Selecting an image editor usuallymeans choosing between power and simplicity. Jasc tries to strike a balancewith its new Paint Shop Pro Studio, a $79 program that borrows from the moreadvanced (and pricier) Paint Shop Pro 9 but throttles back on the complexitythat beginners often find overwhelming.
Studio has all the basics:cropping, rotating, color correction, clone brushing, and automatic exposureimprovements. But Jasc also throws in most of the best stuff from Paint ShopPro 9. The beta Studio software I tested included layer support, which lets youproduce composite images that have varying levels of opacity. Jasc’soutstanding background eraser is here, too; with it you can knock outbackgrounds from portraits, leaving just the subject. In addition, you can usethe magic wand or any of several freehand tools–including one that locks on toedges as you trace–to make selections.
Holding these tools together isa solid help system that lives in a pane on the side of the screen. You caneasily find instructions for such tasks as combining two photos and removingbacklight; and help includes links that immediately open the tools youneed.
Even so, Studio doesn’t always succeed in bringing its mostsophisticated features to a novice’s level. Many tyros will still findthe densely populated options palettes and the overstuffed Objects menuintimidating. At the same time, regrettably, Jasc has removed a fewimage-editing essentials such as level, curve, and histogram adjustments.
Nevertheless, the company has achieved something good with this program. Ifyou have no need to create scripts for batch editing, design animated GIFs, oruse the hyperrealistic brushstrokes found in Paint Shop Pro 9, Paint Shop ProStudio could be the image editor that wins you over.
Jasc Paint Shop Pro Studio
Superb image editing program eliminates most of the complexity. List:$79 Current price (if available)