Corel AfterShot Pro review

AfterShot Pro builds on the foundation of Bibble 5 software, so it enjoys an advanced RAW workflow – such files appear in Thumbnail view very quickly and the application applies adjustments with welcome speed.

It resembles Photoshop in that you don't have to work with a catalogue – you can just browse through your own file system. For asset management tasks, the catalogue option is available if required – you can import a folder and apply custom keywords – but importing folders with a large number of photos or subfolders can take a while. Our 5000 images took around 10 minutes to import and build previews.

There are less than the usual amount of editing tools, but AfterShot Pro lets you apply non-destructive adjustments or colour corrections to all or selectively to a portion of a photo using Layers and Regions, much like Masks in Photoshop. Whenever you apply an adjustment to a photo, AfterShot Pro creates a new version of the image, leaving the original master file unchanged. Images that have been thus edited bear a paintbrush icon in the Thumbnail panel, while versions created from the same master can be grouped in a Stack.

There's also the Basic Adjustments palette, containing sliders for the likes of Exposure, Saturation and Fill Light, but also a tick box for 'Perfectly Clear' optimisation. Corel claims that this tool leverages medical-imaging technology to correct contrast and sharpening. It certainly works well on certain images, but needs to be used with care on those with wide exposure variation at the edges.

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Batch processing options are straightforward and powerful. You can rename multiple images, apply the same adjustment settings to groups of similar files, or convert and export photos to a pre-defined size and format.

Adjustment presets such as Deeper Shadows or Cross Processing are great for making one-shot changes. They can be tweaked still further and saved as a new Preset. A Plug-ins tab offers image-editing plug-ins, to apply black-and-white or colour equaliser effects, as well as a very nice negative film simulation tool.

OUR VERDICT

Decently-priced and quietly powerful, there's a lot to like about AfterShot Pro. The lack of some tools is a downside, but you can always assign an external editor in the Preferences for fine detail work. This is a fast and powerful RAW tool, with strong colour correction, while using Layers and Regions is good for selectively sorting portions of a photo. The Adjustments Palette offers some decent presets and the plug-ins are just right for a professional workflow.

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