Corel Photo-Paint 9 Review

"Offers A Broad Range of Bitmap Power"

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Color and Color Management Features

Corel Photo-Paint has added most of the same new color features as CorelDRAW: (1) users can customize the internal RGB space in which colors are managed; (2) ICC profiles may be embedded in various file formats, such as .CPT, .CDR, and .TIF; and (3) by specifying a source ICC profile, users can convert images that do not contain embedded ICC profiles into the RGB space of the application; (4) users can display multiple color palettes on the screen; (5) there are eight new color palettes; and (6) the Uniform Fill dialog box has been enhanced.

Professional Output Features

The Professional Output features in the Corel Photo-Paint include most of the same enhancements and new features as in CorelDRAW: Publish to PDF, Encapsulated PostScript Export, and Printing Features.

Performance and Productivity Features

Some new options and features are: (1) users can enable the No White Spaces, Special Characters check box in the Save dialog box when saving files for import or export. Empty spaces are replaced by underscores, and other special characters are converted to characters suitable for Web file services; (2) single or multiple selected files can now be imported into a current document, which replaces the Paste from File command; (3) the new BRS (Binary Resource Script) import filter lets users import bitmaps embedded in executable, icon, and cursor type files; and (4) the program now incorporates several new Raster Image Processing (RIP) functions for both PIII and MMX processors.

New Undo/Redo Docker Window--This new window makes it easy for you to go back to an undo dockerearlier stage in the document's history, as you just click on a command name in the window. When the number of undo commands exceeds the computer's allocated memory buffer, they are stored as script commands and can be replayed at any time. You can recognize commands and editing steps by both names and icons in the docker window. When saved, commands can be replayed or used to build a special automation script using Corel Script Editor and Visual Basic Editor.

Import Command and Enhanced Sorting of Filter Types--Single or multiple selected files can import filesnow be imported into a current document by choosing File, Import, Import from File. This command replaces the Paste from File command. Import and export filter types listed in the Open and Save dialog boxes can be sorted by the following criteria: Extension, Description, Most Recently Used, Bitmap, and Vector. Sort criteria are customized through the Sort Type list box.

Scripts--There are two new scripts to automate tasks: Contact Sheet wizard and Web image cuttercontact sheetPage Image Cutter. The Contact Sheet wizard produces a Web page of thumbnail images that hyperlink to directories containing the original images. The Web Page Image Cutter uses guidelines to cut an image into several pieces, and produces HTML table code to reconstruct an image in a Web browser.

User Interface Enhancements

New or enhanced interface options include: (1) display caching for fast access of frequently used data for on-screen display, which speeds up redraw of objects when they are moved from one area of a document to another; (2) custom optimized Color palettes containing up to 256 colors can be created from the visible portion of a document, from selected objects, or from the entire document; (3) application interface option settings have been reorganized to streamline workflow in the dialog interfaceboxes and to support the addition of new setting options; (4) there is a new Hide Windows command that lets users turn all on-screen interfaces on and off; (5) all Roll-Ups have been eliminated in favor of streamlined Property Bars; (6) users can open a window containing tints of a swatch color by clicking and holding the mouse button the the on-screen Color palette; (7) the brush shape outline of the Clone tool has been added to the Source point cursor giving users enhanced on-screen feedback when editing a document; and (8) the resolution setting spin control has been replaced by a list box. Users can choose from a selection of preset resolution values or enter custom values.

New ToolBars--New toolbars include the Symmetry painting mode toolbar, andtoolbars Workspace an Internet Objects Toolbars. The Internet Objects toolbar will replace the Tag WWW URL dialog box. All toolbars can be docked vertically.

Objects Docker Window Enhancements--The Objects Docker window has been enhanced: (1) a New Lens button has been added; (2) the Merge Mode list box and Opacity controls have been object docker windowmoved; (3) the Opacity slider has been converted to a pop-up slider; (4) special types of objects, such as lenses, objects with drop shadows, and text objects, are displayed; (5) the Lock Transparency check box has been replaced with a button; (6) the duplication and deletion of objects in the Objects Docker window can be performed by dragging objects to the New Object icon or the trash can icon; and (7) all buttons, controls, and men items now contain tool tips.paper size

Enhanced Paper Size Dialog Box--The Paper Size dialog box has been redesigned to include a Reset button and a larger preview area. The dialog box also includes an interactive preview for the original page position.

Compatibility and Integration

Four new options or features are: (1) PSD and RIFF files can be opened in Photo-Paint; (2) supports IXLA Digital Camera Interface--a plug-and-play interface for acquiring images from over 120 digital camera models; (3) the program supports the import of QuickTime movie files in the .MOV file format, and it also supports the export of animation to the single track .MOV file format; (4) users can create, open, edit, and save single or multiple-mode QuickTime VR Panoramas and Objects.

Image Enhancement Featuresdodge/Burn tool

Some of the new or enhanced features are: (1) users can change the mode of an image to Duotone without first converting it to grayscale; (2) the Dodge/Burn effect tool now uses a curve-based method to perform exposure changes to specific tonal regions of an image, including highlights, midtones, and shadows, resulting in a higher-quality image.

Drop Shadow Tool and Drop Shadow Objects--In Photo-Paint 9, drop shadows are created for an active object using the new Drop Shadow tool. Drop Shadows can also be applied simultaneously to multiple selected objects. Drop shadows exist as properties of objects, and no longer appear as separate objects in the Objects Docker window. The drop shadows are drop shadow represented by an icon beside the thumbnail of the associated object. By right-clicking on the name of the dropshadow object in the Object Docker window, users can remove the shadow from the object. Users can split the shadow from the object and produce a new object, and also you can permanently merge the shadow with the original object. All tool settings now appear on the Interactive Drop Shadow Property Bar when the Drop shadow tool is selected.

Internet Featuresgif export

Preview GIF Transparency--When saving a file to the .GIF format, a color within the image can be selected to appear transparent when the image is used in a Web page. The resulting transparency can be viewed in the GIF Export dialog box.

Automatic Web Link Update-- Users can update "Corel on the Web" links on a regular basis. The Update command is a new option in the Help menu.

Masking Featuresmask preview

Enhanced Masking Preview--The program lets users preview the result of applying a Mask menu Shape command to an image by showing a ruby overlay on screen. This streamlines editing, since users can see the result of applying masks and adjust it before committing to the result.

Multimedia Featuresmovie docker

Movie Docker Window--The Movie Docker window is a visual movie navigator that includes thumbnail representations of each movie and animation frame, play controls, frame rate timing values, and interactive overlay control or animation rotoscoping procedures.

Precision Features

Some of new or enhanced features are: (1) the Deskew Crop tool includes a Crop Overlay option that tints or dims the area outside the cropping boundary; (2) the Zoom tool includes more preset levels of zoom for finer precision.

Enhanced Path Tool and Paths Docker Window--the Path tool has been enhanced to paths dockerbe consistent with the Bezier tool in CorelDRAW It includes interactive cursor changes and enhanced node placement precision. The new Paths Docker window displays all paths associated with the active document. A Duplicate Path command has been included to the docker, and a Show/Hide Path command has been added to the right mouse button menu.

Text Tool--The Text tool gives the application most of the artistic text setting features found in CorelDRAW Extensive new format options are available in the Format Text dialog text toolformat textbox. When text is selected for editing, the outline color can be edited by right-clicking on a color swatch. The text object can contain up to 32,000 characters and multiple fonts. Formatting options for specifying font type, weight, size, spacing, and other character properties are available in the Text tool Property Bar.

Object Editing Features

Blend Ranges--The user can specify how a contiguous range of pixel values blend with blend rangeunderlying date. Graphic controls in the Object Properties dialog box are adjusted to define, by composite grayscale value, which portions of the active object will combine with the composite, underlying data for display purposes.

Create Lenses From Masks--Lenses include 23 non-destructive visual effects that can lensesusing lensesbe applied to an image. A lens exists as an independent object and can be created from a mask. Lens options now appear in an alphabetical list box which a check box that indicates whether the lens should be created from a current mask. Lens objects have an identifying icon in the Objects Docker window.

Object Digging--Object digging adjusts the focus of the active object in a group. With the Object Picker tool selected, users can press the ALT key and click on the document to change the selected object to the next object in the layer and so on.

Artistic Brushes and Painting Features

Artistic Media Painting and Brush Setting--The program includes a new interface for the Paint, Effect, Clone, and Image Sprayer tools. All of the brush setting controls, including Pen Settings, now exist on the single-page Brush Settings Docker window. Soft edge transparency, rotation, and flatness controls are integrated into a new Nib Dial brush settingscontrol that helps users visualize the shape of the brush tip. Pressure-sensitive device setting options have been combined with the other brush-tool-specific properties contained within the Brush Settings Docker window. Users can use the mouse as a pressure-sensitive device. Also Pen Setting options in the Brush Settings Docker window now function on the mouse drag when the up and down keyboard arrow keys are depressed.

Artistic Media Docker Window--This docker displays brush strokes for each brush artistic media dockerpresent. Recently used brushes appear in a separate section of the window so users can easily locate a favorite brush. Selected brushes are kept on-hand for reuse during a painting session. A new group of brush presets can be created from the Most Recently Used list.

New Image Sprayer Create Spraylist Dialog Box--This new dialog box lets users create spray listdefine which images contained in a spraylist will appear image sprayerwhen painting, the order of their appearance, and repeating images. The Image Sprayer is fun to play with. You can create unique images. The image to the left was created with the sprayer using a different image for each letter.

Artistic Effects

The controls of all dialog boxes in the Image and Effects menus have been redesigned to minimize the size of the dialog boxes and maximize efficiency. The Effects menu navigation button, the on-screen/in-dialog box preview button, and the single/dual preview button have been moved to the Title Bar of the Effects dialog box. New slider controls provide clearer graphical indication of the marker position in the sliders' range. Also, when an Effects dialog box is open, pressing F2 will temporarily minimize the dialog box and move it to the top center of the display area. A new progress meter for all effects is included in each dialog box.

Art Strokes--There are fifteen art stroke effects: Charcoal; Conte Crayon; Crayon; Art StrokesCubist; Dabble; Impressionist; Palette Knife; Pastels; Pen & Ink; Pointillist; Scraperboard; Sketch Pad; Watercolor; Water Marker; and Wave Paper.

Creative--There are ten creative effects that are fun to use: Crafts; Creative EffectsCrystalize; Fabric; Frame; Kid's Play; Mosaic; Particles; Stained Glass; Vortex; and Weather.

Custom--You can apply a three-dimensional Bump Map to images to create realistic textures and patterns. There are 24 preset Bump Maps: Aztec Tiles; Bricks; Burlap; Cobblestone; Corduroy; Cracks; Crumpled paper; Dimples; Dunes; Ice; Jigsaw Puzzle; Painted Brick; Paper Mache; Rings; Ripples; Siding; Steel Plate; Swirls; Tablecloth; Thatch; Tiles; Twigs; Veins; and Vertical Concrete.

Texture--There are eleven texture effects: Brick Wall; Bubbles; Cobblestone; ElephantTexture Effects Skin; Etching; Plastic; Plaster Wall; Relief Sculpture; Screen Door; Stone; and Underpainting.

Personal Comments

Corel Photo-Paint is a worthy complement to CorelDraw. With its tight integration with CorelDRAW, its artistic brushes and filters, advanced scripting, movie, web and print capabilities, it has become an impressive program.

Web Page Editor: Macromedia Dreamweaver 3.0
Graphics: CorelDRAW Suite 8 & 9