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Corel freshens Paint Shop Pro X2

A handful of new features update this veteran image-editing package.

Update 9/6/07: Okay, I got the version names confused--two years ago the "X" in the product name meant "10," then was switched to mean "X." As a result, I miscalculated the product cycle. Corel actually shipped a new version last year. So please ignore my attempt at a clever lead-in.

It's been three years since Corel acquired Jasc Software, and about two years since its last major release of Paint Shop Pro; that's a couple of lifetimes in the consumer software market. Today Corel finally announced and shipped a new version, Paint Shop Pro Photo X2. It offers a handful of oddly random new features that I suspect won't wow the program's existing fan base, and that doesn't really provide a compelling alternative to competitors such as Adobe Photoshop Elements or even Corel's own PhotoImpact 12.

In addition to the new tools enumerated in the accompanying slideshow--Express Lab, a gray interface skin, HDR Photo Merge and Visible Watermarking--designed for photographers, Corel adds some work-flow tools targeted at the more business-oriented crowd. These include a Save for Office and Copy Special, which allows you to resize images at save and copy; Crop as New Image for dealing with batch scans; and dynamic language switching.

Features aside, however, I found PSPX2's interface annoyingly sluggish. File operations, such as loading and saving, were fine, but screen redraws for operations like effects previews aren't as snappy as I like. (Performance didn't make the list of enhancements for this version.)

Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 is available now for $99 (full version) or $59 (upgrade).