Saturday, May 29, 2010
Since having a child, I've become quite the amateur photographer. I have a camera hanging from my neck or wrist daily, always prepared to capture those special moments. Almost as fun as taking the pictures is editing them to create the perfect final portrait. I typically use Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 to touch up or enhance my photos, so when I was offered to review a new photo editing software package from Corel, there was no way I could pass it up.
Corel Paint It! allows users to effortlessly turn their favorite photos into unique, digital works of art. Paint It! features a variety of brushes and preset painting styles - everything you need to add stunning painted effects to your photos in as few as three mouse clicks. With it's simple, intuitive user interface, Paint It! is suitable for photographers, scrapbookers, families and creative minds of all ages. (And yes, it is compatible with both Windows and Mac machines!)
Being of an impatient nature, I was thrilled that the software was quick and painless to install. I couldn't wait to get started. I found the program to be extremely user-friendly. The icons are large and easy to read. No manual necessary. Any tech-savvy person should be able to figure it out in no time, although there is a Help menu available for beginners. You simply choose a picture file from your computer, click on the desired effect button, press play and BOOM! A custom work of art is being drawn right before your eyes! It was so fun testing different effects with different photos and watching the digital sketches or brushstrokes splash across the screen. But caution: it's addicting! I've spent hours upon hours playing around with it. Check out some of the masterpieces I created using Paint It!:
"Impressionist Painting" (same photo):
"Pen & Ink":
"Colored Pencil Drawing":
You can also add things like fairy dust or texture (sponge, furry, airbrush, etc.) to personalize your photo further. Kids would get a kick out of this!
While there's no doubt that Paint It! is a cool program, there are a few drawbacks. Mainly, it is very time-consuming. I have quite a fast processor and it can still take upwards of 5-10 minutes to complete one photo sketch. Granted, many of my photos are from my SLR and are very hi-res so you may not have this problem if you use a lower-end camera. But because it takes so long, I have to set aside a chunk of time if I want to experiment with the various effects and features. Not so easy when you're a busy mama. With Paint Shop Pro, I can apply the same effects instantaneously.
I've also had mixed feelings about the results. The drawings and paintings are hit or miss, in my opinion. I've found that landscapes tend to turn out a little better than portraits of people (perhaps because of the finer facial details?) Since 95% of my photos are of my family, I found this to be a little disappointing.
Overall, I think Paint It! would be best suited for photo editing novices or those who aspire to scrapbook, frame and/or share the "paintings" as gifts. Photoshop or PSP gurus may be frustrated by the lack of control over the finished product. However, if you aren't familiar with the more sophisticated programs or would prefer something affordable and entry-level, I think this is a wonderful, basic tool.
BUY IT: You can purchase Corel Paint It! online at http://store1.corel.com/corel or at select retailers nationwide (ARV $39.99).
FUN FREEBIE: Not sure if it's for you?! You can download a free trial version of Paint It!
WIN IT: Corel is kindly offering one lucky reader their own copy of Corel Paint It!
MAIN COURSE (MANDATORY ENTRY): Tell me about one photo you'd most like to turn into a painting. Remember to please leave your email address in your comment if it isn't visible on your profile to prevent disqualification!
SUGAR ON TOP (BONUS ENTRIES): To maximize your chances of winning, you may do any or all of the following. Be sure to complete the above mandatory entry or your bonus entries will not count!
1.) Follow my blog and/or subscribe via reader or email. Comment telling me which method you chose. If you already follow or subscribe, that counts! (1 entry each)
2.) Follow me and Corel Paint It! on Twitter and tweet about this contest. You can do this daily! You may use the following tweet or come up with one of your own:
Turn your photos into works of art with @CorelPaintIt! Win a copy @kris10chumley Ends 6/14 http://bit.ly/aD36zV
Just leave me a comment with your tweet link. (1 entry per day max)
3.) Add my button to your site and comment with a link where I can find it. (1 entry)
4.) Visit the Corel store and tell me another product you'd like to own. (1 entry)
5.) "Like" Corel Paint It! on Facebook. (1 entry)
Giveaway will end on June 14, 2010 at 11:59pm EST. Open to U.S. only. Winner will be chosen via Random.org and will have 48 hours to respond to congratulatory email or prize will be forfeited and another winner will be chosen.
Disclaimer: This review was made possible by The Product Review Place. I received a free copy of Corel Paint It! from Kelly with Corel to facilitate my candid review. I was in no other way compensated for this post. The thoughts and opinions expressed are purely mine. Your experience may differ.