Review Photoplus X3 Review

Matt

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Serif PhotoPlus X3 Review

Generally, ask a photographer what software they use for post processing and you will find the majority will be using Photoshop or PS Elements, few will have tried Photoplus.

The perception of Serif software is one of an application that does some of the stuff you want, but not everything. Is that something that Serif can change with Photoplus X3?

Photoplus X3 is the 13th (see what they did there?)release of Serifs image editing answer to Photoshop, Elements and Paintshop Pro, Serif boast Professional level tools with this release, aiming it firmly at the photoshop users, rather than the Elements user, but pricing it firmly in the Elements range.

Installation
The software has a small footprint, requiring between 128mb and 328mb of HDD, works on Vista 32bit, and XP, but sadly not Mac, which, in my opinion, is a blunder. Just look at how many people use a Mac for design, DTP and photo editing. Come on Serif, get your finger out...

Installation is fast, and updates are run straight away, so the software is bang up to date when we start.

In Use
Firing up the software, the first thing to notice is how similar it is to PS, the layout of the menus, tools and screen has a certain familiarity. This is a huge advantage if you are familiar with the PS family as the tools that you might want are exactly where you might think they are.



Closing the help screen and selecting an image from File>Open (serif supply some images to get on with, just incase you haven’t any of your own..no, really) creates a new menu with the familiar listings of File, Edit, View, Image, Effects, Layers, Select, Window and Help



The menu on the left consists of:
Crop and straighten tools, handy for those errant landscapes..
Move
Deform and Selection Deform tool
Mesh Warp
Elastic Warp – a collection of tools including Pinch, twirl and punch, among others..clicking on these icons brings up more subitems, again all are familiar. There is not enough space in a simple review to go over all the features so its worth investigating further.

Another useful feature is Quick Fix for images. This neat feature gives a lot of adjustment options in a simple interface, red eye, blemish removal, crop, straighten etc..all these features are in CS too, but in X3, its all in one handy menu on the right.



In Use
So we’ve discovered that the features are similar, but what about in use? Im going to do a quick mono conversion with a little curves push on the same image in CS and in X3 to compare.

In X3 – Select Image>Adjust…another familiar menu appears, from this select ‘Black and White Film’
This brings up a new menu for tinkering with conversion.



The same image in CS, Image>Adjustments>Black and White, this bring up a menu for adjustment. Can you spot the difference?




Minor adjustments to the colour sliders to bring out the different tones. Again, there is an air of familiarity!
 
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Matt

Matt

Staff member
Messages
37,550
Name
matt
Edit My Images
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#2
Then to Curves…to get to Curves, its Image>Adjust>Curves in X3 and Image>Adjustments>curves…all very samey
Photoshop curves menu




Curves in CS




The end result:




Not much difference there then!

Conclusion
Overall, Serif Photoplus X3 performs well, though some of the features are a little clumsy and the processing speed is clearly slower than CS. That said, for £80 it’s a very neat piece of software that will do more than enough for the average user. If you don’t use photoshop or elements, this is a good starter piece of software, and if you do, you will be surprised at what you can do with significantly cheaper software..just don’t expect it to be fast.

Available from http://www.serif.com/ for around £60

©talkphotography
 
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