Version 9.0 of Corel Paint Shop Pro adds some convenient tricks to help maximize the main work space, such as roll-away palettes and the ability to minimize open images to tabs. The most important interface addition is the new History palette, which tracks the actions you perform on the active image. The palette lets you undo and redo commands, making it easy to experiment. Unlike in Photoshop, you can undo a single command without affecting any subsequent entries in the list. What's more, the entire history can be exported to a script and subsequently applied to other images.
Also new is the Mixer palette, which emulates the color-mixing mechanics of a real brush and palette. Add dabs of color to the palette surface, swirl them around, and select the exact color you want. The palette was designed to work with Corel's new natural media tools, simulating the tactile experience of analog art without the messy cleanup.
Corel Paint Shop Pro's photo-correction features are among its greatest strengths, containing noteworthy touches you won't find elsewhere. For example, the Automatic Color Balance filter has a slider to adjust for lighting temperature: incandescent, fluorescent, daylight, or anything in between. You can process your photos manually or take advantage of the automatic commands in the Enhance Photo menu. Photographers who use raw formats (unprocessed data from your camera's CCD) will be happy to learn that Paint Shop Pro 9.0 can preprocess and open these images.
Paint Shop Pro has several filters for correcting various lens distortions--barrel, fish-eye, and pincushion--plus a chromatic aberration filter for removing the colored fringing often seen on sharply contrasting edges. The excellent noise-removal tool gave us better results than any comparable tool we've seen in an image-editing program to date. Also, Paint Shop's Clarify filter improved murky underwater pictures. In addition, each filter shows a large preview window so that you can fiddle with pertinent adjustment settings.