PROS / This software supplies you with a wide variety of photo editing tools.
CONS / Serif’s PhotoPlus does not use Pantone swatches, making it more difficult to ensure that your designs or photos print in the same color that you see on the screen.
VERDICT / The software presents a wide selection of photo editing tools. While it lacks some features that help you create precise designs, it still maintains several useful illustration tools that you can use to create designs in both raster and vector.
Serif PhotoPlus X7 mainly focuses on photo editing; however, it still offers several illustration tools that you can use to create designs or even enhance your photos. While this software lacks some helpful features, it has many photo editing tools that allow you to be creative.
The program has both the pen tool and vector brushes that you can use to create vector designs. You can even create your own custom brushes by adjusting the tip, weight and color or use a tablet to create a brush with specific pressure. Unfortunately, the software does not automatically trace images and convert them to vector. To ensure accuracy with your designs, the software has grids and snap-to alignment you can use. Unfortunately, the program does not have custom guides, so you have to use the pre-determined lines of the grids to place your objects.
The graphic design program includes over 560 different font styles you can use with your photos and designs. However, it lacks text wrapping, so you will have to manually place text next to your graphics. It also does not offer a Pantone color swatch, which means you cannot verify that the color on the screen will be the same shade when printed.
While the graphic design software lacks certain illustration tools, it has a vast selection of photo editing tools, including over 60 photo filters. The photo effects include HDR imaging and panorama merging, both of which use multiple photos to enhance a scene. The program not only includes effects, but also tools that you can use to enhance the image quality of your photos. With color correction, noise removal and automatic lens correction, you can adjust the lighting and grain of an image, as well as fix distortions caused by the lens.
Using the photo editing tools, you can perform a variety of tasks. The mask tools help you edit photos by removing unwanted objects or subjects from a photo. With batch processing, you can apply the same effect to several different images at one time. You also can resize images without distorting them with content-aware scaling. The graphic software also has the option for perspective-based editing, which allows you to add dimension to your design. After you finish editing photos or creating a design, you can export them directly to your social media profiles on Flickr and Facebook.
With a large combination of both illustration and editing tools, the software can be cumbersome to learn. We found that we had more difficulty initially when we were creating designs than we did with the other software on the comparison chart. However, the software offers support both within the application and on the company's website. With a how-to panel as part of the interface, you can learn how to perform certain tasks.
Serif’s website also offers support with forums, video tutorials, an online manual and a knowledgebase that addresses common problems and questions. If you need to contact Serif, the company lists both an email and phone number.
The best graphic design software offers a variety of illustration and photo editing tools within a user-friendly program. While Serif PhotoPlus X7 equips you with those tools, the program is difficult to learn and maneuver in comparison to the other software we reviewed.