PhotoPlus is produced by Serif and is available in both Starter (free) and Professional Versions.
It was a pleasant surprise to discover that Serif is still in business. It has been more than a decade since I last used their products, and I wasn't even sure that they still existed.
At the time I had no experience in design or publishing, I had just started my first business; a project for my Entrepreneurship class – I was in Grade 11. Serif’s software was very intuitive, and along with the guide book, I began designing project after project.
Well, today, when I stumbled across their site, I just had to give their software a workout. I downloaded both PhotoPlus (a photo editing program, similar to Adobe Photoshop) and DrawPlus (similar to Adobe Illustrator).
Well my first reaction was: this certainly isn’t Adobe Creative Suite – but then again, no one said it was. My current Adobe suite was in the area of $2000; I downloaded this new software for free.
After 13 years away from the PhotoPlus, and having gone through multiple releases both of CorelDraw and of Adobe Suite (both Illustrator and Photoshop), I didn't remember tool bars, menus or layouts from years past. But I didn't need to. The layout, menus and tools are virtually identical to Photoshop. If you don’t believe me – download it and try it yourself.
If you aren't familiar with Photoshop and just want a basic photo editing program, then count yourself lucky. Photoshop has what the industry calls a "steep learning curve" – and there’s no one challenging that. PhotoPlus is very easy to use. It comes with QuickFix Studio and Filter Gallery which will walk you thought adjusting any of your photos. There are a number of disabled features, including Instant Artist and Extract, along with a few settings and tools. All the features are available with the purchase of the full version (downloadable).
QuickFix Studio offers image adjustment in 5 easy steps. You can compare the effect that your adjustments have had on your original photo as you view your new image in a split screen format. The five steps are:
- Brighten and Contrast
Filter Gallery offers five categories with a total of 10 different options:
- Distort: Twirl, Ripple
- Blur: Average Blur, Gaussian Blur, Motion Blur
- Sharpen: Unsharp Mask
- Edge: Find all edges
- Other: Solarize, Stained Glass, Grayscale
The program comes loaded with tutorials, including:
- Makeover Studio
- Opening your image
- Removing red eye
- Whitening teeth
- Removing blemishes
- Removing dark circles
- Smoothing skin
- Brightening eyes
- Removing hotspots
- Faking a suntan
- Slimming down
- Brightening or darkening
- Recoloring images
- Replacing color
- Adjusting color balance
- Retouching and restoring
- Using QuickFix Studio
Being Creative Features and Options
- Painting and drawing
- Choosing colors
- Adding text
- Drawing lines
- Drawing shapes
- Applying special effects
- Antiquing photographs
- Coloring black and white photos
Serif is the maker of a full suite of products, including:
I must admit that the interface is quite easy to use. Despite lacking significant options, tools and filters of higher end software, it’s also significantly easier to learn as a result. For a free version, PhotoPlus is excellent software – you should be able to get up and running in no time.