It lacks the wealth of tools in Roxio's latest suite, but both application integration and touchscreen support is excellent.
With its Digital Studio 2010 media suite, Corel has entered into competition with the likes of Roxio, Nero and CyberLink. Such suites provide tools to manage and edit all your audio, photo and video files.
Digital Studio is made up of three main editing applications – Express versions of Corel PaintShop Photo, VideoStudio and DVD Factory – plus WinDVD for DVD playback. It may sound as if Corel is simply repackaging multiple separate apps, but that’s not the whole story; this isn’t a bundle, it’s a real suite.
The integration is apparent when you load any of the editing apps and are presented with the Media Organizer view. This displays all your media files as thumbnails organised by media type, folder, album or project. You can also tag files, add captions and filter which files are shown using the Search bar. Windows 7 users have multi-touch support for image navigation, rotation and zooming with a compatible touchscreen.
The Media Organizer doesn’t just look pretty, though. You select files by dragging them down to the Media tray at the bottom of the screen and then, using the Action Bar at the top, you can print, email or archive them. Particularly welcome are the commands under the Share menu, which let you directly upload your files to sites such as Facebook, Flickr and YouTube.
Basic tasks may be handled by the suite-wide organiser, but you’ll need to open the applications for in-depth work. Open up PaintShop Photo 2010 and the Action Bar’s Create menu lets you create a range of projects, such as photo albums, calendars and slideshows.
The core editing options are pretty basic – straightening, cropping, fixing red eye and applying an overall image fix – but for more in-depth work you can open a side panel that offers colour correction, make-up tools, effects and so on. Particularly impressive is the ability to pin open the side panel and navigate through your files one by one, enhancing them as you go.
PaintShop Photo 2010 can also open video files, but for serious work you’ll need VideoStudio 2010. When you double-click on a video, you can trim and split your file, change overall brightness and white balance and apply noise and motion blur reduction filters. You also get access to the new Create, Movie command, which provides a dedicated environment for combining photos, videos, titles, soundtrack and voice-over, ready for DVD and high-definition AVCHD output.
Having created your masterpiece, you’re going to want to view, share and store it, which is where DVD Factory 2010 comes in. This application enables you to burn your videos and slideshows to DVD, complete with a professional menu-based front end. To complete the story, WinDVD 2010 provides smooth DVD playback, with impressive upscaling.
Digital Studio 2010 offers more media-handling tools than Google’s free Picasa, but fewer than standalone offerings such as Adobe’s Photoshop and Premiere Elements or long-running suites such as Roxio Creator Pro. In many ways, though, this is an advantage. Corel has produced a well-integrated, easy-to-use and streamlined media-handling package.