Corel, the makers of Paintshop acquired the Bibble RAW editing software business a while ago. Corel have now built on that to release After Shot Pro.
After Shot Pro is an editing suite touted to compete with Lightroom and Aperture. So I decided to download the free trial and see what it is about.
Firstly, installation is quick (compared to Lightroom) and easy. The installation file you need to download is not hundreds of MB (as Lightroom is), in fact at 33mb, it downloaded very fast on my ADSL1 line. Run the installation package and few OK's later and you are done. There are downloadable versions for Windows, Mac and Linux.
Now to open the program. My first opinion was..hmm..where do I start. Being familiar with Lightroom, I must say Adobe have the layout of screen down to a fine art. After Shot just does not have that slick and polished finish to it. But I suppose if Corel made it look like Lightroom, the Apple and Samsung wars would be soon called the Corel and Adobe wars.
After Shot Pro uses catalog's the same as LR, and the process of setting one up is intuitive. Click File>New Catalog. How hard can that be? I quite like that Corel have chosen to put all the metadata etc on the left panel , and editing is all done on the right panel, including their presets. It kinda makes more sense. LR has the presets on the left, and editing on the right. Presets are edits, therefore including them all in the same place just seems more logical.
You can toggle the sidebars off and on, you can move the location of the film-strip, and adjust the many screen options to suit your needs. After Shot Pro uses a lot of icons. Some are familiar (cropping tool etc), but I found I had to mouse-over several and wait for the little pop-up box to appear to tell me what the icon was, and therefore did. After Shot Pro feels more like a RAW editor (it edits JPG, TIFF etc just as easily) and less like a total workflow package, than do LR and Aperture. Lightroom is more intuitive in regard to what to click to do what. However users of Paint Shop Pro might be all to familiar with these icons and it probably means a quick and easy learning curve for them.
All the edit tools are the same/similar to LR and its easy to quickly find how to apply edits. I found the inclusion of Noise Ninja as the noise reduction tool a good move. Noise Ninja has long been a much admired noise reduction tool. Corel's inclusion of it in After Shot Pro is admirable.
All in all, I think After Shot Pro builds on what Bibble created and it is a worthwhile software consideration at a reasonable price. I don't think it is as slick and well presented visually as LR and Aperture, but all the same adjustment and editing tools are there. I reckon LR/Aperture users will find this lack of 'finish' in After Shot Pro to be initially annoying, but once a few hours are spent using it, it would be intuitive.
If costs are a factor, After Shot Pro, is a good package to consider, as its is cheaper than its competitors.
A free trial (and purchase) is available from the Corel website Just click on PRODUCTS, Photo Editing, when you get to the site