Corel AfterShot Pro 1.1 review: Edit and bring order to your RAW photo files
AfterShot Pro provides good performance for working with RAW files
Corel’s AfterShot Pro started life as Bibble Pro, having been developed by Bibble Labs, a small company with some well-respected technology for handling RAW image files.
The first version of AfterShot Pro was released last year, but the program has recently been updated and is well worth considering if you’re looking for an affordable alternative to Lightroom from Adobe, or Apple’s own Aperture.
One of the key features of AfterShot Pro is its sheer speed when importing and processing RAW files. The program is designed to support multi-core processors and multi-threading, so it’s ideal for photographers who have a quad-core iMac or even an 8-core Mac Pro.
Like most photo-organisers, AfterShot Pro allows you to import photos into its own Library file, and within that Library you can organise your photos in multiple ‘catalogues’ that are similar to ‘events’ in iPhoto. However, you don’t have to work this way if you don’t want to, as AfterShot Pro also provides a ‘File System’ view that allows you to keep your photos freely organized on your hard disk in any way that you prefer.
The main advantage of using the Library option is that this allows you to make full use of AfterShot’s powerful search tools. Once photos have been indexed and imported into the Library you can search them by using settings such as aperture, flash and ISO, along with more standard keywords, ratings and tags.
The editing tools are arranged in a series of tabbed palettes on the right-hand side of the screen. There’s a set of ‘Basic’ adjustments, similar to those found in iPhoto, which allow you to globally adjust settings such as contrast, hue and saturation, while other palettes include more specialized controls for adjusting colour, white balance and tone settings. Most of these tools are easy to use, and there are a number of automated options to help beginners, such as auto-levels and the Perfectly Clear command, which can adjust lighting, contrast and sharpening all at once.
For more detailed editing work you can use AfterShot Pro’s ‘layers and regions’ tools. To work with a specific selection you simply create a layer and then use the program’s drawing tools to create a ‘region’ that highlights a specific area. You can then apply any adjustment to that region, and your edits are non-destructive so you can easily step back and undo any changes if you need to. There are Heal and Clone tools for removing blemishes and unwanted details, and if you need more precise editing tools you can just hit Command-E to open any file in an external editor such as Photoshop.
Aperture has an advantage in that it works more closely with your existing iPhoto libraries. But if you’re not an iPhoto junkie then AfterShot Pro provides fast, efficient and affordable tools for quickly organizing and editing large collections of photos. Its support for multi-processor Macs also makes it a particularly good choice for working with large RAW files, and there’s a 30-day demo that you can check out before buying.