Serif PhotoPlus X6 review
Serif, a software company that produces low-cost alternatives to high-end publishing and graphics packages, has added – PhotoPlus X6, a new version of their image editing software. This is a feature-packed application at an entry level price point which should satisfy users at many levels of expertise. Let’s take a look and see what PhotoPlus X6 can do.
PhotoPlus X6 application
On first launching PhotoPlus you are presented with a “To Do” window, from here you can select; Create, Open, Learn, and Organizer. Under CREATE start a new image, animation, or HDR Merge; under OPEN a list of previously edited images is displayed. Use the LEARN section to show you how to use the application. Use the ORGANIZER to manage your photos.
ThePhotoPlus default interface colour is a light grey, which is maybe a bit too light, a dark grey may have been a better choice. However, using the application’s preferences you can change the colour scheme with a choice of five colours – none of which are ideal as a backdrop for editing. The Preferences gives you the ability to customize PhotoPlus to your own way of working – you can add or remove tools, menu items or create custom toolbars. Located on the left hand side of the screen is the Toolbar which contains all the editing tools you are likely to need for manipulating and retouching photos. Many of the tools have shortcut keystrokes assigned, but not all!
Below the top Menu bar is the Standard toolbar which contains quick access icons to New, Save, Print, Undo, Redo, Organize etc. Next to this are toolbars that give quick access to features such as the Organizer, PhotoFix, Filter Gallery, Cut out Studio etc. You can also add your own custom toolbars with the features and tools you use frequently. The Workspace toolbar offers four options for screen display; Default, Designer, Painting and Photo Editing. The tabs change to display the appropriate tab for the task in hand. Toolbars can be dragged out and docked on any edge, or as a floating panel. Directly below is the Context sensitive toolbar, this changes to display the settings for the current tool in use.
PhotoPlus includes an excellent How To tab, this provides information on the application and how to use the various tools. Right hand side tabs include; Layers, Channels, Histogram, Colour, History, Macros etc. All tabs can be turned On or Off or collapsed to provide more workspace area.
The PhotoPlus X6 organizer enables you to manage image collections. By default the My Pictures folder is selected but you can add other folders by clicking on the Include Folder icon and then browse for your image folder(s). Thumbnails are created for all supported image types and displayed in the right side window. It’s good to see that Serif also include native Adobe Photoshop PSD and Corel PaintShop PSP files as well as many other popular file formats. Photoshop files which contain layers and adjustment layers can also be imported with all their layers in place. The organizer uses the date stamp from the camera’s Metadata to organize files into date and time taken. From here you can select photos to be edited in the full PhotoPlus application or use the PhotoFix button for making quick adjustments. One annoying aspect is that when you select an image to Edit in PhotoPlus nothing appears to happen, but if you switch windows then you will see the image has been opened, the Organizer stays on as the top window. I would have liked an automatic switch to the destination application. Other organizer options include upload images to Facebook or Flickr, create a Slide show or Create a Photo Project. The organizer is very easy to use and is a useful addition to PhotoPlus.