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Image Editing Software

2008 May 05 10:00   category: Technology   author:  
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Given how much good free software there is in all categories it says something that we actually forked out money to purchase Paint Shop Pro® from Corel® (  Well alright, what it actually says is that, in the image editing category, decent software sophisticated enough for our needs does not come for free – and we were certainly reluctant to purchase the much more expensive but highly regarded Photoshop® from Adobe®.  That said, we have been more than happy with our Paint Shop Pro® experience and would like to give it due credit in this post.

Caveat: Our version of Paint Shop Pro® is 9.01, which is a few years old now.  The Wikipedia entry for Paint Shop Pro® (, notes some issues with later versions, including the installation of adjunct software (spyware?) named PSIService.exe, which runs in the background collecting licensing information and does not deinstall if the main program is deinstalled.  We find this quite nefarious and it would certainly give us pause were we considering an upgrade.

Overall we have found Paint Shop Pro® to be a very capable and reliable workhorse when it comes to editing images for our designs.  Our most intensive requirements arise when tidying up source maps and when applying special effects for our more quirky designs.   The editing capabilities have typically met or exceeded our requirements and in fact we’ve become more demanding as we discover all that Paint Shop Pro® can do (yes, we’re somewhat perfectionist).  For example, there are ten methods for adjusting brightness and contrast including: curves, gamma correction, highlight/midtone/shadow adjustment and histogram adjustment.  Another good example is our favorite tool for noise reduction, ‘edge preserving smooth’, which serves us well in removing jpg artifacts and enhancing the appearance of our map images.  This may not be the appropriate tool for other kinds of image but then there are the eight other noise reduction methods to choose from!

We really haven’t found any big drawbacks with this version of the software.  At times the program can become resource hungry, driven among other things by the size of the image being edited and the large number of ‘undos’ being held, but we have only very rarely found that it has become unstable.

So based on our extensive use of Paint Shop Pro® we heartily recommend it for digital image editing.  It’s hard to imagine many tasks it couldn’t handle but we do have far less experience with other image editors and would certainly welcome comments anyone experienced with the alternatives.

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