Paint Shop Pro replacement

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by Moz4, Nov 20, 2007.

  1. Moz4 macrumors newbie

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    #1
    Wonder if anyone can help me. Until I shunned the dark side and came over to Mac I used to use Paint Shop Pro on my PC. I've gotten used to it and it did most that I needed.

    Now I've got a Mac (a MBP) I want something that does the same sort of thing, maybe a bit better.

    I don't do any photo editing, but want something that will allow me to create logos, graphics and stuff.

    As Photoshop is for photos, it's probably not what I want. What sort of thing is available for my needs?
     
  2. Nugget macrumors 65816

    Nugget

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    #2
    I switched from PSP to Photoshop Elements when I switched to the Mac and I've been tremendously happy with the move. The price is the same and I ended up liking it a lot more than PSP.

    Unless you're doing print work it's got everything you need from the more expensive Photoshop and none of the esoteric features you won't.
     
  3. snickelfritz macrumors 65816

    snickelfritz

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    #3
  4. Moz4 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #4
    So would Photoshop Elements let you actually create graphics rather than just edit photos?
     
  5. dpaanlka macrumors 601

    dpaanlka

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    #5
    Thats really more what Illustrator is for. Define creating graphics and logos...
     
  6. Nugget macrumors 65816

    Nugget

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    #6
    Paint Shop Pro started out by trying to be a low-rent clone of Photoshop (back when Jasc was developing it). They're quite similar even today. If you're doing bitmap image manipulation it's exactly what you need. It's not strictly for "photos."

    If you're doing vector artwork, though dpaanlka is correct that Illustrator is what you'd want. Illustrator isn't cheap, though -- there's no "Illustrator Elements" that's going to be competitive with PSP's vector capabilities. There's an opensource vector editor called InkScape that I've used a few times and it seems decent but pretty rough around the edges (no pun intended) :)
     
  7. Moz4 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #7
    Well rather than start out with an existing photo that I've taken with a camera and editing it - which I presume is what Photoshop does - I want something that will allow me to start with a blank canvas and draw lines, shapes, add text etc. It sound like Illustrator will do this, but if Photoshop Elements lets me do that too, then I'm happy.

    I'm not sure what vector graphics are by the way, and I've never even got to grips with how the layers thingy works on Paint Shop Pro. Perhaps that explains the level I'm currently at!!! (though doesn't mean that I'd maybe like to learn more - I do enjoy creating logos and tinkering with graphics etc).

    Here's some of the things I've created using Paint Shop Pro...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  8. dpaanlka macrumors 601

    dpaanlka

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    #8
  9. Nugget macrumors 65816

    Nugget

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    #9
    Heh, I guess I can see how someone might be confused by the name "Photoshop" but your presumption is completely wrong. Paint Shop Pro is just a Photoshop clone. They're very similar.

    Sounds like you're probably not generating vector graphics, then. Just to be sure, though... here's wikipedia's take.

    Vector graphics is where you are drawing abstract, resolution-independent images which are not pixel-bound. You draw literal lines, points, and curves and stuff which can be scaled to any resolution. Bitmap graphics are where you're editing a literal grid of pixels.

    If you're doing bitmap work Photoshop Elements is a great solution. If you're doing vector work then you should look for some other tool.

    Great-looking logos, btw.
     
  10. dpaanlka macrumors 601

    dpaanlka

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    #10
    Better advice might be to stop doing logos as bitmaps. Vectors are really better suited to that task.
     
  11. Nugget macrumors 65816

    Nugget

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    #11
    Fair point.
     
  12. snickelfritz macrumors 65816

    snickelfritz

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    #12
    Are you doing commercial graphic design?
    (The logo you posted looks pretty good)
    If so, you should probably be looking at the one of the Adobe Creative Suites, rather than hobbled consumer tools.

    The price stings a little at first, but you'll be using the very best tools available with lots of support from user groups, books, seminars etc...
    Mac and Photoshop go together like Windows and Office.
     
  13. Moz4 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #13
    Firstly, thanks for eveyone's help. I'm learning stuff!

    Looking at what Wikipedia says, I'm still not sure what the difference between vector and raster is. I've learned from experience that resizing gif images (with 256 colours depth) looses loads of detail, but resizing jpg images (with 16 million colours depth) doesn't.

    Such as: original circle...

    [​IMG]

    Resized 256 colours gif:

    [​IMG]

    Resized 16 million colours jpg:

    [​IMG]

    Now if this has anything to do with vector graphics I don't know, but it's as close as my understanding goes. Am I on the wrong track?

    I think understanding this will help me understand which software I require.

    Oh - and no, I'm not doing this commercially, just a hobby, but thanks for the kind comments about the logos.
     
  14. Nugget macrumors 65816

    Nugget

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    #14
    You're on the right track. The key is that there's no such thing as "resizing" when you're working with vector graphics. Vector graphics are resolution-independent and don't have a native size.

    In a raster/bitmap file your circle is a specific number of pixels tall. If you need to make it larger or smaller to fit with other elements on a page you need to resize it to change the number of pixels it is.

    With a vector graphic your circle is just a circle.

    The image doesn't turn into literal pixels until you export it to a bitmap file format like .jpg or .png or .gif. While you're editing and creating it, it's all just a collection of abstract objects and drawing primitives (lines, circles, curves, etc...)
     
  15. Moz4 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #15
    Ah, now I get it - I think!

    So when you're working with it it's vector, but as soon as you save it as a file it's turned into literal pixels - or can you save as a vector file?

    (Sorry if I'm being a bit thick!)
     
  16. Nugget macrumors 65816

    Nugget

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    #16
    You can certainly save vector images to disk as vectors (.ai is Adobe Illustrator format, there's also an open .svg standard as well as .eps). You don't need to export it to a bitmap image until you need it that way.

    You can't use a vector image on a website, for example, so at some point you're going to want to export it to a .jpg or .png so that you can put the logo on your website.
     
  17. Moz4 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #17
    Ah, cool, that makes sense now.

    In fact I've just read a bit about this in my Paint Shop Pro 'help' section and it says it has only limited support for vector graphics.

    So does PS Elements do vector graphics, or even full Photoshop, or do you need Illustrator for that?

    What are the differences between Illustrator and Photoshop?
     
  18. Nugget macrumors 65816

    Nugget

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    #18
    Photoshop and Photoshop Elements are strictly for bitmap/raster image manipulation. You'd need to move to Illustrator (or some other vector editor) to do vector image editing.
     
  19. dpaanlka macrumors 601

    dpaanlka

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    #19
    The difference between vectors and bitmaps (rasters) is essentially this. Using your example, a vector circle is saved as a file that says "here are the coordinates of the circle" - when you open it in Adobe Illustrator, or print it, or do anything that otherwise needs it to be displayed somehow, it reads the coordinates and automatically draws a nice clean circle to whatever dimensions you had requested. It will look crisp and sharp no matter how far you zoom in or out, or whether or not you print it.

    However, if it's save as a JPEG or GIF (both of which are bitmaps) the file is saved as "here are exactly what colors these pixels are" - it will pixellate when you size it up. If you size it smaller, you can't then size it back up again either.

    Now for a demonstration:

    Here is a nice red circle...

    circle1.png

    As a vector, here is what it looks like scaled up 200%:

    circle2.png

    But if the original circle is instead a bitmap, here is what happens when you try to make it bigger:

    circle3.png

    Now, why isn't everything just a vector? Well there are a lot of cases where vectors don't make sense - like photographs. A photograph of someone climbing a tree near a river would require millions and millions of vector coordinates to get every subtle color change and line correct. So, for these instances, it is much more efficient to just say what color every pixel is. Thats why Photoshop = bitmaps.

    But for cases such as yours, with relatively simple shapes and flat colors making up the logos, it makes the most sense to do them as vectors, so that you can scale them up and down, from envelope stationary all the way to billboard advertisements, and not have any loss in quality.

    Hopefully this has been a helpful explanation.
     
  20. dpaanlka macrumors 601

    dpaanlka

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    #20
    Continuing my previous thoughts... your confusion about JPEG and GIFs is understandable. The resizing of GIF images and subsequent loss of quality has nothing to do with vectors and bitmaps - both GIF and JPEG images are bitmaps. The difference is in the way they store their pixel information.

    If you save a GIF image that contains only pure black and pure white pixels, then it is saved as an image containing strictly 2 colors, black and white - the other 254 unused color positions are discarded. When you open it again in Print Shop and try to resize it, I presume Print Shop is trying to redraw the circle the best it can while still using only black and white pixels. Photoshop will do this too by default, but Photoshop can also let you switch the 2 color GIF back to a full palette, then export it back to whatever you want later.

    GIF images can contain a maximum of 256 different colors, but they can be any 256 colors out of the millions available to you. They could be 256 different shades of blue, for example. GIF images are not compressed in the same fashion that JPEGs are - which is why you'll often find web site logos or any other images that contain mostly text to be GIF images. GIF images maintain that clean sharp edges on logos and text that JPEGs do not, but JPEGs look much better with complex photographs, as the 256 color GIFs look super grainy. Very rarely, you'll see someone who isn't clear on the difference using GIF for photographs, or JPEG for sharp edge shapes.

    Here is some more reading for your interest, with examples comparing the two formats:

    http://www.siriusweb.com/tutorials/gifvsjpg/
     
  21. snickelfritz macrumors 65816

    snickelfritz

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    #21
    This is true to some extent, but you can theoretically create a stack of paths in Photoshop and save them in the paths palette.
    I've done some complex raster illustrations this way. I find it much easier than switching between Illustrator and Photoshop, and the results are the same as rasterizing Illustrator paths.

    The example below was drawn in Photoshop using the path tool, then shaded using various Photoshop tools and processes at 350ppi.
    There are about thirty separate paths and twice that many layers in this document. (all facets of the character are separately editable)
    The resulting bitmap is not scalable without interpolation, but the source paths can be scaled up without degradation just like Illustrator paths.
    For example, If I decide to change the size or shapes of the hands, I can simply load the path, scale it, make the adjustments, then redraw the shading for that element.

    [​IMG]

    A logo design could theoretically be handled the same way using spot channels, and although *technically* it's better to print logos and type from vector formats, the difference between a 350ppi raster image compared to a vector image is going to be exceedingly difficult to see unless the logo is printed very small. The biggest issue is filesize and flexibility in a graphics workflow. (if a client sends me an EPS, I can scale it very quickly to fit a print brochure layout; not true if they send me a tiny jpeg from their website)

    Ultimately, the use of Photoshop or Illustrator depends greatly on the final design. Logo designs using spot colors, for example, are far more flexible and "professional" if they are created entirely in Illustrator.
    I've also used Vector programs like Freehand and Illustrator to create complex shapes for extrusion and lathing in 3D apps.
    Photorealistic illustrations, website mockups, videogame assets etc... are usually easier (IMO) if you just do everything in Photoshop.
    If I had only one graphics application on my Mac, it would be Photoshop.
     
  22. Moz4 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #22
    Thanks everyone for their help. Have learned a lot.
     

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