Product Review: Paint Shop Pro

by : Richard Lowe

Many years ago I needed to create some graphics. Nothing fancy,
just some images for documentation at work. I had used several
graphics programs in the past, none of which really did the job
that I needed. I wanted a simple interface, a lot of power, and
most important of all, I didn't want to spend half the day
waiting for the graphics program to catch up to me.

I considered Adobe Photoshop, but soon realized it was priced
way over my budget. So I kept looking, and before long found a
great product called Paint Shop Pro. I downloaded the evaluation
version, and quickly realized that I had found a gem.

Paint Shop Pro supported everything that I needed, including
layers, vector and bit editing modes, a magic wand, and dozens
of other functions. The program also supports Photoshop filters,
brushes, patterns and far more other things than I have even
bothered to explore.

What I like about Paint Shop Pro is simple: the program is very
fast (even on a relatively slow machine) and it's inexpensive
(less than a hundred bucks). It also has some very nice features,
and I believe that PSP (as it is affectionately known by many of
it's users) has a larger user base than Adobe Photoshop (this is
at least true among the webmasters with whom I communicate).

Now, keep in mind that I've never really used Adobe Photoshop
much. Just a one week training class and half a dozen graphics
for a manual that I had to work on (at one of my consulting jobs
many years ago.) So I cannot say that Paint Shop Pro is better or
worse that the Adobe product.

What I do know is Paint Shop Pro will easily meet the graphics
needs of virtually all webmasters. I've found that it will do
everything that I've demanded, every single thing without fail.

I am especially fond of a unique feature (at least I think it's
unique) known as tubes. In the words of the vendor (Jasc
Software), "The Picture Tube Brush allows you to paint with a
variety objects without having to draw them. With a tree and
foliage tube, you could paint a forest with just a few brush
strokes. You can also create, collect, or share tubes with your
friends and colleagues."

For example, there is a tube with a dozen different leaves in
different shapes and positions. As you use the tube, the leaves
get scattered at different angles where you place the brush. This
way you can draw a really nice looking tree without having to
position and draw every leaf yourself.

I would recommend this product without hesitation to any webmaster
who needs to create graphics of any kind (including animationFind Article,
since Paint Shop Pro comes with another product called Animation