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PC Reviews: Paint Shop Pro 8

"Photoshop? We don' need your steeenkin' Photoshop!"

Jasc software is back with it's latest incarnation of the Paintshop series. This software has always been my favourite imaging software since day one and I was keen to see what was in the new incarnation. Comm-unique were good enough to shoot out a copy to us and we put it through the paces.

Installation: Incredibly easy. The only thing to be very aware of is that even though the software does only ask for a Pentium processor or equivalent, it then recommends at least a 1 Ghz processor. Recognise these facts and then you will have no problems as far as this is concerned. If you have a lesser machine you are going to have hold ups if you are multitasking. It's as simple as that. Just for your information, my machine specs are: Pentium 4 2.54Ghz processor, 512mb DDR memory, 60Gb 7200rpm hdd and a 64mb GeForce 4 graphics card. For those whom that was a bunch of gobbledygook, my machine is lucky enough to easy surpass even the recommend system requirements for the software. So naturally I experienced very little difficulty in using it or running it in conjunction with any other applications.

If you have ever used practically any imaging software then PSP is not going to throw you very much. Most of the iconography is easy to understand and doesn't offer too much in the way of a challenge in using. Something that is different from previous versions though is that there are numerous functions for each button on the toobar running down the left of the screen. The only annoying part of this is that I noticed on a number of occasions that the software does not seem to remember your previous choices and so you have to re-pick them all. It's not as bad as it sounds but in the age we live in, it's maximum efficiency that I am after and having to select the same tool over and over is time consuming.

The nice thing about the software is that it also features a great many movies in it's help section to get you up and running smoothly. They are easy to understand and follow, and will let you get up and running with ease. I found the movies to cover the basics in photo editing with some nice tip included.

One of the new shiny enhancements for the software is the one step photo fix that actually does what it promises. You can take any photo and with the absolutely simple one step photo fix button, enhance it to the point that it looks even better than the original. To prove this point I took a .jpg from AFL Live and ran it through the process. When we take into account that the picture that I ran through the one step fix was a graphic from a game and the fact that by the end, it almost looked like a still taken from video, this speaks volumes for what the software can do.

Add to this the ability to correct the positioning of objects within their picture by overlaying a wiremesh and then manually adjusting this area with the mouse. Called Perspective Correction, it's a very nice touch and yet another indicator of how well the new enhancements operate in version 8. Also, in version 8, I found that the software was able to handle an increased workload whereas in version 7, it would chug if processing multiple layers of images at the same time.

I think another beauty of this product is the simple yet undeniable fact that this is a perfect substitute for Photoshop at an absolute fraction of the price. Paint Shop Pro is over $1000 less for practically all the same features.


System Requirements

Windows XP Home
Edition / Professional


Windows 2000


Windows  ME/



- 128mb Ram
- DVD or CD-ROM drive
- 200mb HDD space
- 16 bit colour display adapter at 800x600 resolution
- Internet Explorer 5 or later

The truly nice thing about a program with this potential complexity is that there is even more backup on the jasc website www.jasc.com There you will find other hints and tips not covered in the already extensive help section that is provided either in the program itself or the great manual that is provided in the box at the time of purchase. When I say manual, that is an understatement, it is a fully blown couple of hundred page user guide. Although the size of the manual may be a deterrent to some people, don't be offput by this as there is plenty there. This is one package that should suit most users all the way up to Professional level and even then, there wasn't much that Paint Shop didn't do for us.

I loved using this new software and I have no qualms in saying that all users from the new to experienced will enjoy it also. Very Highly Recommended!

- Tory Favro

The Final Say!


Paint Shop Pro 8 reviewed by Tory Favro
Review Score: 9.9/10 
Distributor: Comm-Unique

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