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I have always used Paint shop pro when editing my photos, especially with college work I've had to do, I'm a big fan of Thomas Barbey and having to do a various amounts of merging with my photographs to try and create something that resembles his work, I have found using the Paint shop pro ultimate the best thing since slice bread!
It is great for sorting my levels out and doing my contrasts are even better than any other programme I've used , i find i can get most my photos looking like they have been taken with the same method even though they are in completely different situations this has helped when trying to re-create something that is similar to Thomas Barbeys work.
Paint shop pro ultimate is the fastest as well as leading masterful imaging editing software i have ever operated, This has lots of new features such as the Eye Drop and Thinify tools. the eye drop tool can clear up the white of eyes, which is good for red eye or bloodshot eyes The Thinify tool is a great makeover tool and one that i find easier to use than warp and transform and is easier to use than dieting .... lose 14lbs instantly with this tool and you will look like the next top model in minutes rather than months there are lots of features in paint shop pro to correct lots of imperfections not just in profile pictures but in landscapes too but i do love the idea of being a model in minutes rather than months!!.... great for when sending friends a photo if you have not seen them for ages.
You could also give yourself a tan or whiten your teeth in an instant, this is a cost effective way to having the makeover of your dream the paint shop pro ultimate has over 150 special effects so there is something in it for everyone who wants to re-touch their photos.
and if that is not good enough there is also a express lab that will allow you to retouch a number of photos in one rapid click , it will save you a lot of time especially if you want to create a slide show, or calendar.
There is also a HDR Photo Merge feature, which is fantastic allowing you to merge photos for better detail and shadow effects, I'm just starting out on this as it seems a lot easier using this than the way it was explained ot me using Jasc software, Also adding illuminated effects is a lot easier with the HDR feature.
There is also a plug in that is great for removing the background on images which i find to be a great addition when trying to copy Thomas's work, i can remove and add all kinds of backgrounds with hardly any hard work or screaming at the screen this plug in is a lot easier than using the magnetic tool.
Paint shop pro ultimate offers so many features it is hard to list them all but the ones i found valuable are listed as i have spent a while using them so am pretty familiar with them. Other features that are listed on the box, are , Media recovery to recover images from reformatted memory cards which i think is a great idea as it would be good to get some of the images back I've lost!!
And for those that have recently upgraded to using Vista, you will be pleased to know it is now certified for vista . don't worry if you do not have vista as it does support windows XP too.
Paint shop pro ultimate is supplied with a 2GB USB flash drive to back up and move files between PC's which has been handy a few times for me. and obviously your installation disc which is easy to install, I had no problems and was up and running with the programme after around 10 minutes, minimum system requirements you will need to run this is 1GHz CPU , 768 RAM (for Vista) 1.5GB HDD space ,
I purchased mine from QVC and cost me £41 but you can buy it from amazon for £32. which is annoying ... finding it cheaper after you have purchased it. anyway if you are unsure on weather to purchase it or not you can however download a trial version for 30 days from the Corel website, and if you fancy trying re- creating any of Thomas Barbey work then you can look at some of his work here www.pixiport.com/Gallery-C43.htm fir inspiration
Overall This is a worthwhile programme to have and i would highly recommend it to those who are interested in photography or are just starting out in editing , this programme is a lot easier to use than the others i have tried in the past and as a bonus has more features than those ones too, and there is always room for improvement where you can add additional plugins, backgrounds textures etc so it is a programme you can not only work with but also improve.