Review of Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3

One of the applications that I absolutly use the most is Paint Shop Pro — PSP, for friends — a product for graphics and digital image processing. I have a license as far back as 1996, when it was still a shareware product, that is, from version 4.00, which I continued to update even when it became a commercial product with the acquisition of the maker, Jasc, by Corel. The latest version of Jasc was 9.01, after which the product was renamed and became Corel Paint Shop Pro X.

Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo XI

Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3

The Corel product was almost completely rebuilt and at first it was a bloodbath. The performance had dropped drastically and often the application crashed, so that for a long time I kept both version 9.01 by Jasc and version 10 by Corel. Then, with the first corrections and especially with version 11, called Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo XI, things significantly improved.

Two of the major advantages of this product were, and still are, the compatibility with most of the plug-ins and filters for Photoshop and the ability to write scripts in Python language. In 2005 I developed a site, the PSP Script Library, where I described in detail all the scripts that were available in the various versions of PSP, and which still contains a number of free downloadable scripts developed by me as well as links to other sites of free scripts.

Since then, PSP has not significantly changed, especially from the functional point of view, so that when Corel released version 12, that is, Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 Ultimate Edition, I did not updated the license because, apart few fixes, there were no changes to justify its purchase.

Last month, Corel announced the release of version 13, with an updated interface and new features, so, having looked at the news, I decided to buy it. As always, I bought the English version, although this time it was not necessary because the new version is multilingual and allows you to switch from one language to another. However, as I always do for safety reasons, I did not replace the old version with the new Corel PaintShop Pro Photo X3, but I installed it in parallel to version 11, since the product allows it. It was actually a good idea, as we shall see.

I had the first problem, in fact, during install. First of all, it took too much time, much more than it was necessary for version 11. Then, PSP has a whole series of objects, such as brushes, tubes, frames, color palettes and so on, which can be stored in various folders. In general, for the Italian version, most of these folders are in a subfolder of Documenti, called File PSP. In my case, since I have an English version of Windows, they were actually in a subfolder of My Documents, that is, My PSP Files. Obviously, since I have an Italian keyboard and I use the Italian formats for currency, date, time, and decimal numbers, I set the Italian locale.

So when I installed version 13, the installation program has created a series of folders with Italian names instead of using those that were already there. That surprised me a bit, because the new PSP allows you to switch from one language to another, which means that it should maintain in the register the pointers to the various folders and it should not change them depending on the language. However it was not such a serious problem, since the first thing I did was to switch to English and restart the application. But at that point there was the real problem: when the application restarted, it created from scratch all the subfolders in My PSP Files by resetting the folder that were already there, removing all files that were inside and that I used with version 11.

Luckily I always have a backup of important data folders, so I was able to clear everything and restore all the items I already owned, after manually deleting all the Italian folders which duplicated those ones with English names.

The second problem was when I launched the application again: PSP X3 started building a catalog of all the images I have in my computer — and they are many — without asking if I really wished to do it, which means that it worked for over an hour with no way for me to stop it. Now, I do not need an image catalog since I have all the graphics files well organized and I know exactly where they are, so I did not want to waste any space for a huge file that is loaded each time when the application is launched. In the end, I disabled that function. The nuisance was that I had to wait for it to end creating the catalog anyway.

The third problem is about performances: compared with a graphic restyling that is not strictly necessary and a functional improvement that is not exciting at all, performances declined so drastically that it seems to me to be back to the period of transition from version 9 by Jasc to 10 by Corel. Not only that often the application crashes, it often slows down for no reason and it takes a lot to refresh the interface if I use large files that version 11 perfectly managed.

Sure, some new X3 function is quite interesting but, beyond that I could not find any way to import into X3 any customized menu and toolbar I had in XI — so that I had to rebuild all by hand — the lack of reliability and especially the slowness of the application forced me to continue using the old XI, which is works fine, waiting for Corel releasing some updates to improve version X3, though, experience tells me that it will take some time.

In fact, since Corel acquired Jasc, it has always given priority to its traditional products, that is, the CorelDraw suite, rather than the PSP, so I do not expect any news soon. I’m not saying that I wasted 70 euro, because I know that sooner or later the problems will be solved, but I must say I was quite disappointed, so my suggestion is to wait for the first patches to X3 before getting through with old XI.

One last thing, for the record: with the same content and customization, version X3 ( takes about 67 seconds when I launch it before I can work with it, while version XI (11.20) takes only 14 seconds, in my computer. Similarly, to save a 360 × 240 pixels image in JPEG format, X3 takes 8 seconds, XI only 1. Think about…

Comments (3) to «Review of Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3»

  1. utente anonimo says:

    GIMP come si piazza in termini di caratteristiche?

    70 euro è la spesa per il passaggio alla nuova versione oppure è il prezzo del prodotto completo?


  2. È il costo dell'aggiornamento ma il prodotto completo non costa molto di più. Come prodotto, per quello che ha, è certamente una buona alternativa a Photoshop che, seppure più ricco di funzioni, è parecchio costoso. Tuttavia la versione X3 ha troppi bachi per essere al momento appetibile, a mio avviso. Spero arrivino presto le correzioni, almeno per quello che riguarda le prestazioni.

  3. utente anonimo says:

    Da quando ho scoperto che posso utilizzare Jasc Paint Shop Pro 9 senza problemi su Windows 7, quelli della Corel possono restare dove sono !

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