I have used PhotoImpact for many years. I originally chose it because of its price. I could not afford Photo Shop, so when I ran into what was called a gray market source for less than $20, I decided to try it. For those not familiar with the term "gray market", it refers to software purchased at distressed prices, often due to software stores going out of business.
It was version 5, which I upgraded to version 7 a couple years later. It was compatible with most Photo Shop and Paint Shop Pro plugins which made it very capable photo and graphics software.
Having recently purchased a quality digital camera, it was time to upgrade my post-processing software. The timing clicked when Ulead (now Corel) included Corel Media One Plus and Painter Essentials 3 (full version) as an integrated package. The cost directly from Ulead was $69.99. A download version is available for $49.99.
I expected many improvements with the package since my version 7 had been updated many times through version 12 to the current X3. I was not disappointed. While the layout and use was similar to my old package, the results in nearly every function tried produced a better final product. I was very impressed with the auto-processing features. That was a feature that you could not depend on in version 7. Giant improvements have been accomplished.
Painter Essentials 3 turns your monitor into an artist canvass. I have had fun playing with it. In fact it was so much fun that I am saving my nickels for a tablet. I am just not coordinated enough to use a mouse on detailed artwork. It is ambitious to call my scribbling artwork.
more - http://www.ulead.com/pi/