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Old Aug 20, 2007, 7:26 PM   #1
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Its been a LONG time since I had a photo editor... and I dont know if a lot has changed or not!

I havent had one since 03, and it was, I think, the current version of paint shop pro that was out(no idea the number). I liked it, but it was the only one I everused, so I had nothing to compare it to.

My biggest issue is money. It NEEDS to be under $100, and I mean under including any shipping and/or tax. So it seems like Im pretty limited then.

I did the trail version of the new PSP and its ok, not as nice as the one I had. Im currently doing the trail of photoshop elements... but its not as easy to use for me as the PSP... or maybe it just doesnt have the options I am looking for. I dont know. I am NEW NEW NEW to all this and just want to be able to fix some blemishes and such, blur some backgrounds and such, and change tones and such...

soooo any suggestions?
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Old Aug 20, 2007, 8:45 PM   #2
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You might want to try out the trial version of Ulead's Photoimpact. I have found it to be one of the easiest to understand/most intuitive, as well as having a full set of tools, many of which you would have to purchase as plugins for Photoshop. I have used a trial version of Paint Sho Pro a few years back, and liked it pretty well also.

You might find you can do what you need to do with Picasa, free from Google, or one of the other free editors, such as paint.net .

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Old Aug 20, 2007, 10:05 PM   #3
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Picasa is a great suggestion, but also the latest PSPro and PSElements are highly regarded. Elements as a subset os PS may be daunting at first but there is a great deal of automation which can get you started prior to plumbing the depths of it.
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Old Aug 20, 2007, 11:02 PM   #4
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thanks. I tried picasa and it wasnt what I was looking for... or the features I wanted were more hidden...
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Old Aug 21, 2007, 12:57 AM   #5
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The only image editor I know of that you can't get for under $100 is Photoshop. The next tier in capability are Elements, Paint Shop Pro and PhotoImpact.

Elements has some things missing I wouldn't want to work without. You can't make an action and you basically have no advanced color management. On the positive side there is a lot of help online from tutorials and other users. You can follow many Photoshop tutorials and the transition is easier if you ever decide to upgrade to the full Photoshop. You can get the latest version of Elements on Ebay for less than $40 and free shipping: http://cgi.ebay.com/ADOBE-PHOTOSHOP-...QQcmdZViewItem It is the full program and can be registered. It is an Adobe CD-only version meant to be sold with new equipment, so they will send you something new with it to make it legal.

I never used earlier versions of Paint Shop Pro. I picked up a CD-only version of PSP X last year and have been generally pleased with the program. I have read that there were large improvements going from version 9 to X and very little really useful from X to XI. I've been a Photoshop user forever and it is still my primary image editor. I found the integrated Learning Center in PSP a help in learning the different way you go about some things in PSP. The learning center gives you choices about what you want to do, then narrows those choices to specific tools, then gives instructions how to use that tool with the tool open. So you can see the instructions while you use the tool. I was really fumbling until I ran across the learning center. You can pick up PSP X on Ebay for $20 and XI for about twice that. http://cgi.ebay.com/New-Corel-Paint-...QQcmdZViewItem There isn't much of real use in XI that isn't in X and I have read a lot of reports of its not being stable.

I'm not familiar with PhotoImpact but it has a good reputation. I don't see as many good deals on it though.

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Old Aug 22, 2007, 10:40 AM   #6
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You may also want to look at the Gimp. It's free.

http://www.gimp.org

Make sure to check out the plugins available, too (for example, here are some of the of plugins in the "blur" category (since blurring backgrounds is one thing you expressed interest in).

Registered Gimp Plugins in the Blur Category

Here is a site that's tailored more towards using the Gimp under Windows:

http://www.wingimp.org/faq.php

There is also a program that allows it to use a variety of Photoshop plugins.

Download link for PSPI

Basically, to install PSPI, extract it from the .zip you download and run the .exe, and it will install itself into the correct folder for the Gimp. Then, you'll see a new menu choice called "Photoshop Plug-in Settings". You can then set a path to where your Photoshop plugins and stored, and these filters are added to the the available list when you look under the Gimp's filters menu. Note all PS plugins will run though.

There is another port of the Gimp called Gimpshop that is designed to make the tool palettes look closer to Photoshop if you want to check it out, too. It's also free. Scroll down on this page and you'll see download links (and even a video that shows you how to install it in Windows).

http://gimpshop.blogspot.com/

The biggest downside with the Gimp is that it's limited to editing 8 bit images. But, if you're shooting jpeg only, that wouldn't be an issue, and even if you're shooting raw, you could always do most of the "heavier" work in the raw conversion process (exposure and white balance tweaks, curves, etc.) before moving the image into the Gimp for final processing. There are some plugins available like UFRaw that can handle some of that for you if you do need to shoot raw.

In a low cost (currently $38 ) commercial editor (that's also cross platform), with full support for 16 bit images, layers, color management and more, you may want to download a trial version of Pixel and give it a spin

The author has been doing a lot of work on it over the past few months and I expect to see a new beta with even more features released very soon. The current release is still pretty "rough around the edges". But, I suspect the new beta (8 ), when released, will fix many of the current issues.

http://www.kanzelsberger.com/pixel/?page_id=12

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