Paranormal Paint

Why PSP8 Tutorials ?? Heck, Why Paint Shop Pro?
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. ┬áMore 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 old standbys.

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.