After many years of using
and teaching many different graphics tools, I had the
opportunity to serve as a private beta tester for Jasc
Software's redesign of their flagship product, Paint
Shop Pro 8. More than an upgrade, the folks in
Eden Prairie did a complete rewrite on this one, and
there's more new than not.
As such, while putting up with
all the headaches, crashes, frustrations, and craziness
that are part and parcel of testing "uncooked"
software, I came to know and really love this app. I've
always liked it, and recommended it to students and
colleagues as a low-cost alternative to Photoshop, but
with version 8 the program has truly come of age. Now,
the number one reason I'd recommend it has less to do
with price than with functionality.
There are new tools in this
version that no other software package on the market--
at any price-- can match. Particularly if you are a
web designer or digital photographer. The warp tools
make PS7's Liquefy look sick. The Background Eraser
is killer. The user-friendly and sophisticated selection
tools are wonderful. User customization is a godsend,
and scripts leave Actions in the dust because they're
either recorded with the ease of a Word macro or written
in Python, rather than a proprietary language.
Because this version is such
a complete overhaul, even long-time PSP enthusiasts
are likely to get a little confused. And new users may
take one look at all those options and completely freak
out. More important to me, however, than either of those
situations is that some really wonderful new and improved
tools could get lost in the shuffle.
So here I am, with vast quantities
of Diet Coke at my left side and my cordless mouse on
my right coding a few tutorials that will help visitors
look under the hood of some of PSP8's new goodies and
I'm not going to attempt to
teach Paint Shop Pro core skills here--the Learning
Center that ships with the product will give you an
overview of the basics. The tutorials here assume that
you have already mastered things like navigating menus
and placing a solid color in the foreground and background
swatches. This is the "fun stuff" for folks
who already have their feet wet and now want to "dive
in" and really play with the new toys.