Corel Photo Album 6 Deluxe Edition review

Price when reviewed

When Corel took over JASC to get its hands on Paint Shop Pro, it also inherited Paint Shop Pro Album, a standalone application aimed at digital camera users. The program’s great strength has always been the simplicity of its interface built around four main tabs – Organize, Enhance, Create and Share – each offering clear access to a limited range of button-based commands.

When you first load the application, the new Photo Finder offers to find all photos from across your entire system or from selected directories. And when you connect up your camera, Photo Downloader offers to download all images to an automatically named directory, rotating photos as it goes if your camera supports the feature.

Once photos have been imported, they automatically appear as thumbnails in the Organize window, where they can be viewed by directory, ad-hoc collection, keyword or date. The underlying thinking is similar to that of Photoshop Elements 4, but with no visual tagging or wall calendar view, for example, the implementation is nowhere near as smooth or rewarding. We do like the new Photo Trays feature, though, which lets you quickly drag multiple photos to an area at the bottom of the screen for later emailing, uploading or printing.

A new Quick Print command lets you output multiple prints per page in the most common photo sizes. If you want to move beyond standard printing, the options under the Create tab have been extended and now include new options such as collages, magazine covers, awards and certificates. Also, there are plenty of templates and the ability to produce web galleries and burn basic slide shows to VCD. And Photo Album now keeps track of which photos have been archived to CD and reminds you when it’s time to back up.

That just leaves the Enhance tab, but it’s a major disappointment. You can crop your images, manually remove red eye and, using the tabbed Adjust command, control exposure, contrast, colour balance, saturation and sharpness, but it’s awkward and the preview is much too small. Otherwise, all that’s on offer is a pathetic selection of special effects. It’s fine in combination with Paint Shop Pro X, as advanced editing is just a click away, but Corel Photo Album 6 is too basic for its own good and simply isn’t powerful enough for standalone use.

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