corel Photo Album 6 review

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Minor tweaks to existing functionality leave Photo Album underpowered.

corel photo album 6

When Corel took over JASC to get its hands on Paint Shop Pro (see page ), it also inherited Paint Shop Pro Album, a standalone image management 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. The phrase idiot-proof springs to mind.

The first task for an image management application is naturally to access your photos and here the renamed Photo Album 6 sees two advances. 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 the new 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, by ad-hoc collection, by keyword or by date. The underlying thinking is similar to the organizational capabilities in Photoshop Elements (see page ), but much less thought and care has been put into the implementation. One handy new feature is the introduction of Photo Trays which lets you quickly drag multiple photos to an area at the bottom of the screen for later emailing, uploading or printing. For the latter the new Quick Print command lets you quickly 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. Unlike the Standard Edition bundled with Paint Shop Pro X, the standalone Deluxe Edition includes extra templates and under the Share tab also offers the ability to produce web galleries and burn basic slideshows to VCD. And Photo Album now keeps track of which photos have been archived to CD and reminds you when it’s time to backup.

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, you can 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. Of course, if you’re using Paint Shop Pro X, advanced editing is just a click away but Photo Album itself just isn’t powerful enough for standalone use.

Ultimately, Corel Photo Album 6 is too simple for its own good.

Features
3
Ease of Use
6
Value for Money
4
Overall
3

ratings out of 6

System Requirements: Windows 2000, XP (SP2)

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Tom Arah

December 2005


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