The latest version of Serif’s general purpose photo-editing software, Photoplus X9, includes a revamped organiser for cataloguing and browsing photos as well as a wider range of templates for creating projects such as cards, collages and coffee table-style photo books.
In addition, the program’s interface has been tweaked to bring it into line with the rest of the company’s X9 range, which will save you some time if you’re already familiar with the other products.
There are several new filters, blends and adjustment tools to help give photos a digital boost.
We were always quite partial to Albumplus, Serif’s separate photo organiser, but while the one included here lacks the same visual pizzazz (there’s no ‘photowall’ feature for example), it is functional.
It imports pictures from different devices (hard disks, scanners and cameras) and organises them into folders, by date taken, based on user-defined tags or star ratings.
A new feature called Stacks makes it easy to group similar photos (or just photos being worked on) together – this might be useful when creating panorama, for example.
How to Create Albums on This Image Editor?
In addition, users can create Smart Albums and populate those with photos that meet specific selection criteria – for example, the date or the place in which they were taken, their width, height, file size, orientation, star rating, tag and so on.
These filters allow albums to be created that meet very strict criteria – for example, you could select only those photos taken at a particular place on a particular day that were wider than 1024 pixels and had a star rating of four or more.
It supports a wide range of Exif information (details such as camera, focal length, white balance, exposure, aperture, speed and so on) making it useful for more serious photographers, while the rest of us will enjoy the support for geotagging, which lets Photo Organiser display pictures on a Google map at the location in which they were taken.
Photoplus includes a copy of Serif Craft Artist, an excellent crafts and scrapbooking program.
There are new project templates available which include those from Craft Artist and more – they were of a uniformly high standard.
Some minor but useful function updates have been made such as the the vibrance adjustment, to add sparkle to people shots without affecting natural skin tones and the clarity filter that squeezes extra sharpness from in-focus shots.
Serif also says there have been some behind-the-scenes performance improvements, but with the exception of applying filters we’ve always found Photoplus nippy enough anyway.
Simple enough for beginners and powerful enough for semi-serious photographers (it has excellent layer support, imports raw files, for instance) Serif Photoplus X9 is a good choice against some very stiff competition.