Jasc – Paint Shop Pro 7 review

comprehensive, straightforward image editing
Photo of Jasc – Paint Shop Pro 7
£94

If a picture could paint a thousand words, then by a process of inverse logic a room full of monkeys on typewriters tapping away for near eternity could probably knock out the Laughing Cavalier, with a more enigmatic smile than good old Mona’s to boot. Ahh, the wonders of ASCII art…

There are no such crudities with Paint Shop Pro 7 (hereafter PSP 7), as it’s always been regarded as a highly sophisticated image editing package. So what stuff is the latest version made of?

The very manna that drips from image heaven, that’s what. While it’s true that there aren’t any particularly sweeping reforms for the seventh incarnation, there are so many tweaks and adjustments that it is impressively improved, without a doubt.

Where to start… there are so many tweaks that it’s difficult to know. Of course there’ a range of new editing tools, like a red-eye remover which provides very smart results. It does need a bit of manual tweaking though and, like some of the other functions in PSP 7, isn’t overly novice-friendly. Having said that, the online help is of a good quality anyway.

Other new photo editing tools include automatic adjustment features for image colour, saturation and contrast and a plethora of options to help improve the quality of scanned images by getting rid of lines, specks and interference in general.

Naturally there’s a ton of new special effects filters as well, ranging from the extremely useful to the surreal. There’s the basic stuff like blurring and sharpening, through to adding artificial sunbursts, giving an aged newspaper look, adding textures like polished stone or glass, or creating a mosaic (an image built up of tiny images of itself).

You can get some really smart results using these, plus PSP 7 has an excellent layer system with a separate window detailing the composition of an image in layers. This makes it relatively easy to add multiple effects to an image.

Other added conveniences include a new mini-overview window, which shows the whole image and your position on the overall canvas when you’re zoomed in on the main image. There’s also a customisable autosave feature and a revised Undo menu, along with upgrades to the drawing tools and added support for over 150 digital cameras.

On top of that lot, the package also comes with Jasc Animation Shop 3, an animated GIF creation utility. PSP 7 is great for web work, as it also has better graphics optimisation for web images built in.

Company: Jasc

Contact: 01295 258335


Verdict
Paint Shop Pro has been upgraded in many ways with version 7 and it's an excellent package. It might not be as powerful as Photoshop, but at this sub-£100 price point, in terms of power per pound it beats all-comers. It's a superb image editing package, although some of the menus could do with a little tweaking for user-friendliness.