There are swathes of editing packages to edit your photographs, some of them really simple to use like Luminar 4 and Lightroom and some of them more complicated like ON1 Photo Raw and Photoshop. But there’s one piece of software that I constantly go back for for various reasons, and this affordable piece of software is a great addition for the times you need something that is just that little bit different.
Many years ago when I was discovering software packages, I came across Photoscape X Pro. I was blown away by its simplicity, and used it a lot to do quick edits such as crop and rotate and quick exposure fixes. But because it doesn’t offer non-destructive editing, and it’s raw editing isn’t as good as others, sometimes it’s just left aside while I tackle more advanced programs.
But every time I need a quick edit of a jpeg, de-fisheye a fisheye shot (more on this later) or need to make up a poster or do something creative, I keep coming back to Photoscape X Pro. Now with update version 4.1, the software is even better, and so I thought I’d review the good and the bad points of the software.
Photoscape X Pro: The Good
Being used to editing routinely in Darktable, Photoshop and Gimp lately, it’s really easy to pick up Photoscape X Pro again and discover what it has going for it… And there are many.
The Viewer mode is an excellent mode akin to the Lighttable and cataloguing views of other software, where you can have all your images on screen at once, view them, tank them, choose multiple images for batch editing and so much more. It’s something I must have in my most used packages, and means you can have full control of what you’re editing by comparing directly on-screen after and during each edit.
Editing in Photoscape X Pro gives you all the tools you’ll need, and jpegs are handled amazingly. You’ll have full control like in any other software of your image, and there are masks you can use to target specific areas. There are also dozens of extra things you can do which are all at the touch of a button. There’s full colour control to make monochrome images, full perspective controls, colour filters, effects filters, film simulations, sun flares and endless controls over adding text and extra images to your photo.
Batch edit is simple to use for resizing images, changing the look of images, renaming images, change image formats and so much more. It’s fast, it’s effective, and there’s a lot you can do with it.
One of the many great features is the collage maker. This is really well put together, gives you loads of options and an extremely useful tool. For a lot of people, it’s one of the main reasons they use Photoscape X Pro, and once you’ve used it once, you’ll understand why they use it. The same thought has been put into the combine option, and again gives you a lot of options to combine images in various rows etc.
Borders are carried for well, and there are very many to choose from, in a variety of styles and different implementations. No fussing or faffing, just choose what you want and apply the border, adjust any parameters and you’ll have beautiful borders in no time.
In the area where you can change perspective and do other similar tweaks, you can also add a fisheye effect, but the main bonus of this feature is that if you edit a rectilinear or fisheye photo and use the fisheye setting in negative values, it will perfectly de-fisheye the image. An absolutely amazing feature that is a must for people who use fisheye lenses.
You can also create GIF’s with the GIF module, Print from the print module and much more besides. The software really is remarkable.
Photoscape X Pro: The Not So Good
There’s nothing hugely wrong with Photoscape X Pro, but there are a few things which other programs can do better.
Raw images don’t have as much latitude when you edit them in the editor as they do in other raw editors. You won’t be able to recover the highlights or shadows as much as you can in something like Capture One for example. That’s not too say it’s bad, and it’s more than adequate for most edits.
The masking has great feathering and control, but lacks the intelligence of some programs, so you’ll need a steady hand for precise work should you need to be incredibly accurate.
It’s destructive software, so if you’ve made a mistake, you have to undo step by step until you get to the point you made the mistake. It has limited layer support for certain functions, and they are in no way as functional as on major software releases.
That’s really about it as far as negatives go for this software. It’s around £30 to buy in the Windows and Apple stores, and there’s a couple of updates every year, plus it is on sale every now and again.
Think of Photoscape X Pro as a Swiss army knife. It’s an incredibly useful tool with some amazingly powerful tools. For jpeg shooters, or those who don’t want ultra complicated raw editors, it’s a great piece of software. There are far more positives than there are negatives and it’s a perfect introduction into the world of editing photos.
Don’t be fooled into thinking the software is not capable, it’s more than capable and in some ways it’s far easier to dip into Photoscape X Pro than it is too get the same tasks done in other software.
As I’ve said, I’ve left this software a couple of times, but I always go back to it if I struggle to do something on Photoshop or whatever the program I’m using.
I find if I’ve edited a photograph in another program, sometimes it’s great to put the jpeg in Photoscape X Pro and you can perform some extra tweaks, including looking through the great film filters in real time, which can sometimes make a big difference.
It’s not perfect, but it’s fast and gets the job done. There are some killer features that make it super handy for everyday use. There’s a free version and a paid for version, and you can get most things done with the free version if you want to give that a try.
— The current version of Photoscape X Pro, and the one discussed here is version 4.1, found at their website http://x.photoscape.org/