How to Use Camera RAW in PHOTO-PAINT X4

Bringing Camera RAW Files into Corel PHOTO-PAINT

When you select one or more Camera RAW files, they show up in PHOTO-PAINT in the Camera RAW Lab. It’s here that you can adjust the color and tone. Adjustments made to one file can be applied to all images.

Before You Begin

Here are few things to know about working with Camera RAW images.

A common characteristic of Camera RAW files is that they are flat, dull and soft. In a processed image, such as a JPEG, these issues are taken care of for you. Processing in-camera means that the camera has taken care of certain settings for you, such as white balancing, sharpening, color correction, compression, etc.

When evaluating an image, it’s important to use the histogram. Doing so will show you important information about what’s happening with the image itself.

When you save a Camera RAW image after processing a good choice is TIFF, partly because it’s been around for many years and is a stable format. If you decide to use JPEG, be aware that it’s a “lossy” format and if you compress the images you will lose image information. In practice, I recommend that you use JPEG with the maximum quality setting (to prevent image degradation) and to save an image as a TIFF, as well. More information is in Chapter 13: Understanding Web Page Graphics and File Compression. Note that shooting at the highest resolution will take up a lot of space on your camera’s card. Also, saving images as a JPEG is not a true indication of the file size.

Note: All the images used in The Corel PHOTO-PAINT X4 Insider were shot using the Canon G9, which is now supported by the Service Pack 1 release. I shot all images at a resolution of 4032 x 3024. Files of this size can be taxing on the processor, so if you apply a change and it doesn’t happen right away, please be patient.

When you select one or more Camera RAW files, they show up in PHOTO-PAINT in the Camera RAW Lab. It’s here that you can adjust the color and tone. Adjustments made to one file can be applied to all images.

Additional Notes

Converting a RAW file opens a TIFF file in PHOTO-PAINT. An original RAW file cannot be saved over by PHOTO-PAINT. And even though you can apply settings to subsequent files, you cannot save the setting for later use on the original file or any other files.

Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 For Image Editing – 11 Good Reasons to Choose Paint Shop Pro Over Photoshop

I have been using Corel’s Paint Shop Pro for several years. As a professional photographer, I absolutely depend on it for my daily image editing and management. Though I am in the minority of professionals who don’t use Photoshop, I take pride in using and promoting this very powerful and cost-effective image editing suite. Here are several reasons why this is a great tool for professionals and amateur photographers. These comments are based on Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 (PSP/X2).

1. Cost. The base product is $65, with occasional sales or specials offering it for under $50. Corel also bundles it with painter essentials, media recovery, a thumb drive and more under the “Ultimate” package for under $80. Compare this to Photoshop elements at $95 and CS4 at $700. PSP/X2 is much closer in capability to CS4 than elements. And upgrades are very reasonable and frequent.

2. Workflow. The Express Lab feature lets you quickly make edits to many files quickly. The Smart Photo Fix will make suggested changes to an image to improve attributes such as brightness, contrast and more. For rapid processing of many images, this tool is very capable.

3. Shortcuts. There are several ways to activate most of the features, including assigning new shortcut keys to frequently used functions. For example, I map Alt-F1 to the Levels adjustment, and Alt-F2 to Curves. Within those dialogs, you can also assign presets so that you can reproduce certain settings with a single click. This alone saves me hours each month when editing hundreds of images.

4. Costmetics. I take a lot of people pictures, and quick cosmetic editing is one of the strongest attributes in this product. The makeup brush deals with blemishes, lines and skin tone differences. The toothbrush whitens teeth, and the suntan brush does what you expect it would. I can complete a cosmetic edit on a high school senior boy in just a minute or two. And the results are very good.

5. Image Adjustment. The good contrast tools, Curves and Levels, are quick and full of features. Straighten allows you to rotate and crop to a horizon line. White balance and other color adjustments are equally strong. Black and white conversion and “time machine” film style emulation give you some great creative options. There are many great features for image editing, cleanup and creative change.

6. Workspace. You can define, save and retrieve different workspaces for different editing activities. This lets you open and anchor dialogs and change other settings on how the program operates.

7. Plug-ins. Many if not most plug-ins designed to work with Photoshop will also work with PSP/X2. I use one called Virtual Photographer which gives me even more opportunity to artistically edit images.

8. Automation. There is a robust scripting language which allows you to automate tasks such as resize, watermark and rotate. Any function that can be done on screen can be recorded using a macro mode, and saved and edited. These scripts can then be applied in bulk to any and all images in a folder. I use this feature to copy and resize images to a new folder for upload to my lab for proofing prints. You can also bulk rename files so that they follow a name scheme and sequence. This is great for renaming the keeper images from an event such as a wedding.

9. Preservation. You can enable Preserve Original mode, where the original images is saved in a lower folder, able to be recovered if you wish to go back. This simple feature gives you the peace of mind that your images are preserved regardless of your editing.

10. Layers. I use the Layers capability very often. It is very strong, for both text and graphics/images. Special characteristics such as emboss and drop shadow are available. Layer masks and interactions provide for very powerful and quick image changes. I often produce partial color black and white images using layers and the Channel Mixer and the eraser brush. I can create nearly all partial color edits in under 5 minutes, often in under 1 minute.

11. Development. Corel releases a new version of PSP about yearly. Each new release is more stable, faster and brings more technical and non-technical features for users of all levels. My per-year cost of use is probably $50 or less, and that’s purchasing every upgrade as it comes out.

12. Opportunities. I do have some needs that aren’t met by PSP/X2. The browser could be more capable with image viewing, ranking and moving/copying. I use another tool for the portion of my workflow that I call “Image Triage”, but I would prefer they beef up their browser interface to handle this capability. I would consider this a feature request.

This is my personal experience from my use of the product, not a comprehensive feature listing. As a professional photographer, I am very satisfied with the performance and capabilities of the product, and find it to be very cost effective and productive. I encourage you to try the product as an alternative to the other image editing products out there.

Top 5 Imaging Programs

Imaging programs are very useful tools for graphic designers. Even the non-professional designers make use of imaging programs to create the simplest designs for their projects.

Anyone who is into computer design for fun or for a living can appreciate how imaging programs can help make their tasks easier. With imaging programs, one can easily edit photos, create graphics, computer-aided designs and similar projects.

Image editors are among the most popular and commonly used imaging programs which help designers create images virtually from scratch. It offers various painting tools which are very much like the basic painting tools, albeit computer-based. This allows you to enhance photos and retouch them as well. Using this application will classify your saved photo or scanned image as a bitmap. Bitmap images are very convenient for retouching because you can get a lot of detail. However, you may have a problem with the image’s pixel resolution.

Here are some of the imaging programs you can tinker with if you are into graphic design and computer-aided graphic projects.

1. Adobe Photoshop

This imaging program was developed by Adobe Systems and is considered a market favorite in terms of graphics editing, image manipulation and bitmap images. The newest version of Adobe is Photoshop CS3 Extended which was released only this year. This is the third version since Adobe renamed the Photoshop products. It boasts of new tools, non-destructive filters, 3D and scientific imaging.

2. Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo

This is an imaging program for bitmap graphics editing and vector graphics editing. Rights to the program were originally owned by Jasc Software of Minneapolis. The rights to distribute the program now belong to Corel Corporation after it purchased Jasc Software in 2004. The program, which is more popularly known as Paint Shop and as Adobe Photoshop’s competitor, can be downloaded as shareware. Adobe Photoshop is more popular than this imaging program because the former has versions for Microsoft and Apple Macintosh.

3. Corel Painter

This imaging program is now available both in Windows and Macintosh. Designers can make use of the program to create images that are natural-looking with its freehand feature. The user can also choose from several effects like oil paints and watercolor and print the output in canvas or paper.

4. Corel Photo-Paint

This imaging program is bundled with the Corel Draw Graphics Suite. It can create graphics and manipulate images. It also allows users to remove redeye in photos. The program can be downloaded from the website of Corel as a freeware.

5. Microsoft Paint

This imaging program used to be known as Paintbrush for Windows and can be found bundled with Microsoft Windows. Users can experiment with color mixtures as the program allows simultaneous picking up of three colors. There are a lot of functions which the user can practice to improve his craft.

Imaging programs are not that expensive (some are even available for free) especially if you think of the benefits one can get from the special effects that these programs offer. However, the choice of which imaging program is best for you depends on your requirements and projects.

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