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Helpware: PaintShop Is A Worthy Competitor To Photoshop

By Harold Glicken Tribune News Service

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Harold Glicken reviews "PaintShop," "a powerful photo-editing program that just might give folks who can't afford Photoshop a reason to save some money without sacrificing features they didn't know existed."

Tribune News Service

Adobe Photoshop is the gold standard professional photographers use for photo-editing.

For the rest of us, there's Corel PaintShop Pro. It does most of the tasks Photoshop does and costs less, and the 2018 version is a game-changer.

For photo-editing beginners who use the basic Essentials Mode, there are the familiar cropping, text and erase tools.

In the more-advanced Complete Mode, photos can be enhanced, layers can be added and colors can be changed.

When the Text icon is selected, a set of features including font, size and styles appears. Other icons, which have been enlarged in the faster-loading 2018 version, work the same way, but it's hardly PaintShop for dummies.

For many shooters, the Essentials features will keep them out of trouble. By trouble, I mean it would be difficult in Essentials Mode to add butterflies to a photo of flowers, which is something journalists are forbidden to do.

Still, that kind of effect is available in Complete Mode. The two choices of complexity are like the three levels of expertise choices in Photoshop Elements, the simpler version of Photoshop.

Your creative other self will soar when you start using the huge array of features in the Complete Mode. Skin tones can be changed, backgrounds can be lightened or darkened, unwanted parts of the photo can be made to disappear, wrinkles around eyes magically go away, textures and layers can be added, and more.

Don't like the background color and shade of a nature shot? Just choose a color from an array of palettes such has "muted greenery." Want to have some fun? Add or delete a person's hair. Give him a Pinocchio nose, too. The cigarette must go. Done in a flash. Restoring old photos is much simpler than in earlier versions.

There is a steep learning curve to the Complete Mode. Fortunately, there are tutorials, some that point to rather expensive templates and effects.

At the cheap end, a feature that can improve a selfie costs $5. Some templates, such as one that can be used for birthday cards, are free. Many others, such as one for designing a business card, cost $2. Still, there are dozens of free templates, effects and scripts. Those scripts automate an effect without the user having to do anything more than download them and watch as they run their course. The free tutorials that come with the $80 Pro version are excellent, and other free ones can be found on YouTube.

PaintShop comes in a basic version for $50. The Pro Ultimate version, which I have, costs $100, but it includes a program for editing certain kinds of photos that are difficult to edit otherwise. It's also discounted at www.corel.com.

I spent a few days playing with PaintShop Pro and found that once I got the hang of its interface and features, and watching tutorials several times, I found that the program's icons are logical.

It's a powerful photo-editing program that just might give folks who can't afford Photoshop a reason to save some money without sacrificing features they didn't know existed. Putting butterflies on flowers, for instance.

Tech support is available by email or chat, which is available weekdays only. There is no phone support. ___ ABOUT THE WRITER Harold Glicken is a retired newspaper editor. He can be reached at [email protected] and a collection of his columns can be found at www.helpware-online.com. ___ (c)2017 Tribune Content Agency, LLC Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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