I first started taking photos in RAW format in late 2004. I loved how the RAW format would retain all of the detail seen by the camera’s sensor. The problem was that my preferred image editor, Corel PHOTO-PAINT didn’t support the RAW format. This meant I had to use the dreaded Adobe Photoshop to open and process my RAW files. I find Photoshop to be so unintuitive that this was quite a painful process.
Since I have some friends on Corel’s development team, I begged them to add support for RAW format to the next version of Corel PHOTO-PAINT. Unfortunately this didn’t happen, though I wasn’t too upset because I’d found a better solution for RAW processing.
A small company named Pixmantec came out with an excellent RAW processing tool and it had the best price of all—FREE! RawShooter Essentials gave me the control I wanted for adjusting my RAW photos and it would even batch process the photos.
Corel saw the power of RawShooter Essentials and bundled the 2005 version with the CorelDRAW X3 Graphics Suite. This was soon outdated so I made sure that the 2006 version was supplied with the DVD-ROM version of CorelDRAW X3 Unleashed.
Now for the really bad news. Adobe recently purchased Pixmantec so that they could incorporate the RawShooter technology into their upcoming Lightroom product. While RawShooter Essentials 2006 can still be downloaded as of this writing, it will soon go away. That means there won’t be any more excellent free RAW processors on the market. It also means that users of Corel PHOTO-PAINT will once again have to find another way to get RAW files into their favorite image editor.
I’m sure Corel was also negotiating with Pixmantec. Just call it an ebay auction for a company. Corel lost. I’m not surprised since Adobe has much deeper pockets than Corel. I just hope Corel gets to work on their own RAW technology so they can truly incorporate it into the next version of Corel PHOTO-PAINT and Paint Shop Pro and Painter. The sweetest ending of all would be that Corel develop something in-house that is even better than what Pixmantec sold to Adobe.