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Jasc Paint Shop Pro Anniversary Edition image manipulation toolkit – Review


Jasc Paint Shop Pro Anniversary Edition
Digital Workshop (
Single use £79.95 (special upgrade also available)
Multi-user site licenses also available: details from Digital Workshop

Paint Shop Pro (PSP) is a programme which many will be familiar with via free cover discs. Whilst this is satisfactory for occasional home use the investment of just under £80 in the Special Anniversary Edition makes it a must for anyone who needs to alter, modify, improve or otherwise manipulate digital images for training materials, websites or presentations. The more ambitious may even want to add the odd animation to an interactive session or PowerPoint presentation..

So, what do you get for you money? Obviously you get the PSP programme itself (v7.04). This offers a wide range of image tools in an easy to use interface which will be familiar to anyone using Windows programmes. Tools include all of the usual image enhancing features to adjust tones, colours, contrast, brightness, definition, etc. In addition you get a whole range of additional tools for cropping, stitching images together, adding text, image manipulation, drawing, painting and so on. So far, so good... an image tool of which PSP is commonly considered one of the best.

But it is the additional programmes that help make the Anniversary Edition a star. These include the Jasc Animation Shop, an easy way to create Web animations, buttons, banners and screen transitions. Then there is the suite of special effects offered by the Alien Skin, Flaming Pear and Virtual Painter plug ins. These allow you to use filters to create weird and wonderful effects based on your own images. Whilst the range offered is fairly limited and you would have to buy the full programmes to get all of the effects it can still be fun to put your MD through a mind-blowing experience or see what they would look like in a tasteful pastel effect. Other fun tools include picture tube images, picture tubes and a range of frames and pre-set shapes.

Finally, Digital Workshop has bundled in the Jasc Media Center Plus (sic). This is an easy way to store and catalogue media files of all types, including digital images (photo or graphics), scanned images (including text), clip art and web pages. It can also be used to select images to be included in a slide show (holiday or work related!). The programme can work with over 50 graphic file formats, MP3 audio files and MPEG or AVI video files. The resultant catalogues can reside on the PC or system hard drive or CD and Zip... great for sharing resources or for when you're on the move.

Sounds like a lot to take on board at once? Well it is, but Digital Workshop has gone out of its way to make it easy to learn how to use the tools. This starts with an on-screen Product Tour. Then, in addition to the 505 page Reference Guide, there is a 146 page "Getting Started Guide". This uses a step by step approach to help you load the programme and then start working with pre-installed images. Sixteen separate chapters introduce each of the major tools and then take you through topics such as enhancing and printing images, correcting a dark photo, selecting and applying effects, using vector objects, creating a web animation and so on. Two appendices then offer a description of shortcuts and hot keys to Paint Shop Pro and Animation Shop. Then, to complete the package a separate 22 page booklet covers the basics of the Anniversary Edition extras.

All in all, the PSP Anniversary Edition offers just about all of the image manipulation tools the normal practitioner is likely to need, plus more. At only £79.95 it offers outstanding value for money and, as with other products in the range, an exceptional level of user support and training.

Stop Press: Digital Workshop and Jasc Software have announced a “Software Amnesty” program.
Between 14 November and 31 December 2001, Corporates, SOHO’s, SME’s, educational institutions and others, who have concerns about the legitimacy of their Paint Shop Pro seats, may purchase additional legitimate copies of Paint Shop Pro 7.04 at 50% off the normal licensing price. In order to apply for the Software Amnesty offer, representatives should call the Digital Workshop Sales office on 0870 120 2186 for details of their license prices and must provide proof of ownership of at least one legitimate copy of Paint Shop Pro.

Neil Wellman, NetWork Associates, [email protected]


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