Adobe Photoshop Cs3 vs.. Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2

A comparative essay.

As in every career and field of study, there are tools used to accomplish the work and within these tools is an industry standard as well as many other options to accomplish the same end goal or product. Sometimes the similarities and differences are obvious, and other times they aren’t – as far as specific software is concerned, some are very user-friendly while others are complicated and bulky. In the case of Adobe Photoshop CS3 compared to Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2, there are some key similarities and differences to keep in mind when working with the software, and anyone who works with digital images should know the industry standard and what those similarities and differences are.

          At first glance, the interfaces of both applications look very alike, offering an array of tools and options for photo editing, graphics creation, and image touch-ups. For the novice graphic artist exploring his or her options and being introduced to these programs for the first time, trying to figure out what tools accomplish which effects and how to use them to their full capacity can be an overwhelming task. Both applications offer tools with some of the same names that do similar things, and both offer a product interface that becomes familiar very quickly. Some of the tools that can be found in both applications in similar places of the interface are: the Magic Wand Tool, the Crop Tool, the Clone Brush, the Paint Brush, the Text or Type Tool, and the Pen Tool. These can be found on the left side of the interface in both programs under their default interface settings. On the right, both applications have their color palettes and an area listing the image layers and what each layer contains. At the top are the menu bar and several other specifications for each tool as it is selected, also with a similar layout for both programs. Both products are specifically designed for photo editing and graphics creation, and allow the user to make the most of every image they choose to correct, edit, enhance, or touch up.

          Of course, there are some key differences between Paint Shop and Photoshop as well, the biggest of these being that one is the industry standard and one is not. Adobe Photoshop is the industry standard for professionals, especially when it comes to designing graphics and customized images, as well as doing design work for the web. There is also a significant price difference between the two applications, and Photoshop trades being easy to use and figure out for being capable of a lot more than Paint Shop. The price listing for Adobe Photoshop CS3 is $619 for this software application by itself, plus shipping and handling on Amazon, whereas Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 can be found for between $36.99 and $76.99, depending on which specific version is needed (Amazon). With such a dramatic price difference, why would anyone want to spend more on the Adobe software rather than getting what seems like essentially the same thing from Corel at a fraction of the cost? Perhaps it is simply because the Adobe software is the industry standard, but maybe it’s also because Photoshop can accomplish more in the long run and, once familiar, becomes easier and easier to use. Depending on how in-depth the image manipulation or design goes, Photoshop may also be the best choice simply for its massive array of options and capabilities. Anything you could possibly want to accomplish in this application, there is a tutorial out there for the version of Photoshop you have (Photoshop Tutorials). This is also true for Paint Shop however, also making thousands of tutorials available for free to assist in creating and manipulating any and every image you can conjure up (Paint Shop Pro Photo Tutorials). Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 is also more user-friendly for the novice graphic artist, easier to figure out and get some basics done without looking up tutorials to do so, which saves time. If time is money, this is never a bad thing.

          With all of the similarities between the two applications, it is up to the consumer or designer who will be the end user of the product to determine which one best suits the needs of any given project. For someone who is simply touching up photos or adding text, Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 would be a wise choice as far as saving money and still being able to accomplish their goals is concerned. For someone who is a professional graphic designer or works in the web design field, Photoshop CS3 might be a better investment because it is the industry standard, and because there are more possibilities as far as what can be done once the application is learned thoroughly. Some effects and corrections are easier to accomplish in Corel Paint Shop, and others are easier to do in Photoshop, so many professionals and users might choose to invest in both programs for the sake of versatility and simplicity, as well as saving time in getting the project accomplished. If time is money, this type of investment will pay for itself in a relatively short amount of time.

Works Cited:

Amazon – Photoshop CS3. Search Results. July 30th, 2009.


Amazon – Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2. Search Results. July 30th, 2009.


Photoshop Tutorials. Home Page. Photoshop Tutorials. July 30th, 2009.


Paint Shop Pro Photo Tutorials. Tutorials. Corel. July 30th, 2009.


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