We have to either suffer with the bugs or switch over to the subscription Creative Cloud.  Neither of these choices are sitting to well with their customers.

So when I found out about this new subscription model, I decide I was done with Adobe.  I started download trail software from other video editing software packages.  Now, I have worked with Adobe products for over 15 years and I am very use to Premiere and how it works.  So when I started trying out these different trail packages I found myself thinking “this is how you do it Premiere, the way they are doing is strange”.

Once I realized I was doing that, I had to approach it as if I was just learning how to edit videos for the first time.  I watched different training videos on YouTube and Vimeo for each of the software packaged I was testing out and found that this was very helpful.

By Wednesday I had decided to move over to Sony Vegas Pro 12 Suite.  This package give you Sony Vegas Pro 12, 2D and 3D titling and another program called HitFilm 2 Ultimate.  This HitFilm 2 Ultimate is similar to After Effects.

All of these programs use the video card’s GPU for increase speed and a better work flow.

For a replacement to Photoshop, I am working with the trail version of Corel Paint Shop Pro X5 Ultimate.

It can open and work with .PSD files from Photoshop and it does offer some high features that Photoshop has.  Even though this package is price less than $100, it is a pretty powerful program.

For those of you who don’t want to spend a lot of money on video editing software, then check out Sony Movie Studio Platinum Visual Effects Suite 2.  Yes, that is a mouth full.  The Move Studio package are built from the Vegas Pro software so they look and operate almost identical.

The reason I said to check out the Sony Movie Studio Platinum Visual Effects Suite 2, it because it come with HitFilm 2 Express.  This is a stripped down version of the Ultimate version that comes in Sony Vegas Pro 12 Suite.

One thing about Sony Vegas and Sony Movie Studio is you do NOT need as much computing power that you did with Premiere and After Effects.  They will run on older computer systems, were Premiere and After Effects would choke.

If you are going to walk away from Adobe, like I did and so many other are doing, make sure you download the trail version to the software you are looking at.  Watch some videos on YouTub or Vimeo to get yourself up to speed on the different packages.