Graphics Software at an affordable price
by Alan Zisman (c)
published in Toronto Computes,
Paint Shop Pro 6.0
Jasc Software (www.jasc.com)
Requires Windows 95/98/NT, 32 meg RAM, 30-75 MB drive
or better processor
For a while, computer graphics software has tended to
fall into one
of two camps?either it is inexpensive, and aimed at the novice user,
a dumbed-down interface, or it?s wildly expensive, and aimed at the
Jasc?s Paint Shop Pro, places itself squarely in
both from on-line shareware sources, and in a professionally-packaged
available in stores, it offers much of the power of pro-products like
PhotoShop at a relatively affordable price. Think of it as ?PhotoShop
the rest of us?.
The new version 6.0 stays firmly in that tradition. It
adds a wealth
of features, while retaining the look and feel (and price) of previous
Version 6.0 takes a big leap forward. Like Deneba
Canvas, but unlike
products like Photoshop, it allows users to mix smooth vector lines and
fills with the more traditional bitmap painting tools in a single
Like programs like Corel Draw or Adobe Illustrator, vector objects can
be individually resized and edited.
Also new to version 6.0 is fully editable text?every
can be formatted separately. Text can be flowed onto a vector
Pictures can support multiple gradient fills.
The program can optimize JPEG and GIF files for
over the Web. Multiple pictures can be printed at once on a single
of paper (hoorah!), while the program offers built-in support for a
range of digital cameras.
Back in this version, much to my pleasure, the Save
Files dialogue box
can be set to remember the last file format used?in the previous
every save reverted to the default (and proprietary) Paint Shop Pro
JASC would rather you left it that way, since saving in a format such
JPEG loses many of the program?s features?collapsing layers, and during
vector lines into bitmap lines, for example. (They?re right?users
on creative projects should keep their work in the PSP format as long
possible?only saving as, for example, JPEG when they?re done with the
And while users are working on a project, they will
appreciate new improvements
like the multiple-level undo/redo and the Command History, allowing
to quickly get back to a previous version of the picture. And the
colour control and special effect dialogues make it much quicker and
to preview the effects of proposed changes.
Also included in the package is Animation Shop 2?which
can be run on
its own, or in conjunction with PSP. Animation Shop is designed to
those little animated buttons and banners that make it hard to stay
while visiting far too many web pages. (Or am I letting my prejudices
the better of me?) In any event, Animation Shop offers a filmstrip-like
environment for creating bitmap animations. It includes a collection of
transitions between frames, along with image, and text special effects.
Animation Shop can be purchased on its own for about $60.
True to its shareware roots, fully-functional trial
versions of both
PSP and Animation Shop can be downloaded from www.jasc.com and other
sources. But after trying it out, if you?re going to continue to use
register them?helping to keep this feisty company in the business of
high-quality, lower cost alternatives.