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Xara vs. PaintShopPro vs. Photoshop

Have questions about Graphics or Graphics programs? Discuss header graphics, Paint Shop Pro, Adobe Photoshop, hiring graphic designers, editing photos and creating images.

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Xara vs. PaintShopPro vs. Photoshop

Postby Kirk » Mon Mar 06, 2006 10:18 pm

I've gotten to the point where I'm thinking about crafting my own page headers myself. I've farmed these out in the past to rent-a-coder.com, but I'm getting tired of fighting with designers who want to "***" things up to much (can I say that on this forum?) :0

Most of my page headers are just a couple of stock photographs comp'd together with a little text and a few gel buttons beneath (link for affiliate signup, faq, etc) - really simple stuff.

I'm good with raw HTML, but graphics are new territory. I'm sure I could learn this easily enough, but I'm having trouble narrowing the field of graphics programs. Here's the state of my research...

1) I've downloaded Xara extreme and spent a few days playing with it. Lots of video tutorials (which are very helpful) and seems to have a ton of features.

2) PaintShop Pro - downloaded the trial - seems simple to use, but not as simple as Xara, IMHO.

3) I have an old version of Photoshop on my old Mac G3. I know PS is powerful, but it just seems like a beast that is overkill for what I need. I called Adobe about an upgrade - I can do it, but it will still cost me 2x over PSP and Xara.

If anyone has been down this road, please jump in and give me your .02. My main considerations are ease of use, existing tutorials, prebuilt libraries. Also, if I could do ebook covers easily too - that would be the bomb!
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My 2cents

Postby Warren Contreras » Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:33 pm

I went down that same road and bought Adobe Photoshop Elements 2 some time ago for $69 as a competitive upgrade to some of the cheap graphics programs I bought to save money and threw away.

It does everything I want to for the web and I have never been tempted to upgrade, even though they are up to version 4 now. In fact I just bought another copy of version 2 for my sister on Ebay for $19.95 with $6 shipping.

There are TONS of tutorials online. More than I have time to watch.
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Postby the mudslinger » Fri Mar 10, 2006 2:07 pm

I called Adobe about an upgrade - I can do it, but it will still cost me 2x over PSP and Xara.


heh - try bittorrent... :lol:
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Postby deep.snow » Sun Apr 02, 2006 6:57 am

Try Paint.NET as an alternative to those..
It is FREE and provides comprehensive functionality though...

Here is the url: http://www.eecs.wsu.edu/paint.net/index.html
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Postby JerryShown » Thu Dec 07, 2006 10:39 pm

I own xara xtreme and xara3D6 although I am not an artist, I think they do some cool stuff. If you want to see some cool art done with vector graphics check out http://www.talkgraphics.com/ there are some really fine artists there that give good advice concerning graphics of any kind.
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Postby Bina Omar » Sat Dec 30, 2006 5:21 am

I would agree with Warren. Adobe Photoshop Elements is a good software. Especially if you've used Photoshop before. It's affordable and is a concise version of Photoshop. It also supports saving graphics for the web.

What's also great about it is the ability for you to edit Photoshop files in it. You can download a 30 day trial at the Adobe site.
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Postby bignewbie » Tue Jan 02, 2007 12:52 pm

I create web graphics for a living and started out much the same as you. My first software of choice was Paint Shop Pro. It's extremely affordable, realitively easy to use and offers many of the same features as Photoshop.

If you just want to create your own headers and footers, then this might be the best way for you to go. Photoshop Elements is also good for photo or image editing but if you are looking to create softboxes, ecovers ect. then you can beat Photoshop and Photoshop actions. This is what I and most Web Graphic Designers use to create those eye poppping photo realistic covers you see all over the web:D

Good Luck!

Eric
Last edited by bignewbie on Mon Feb 26, 2007 9:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby -kz- » Wed Jan 31, 2007 5:38 am

I recommend Gimp

Free open source software

Maybe a bit confusing interface

:arrow: gimp.org
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Postby theuniek1 » Sun Feb 04, 2007 9:58 am

If the only thing you plan to create is header images, then Photoshop Elements may be enough. Venturing into the waters of heftier design projects may mean upgrading to the full Photoshop (which supports actions and some other features that would make your life easier). Eric is right when he says the graphic designers use actions to create those eye popping covers, and actions can also be used for a number of other things like batch processing images (i.e. cropping, color correction, so forth).

Gimp is free, open source, and powerful software but it comes with one of the steepest learning curves I've seen in a while. What you save in money, you spend in time.

Sorry, can't comment about Xara or Paint Shop Pro.

~ Teli
Last edited by theuniek1 on Mon Apr 16, 2007 3:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby eBookWriter » Wed Mar 28, 2007 5:21 pm

I'm a graphics program junkie. Besides some of the other programs mentioned, I also have PhotoImpact and RealDraw Pro, PaintShop Studio, and Serif DrawPlus. Each has features I like that the others may not have, or they're easier to do--whatever.

When it matters to me to have a 3D book cover image for my eNovels, I do it RealDraw Pro because it has a built in book template that lets you do up a nice cover. You can even put info on the spine with no trouble.

CompactDraw also has a book cover template--not the same one. It's a little trickier to do, but the results will be great once you get the hang of it. Last I knew, both had trial copies.

There is only one template, I think, in either program, which might feel limiting to some, but for me, it was all I really needed. Just now, I've quit making 3D book covers and am just going with flat covers.

PaintShop Pro 7's browser is my favorite feature for finding my stuff. I usually have that open even though I'm probably using some other graphics program to create my covers. Sometimes the preview option doesn't work or is non existent in other programs. If the programs are compatible, I copy and past the graphics one to the other. I upgraded to 8, but wasn't happy with the new browser feature. Haven't looked into any upgrades since.

Can't tell much about PhotoImpact yet, I just got it. :)
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Postby EntrepreneurDad » Mon Apr 16, 2007 12:21 pm

I'm a big Photoshop user and Photoshop Elements is a great tool for making web graphics. Although I've never personally used it, I also know GIMP is pretty highly regarded and is a free open-source application.
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Postby CorpRebel » Tue Apr 17, 2007 2:43 pm

Maybe all you need is MS Paint that's already on most Windows PCs! Look at what THIS guy can do with MS Paint! :shock:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uk2sPl_Z7ZU

(Note: need a fast connection to watch it)


Rick Wilson aka CorpRebel 8)
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Postby Warren Contreras » Wed Apr 18, 2007 10:08 pm

Since he specifically said headers, I didn't mention how I do cover graphics. I use my $20 Elements 4 to do the flat layout and added another $39 to my toolbox for:

http://www.nervepreserve.com/quick3dcover/
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Postby AstarothSolutions » Sat Apr 21, 2007 12:39 pm

Whilst I use Photoshop a lot for my photography I have never seen it as a real tool for creating websites in. Now perhaps it is because all the functions I know about are photo related rather than graphics generation but still.

Gimp is very good but it goes in the same boat as Photoshop for me.

PSP is ok... havent used it for many years so dont know what it is like now.... whilst I am not a graphics person either I dont think Fireworks is that bad (though dont use it with dreamweaver so probably not using all its "features"
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Postby theuniek1 » Sat Apr 21, 2007 9:28 pm

...I have never seen it as a real tool for creating websites in.


Out of curiosity, did you know that Photoshop has a function to export a sliced image along with HTML?

Granted, it's a table-based layout, but building websites is one of the features of PS. It actually gave me my kickstart in building web pages because I would examine the code output and figure out "how it worked".

Of course, now I just use Photoshop for creating the graphics, slicing, and saving them. All the coding I do either by hand or with Dreamweaver. :)

~ Teli
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