Serif PhotoPlus 11 Review - Photo Editing Software That's Fun to Learn

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Serif PhotoPlus 11 concerned me a little bit. I grew more concerned when I had problems installing it. I had previously had difficulties with a product from Serif that I didn’t enjoy using. Photo editing covers a multitude of areas, and can have a long learning curve. PhotoPlus 11 not only does everything you might want to do with a photo editor but it includes tutorials for many of the features as well. I printed out each tutorial, and then had a lot of fun working my way through the instructions and accomplishing the special effects. A variety of photos are also included for use in the tutorials. They allow you to try various aspects of photo editing. I really enjoyed learning to use Serif PhotoPlus 11.

Price to Value (5 out of 5)

What’s Hot:
Considering that Serif PhotoPlus 11 comes with a range of tutorials that are fun and easy to follow, this package is very well priced. There is a DVD with extra tutorials for advanced projects that you need to purchase if you want them. Even with this addition, it’s good value. There are about twenty tutorials in all, and twenty-five photos to experiment with.

Installation & Setup (2 out of 5)

What’s Hot:
Serif PhotoPlus 11 can be downloaded from the website. To get the advanced tutorials, you need to purchase the PhotoPlus Studio Extras DVD.

What’s Not:
I previously reviewed Serif PagePlus X2 and had problems installing it on my XP machine. With PhotoPlus 11, I had exactly the same problem when installing on my Vista machine. PhotoPlus 11 would not install and I got an error message stating that it “will not install due to an existing unfulfilled system reboot request.”  I had to apply the same registry edit that I had to apply for with PagePlus X2. Then I couldn’t get anything to print, not even the help section in the .pdf file would print. I deleted my extra printer, and then the program crashed. I restarted PhotoPlus 11 and now it printed. I reinstalled the deleted printer and the printing still worked so I’m not too sure what happened there. It was frustrating for a while, and almost spoiled what turned out to be a good experience with this product.

Product Features (5 out of 5)

Serif PhotoPlus 11 has a multitude of features. It could be daunting to use if it weren’t for the tutorials. They lead you step by step through the various features, and explain what happens when you change various settings of a photo. They make it fun to learn how to use all the functions of this product.

The tutorials are divided into five categories and cover just about all the features of the product…

Getting Started

· Getting images into PhotoPlus

· Sharpening images

· Changing image and canvas size

· Making basic image corrections

· Printing

[See Image 1]


· Key Concepts

· Selection tools

· Brush tips and tricks

· Color spaces

· Image formats

[See Image 2]


· Adding color to b+w images

· Making contrast adjustments

· Recoloring images

· Repairing, restoring photos

· Replacing backgrounds

· Retouching photographs

· Macros and batch processing

[See Image 3]

Creative Effects

· Antiquing photographs

· Depth maps and 3D effects

· Dramatic lighting effects

· Oil painting effects

· Using paths

· Creating modern art

· Working with vector shapes

· Creating infrared effects

[See Image 4]


· Inkblot

· Popart

· Photoprints

· Photos into art

· Extracting subjects from photos

· Panoramic photos

· Glamorizing photos

· Beach scene montage

· Vintage photos

· Grunge

· Pencil sketch

[See Image 5]

There are other features not covered by tutorials. Animation is a really fun one to play with. The User Guide and on screen help, cover the method of turning a series of photos into animation.

User Interface (5 out of 5)

What’s Hot:
There are different types of toolbars, and once you are familiar with the names of each toolbar and the options on each, then it is easy to find your way around. This is where the user guide is very useful. It points out each toolbar and names them all. This name is then referred to in the tutorials. The tutorial that covers basic concepts is a necessary tutorial because it explains how a photo is structured, and explains the different layers that can make up a finished photo. This helps you understand how to alter and edit the various parts of a photo.
[See Image 6]

What’s Not:
The different toolbars are a bit confusing to begin with. There are similar icons on different toolbars. You need to identify each toolbar to make it easier to follow the tutorials. At one point, in one of the tutorials, I got a bit lost since there was an icon that it was referring to which was very similar on a different toolbar. However, it did specify the toolbar to look on, and I soon realized my mistake.

Help & Support (5 out of 5)

What’s Hot:
The tutorials are what make this product so great to use. Photos are provided for use in the tutorials, so that you can try all the different features. Serif PhotoPlus 11 also comes with a 189 page user guide. This can be downloaded from the website. The user guide explains all the features in more depth. There is also on screen help as you use the product. You can start by learning just basic photo editing, and then progress to the more advanced functions by following the tutorials in the advanced projects category. These tutorials are on the extra DVD.

What’s Not:
To get all the tutorials, you need to purchase the DVD with the extras on it.


Getting Started



Creative Effects




I haven’t done much advanced photo editing in the past, and was slightly worried about learning how to use Serif PhotoPlus 11. I really enjoyed learning it though, as the tutorials in PhotoPlus 11 were such fun to try. I printed each tutorial out separately. Then I sat and worked my way through the clear instructions using the provided photos and easily learned how to edit photos. I was then able to edit my own photos with the tools I had learned. I am looking forward to using PhotoPlus 11 a lot in the future and would definitely recommend it.

Photoshop Elements 5.0, Photodex CompuPic Pro, Print Shop 22