Corel Digital Studio 2010 review

£59
Price when reviewed

It’s hard to get too excited when Corel announces a “revolutionary new product”. It usually turns out to be a marketing exercise built around a bundle of disparate apps each well past their sell-by-date. So on hearing that the new Digital Studio 2010 comprises cut-down Express versions of veteran old-timers – PaintShop Photo (available separately for £29 inc VAT), VideoStudio (£39), DVD Factory and WinDVD (£39) – you might well be tempted to stop reading.

That would be a mistake, though; Digital Studio 2010 could prove to be the media management tool the market has been crying out for. Crucial to this is the fact that the Studio is a proper integrated suite. This has nothing to do with the over-hyped Studio Gadget, which eats up desktop space to provide nothing more than one-click access. The fundamental difference is that all of the Digital Studio applications share a common interface and workflow approach, with the three main editing applications all opening into exactly the same Media Organizer view.

Media Organizer lies at the heart of the suite, providing smoothly resizable thumbnail previews that can be organised by media type (images, video and audio), folder, album and project. It’s hardly revolutionary, but Corel has got it just right. In the longer term it should become even more engaging thanks to in-built support for Windows 7’s multitouch capabilities.

The Media Organizer isn’t just pretty – you can do real work with it, starting with importing your content from folder, disk, camera, camcorder, phone, capture card or webcam. You can then impose some order on your media via a mix of Elements-style tagging and Picasa-style searching. Once you’ve found the images you’re looking for, it’s possible to drag them to the collapsible Media Tray at the bottom of the screen and then apply actions to them.

Some of these actions are application-specific but many, including printing, emailing and archiving, are shared. A real standout capability here is the ability to post media online for browser-based sharing. Unlike Photoshop Elements and Picasa, Corel cleverly devolves this job to third parties, enabling Digital Studio users to post their images and videos directly to the most popular hosting sites of all: Flickr, YouTube and Facebook.

The shared Media Organizer proves a big hit, but what do the applications themselves bring to the table? In all three main editing applications, you can quickly apply basic adjustments: trim video files, apply straightening, cropping, red eye reduction and a quick fix enhancement to images.

Corel Digital Studio 2010

VideoStudio takes things further with a side panel offering filters to correct white balance and brightness and to cut down noise and shake. PaintShop Photo’s side panel lets you apply various effects, fill-in flash, makeover tools and basic tonal and colour corrections.

In neither case is the power exceptional but most immediate needs are covered. And PaintShop Photo offers one huge advantage: you can quickly move through a selection of images with all editing power immediately to hand and with all enhancements automatically saved (though fully reversible) as you move on. It’s a simple and natural workflow that puts Photoshop Elements to shame.

Apart from enhanced editing capabilities, each application also provides different Create commands. With PaintShop Photo you have options for creating photo books, cards, calendars and slideshows. With VideoStudio you have a single Make Movie command that opens a dedicated environment for combining images, videos, titles, soundtracks and voice-over to produce polished new movies.

Details

Software subcategory Media software

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported? yes
Operating system Windows XP supported? yes
Operating system Linux supported? no
Operating system Mac OS X supported? no
Other operating system support Windows 7

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