Saturday, March 30, 2013

PS and PSP Comparison Experiments: Post 6

 I wasn't intending to do a comparison experiment tonight, but I feel like this is an important one to make for anybody who might be trying to decide which photo editor is the better choice.

I was making some flowers for an upcoming project.  I used a really nice Photoshop action from for the base flowers.  I intended to make one of each, recolor them for a set and add other elements for a finished design.  It seems to take longer to make a set like that in Photoshop (I can't find a "duplicate window" option or a button that lets me save all open docs at once.  To be fair, they may just be hidden.)

Edit: I did, in fact, find the duplicate option.  (Image>Duplicate) PSP users will be annoyed by the lack of an assigned shortcut key and inability to use shift +d; I assigned one manually.  My fingers will need some re-training.

Anyway, I saved a set of flowers in Photoshop, then I decided to try recoloring some with adjustment layers in Paintshop Pro because I could save them more quickly.

Here is the original finished flower from Photoshop.


Here is what the recoloring looked like in Paint Shop Pro.  I used a hue/saturation adjustment layer, but only altered the hue.

RBF_PS-PSP_adjustment layers_PSP

For comparative purposes, here is what the same method yields with just about the same settings in Photoshop.

RBF_PS-PSP_adjustment layers_PS

You don't even really need to look at the full sized screenshots in order to see the pixelation, but if you do look, you'll see how poor the image quality is in comparison to the one recolored in Photoshop.  I didn't use the exact same settings in PS because I wasn't starting out to do an experiment so I didn't save any of my original PSP files.  So, to be fair, I tried the process several more times in PSP with different color adjustments.  I made about 12 of them.  Each time I got similar (crappy) results.  By using the same adjustment layer in Photoshop, I got a nice, useable flower.

Now these flowers are large.  They're high resolution and that might have some effect on Paint Shop Pro's ability to handle them, but a lot of home users rely on Paint Shop Pro for their digital scrapbooking--which is what these flowers are meant for.  I'm sure I could manually recolor them with the target brush or try to use color overlay layers, but I should be able to use a hue/saturation adjustment layer to achieve a simple recoloring effect without this much trouble.  That's what adjustment layers are there for.  They're supposed to give the user a flexible way to make non-destructive enhancements or changes to an image

I'm really disappointed in this.  I've been using PSP for a long time, and I do firmly believe that Photoshop is overpriced for what it does.  That said, Paint Shop Pro failed dismally in this project.  There's no way I would have been able to present a client with the flowers I made in PSP.   I feel like I just got a little payback for all the times I've teased my Photoshop using friends for features that "my program" had and theirs didn't.

I don't know if I'm converted yet, but I'm certainly willing to admit that Photoshop's got the superior functionality with this particular feature.  If I had to do a project like this again, I would definitely opt to do it in Photoshop.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

PS and PSP Comparison Experiments: Post 5

I cheated.  All of these were made in both Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro.

I intended to make some in both programs, but I found myself continually switching from one to the other for various effects and features.

Shape collages are my absolute favorite kind of resource to make--at least in Paint Shop Pro.  I had a hard time getting the hang of them in Photoshop, but I think that once I've done it a few more times, I will enjoy it better.

Main points:

Clipping masks and selection masks make it much easier to add effects where you want them in Photoshop.  Working with layer masks in Paint Shop Pro is possible.  The "mask from image" feature will accomplish the same things.  It's more cumbersome and there's not as much flexibility.

Paint Shop Pro has a better variety of custom shapes and artistic effects--although Photoshop users will argue that it lacks some obvious and essential ones for this kind of design.  I agree.

I found that adjustments to color and tone were easier to accomplish in Photoshop.  Again, PSP has most of these features are available in Paint Shop Pro, but they're harder to work with.   (X5 seems to be lacking a color balance tool, but that's existed in earlier versions and I would guess that it's just been re-named? I've gotten by with using PSP 8 for that or by using color layers.  That's not going to be as effective for photo retouching, but it's perfectly fine for these.)

The last two textures were made from this guide.  It's a little different from the way I normally make these, but it was written for Photoshop, so I decided to try it out.

Brushes used were by me,, or Pixel patterns are by Roula33 @ Deviantart.

Monday, March 25, 2013

PS and PSP Comparison Post 3

Stripes seem to be a pretty popular effect right now.  In my opinion, they work best as an accent, but I know a lot of folks use full striped backgrounds in their designs, so I made some in both Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro.  Here's how things turned out.

I tried a lot of variations, so I put them under a jump break.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

PSP-Works Gradient Pack

Wow, I can't believe the month is almost over.  It's really gotten away from me.  I wanted to make these for a scifi-themed project I was working on, and then I just liked the look of them and wound up with a bunch of variations.    Don't be put off by the simplicity; they'll work quite nicely for lighting effects.

Made for  This is the third gradient set.

Short Terms:

  • You can use this set in your commercial or non-commercial art projects.
    -Attribution is requested for personal, non-commercial use.
    -Attribution is required for commercial use. (Please use or link directly to this post.)
  • You can republish this set FOR FREE on your website as long as the set stays together and all of the original previews and .txt files are included. (Notification is requested.)
  • You cannot sell the set unmodified.
  • You cannot extract individual contents and distribute those without the documentation.
  • You cannot include the set in a package with other resources unless you include all the relevant credit documents and previews and have the rights to redistribute all of the content.
  • Please notify me by commenting on this post or sending a note to

    Full TOU can be viewed here and is included in the zip file.

Full Preview below.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

PSP and PS Comparison Works: Post 2

Here's Part 2 of my ongoing feature comparison between PSP and Photoshop. It's a
little different because the results have nothing in common.



The first texture is extremely high res (6000x6000 px). Photoshop is the hands-down winner when working with resolutions like that. Most of the brushes I used for texture #1 were created in CS4, I believe--the max size was 2500 px. Two sets were created in CS6. They were around 4600- 4800 px, which is a little smaller than the max brush size allowed in CS6.

I gave an honest try, for about an hour, working in Paint Shop Pro to create a similar design. Unfortunately, the max brush size there is 999 px, which turned a fun design into something tedious and annoying. I finally gave up.

This may not be a deal breaker for you if you regularly work on web-based designs or digital scrapbooking. There's really nothing that you'd need to work on such a large canvas for. 999x999 is adequate for most of those projects.

But I was really looking forward to getting to use some of my photoshop brushes at a higher resolution--which you may need to do when designing for print. I also wanted to try out some of the more advanced brush settings in Photoshop.

I was pretty impressed by those. This texture was a blast to make. One shortcoming in the PS brush capabilities is that I can't find a way to be able to paint with gradients, which can be done in PSP quite easily. It may be there and I just don't know yet. It's only my third day of working with Photoshop.

That's where the second texture came from. And, once I was finished painting with my gradients in Paint Shop Pro for texture number 2, I couldn't find a way to duplicate the effects I added. I spent a while working with Photoshop's twirl and radial blur filters, but the results weren't the same.

So, it looks like the two programs are still tied; in some cases, Photoshop is better for the task, and in other cases, Paint Shop Pro outshines it.

Monday, March 18, 2013

PSP and PS Comparison Works: Post 1

I got my new computer this week, and I decided to sign up for a trial of Adobe Creative Cloud.  I've been wanting to see for myself where the differences are between Paint Shop Pro and Photoshop and which performs better at the things I do.  So far, my experiences have been roughly even.

I used the same methods and similar materials to create the backgrounds below:


The first was made in PSP with one of my favorite methods.  The second, which I do like, was an attempt to duplicate the technique in PS.  It's a cool background, but really not what I had been trying to do.

Then there are these:


For the first one, I was just experimenting with Photoshop to see what I could come up with and how the various settings work.  The second one is a totally unsuccessful attempt to duplicate it in Paint Shop Pro with the same methods and as close as I could get to the same materials.  I like it, but it's definitely not the effect I was trying to achieve.  Photoshop's blend mode options and brush settings are a lot more varied.  (I won't say "better" because I haven't used it enough to make a qualified judgement, but there are just a lot more options to work with.)

As a side note, I'm sure could re-create it if I took more time and did it another way, but I was interested in seeing what the result would be if I did everything the same way.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Tutorial: Texture From Scratch In Paint Shop Pro 4

Wow, I never thought I would miss doing these so much.  I have a lot more ideas that I've been saving up since I hurt my hand/arm a few months ago.  This was the simplest one I had, so I opted to try it first.

Here's a quick way to make a cool abstract background.  Use it as a desktop wallpaper, a texture overlay or whatever you want.  It involves using a single circle brush and the brush variance palette.

This is going to be an intermediate level tutorial.  My hand's not up to all the explanation involved in a beginner's tutorial  It's not difficult at all; it will probably take 15-20 minutes.  It assumes you have a solid working knowledge of Paint Shop Pro.  If you're a beginner and you'd like to try it, feel free to comment with questions.

Notice: Tutorial content is copyright Rose B. Fischer and may not be republished in any form without permission.

Program: Paint Shop Pro (Any version)
Difficulty: Intermediate (Tutorial assumes a good grasp of program menus and basic functions.  If you need more detailed help, feel free to ask questions.)
Translatable: Will work in any version of PSP; concepts should be translatable to most other imaging programs, but I don't know.

Friday, March 8, 2013

3.13_high res plasma/cloud textures

I made these primarily for Paint Shop Pro users, but anyone is free to take and use them.

I have used PSP for years and mostly find that it meets my needs. One of the biggest disappointments I have with it is the lack of ability to easily render clouds, which are useful for a lot of my texture resources.

I made a large selection of high res renders in GIMP for an upcoming project. Here are a few of them for your use.

More below, including gallery.