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Choosing software: Paint Shop Pro versus Photoshop

Tobias Flo , Aug 10, 2001; 05:07 a.m.

Photoshop 6 is like five times more expensive than its main competitor, Paint Shop Pro 7. Still I can find little evidence on what actually makes Photoshop better. Cnet.com gives Photoshop a little better score, but their user opinions indicate no differences in quality. My impression has become that the real difference is that Photoshop is industry standard while Paint Shop Pro is not. So, if I go for Photoshop, do I pay for other people's habits, or do I get something real? And does it make sense to compare features included, or are there differences in quality of output?


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Roy Zartarian , Aug 10, 2001; 08:10 a.m.

Adobe admittedly is a big name in the "industry" while Jasc is not.

However, I did download the evaluation version of PSP 7.0 from the Jacc website for the 30 day trial and put it through its paces. I found that for purposes - and I am a serious amateur/occasional pro - PSP did everything I needed. It has the layering, filtering, and adjustment capabilities of Photoshop. And it recognizes most plug-ins designed for Photoshop.

Nilesh Bhise , Aug 10, 2001; 08:20 a.m.

I do not know about the software differences, but I can surely tell you that do not make your decision based on CNET's review, it's sponsored. So download evaluation copies, evaluate both and choose. Good luck.

Francisco Robledo , Aug 10, 2001; 08:24 a.m.

Hi Tobias -

Photoshop will give you more flexibility when you need a good print or a good scan. Also it has better filters and better tools. Photoshop requires you to endure more training. There are thousands of things you can do.

Paint Shop Pro will save you some time for web output. It is full of shortcuts. And it is targeted to the saavy home or office user that needs to get things done without reading a 200 page manual. You can have both (Photoshop and Paint Shop) open and share tasks.

peter nelson , Aug 10, 2001; 08:49 a.m.

Does PSP support ICC profiles?

Kris Pfeiffer , Aug 10, 2001; 09:06 a.m.

I have to make due with the machine I have - a 350Mhz Pentium II w/256meg RAM. I ran PSP 7 for several months before I went out and got Photoshop. PSP always seemed to take FOREVER to do any sort of operation. For instance, the dust & scratch filter would take so long I'd go and watch TV for a while and check back on it. Yes, my machine is older, but Photoshop has no problem. It's lightning fast and seems to use memory more efficiently.

I've had several weird runtime errors in Photoshop, though.

Javier Cuadriello , Aug 10, 2001; 09:30 a.m.

I have used both and I like both. PSP7 is good for many things, it lets you browse folders, which PS doesn't so I use it as my everyday editor, also because I generally use a P133 64Mhz laptop and PS take for ever to load (it also takes for ever to load in my P350 256Mb) But PS is far more flexible,alows much more control and has more tools. PSP has many tools equivalent to preset programs in Nikon cameras or PIC modes (I think they are called like that in canon) in Canon cameras, they are made to make things fast for people that don't need many of the features of PS, but they still allow some control (not like PhotoDeluxe and similar programs). In the same way that many people have MS Word and use 10% of that it can do (like me) and could be using WordPad (included in windows) without buying Word, you may find that PSP is more than enough. If you have never used a program like this, PSP is probably much easier and PS can overwhelm you a bit (at least it happened to me) Wrt filters, 3rd party PS filters tend to be more or less compatible with PSP, so that is in general no a problem. Depending on your needs you have to see if the price of PS is worth it. It is again like cameras, a Nikon f80 is a good camera, you pay twice as much as good get a Nikon f100 which is a better camera and lets you do a few more things, then you pay 2 as much again and get an f5 which lets you do more new things. Try the demos and see what you need. At least the PSP7 demo lets you do everything (i'm not sure about PS). Also have a look a PS Lt, which is a cut down version of PS, I haven't tried it but it should be much cheaper that PS and comes with some scanners. I don't know how much the cut from the full version.

Zap Trax , Aug 10, 2001; 09:48 a.m.

I use Photoshop and have never used PSP so I'm not sure I can really be that helpful. The things I like most about Photoshop are: 1) the layers and masks. I can get a far better print than I could ever get in a darkroom. 2) that it is THE standard and everyone makes plug-ins/filters for it. What I don't like is the price. But I've got 3 years of experience invested and I'm starting to get pretty good. Truth is, I've barely scrtched the surface of its capabilities. I'd hate to start over in another program.

Edward C. Nemergut , Aug 10, 2001; 10:28 a.m.

I agree with what you said in your original question: I think that PS costs more mostly because it is the industry standard. I use Picture Window Pro 3.1 at home but use Photoshop and Paint Shop at work. Honestly, I can't see much difference between any of the programs--each has its pluses and minues. The only thing I wouldn't do is purchase Photoshop Elements (trying to save some money) as it does NOT support 16 bit images.

Chris Dunlop , Aug 10, 2001; 10:41 a.m.

There are always alternatives.

You might also want to consider the Gimp. It's free (no cost) and free (open source). I've found it to be quite powerful and flexible. But having used Photoshop for quite a few years now I found the interface hard to get used to. It's available for Windows and Linux.

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