capability of graphics software continues to grow at an
alarming rate. This month I’ve been looking at Paint Shop
Pro 7, and I think I can say that I have written on the
subject of each version of Paint Shop Pro since the very
first. What a difference 6 versions makes – but a lot of
what is now possible is only (practically) possible thanks to
the progress of PC hardware. Even so, it’s hard to imagine
what could possibly happen next.
Big Thing with drawing and imagery in general is the speed of
production. Some operators can turn out great stuff in
minutes, others toil away for weeks on end to get the same
point. So since no amount of software can make up for the crap
designer at the controls, then perhaps truly slinky
integration to a decent on-line art archive containing
partially and completed artwork is about the one thing
is not a vastly new product compared to version 6, although
the interface has been quite extensively rejigged. Old
familiars like the screen capture can only be found by using
the help system, or – hush my mouth – reading the manual.
But it’s worth saying that the help system with this edition
maintains the ultra high standard of the previous editions,
and is probably the best help system of any paint product out
there. And yet despite this, the printed manual is also a
darned useful thing, and contains some of the best “quick
access” information on the process of desktop imaging
mangling available anywhere.
introduced in version 6 like the DigiMarc watermarking option
and the delightful thumbnail navigation options are well worth
restating; and a couple of the most obviously usefully new
additions include the ability to navigate a zoomed project
with the Overview Window Palette.
vector graphics features have been bolstered with extended
gradient support and patterns fir stroke and fill. Web
rollover creation support.
one of the main reasons to upgrade to PSP7 is to get access to
the growing library of support of digital cameras. In terms of
digital photography essentials, Version 7 provides automated
removal of the dreaded redeye effect. The various image
filters and funny effects stuff continues to provide more than
enough scope for the creative types to turn an otherwise
elegant illustration into something that looks like an AOL
user’s home page.
pretty much “lobbed in” to the bundle without much of a
fanfare, Animation Shop version 3 edges ever closer to the
Xara and Ulead animator products. The morphing option it lots
line PSP may not have the ultimate integration with all the
high end design tools of Adobe Photoshop, but it’s a whole
lot faster to open and use, and an essential graphics tool on
any PC. The UK distributor of the product is Digital Workshop
and the price is £34.95 for the upgrade, or £79.95 for the
full edition. Plus VAT.
in the graphics department doing the annual upgrade round
comes Macromedia’s Flash 5. Hats off, these people have
created a major web design standard under the noses of
Microsoft and Adobe. Flash 5 produces the lowest bandwidth
dancing images browsers can view – and you don’t need me
to point out the effects of the Flash standard on any cruise
around the web.
in the hands of a demonstrator at a show, products like Flash
5 perform various magical feats – but for the rest of us,
producing animated graphics is notoriously tricky – not to
say downright dangerous. But a month with a tool like Flash 5
should get a competent computer designer up to speed.
Integration with Freehand 9 (the MM alternative to Adobe
Illustrator) is useful, and Freehand will be intuitive to most
– and here’s a big rub for all graphics developers to bear
in mind – I don’t think there is a single TV set top box
with a mangled subset browser that can do anything with Flash
content (yet), If people like On Digital and Sky are really
getting (and holding onto) millions of STB users for internet
access, then it will be necessary to produce multiple versions
of websites to cope, unless you want to put up with the lowest
all the STB users I have come across regard internet via the
TV set as an irrelevance, not even an amusing diversion –
especially with the hidden costs involved – and it certainly
isn’t going to persuade anyone to give the PC just yet.
just in case, could anyone currently doing any sort of
shopping via their STB please stop encouraging the medium..?