Today Corel announced a new version of Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2. Included are a number of exciting features geared towards working with digital photos. The Express Lab allows users to make a wide variety of adjustments and supports camera raw. Makeover tools can give people a tan, fix their blemishes and remove the red in bloodshot eyes. Probably the feature that caught my eye the most was the Layer Styles. A similar feature has been in Photoshop for a number of years and it is great to see it in a Corel product. This is especially useful for applying shadows, bevels and more to the selected layer.
I also saw there was a feature borrowed from the CorelDRAW Graphics Suite, Save for Office.
What really frustrates me is Corel’s positioning and development of multiple image editors. They have quite a few of them and I’m only going to speak about Paint Shop Pro and PHOTO-PAINT today.
If you ask Corel’s management for the positioning of these products, Paint Shop Pro is geared towards the “enthusiast” market and PHOTO-PAINT towards the “professional” market. This doesn’t mean either product is bad, that is just how Corel positions them. If that is truly the case, the “professional” product should include all features in the “enthusiast” product plus the added “professional” features. Of course the products should be able to read each other’s native files.
In PHOTO-PAINT X3, the Image Adjustment Lab was borrowed from Paint Shop Pro. Unfortunately in the three years since Corel purchased Jasc (and thus, Paint Shop Pro), that is the only feature that has been borrowed.
There are separate development teams working on the two products. Paint Shop Pro is developed in the Minnesota office and PHOTO-PAINT in the Ottawa office. This means Corel has to divide their marketing efforts between two products that are very similar and yet completely different. Most of their marketing (and development) efforts seem to go towards Paint Shop Pro even though it is the “enthusiast” product.
I’m hoping that a big surprise is on the horizon and that the next version of PHOTO-PAINT will offer the features needed to bring these two products into the same family. It would represent a huge development effort geared towards PHOTO-PAINT. I just think we’re more likely to find a number of features that haven’t been migrated. Heck, I’m not even optimistic that the two programs will be able to read the files of the other.
So while they both say Corel on the box, they are truly two separate products with the main commonality being in name only. Maybe this is good for Corel but I can’t think of how this benefits users.