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Software Review:    Jasc Paint Shop Pro 7: Anniversary Edition

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What is it?
A powerful graphics and photo editor.

Who is it for?
Appropriate for both home and business--those passionate about digital photography, people who want to manipulate or create graphics for business or personal use (presentations, newsletters, flyers, etc.), designers of Web graphics and/or animation.

New features in Version 7:
Extra photo enhancement tools, such as red-eye removal, scratch removal, automatic tools to improve crispness and impact; business and home graphics features, such as new support for gradients, textures, and patterns with stroke and fill when using vector shapes, lines and text, brushes now support gradients, textures, and patterns, more precise positioning with snap-to grids and guides, new artistic and lighting special effects; new web design features, such as new png optimizer; productivity and ease of use features, such as repeat last command feature, save and retrieve workspaces, customizable Auto Save, and more.

System requirements:
Win 95/98/NT4/2000/Me, Pentium or equivalent processor. 

This is a single CD-ROM (extras are included on the CD-ROM).

Using the Program:
Users are presented with a workspace. Near the top of the screen is a Menu bar 
with text commands (drop-down) and the Main Toolbar, containing frequently  used command icons. Depending on what you have opened on the workspace, some commands will be greyed out indicating they are not available. The Tool Palette that runs down the left hand side of the workspace offers selection tools (such as the arrow, freehand, magic wand, dropper), a Zoom tool for better viewing, editing tools (such as a scratch remover for editing photos, deformation tool for Raster images, and object selection tool for working with Vector objects), and a wide assortment of Painting/Drawing tools (such as paint brush, eraser, draw tool, preset shapes, and so forth).
These tools can be tweaked using each tool's options palette (for example, after selecting the "preset shapes" tool, users can set the shape, such as an ellipse, line width, line style, and so forth in this tool's options palette). 

Along the right side of the workspace screen is the Color Palette that allows users to set the stroke and fill options (such as the foreground and background colors, textures, and gradients) for the tool they are using.  

Photo editing options are plentiful. Users can enhance their photos in a variety of ways--rotate, crop, adjust color balance and contrast, red-eye removal (a little tricky), remove scratches, sharpen. Users can even combine two photos into one with the use of layers and a mask. Another method of enhancing or correcting images is by adjustment layering - a tutorial is offered on this process. Picture frames can be added to photos, as well as a variety of special effects, such as sculpture or brush strokes.

Paint Shop Pro 7 also has powerful tools for creating custom images using vector objects and text--great for creating custom logos and designs. Plenty of special effects can be added to images, including 3D effects, texture effects, artistic effects (for example, glowing edges, charcoal, etc.).

Screen captures are also possible with the software. We captured a screen of a game we were reviewing (below left) then cut out a picture of the character SpongeBob in order to get a nice close-up (below right) to use in our review:

 

Web designers will appreciate the ability to preview images in a browser, and the included software, Jasc Animation Shop 3, which allows users to create and enhance animations with special effects. The program includes options such as a gif optimizer, jpeg optimizer, image mapping (a graphic with hotspots), and image slicing.

Our Notes:

This program is powerful and the price is right. It comes with both a Getting Started Guide and a Paint Shop Pro 7 & Animation Shop 3 Reference Guide. The latter is a thick book-sized manual that provides wonderful details and user-friendly walkthroughs for things like creating an animated banner, optimizing an animation, working with layers, using vector tools and editing vector objects and text. 

There is plenty to learn and do, and those who are ready to teach themselves will find the included tutorials and manuals very helpful. This is a huge step up from regular photo and graphics editors, and anyone new to graphics editing will need to invest quite a bit of time into learning all of the ins and outs of the program. Although well-explained, novices will have a tough time going for a while. 

**For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Jasc Paint Shop Pro 7.0 Anniversary... at Amazon.com.

This program is also available as a download, although the boxed version with the manuals is worth the extra money, in our opinion. A trial version (full demo) is available at the Jasc site.

UPDATE: The latest version of the product is JASC Paint Shop Pro 9

 

For Windows By: Jasc Software    Published: 2002
 

 

Our Rating:

A

To Buy this CD-ROM:

Buy Jasc Paint Shop Pro 7.0 Anniversary... or JASC Paint Shop Pro 9 (latest version) at Amazon.com

 

Reviewed January 2003                                                                                                 Comments? Email us.
 
 


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