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Never thought I would ever say this, but...
on November 26, 2011
...for the first time since 1998, I will not be buying the latest version of Paint Shop Pro.
I have been a loyal user of PSP since version 5, back when JASC Software was the company developing and publishing it. Paint Shop Pro has always been an exceptional program, and it was made even better by its affordable price tag. But now it saddens me to see what Corel has done.
Like a couple other reviewers have stated, Corel has chosen to stuff this program with bloat and design rather than function. In fact, I would go so far as to say this new interface is very counter-intuitive. For example...
There is an Organizer palette at the bottom of the screen that reappears no matter how many times it is turned off. Some people may find this palette useful, but there is no way to permanently turn it off. I DO NOT need an organizer palette, I know where my images are and I am very capable of getting to them. I would much rather have my editing pane utilize the space taken up by this useless palette.
Manage/Adjust/Edit tabs at the top of the screen are a joke. In previous versions, everything contained in these tabs was available in the drop-down menus. Now, Corel wants you to switch tabs to access each type of function, and to make matters worse the tools in the Manage and Adjust tabs are not in a tool bar but in yet another palette on the left side of the screen which robs you of even MORE work space! Also, if you have an image open in the Edit tab and then switch to the Adjust tab, guess what... the image closes and you have to REOPEN it. But, Corel must have missed something, because if you are in the Edit tab you have the full array of drop down menus, which include all the file management and adjustment functions available on the other two tabs... so WHY do the other two tabs even exist???
Apparently, Corel doesn't like you being able to browse a file tree to find your images. On the left you can search your Collections tab, or choose the Computer tab which looks like it would let you open up an Explorer-type file tree... not so. You can click on your C: drive, but nothing opens up. All that happens is the [+] next to it disappears and no tree system opens. You can go up to the Open icon at the top and get a file-tree, but if you use the Manage/Adjust/Edit tabs the image is closed and you have to reopen it.
It appears that most of the people buying this product are being misled. Contrary to Corel's claims, there is NOT much new in this version of PSP. (As some people may not realize, things like effects filters that are listed in What's New are not really features. Those are add-on plugins.) Everything is rearranged, and Corel is referring to their pretty Manage/Adjust/Edit tabs as a new feature, but people, EVERYTHING in these tabs was present in X3 and even X2! They just moved stuff around! The only new features are some effects, and there appears to be only two of those... Selective Focus and Vignette. And both of those can be downloaded as third-party filters... They are saying that things that have been in PSP for YEARS are new features, for example, the window with all the photo information. That has long been available in the Image menu under Image Information. Adjustment Layers is another old feature they are claiming is new...
The amount of time I have put into using this product so far has been very frustrating. I cannot fathom what was going through the minds of Corel's programmers when they thought up this product. It is the same old, same old... except they have taken quite a few steps backward with the interface. There is nothing streamlined or flow-oriented about it.
As a long-time PSP user, I would suggest to other previous PSP users that you stick with what you have. If you are a new user, I would suggest that you download the trial version from Corel's website before you hand over your hard earned money.