Corel PaintShop Pro Review (2023)

Photoshop is a magnificent tool, but many of its users could do everything they need to in Corel'sphoto editing software, PaintShop Pro, without having to pay a monthly tribute to Adobe. PaintShop Pro supports layers and lets you edit both raster and vector image formats—something you'd need two of Adobe's Creative Cloud apps to do. You miss out on some of the Adobe flagship photo editor's most advanced tools, however, including 3D modeling, detailed typography, and face liquefy. PaintShop Pro's Performance is faster than in earlier versions, but in some photo editing operations it lags Photoshop. Likewise, while PaintShop Pro's interface has improved greatly over the years, it's still not quite as polished and unified as Photoshop's. If you're a Windows user who's not committed to the Adobe ecosystem, PaintShop Pro is a worthy alternative, especially given its low cost.

How Much Does PaintShop Pro Cost?

PaintShop Pro 2022 is available directly from Corel or via retail for $79.99 (or $59.99 as an upgrade from any previous version); it's frequently discounted. The Ultimate edition ($99.99, $79.99 upgrade) throws in more software—AfterShot (Corel's photo workflow app for importing and organizing digital photos), Corel Painter Essentials, PhotoMirage Express (converts still shots to animations) and more brushes and backgrounds. You'll need Ultra to get the AI HDR Studio and Sea-to-Sky Workspace (see below), PhotoMirage animation, and more brushes.

Our Experts Have Tested 16 Products in the Photo Editing Category This Year

Since 1982, PCMag has tested and rated thousands of products to help you make better buying decisions.See how we test.(Opens in a new window)

PaintShop Pro is available from the Microsoft Store(Opens in a new window) app on a subscription basis at $7.99 per month. This gets you all updates but no cloud storage, such as you get with Adobe's subscriptions.

The one-time purchase options are a good fit for those who still resent Adobe's move to a subscription-only model forPhotoshop, Lightroom, and Illustrator. For $9.99 per month, you get both Photoshop and Lightroom, but Illustrator starts at $19.99 per month, if you prepay for a year. Photoshop Elements ($99), Adobe's consumer-level photo editing software, requires no subscription, but that software has more of a hobbyist feel, as opposed to the company's pro-level offerings.

Similar Products

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (1)

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (2)



Adobe Photoshop Elements

Read Our Adobe Photoshop Elements Review

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (3)



ACDSee Photo Studio Professional

$89.99See Itat ACDSee(Opens in a new window)

Read Our ACDSee Photo Studio Professional Review

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (4)

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (5)



Adobe Photoshop

Check Price(Opens in a new window)

Read Our Adobe Photoshop Review

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (6)



CyberLink PhotoDirector

$40.99 Per YearSee Itat CyberLink (Opens in a new window)

Read Our CyberLink PhotoDirector Review

(Video) PaintShop Pro 2022 Introductory Webinar

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (9)

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (10)



Adobe Illustrator

Check Price(Opens in a new window)

Read Our Adobe Illustrator Review

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (11)



Capture One Pro

$24 Per MonthSee Itat Capture One(Opens in a new window)

Read Our Capture One Pro Review

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (12)



Adobe Lightroom

Check Price(Opens in a new window)

Read Our Adobe Lightroom Review

(Video) Getting Started with PaintShop Pro 2022

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (13)



Skylum Luminar Neo

$79.00See Itat Luminar(Opens in a new window)

Read Our Skylum Luminar Neo Review

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (14)



ON1 Photo RAW

$99.99See Itat ON1(Opens in a new window)

Read Our ON1 Photo RAW Review

Getting Started With PaintShop Pro

PaintShop Pro runs on Windows 10 (recommended version 1903 or later with the latest Service Pack (64-bit editions). You first install a small downloader program that completes the installation. You have to choose whether you want 32-bit, 64-bit, or both—the last means you'll be compatible with both 32-bit and 64-bit plug-ins. After this step, the program asked me to enter an email to create an account, which only requires confirmation by responding to an automatically generated email.

Corel offers downloadable effect packs, too, such as ParticleShop brushes and ColorScript color effects (for $14.99 and $4.99, respectively). I installed PaintShop Pro on my test PC running Windows 10 Pro and sporting a Core i7 6700 CPU, 16GB RAM, and an Nvidia GTX 1650 graphics card.

What's New in PaintShop Pro?

Corel puts a lot of effort into improving and adding features to the venerable image editing software, taking feedback from user advisory boards and program telemetry to decide what people want. New features for the 2022 version include AI Background Replacement, AI Portrait Mode, and a much-improved AI Style Transfer. It also adds support for the HEIC and HEIF file types that iPhones use and an updated Welcome and startup experience. New brushes, color palettes, gradients, patterns and picture tubes, and a Frame tool for placing images inside shapes round out the updates.

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (15)

The Ultimate version adds a Highlight Reel video slideshow-creating feature (similar to the one in Corel VideoStudio), MultiCam Capture Lite for screen and webcam video presentations, Painter Essentials 8 for simple drawing, sketching, and painting on the PC.

In 2021, PaintShop added a touch-friendly photography mode that includes a split before-and-after view, handy for seeing the effects of your edits. (I'd still like to see a side-by-side option like Lightroom's.) Also arriving in that version were AI Upsampling, AI Denoise, AI Artifact Removal, AI Style Transfer, and the HDR Studio plug-in. A big tool from this update is the Sea-to-Sky Workspace (only in Ultimate). It's applies appropriate fixes to underwater and aerial shots, such as those from a drone.

Other recent updates added a slew of tools as well. The 2020 version added SmartClone for blending multiple image selections; Refine Brushfor selecting complex objects like hair or tree lines; new brushes, color palettes, gradients, patterns and picture tubes; Text tool enhancements; and an improved Depth of Field tool.Available within the Crop tool, Depth of Field lets you position the focus area with a five-by-five grid of squares. The 2019 version added 360-Degree camera support, an improved crop toolbar,stylus and tablet support,and a more-customizable UI.

The PaintShop Interface

PaintShop's Welcome screen shows your recent files, product news, tutorials, and add-ins for purchase. Pick an image to work on, and the program starts up in one of four workspaces you choose: Photography, Essentials, Complete, and Sea-to-Sky. Only three tabs grace the top of the Complete program window: Home, Manage, and Edit. Aside from the simple Photography workspace, the others each take you through an interface tour wizard to show you what's what.

The Photography workspace is simple and touch-friendly. I appreciate the ability to use a touch screen more and more as threat of carpal tunnel syndrome from excessive mouse usage looms.

In the Photography workspace, you find basic tools like Rotate, Crop, Brightness, Color adjustments, One Step Photo Fix, and White Balance. You also get some of the fancier tools, including AI Upsampling, AI Denoise, AI Artifact Removal, and AI Style Transfer. There's an arrow offering even more tools, like the useful Local Tone Mapping tool, High Pass Sharpen, Fill Light/Clarity, Vibrancy, and Fade Correction. I'd like to see adjusters for highlights and shadows here, too, but they're MIA. A Fill Light control makes up for the lack of a shadows slider, but the Photography view offers a handy split-screen view to see your edits' effect. You can adjust the text and icon size and workspace colors, as well.

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (16)

Another thing I'd like to see in this Photography mode interface, aside from highlights and shadows, is an easier, one-button way to get to the program's other, more-advanced workspaces—Essentials and Complete. You can switch to any mode from the File > Workspace menu, but buttons would be quicker. A minor interface feature I like to see in photo apps is having sliders snap to the default position when you double click.

From Welcome, you can also start with project templates. PaintShop's templates are similar to the Create dialog that appears when you first run Photoshop. The New Image dialog's Blank Canvas tab is rich with choices like Photo, Paper, Web, Mobile, and Social. One thing I don't see, which Photoshop has, is a Clipboard choice that sizes your new project to an image you've copied. The New From Template tab, like Photoshop's, offers several document types, including calendars, collages, cards, business reports, and social media. Most of these are in-app purchases—in both programs—though you can create your own custom templates.

The interface is customizable when it comes to color and the size of elements such as icons and scroll bars. These options get their own main menu option: User Interface. From here, you can, for example, enlarge menu text so that it doesn't look tiny on a 4K monitor. (It also worked well for my QXD 2560x1440 display). The main window's side panels can also be undocked or dismissed. The program includes sample images, so you're not starting from zero. Additionally, the Complete workspace still includes the right-panel Learning Center, which helps you along with many image-editing procedures.

You can zoom in or out to any magnification you choose, with a simple spin of the mouse wheel. There are 1:1 and Fit Image to Window buttons in PaintShop, or you can zoom simply by spinning the mouse wheel.

Unlike inAdobe Photoshop Elements, which has a separate Organizer app, you do everything in PaintShop in the same window, but you switch modes for different functions.

Manage Mode and Importing

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (17)

As its name suggests, Manage mode is where you organize your photo collection. Like Photoshop, PaintShop is not a photo workflow application, even though it includes tools for organizing and outputting. This is especially evident when importing photos; it's more a matter of simply opening photos rather than importing them. PaintShop lacks the big Import button you find in workflow apps such as Adobe Lightroom. You can import content from a scanner, webcam, or previous versions of PaintShop, including not only photos, but also brushes, gradients, and Picture Tubes—as long as it's stored in the standard folders.

For organization and management, you can add star ratings to photos, as well as tags for keywords, people, and places. You can also create collections, including Smart Collections of photos that meet specified criteria, such as date, name, or tags. Smart Collections let you specify criteria, such as text in the file name or image size to automatically create a Collection. PaintShop no longer includes automatic face recognition feature—a feature Photoshop has also dropped.

On the left panel is source navigation, with folders and collections. In the center is your main content view—thumbnails, full image, or a map showing photo locations based on GPS data. You can double-tap a thumbnail for a quick full-screen preview with options for rating, rotating, deleting, or launching the image in the editor. Images aren't overwritten when you save edits; rather, they are saved in PaintShop's own PSP format.

You can also save in Adobe PSD format (though you lose vector layers and other features), along with dozens of other standard image formats. If you open a PSD file created in Photoshop, layers are preserved, and you can edit them separately to taste. Afterwards, your edits are fully editable if you open the resulting PSD in Photoshop. What this means is that if you're working with someone who uses Photoshop, you'll be able to edit compatibly in PaintShop, but if you start in PaintShop, they'll only see a flattened version of your file.

Essentials Workspace

Though the Essentials workspace is drastically simplified, it retains frequently needed features, and you can add and remove tools to suit your needs. There are still quite a number of menu choices along the top—14 of them, compared with Photoshop's 11 and Photoshop Elements' 10. Like Photoshop, PaintShop lets you create custom workspaces, though the Adobe product offers six options by default compared with PaintShop's four. Photoshop Elements has Quick, Guided, and Expert modes, which can be thought of as workspaces.

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (18)

On thing I find odd about the Essentials workspace is that it's missing the Manage button at the top that is found in the other two workspaces.

360-Degree Photo Editing

When you first try to open a 360-degree image file shot on a camera like the GoPro Max, a dialog asks whether you want to edit it as 360-degree image or to open for adjustments and effects. The latter doesn't affect the geometry of the photo. Instead, you can manipulate just the lighting and color effects, as though it were a warped 2D photo. Doing so keeps it in 360 format with your lighting corrections, so you can still upload it to Facebook or other 360 viewers. Corel helpfully includes a few sample 360 files for experimentation.

Opening an image in 360-degree mode presents a separate editing window and an explanatory dialog showing what you can do with the file type. There are really just four editing options: Straighten, Remove Tripod, 360-to-Panorama, and Planet effects. The last two convert the image from 360 to a standard format, such as JPG, after applying the effect.

The most useful tool is Straighten, which worked well in my testing. This option removes the unnatural curves of your 360-degree photo and lets you pick a viewing angle for the resulting image. You can pan around with the mouse or use slider controls for Pan, Tilt, Field of View (zoom), and Rotate. Then you save your work as a standard 2D photo in the format of your choice.

Remove Tripod switches your view to facing down, where a tripod normally would appear. You select the tripod with a circle, a free selection tool, or a square, and then apply Magic Fill to match the surrounding terrain. The Panorama option is mostly just a crop tool—it didn't convert the image to a natural looking panorama, as the Straighten tool does.

The Planet effects include Tiny planet and its opposite, Rabbit Hole. The tool worked fine on sample images.

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (19)

The Rabbit Hole and Tiny Planet 360-degree image effects.

(Video) What's New in PaintShop Pro 2023

One minor annoyance with the 360-degree editing window is that hitting Cancel after one operation takes you out of the editor. I often wanted to switch from, say, Straighten to Panorama, but I had to start over instead.

Basic Photo Correction

PaintShop Pro includes auto-correction, along with tools like a histogram with lighting and color controls. The One Step Photo Fix (available in all editing workspaces) corrected lighting problems in many of my test photos. The Smart Photo Fix dialog gives you a lot more control. You can click a neutral spot to correct the white balance and use a Levels slider to balance a lopsided histogram.

Smart Photo Fix also shows before and after views so you can see the results of your adjustments and edits. There's also a Revert button at the bottom of the corrections panel. After all, there are certainly times when you've adjusted a photo excessively and just want to start over. Back and Forward buttons also help with this.

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (20)

PaintShop's Effects menu goes leagues past the familiar Instagram choices, but it does offer Instant Effects that mimic those. The Time Machine tool lets you see how your photo would look if taken in 1839 through 1960. There are lots and lots of effects—Artistic, Film, B&W, scene lighting. Clicking on an effect, shows a preview of the selected effect side by side with your original image. If the slew of effects isn't enough for you, you can download even more.

Another gap is the lack of control over the effects. Sometimes you want to tone it down a bit, as I found with the Instant Film effect. Photoshop Elements' instant effects are indeed adjustable, but PaintShop's aren't.

Of course, you could fuss with the image using the app's other adjustments for lighting and color, but it's nice to have a slider that simply controls the effect's strength, as even Instagram does. Luckily, there are also Undo and Redo buttons, since applying effects can get messy. You can limit the disk space used by these, but otherwise, they're unlimited. The program offers Autosave, with a minimum time between saves of 15 minutes—a bit long for my taste. Another help is the big Revert button, in case things have gotten completely out of hand and you want to start over.

Cropping Images

The most commonly used photo editing tool by far is the crop tool. It may seem that there's nothing to it, but Adobe supercharged Photoshop's crop tool, even adding AI-powered auto-suggested cropping (now also found in Photoshop Elements). Corel continues to give attention to its own crop tool, too. It gives you a better idea of your final result by darkening the rest of the image. It offers overlays for composition guides, including golden spiral, golden ratio, and rule of thirds. When you rotate with the tool, the crop box stays put while the image rotates, so you can see the result without tilting your head.

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (21)

These overlays are more than Elements offers (it lacks the golden spiral, for example), and that program rotates the crop box instead of the image. But Elements adds some cool-cookie cutter crops like hearts and animal shapes, and Adobe's cropping tools generally feel more responsive and precisely controllable than Corel's.

The Crop toolbar can apply auto-fix, instant effects, and depth-of-field (aka bokeh) effects. Those are marginally useful, as you'd probably want to focus on them when you're not cropping. My favorite option on the Crop toolbar—not found in Photoshop—is the Crop as New Image choice, which instantly creates another image using the crop. The 2020 update added a blur grid for the depth-of-field tool.

Let's take a more in-depth look at a few of PaintShop Pro's newer, cooler tools many of which employ AI machine learning. I'll look at the newest of these that arrived in the 2022 version first.

AI Background Replacement. Replacing a photo's background used to be a many-step, hit-or-miss process in Photoshop. That program, and now PaintShop have both flipped the script on that scenario, making it a one-click affair. The AI Background Replacment tool in PaintShop works with human subjects, while Photoshop and Skylum Luminar now have tools for changing background skies in landscapes, too. The latter is still missing in PaintShop.

AI Background replacement is not unlike using Photoshop's Subject Select tool, which instantly isolates and masks a human (or even nonhuman) subject in your photo and lets you put whatever you want in the background layer. PaintShop does simplify the process, however, offering preset backgrounds.

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (22)

You find this tool in the Adjust > Artificial Intelligence menu, the ninth option down. I'm not sure why it belongs there rather than in the Edit, Image, Effects, or Enhance Photo menu. Maybe an AI Tools panel would help? Note that you won't find the tool in the Photography workspace. In testing, it did a nearly perfect job, selecting me in a photo with a landscape background. You can use a brush to refine, add to, and remove selected area, as well. You get different view choices to see just how good the selection is, including white, black, or transparent checkerboard.

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (23)

In the next step, you can choose from several canned backgrounds (beaches, skies, or charming European street scenes) or use your own background image file.

AI Portrait Mode. I was expecting AI face manipulation tools like those in ON1 and Photoshop, but this tool is really just for selecting a subject and adding background blur. It works much like the iPhone's Portrait mode. The quality of the result depends on the accuracy of the selection. The selection wasn't perfect for my test shot, but luckily you can tweak it. Since the effect is simulating lens bokeh, it's interesting that you can choose between round and hexagonal apertures. I found that using the latter with less feathering worked best.

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (24)

Frame Tool. This is like a collage tool, though it doesn't include preset layouts into which you can drop photos and other kinds of images. It's more of a custom frame tool that handles layer groups for you. After tapping its toolbar button, you draw rectangles and ellipses and then drop the images onto them. Then, the tool creates the appropriate layer groups automatically. If you're looking for totally predesigned frames, head to the File > New from Template menu option.

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (25)

AI Denoise. This tool assuages one of my peeves about photo editing—having to fiddle with multiple sliders to remove noise. The Corel tool analyzes the image, and though this takes time, the result is impressive, as you can see in the image below (left side is before, right is after). You can drag the background around to position it to taste.

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (26)

It's hard to see, but the way it removed noise from the eye results in a much more natural image. Ironically, though some fine detail is smoothed over the image looks sharper because of the removed noise distortion. The program offers denoise tools in multiple menu options, but the AI version is under Adjust > Artificial Intelligence. An Enhanced option button makes the process take longer to deliver a better result, with less loss of detail. It reminds me of DxO's PureRAW, which similarly trades speed for better results. Corel's aren't, however, as astounding as those delivered by DxO's software.

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (27)

AI Upsampling. We've all had to deal with an image that was just too small or low-resolution for the purpose at hand. This tool does a remarkable job of removing that blocky effect when you enlarge such photos. The left side in the image above shows those blocky artifacts, while the right side uses Corel's AI Upsampling tool to produce a pleasing, smooth result. The tool offers denoising at the same time, but I was able to get this result without using any. Photoshop offers several sampling options for enlargement, but when I used them on the same image, none of them produced a result as good as this. They all still showed blockiness and artifact distortion.

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (28)

AI Artifact Removal. Designed particularly for JPG image compression, this tool seems to use similar technology to the AI Upsampling tool above. Like AI Denoise, this is a one-click tool that shows a creative full-screen animation while it's working. In my testing, the tool only worked with one kind of distortion—blocks resulting from JPEG compression. Blotchier distortion isn't corrected.

AI Style Transfer. This is an effect that an earlier version of PaintShop called Pic-to-Painting. It's only available in the minimalist Photography workspace along with other effects in an Instant Effects panel. These effects resemble the Prisma-app craze of a few years ago, and have appeared in many photo apps, notably the competing CyberLink PhotoDirector. They use AI technology to generate art from your photos resembling that of specific painters, such a Picasso or Van Gogh.

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (29)

Corel includes a good selection of painterly and artistic effects by default, while CyberLink requires extra downloading and charges extra for some of the effects. You can use a slider to adjust the strength of the effect, for a degree of customization. The Photography interface lets you use the split before-and-after view, seen above.

Three sliders for Strength, Color Match (new with the 2022 version), and Smooth Image only affect the small preview thumbnail before you apply the effect. One interface note: You need to double tap on the effect thumbnail to apply it, which isn't obvious at first. After you do so, you see an at-first jarring animation of constellations. I also encountered what seemed to be a bug: After applying one style transfer and then switching to another, the first one reappeared after processing.

Sea-to-Sky. This module looks exactly like the Photography workspace, but it starts by showing just four buttons: Corrective, Scenic, Low Light, and Creative. It's only available at the Ultimate level.

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (30)

Pretty much every option improved my underwater film shot, even though the effects don't specifically say "this one is for underwater, and this one is for drone shots." A drone shot I tested with was less successful—the effects were mostly just applied the objects on the ground, not to the sky. It did do a decent job of a hazy drone shot, though some color cast was added.

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (31)

For excellent sky fixes, check out Skylum Luminar. The Creative section offers some pleasing B&W, Sepia, Flare, and Retro effects.

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (32)

AI HDR Studio. This tool is only available with the Ultimate edition of PaintShop Pro. Corel decided not to fully integrate it with the outer program. It's only accessible as a plug-in from the Effects > Plug-ins menu, and its interface design is different from the rest of the program. It lets you do single-shot HDR effects, though the program supports traditional multi-shot HDR as well.

As with AI Style Transfer, you simply choose a look from a selection of 16 sample thumbnails and adjust the effect to taste. For me, the effects are a bit extreme, but drawing down the strength slider can get you a more realistic enhancement. Sadly, there's no before/after split screen view in this tool.

Advanced Photo Editing

Once you move into Edit mode, the full assortment of tools comes into play. Just as in Photoshop, you can add layers, manipulate grouped objects, and adjust curves and levels. Layers are much better done than in ON1 Photo Raw, with a more Photoshop-like, clear view of each layer in an optional panel. You can create Vector, Raster, Art Media, Mask, and Adjustment layer types, with all the blending modes you'd expect.

The Curves tool is particularly powerful, allowing up to 16 control points, which let me create some crazy effects. The Retro lab makes up for Instant Effects' lack of adjustability in a big way. It lets you adjust blur, diffuse, glow, color, and more.

Two selection tools, Smart Selection and Auto Selection, are similar to Photoshop's magic wand. The first did a decent job of letting me brush to create an edge-detected selection. But the Auto Selection is more impressive. You draw a box, and the tool selects an object inside it. In my testing, this only worked with very uniform backgrounds (a clear sky, for example) and objects with well-defined edges. Still, it's a useful tool for plucking a head off and using it against a different background. In the right circumstances, it works quite well.

The Refine Brush tool can fine-tune any selection you've made. It's effective on difficult subjects like hair or tree lines. After you make a selection, a Refine Brush button appears at top right. This opens an adjustment panel that lets you set the tool's size, smoothness, feathering, and border. You can show a red, black, or transparent background to better see your selection. When you're done, output options include selection, mask, new layer, and new mask layer.

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (33)

The tool did an excellent job automatically selecting individual hairs in my testing. Adobe has made a big deal about its new technology for selecting hair in portraits, but I don’t think it’s significantly better than Corel’s tool. If you select too much, a Remove brush option lets you fix it.

Content-aware object removal and moving is a recent addition. This lets you improve composition by moving or removing an object within a photo, often a human, while maintaining the background. For removal, you have to select some background to replace the object with, so it's not as automatic as the equivalent tool in Adobe Photoshop Elements. The clone stamp tool shows a preview where you're about to apply it, and like all the tools and brushes, the size slider is based on your image size, which helps prevent you from getting a tiny brush when you need to make big changes, for example.

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (34)

The tattoo on the left was added using PaintShop's SmartClone tool.

Smart Clone lets you choose a shape from the top toolbar to select an area for cloning, and then choose a blend mode (Blend, Original, or Black and White) to determine how the cloned image will appear when you stamp it on something else. The clone is available immediate for stamping when you finish selecting. You can also now save clone selections as presets for reuse later.

Palettes, Brushes, and Gradients

For creative types, PaintShop Pro offers more reasons not to pay Adobe monthly subscription fees, with its many color palettes, brushes, gradients, picture tubes, and textures.

These are accessible from the Materials panel, and editable in the Materials Properties dialog. You get patterns and textures as well as gradients. And you can download more from Corel. It's at least as good as what you get with Adobe Photoshop Elements, but not quite as infinitely tweakable as Photoshop.

One cool capability in PaintShop is the ability to create your own custom brush tips. I used a small image of the flag of Canada for this. Another capability that will be welcome to users ofgraphics design software is the program's support for vector graphics, including SVG files (import only). You can even mix vector and raster image layers in the same file. But don't expect all the dazzling tools you get inAdobe Illustrator, such as the Puppet Warp tool for intelligently and automatically transforming drawing proportions and positions.

Camera Raw Lab

When you start Edit mode with a raw camera file loaded, PaintShop opens the Lab interface, which is a lot like Photoshop's equivalent Camera Raw window. Here you can not only change the white balance and recover highlights, but also apply lens-profile-based corrections for chromatic aberration and vignetting. I'm not impressed with PaintShop's version of lens profile correction. I still didn't see any correction of geometric distortion, and vignette correction overcompensated in some test photos. Chromatic aberration wasn't removed automatically, but the program has a good tool for this in the Complete Editing interface. Most lens profile correction depends on people creating the profiles, so it's not an exact science. DxO PhotoLab excels at this type of correction.

Some of the adjustments in this part of the program—particularly noise reduction and Balanced Highlight Recovery—are still slower than the equivalents inLightroomand Photoshop. In recent releases, Corel has made an effort to speed up a lot of the program's most common functions and in its startup time, and it does feel more responsive. Finally, you don't get several of the adjustments Adobe Camera Raw offers, including,

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (35)

The Lab recognized raw files from my older Canon EOS 6D with a 24-105 zoom lens, but also from a Nikon Z 7 with a 24-70mm f/4 S lens, so support is fairly up to date. It even was able to open a CR3 raw file from the Canon EOS R. For automatic chromatic aberration correction, you're much better off with Lightroom orDxO PhotoLab. When I imported shots from a Canon Rebel T3i, a well-established model, the automatic lens-profile fixes didn't visibly correct geometry distortions at the edge of the picture.

More Helpful Tools

Project Templates.PaintShop's templates are a boon to non-designers who just need to create a card, collage, or brochure. They're really just predesigned layer groups, into which you drag your own images. The downside is that many cost a few bucks, though some are free.

Corel PaintShop Pro Review (36)

Screen Capture.I usually use Shift-Windows key–S for my screen capturing with the Snip & Sketch tool. Corel's does let you use a hotkey and a timer delay, which I consider essential, but unlike SnagIt's, it doesn't work in the background. You have to open the program and tell it to prepare to take the screenshot. It does offer several capture styles, including one that lets you select the rectangular area you want to shoot with the mouse. I prefer a separate screenshot tool, but if you want to capture and start editing right away, PaintShop's feature does the job.

Text Tools.Entering text was delay-free in my testing. Text capabilities include superscript, subscript, and justification. The nifty Paste-to-Fit option lets your text match a shape in your image. It's not quite as cool as Photoshop Elements' ability to wrap text around a curved shape in your image, however. You can hollow out text and create raster cutouts, which is a powerful effect. But for really impressive font work, PaintShop can't compete with Photoshop, which lets you mess with the actual character shapes using glyphs and apply effects like 3D extrusion.

(Video) PaintShop 2023 Demonstration

Windows Stylus.PaintShop Pro supports Windows Real-Time Stylus (WinRTS) and WinTab-based devices, such as the pen that comes with the Surface line of convertible PCs. I tested this on a Surface Book, and indeed I was able to draw, complete with pressure sensitivity. You can also use the pen for any menus and settings. As mentioned, though, the Complete interface workspace isn't well-adapted to touch-screen input, with some inconveniently small controls.

Output and Sharing

From Edit mode's File menu, you can export to all the expected formats; JPEG, GIF, and PNG optimizers and an image slicer are useful extras for web producers. Printing options abound, too, with CMYK separations, and standard layout presets. It even offers soft-proofing with a wide variety of printer profiles in the Color Management settings.

For online sharing, PaintShop can open your email client and attach your image. Corel has removed the direct social sharing features since the social networks keep changing their APIs. Like Photoshop, PaintShop lets you optimize images for display on webpages.

Help and tutorials for the application are worthy of mention. Unfortunately, the help has moved to the web, so you can't access it if you're working offline. But it covers every feature in the app and lets you easily find the topic you're looking for. Video tutorials do a good job of showing you how to use all the new features and perform popular edits, and there's a Learning Center panel that takes you through features right in the program.

A Fully Stocked Shop

Corel PaintShop Pro is a high-bang-for-the-buck Photoshop substitute, requiring no monthly subscription. The app gets points for the sheer number of tools it throws at you, many of which acceptably mimic their Photoshop counterparts—that even goes for some advanced tools like content-aware move, gradients, and effect filters. PaintShop also lets you create and edit both raster and vector images, which requires two Adobe apps.

For photographers less interested in visual arts and crafts, our photo workflow Editors' Choice winner, Lightroom Classic, is a better choice. The $99.99 Adobe Photoshop Elements, our Editors' Choice pick for enthusiast photo software, offers many of Adobe's unmatched photo-manipulation tools and a great selection of guided edit effects. Because it still is the state of the art, Photoshop remains PCMag's image editing Editors' Choice winner, but Windows-using pros who need that program's more-common tools are likely to be satisfied with this budget option.

Corel PaintShop Pro


(Opens in a new window)

See It$99.99 at Amazon(Opens in a new window)

MSRP $79.99


  • Photoshop-like features at a lower price

  • Powerful effects and editing tools

  • Extensive help and tutorials

  • Good assortment of vector drawing tools

  • Automatic noise removal

View More


  • Inconsistent interface

  • No macOS version

  • Some operations slow

The Bottom Line

Corel continues to add new photo editing possibilities to its PaintShop Pro software, making it a worthy Photoshop alternative on Windows for a budget-conscious, one-time price.

Like What You're Reading?

Sign up for Lab Report to get the latest reviews and top product advice delivered right to your inbox.

This newsletter may contain advertising, deals, or affiliate links. Subscribing to a newsletter indicates your consent to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe from the newsletters at any time.

Thanks for signing up!

Your subscription has been confirmed. Keep an eye on your inbox!

Sign up for other newsletters

(Video) What's New in PaintShop Pro 2022


Is Corel PaintShop Pro as good as Photoshop? ›

Corel PaintShop Pro is an excellent image editing, drawing and painting program with some innovative features. For most users and uses it provides an excellent alternative to Photoshop, although professional users will feel the lack of extensive color management support and other more advanced technical features.

What is the difference between PaintShop Pro and PaintShop Pro Ultimate? ›

The Ultimate version is $100 and $80 for an upgrade. Ultimate's $20 extra cost includes several features not found in PaintShop Pro 2022, including the Highlight Reel and MultiCam Capture Lite applications mentioned above.

Does PaintShop Pro require a subscription? ›

Corel PaintShop Pro is a high-bang-for-the-buck Photoshop substitute, requiring no monthly subscription.

What is the difference between Corel Painter and Corel PaintShop Pro? ›

Painter is geared entirely toward digital painting. Photoshop and PaintShop Pro do photo retouching as well as painting.

Is it worth upgrading PaintShop Pro 2022? ›

Paintshop Pro 2022 Ultimate is easily the best version of the software to date and builds on the impressive features introduced in the previous release.

How many computers can I install PaintShop Pro 2022? ›

#5 More than one device with a single license

It's not a surprise to know that PaintShop Pro allows users to use their license on two different computers.

Is there a free photo editor? ›

Here is the list of the popular free photo editors: Canva. GIMP. Fotor.

Does PaintShop Pro work with Windows 10? ›

Both PaintShop Pro and AfterShot Pro are now compatible with Windows 10 and, as we look ahead, we see some really cool upcoming opportunities on the PC platform.

What does Corel PaintShop Pro do? ›

Corel Paintshop Pro 2022 is an image editing software designed for beginners but caters to professional editors and is infused with AI features and tools.

How do I stitch an image in PaintShop Pro? ›

To merge two layers together
  1. Install PaintShop Pro. To install PaintShop Pro photo editing software on your PC, download and run the installation file above. ...
  2. Position the layers. Make sure that one layer is located directly above the other on the Layers palette.
  3. Select the top layer. ...
  4. Select Merge Down or Merge All.

Is Corel PaintShop Pro free? ›

Comprehensive Photo & Picture-Editing Software

At home and at work, there's only one way to get this kind of versatility, value and performance—subscription free. That's the power of PaintShop Pro.

How do I install perfectly clear in Paint Shop? ›

To launch Perfectly Clear, open your image under the Edit tab in PaintShop Pro. Go to Effects > Plugins > Athentech Imaging > Perfectly Clear v3. This will bring up the Perfectly Clear interface.

How much should I pay someone to edit my photos? ›

The average hourly rate ranges between $85 to $120 per hour. Typically, it can take an hour to edit one or more images, which means you can expect the following estimated rates: Basic Level – If you only need subtle skin retouching for a wedding, event, or photoshoot, prices range from $50 to 85$ per hour.

Who is the best photo editor in the world? ›

The best photo editors of 2022 in full:
  1. Adobe Photoshop. Best photo editor overall. ...
  2. Capture One Pro. Best photo editor for those with large budgets. ...
  3. Affinity Photo. Best photo editor alternative to Adobe's subscription plan. ...
  4. Luminar AI. ...
  5. Exposure. ...
  6. ON1 Photo RAW. ...
  7. DxO PhotoLab.
14 Oct 2022

What is the most common photo editing tool used? ›

Adobe Photoshop is widely considered to be the gold standard when it comes to photo editing software. It's used by professional photographers and graphic designers worldwide, and for good reason. Photoshop is an incredibly powerful program that can be used to create just about anything you can imagine.

Is there something easier than Photoshop? ›

The free version of Canva is often used by photographers and creative professionals to create graphics quickly and easily – it may not have the fancy AI tools of Photoshop, but instead, it offers a simple, easy to understand interface with virtually no learning curve, making it perfect for beginners to create eye- ...

How long does it take to learn how do you use Photoshop? ›

On average, the typical beginner takes between two and three months to learn Photoshop. Of course, this doesn't mean they have an intricate understanding of every tool or advanced technique. It does mean that they should be able to independently navigate the interface to complete edits and create graphics successfully.

What is the easiest Photoshop program? ›

Photoshop Elements is designed for consumers who are just getting started with photo editing and want an easy way to organize, edit, create, and share their photos. Automated options deliver great results to enjoy as is or use as a starting point for creative exploration.

How do I blur the background in PaintShop Pro 2022? ›

To apply Gaussian blurring:
  1. Apply Gaussian Blur. Choose Adjust > Blur > Gaussian Blur. The Gaussian Blur dialog box appears.
  2. Adjust the Radius. Type or set a value in the Radius control to specify the distance (radius) within which dissimilar pixels are blurred. Values range from 0.00 to 100.00. Click OK.

What happened to Jasc PaintShop Pro? ›

Corel acquired JASC in 2004 and renamed JASC Paint Shop Pro to simply PaintShop Pro. PantShop Pro or popularly known as PSP is one of Corel's most premium products available. This awesome application has all of the features you loved about JASC Paint Shop Pro and so many more.

Is Affinity any good? ›

Affinity Photo is the cheapest among the five tools I tested, and it is the only one that works on iPads too. This tool is mainly handy for intermediate or pro level photo editors because of the vast variety of features it offers to enable the users perform more in depth edits.

Can I transfer Corel Painter to new computer? ›

If you had purchased a download version of your software (as opposed to the boxed version), download it on your second computer from your account at com, under “Your Order Status & History”. Install the CorelDRAW suite to your new computer.

How many computers can I use Corel on? ›

Notwithstanding Your right to download and install the Software on two Devices, You may only use the Software on one Device at a time.

Can I have Corel Painter on two computers? ›

Upgrades are included with subscription and ensure that you can always use the most up-to-date version of your Corel Painter product as long as your subscription is active. This license may be used on up to two (2) computing devices (not concurrently) of different platforms.

Which is better Corel or Photoshop? ›

CorelDRAW is a great software for those who primarily work with vector graphics. The program is collaborative and quite easy to get used to. Adobe Photoshop is feature-rich software that can tackle tons of tasks. It works great within the Adobe family of software, but it does take a while to get used to.

Is Corel PaintShop Pro free? ›

Comprehensive Photo & Picture-Editing Software

At home and at work, there's only one way to get this kind of versatility, value and performance—subscription free. That's the power of PaintShop Pro.

Does PaintShop Pro work on Windows 10? ›

Both PaintShop Pro and AfterShot Pro are now compatible with Windows 10 and, as we look ahead, we see some really cool upcoming opportunities on the PC platform. We're grateful for your help spreading the word about Corel's photo products and our new blog.

Does Corel Paint Shop Pro work on Mac? ›

Corel PaintShop Pro is not available for Mac but there are plenty of alternatives that runs on macOS with similar functionality. The best Mac alternative is GIMP, which is both free and Open Source.

How long does it take to learn Corel? ›

Corel Draw is a user-friendly software and anyone can easily learn it. With regular practice and dedication, you can easily learn and master Corel Draw within 6 to 8 months.

Does anyone still use CorelDraw? ›

Adobe Illustrator is widely used by graphic design professionals. CorelDRAW is also a popular design program that many designers use for print design, drawings, and even industrial design.

Is CorelDraw good for photo editing? ›

CorelDRAW® Graphics Suite is an impressive photo-editing software that delivers everything you need to perform detailed retouching, add versatile enhancements and make selective edits.

What can I use instead of PaintShop Pro? ›

Top 10 Alternatives to Paintshop Pro
  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.
  • GIMP.
  • Photoshop Elements.
  • ACDSee.
  • Affinity Photo.
  • PhotoDirector.
  • Capture One Pro.
  • Luminar.

How many computers can I install PaintShop Pro 2022? ›

#5 More than one device with a single license

It's not a surprise to know that PaintShop Pro allows users to use their license on two different computers.

Does PaintShop Pro work on Windows 11? ›

Yes, PaintShop Pro 2022, is compatible with Windows 11. Previous versions of PaintShop Pro are supported on the specific versions of Windows they were designed for.

Does Corel work on Mac? ›

CorelDRAW is everywhere!

Enjoy native support for the latest technology on Windows and Mac including Windows 11, macOS Monterey, and the exceptional performance of the Apple M1 chip. Your cross-platform experience also extends to web, iPad, and other mobile devices.

Can Paint Shop Pro Open HEIC files? ›

Apple iPhone HEIF image support — Open and edit iPhone photos saved in high-efficiency image files (HEIC, HIF). Workspace Tab — Learn about multiple workspace options in the Welcome screen.


1. Corel Paintshop Pro 2022 Ultimate
2. Corel PaintShop Pro 2023 Review | for Windows
(William PC)
3. Introducing PaintShop Pro 2022
(Corel PaintShopPro)
4. What's New in PaintShop Pro 2021
(Corel PaintShopPro)
5. PaintShop Pro and Photoshop comparison
(Corel PaintShopPro)
6. Webinar: Bring your photography to life with PaintShop Pro 2021
(Corel PaintShopPro)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Prof. Nancy Dach

Last Updated: 10/21/2022

Views: 6220

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (77 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Prof. Nancy Dach

Birthday: 1993-08-23

Address: 569 Waelchi Ports, South Blainebury, LA 11589

Phone: +9958996486049

Job: Sales Manager

Hobby: Web surfing, Scuba diving, Mountaineering, Writing, Sailing, Dance, Blacksmithing

Introduction: My name is Prof. Nancy Dach, I am a lively, joyous, courageous, lovely, tender, charming, open person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.