Tag Archives: paintshop pro x4

Find Photoshop expensive? Consider leasing.

How I Did It

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Currently on my computer I have these digital photo editing programs:

  • Adobe Photoshop CS6
  • Adobe Lightroom 4.1
  • Corel PaintShop Pro X4
  • Corel Photo-Paint X6
  • CorelDRAW! X6
  • Word 2010 (don’t underestimate it!)

I have had Photoshop, Photo-Paint, CorelDRAW!, and Word since their initial releases decades ago.

When I went to upgrade Photoshop, I discovered the steep price. I also discovered Lightroom, so rather than the steep price for a Photoshop upgrade, I opted to continue using my very old version of Photoshop and learn Lightroom.

When I went to upgrade my very old versions of Photo-Paint and DRAW!, I discovered PaintShop Pro. The price was very reasonable, so I bought it.

I use all of those programs for various purposes, but my current goal is to see if I can get Photoshop to do everything. If I can, then ultimately I’ll be migrating my skills in all the other programs over to Photoshop.

I think that Photoshop is the most powerful individual programs, but if I combine DRAW! X6 and either Photo-Paint X6 or Paintshop Pro X4, I can do in them anything that Photoshop can do. The question is, “How easily?” or “How much time is involved?”

For example, I use CorelDRAW! X6 to do the Zoey the Cool Cat approval stamp at the end of each post. It takes me about 15 seconds. To do it is Photoshop would take several layers and lots of time, and I haven’t found that Photoshop Actions can really automate everything for me yet.

I use Word 2010 to create quick frames, like the one I use for my wise old grandmother:

My wise old grandmother

That took about 15 seconds in Word 2010.

I use Lightroom 4.1 to give me quick JPGs from RAW files and to do quick adjustments for exposure, highlights, shadows, contrast, and clarity (sharpness). Five sliders takes about 30 seconds. The same tasks in Photoshop takes several minutes due to having to go through Adobe Camera Raw first and then into Photoshop. Minimum of five layers in Photoshop.

I use Photo-Paint to create GIFs. It’s the easiest program I’ve found for that:

You could learn a lot by paying attention here

PaintShop Pro X4 is very similar to Photoshop, and I’ve found it much easier to use. However, simply because Photoshop is the defacto standard throughout the world, Photoshop is where I’m dedicating my time. When you have a defacto standard, you have a lot of people doing tutorials and creating plugins and such. So Photoshop it is.

One you have created certain effects that you like in any of the programs, you can either save the file as a template and then just replace the picture as needed (that’s what I do in CorelDRAW! and Word) or you can create actions, scripts, or macros in the other programs to automate tasks. As with anything, it takes time to set it up initially but then the ROI on your time is returned each succeeding time you do the same thing.

If you’re considering Photoshop and find the price too steep, consider leasing it, which is what I do. I have a one-year lease with Adobe that costs me $19.99 a month. Considering that the full program is $699, it would take me 35 months of leasing to pay for the program. That’s three years. During those three years, Adobe will come out with two upgrades, costing you $199 each, another $400. You’ll never be able to stay up to date with the latest and the greatest. With a lease, you can.

Twenty dollars a month is less than any of my other individual bills — gas, phone, cable, mortgage, electricity, etc., and something I can easily afford. Coming up with $699 all at one time, and then $199 every 18 months, can often be difficult for the 99%.

If you’re considering a Photoshop lease, when you go to buy the product, in the dropdown box, select “Subscription” instead of “Upgrade” or “Full.”

Once you have any of these programs, if you have a question about how to do something, ask me. If I don’t know how to do it, I’ll find out. It helps me learn, and real-world examples are always much more fun than reading through a book or watching a tutorial.

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Panorama of downtown San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

How I Did It

 

I have taken a lot of pictures of downtown San Diego but none of them include all of downtown San Diego. When I use a super wide angle lens, it just looks weird.

Today, my daily 30-minute Corel PaintShop Pro X4 study was how to stitch pictures together to create a panorama. I took the following three pictures and tried to do it.

Downtown San Diego, north end

Downtown San Diego, north end


 

Downtown San Diego, middle

Downtown San Diego, middle


 

Downtown San Diego, south end

Downtown San Diego, south end


 

I made no adjustments to the three pictures because I wanted them to be as close as possible to each other in terms of brightness, contrast, etc.

I followed the steps on pp. 346-352 of Diane Koers’ book, Picture Yourself Learning Corel PaintShop Pro X4, which, by the way, might be the best How-To book I’ve ever read about anything.

In about five minutes, I came up with this:

Panorama of downtown San Diego

Panorama of downtown San Diego


 

I made some brightness and contrast adjustments after stitching. Look very closely and you can see where the three pictures were stitched. However, with the quality that I got here in only five minutes with three not-meant-for-panorama-stitching pictures, oh how my mind is wandering…………………. like a 360° panorama from the same spot where those pictures were taken.

 

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County? I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor with Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re just looking for a home inspector,
I can highly recommend Russel Ray; that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Train tracks and protea double exposure

A digital double exposure

Bob Willis, real estate agent with Prudential California Realty in Whittier, CaliforniaThis post is dedicated to Bob Willis, a real estate agent with Prudential California Realty in Whittier, California. I have known Bob for about three years through a real estate professional networking site. I highly recommend him for anyone needing real estate services in the Whittier, California, area.

Dedications are my way of trying to provide a little extra Google juice for people I have come to know and respect over the years.

Picture of the moment

A few decades ago I had a Canon A1. I loved that camera even when I goofed and created a double exposure. Sometimes double exposures were pretty neat. Accidentally taking a double exposure with my Canon Rebel XSi or my Canon 550D is virtually impossible. I’ve tried. However….

I’ve been thinking that creating a double exposure with all of these wonderful digital photo editing programs should be relatively easy to do. Well, it’s not relatively easy to do, but ultimately I did succeed.

Using Adobe Photoshop CS5, I was able to take a picture of some train tracks and a picture of a beautiful protea flower and superimpose one on the other to give me this beautiful double exposure:

 Train tracks and protea double exposure

I have Adobe Photoshop CS5, Adobe Lightroom 4, Corel PaintShop Pro X4, and Corel Photo-Paint X5. As with probably 80% of the population that has any one of those programs, I have never learned how to use layers. This evening I sat down with Photoshop CS5 with the sole purpose of being successful at doing something — anything! — with layers. That’s how I got my double exposure.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Computer Science & Engineering Building at University of California San Diego

Funky architecture at University of California San Diego

Andrea Swiedler, real estate agent with Prudential Connecticut Realty in New Milford, ConnecticutThis post is dedicated to Andrea Swiedler, a real estate agent with Prudential Connecticut Realty in New Milford, Connecticut. I have known Andrea for a few years through a real estate professional networking site. I highly recommend her for anyone needing real estate services in the New Milford, Connecticut, area.

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Out of the five or six hundred college and university campuses that I’ve been to, University of California San Diego (UCSD) ranks as #1 in terms of interesting architecture. I think most college campuses try to maintain a consistent architectural look to their campuses. Not UCSD!

Here are a few of the interesting buildings that I got pictures of yesterday before I ran out of daylight:

Computer Science & Engineering Building at University of California San Diego

Computer Science & Engineering Building at University of California San Diego

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

University of California San Diego

University of California San Diego

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

University of California San Diego

University of California San Diego

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

International House at the University of California San Diego

International House at the University of California San Diego

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

House on a building at the University of California San Diego

House on the School of Engineering building at the University of California San Diego

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Geisel Library through the eucalyptus grove at the University of California San Diego

Geisel Library through the eucalyptus grove at the University of California San Diego

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray PhotosAll pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Recent posts related to the University of California San Diego:
» The Geisel Library at the University of California San Diego
» The Sun God of the University of California San Diego
» A challenge to all my real estate friends: List this house!

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

All pictures taken by Russel Ray using a Canon 550D camera and a Canon 55-250mm lens. Picture frames from Corel PaintShop Pro X4.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

House at the University of California San Diego

A challenge to all my real estate friends: List this house!

Ron and Alexandra Seigel of Napa Consultants in Santa Barbara, CaliforniaThis post is dedicated to Ron and Alexandra Seigel, luxury real estate marketing consultants and owners of Napa Consultants in Santa Barbara, California. I have known Ron and Alexandra for a few years through a real estate professional networking site. I highly recommend them for anyone needing luxury real estate marketing services anywhere in the world, not just in Santa Barbara or California.

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I did a post on March 2 about Dr. Seuss and the Geisel Library at the University of California San Diego (UCSD), I was reminded that there are lots of picture-taking opportunities on the UCSD campus. It ranks probably as the quirkiest campus I’ve ever visited, and I’ve been to five or six hundred college and university campuses, maybe more.

An addition to campus late last year was a house. It seems to be a standard house, until you look at where it’s located. Is this an example of the old real estate adage: “Location, location, location.”

I want all my real estate friends to come up with their best listing presentation for this fine piece of Southern California real estate:

House at the University of California San Diego

House at the University of California San Diego

House at the University of California San Diego

House at the University of California San Diego

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That house sits on top of the Irwin & Joan Jacobs School of Engineering building, which I think is six stories tall. Irwin Jacobs is a founder and former chairman of Qualcomm, the company that makes much of the stuff that lets your mobile phone do what it does….. blame him.

I went over to the Geisel Library, sixth floor, to get one more picture:

House at the University of California San Diego

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Related posts:
» The Geisel Library at the University of California San Diego
» The Sun God of the University of California San Diego

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

All pictures taken by Russel Ray using a Canon 550D camera and a Canon 55-250mm lens. Picture frames from Corel PaintShop Pro X4.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Sun God at the University of California San Diego

The Sun God of the University of California San Diego

Robert Gilbert, real estate agent with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate in Katy, TexasThis post is dedicated to Robert Gilbert, a real estate agent with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate in Katy, Texas. I have known Robert for a few years through a real estate professional networking site. I highly recommend Robert for anyone needing real estate services in Katy, Texas, just west of Houston.

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I did a post on March 2 about Dr. Seuss and the Geisel Library at the University of California San Diego (UCSD), I was reminded that there are lots of picture-taking opportunities on the UCSD campus. Off I went yesterday, and my next few posts will be of some of them.

UCSD is a rather young university, having been founded in 1958. In the ensuing 50+ years it has risen to be a major public university, particularly strong in the sciences, particularly engineering and the health sciences, and annually ranking in the Top 10 of research universities ranked by research funds that the University brings in from outside sources.

Its 2,141-acre campus was built in the midst of a eucalyptus grove overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Blacks Beach, a world-renowned Naturist beach. Unfortunately (in my view), much of the eucalyptus grove has been destroyed over the years in the name of progress, i.e., constructing more buildings on campus to meet the needs of a population comprising 1,205 faculty members, including six Nobel Laureates, and 29,000+ students.

There are many unique buildings on campus, as well as many works of public art, of which the best known is the Sun God:

Sun God at the University of California San Diego

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sun God, by Niki de Sant Phalle of Paris, France, was the first sculpture commissioned for the campus by the Stuart Collection. It was installed on the campus on January 27, 1983. The sculpture itself is 14 feet tall, constructed of fiberglass, and sits on top of a concrete arched base that is 15 feet tall. No public monies were spent on the sculpture; it was funded entirely by the Stuart Foundation of San Francisco.

According to then-Stuart Collection Director Mary Beebe, “[Sun God] appears to have just landed there out of some fantasy world. It’s a friendly and embracing bird, with mythological and primordial overtones. ‘Sun God’ is very colorful, exuberant and certainly joyous, but with a slightly awesome edge.”

Sun God at the University of California San Diego

Sun God at the University of California San Diego

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Related posts:
     » The Geisel Library at the University of California San Diego

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

All pictures taken by Russel Ray using a Canon 550D camera and a Canon 55-250mm lens. Picture frames from Corel PaintShop Pro X4.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Sea lion posing for the camera

Picture of the momentThere are two places to see seals and sea lions in San Diego, one in La Jolla and one at the north end of San Diego Bay near the submarine base. La Jolla is easier and less expensive to get to, but the ones near the submarine base are usually much more active. Unfortunately, in order to get to the ones near the submarine base, you have to either have a boat, rent a boat, or go on some sort of cruise.

Here’s an alpha male sea lion that posed for me recently when I went on a whale watching cruise:

Sea lion in San Diego Bay near the submarine base

 

Seals and sea lions are very similar in appearance, but there is one sure way you can tell the difference: sea lions have external ear flaps; seals don’t.

Pictures taken by Russel Ray using a Canon 550D.
Post-processing done in Corel PaintShop Pro X4.

Find other posts in my Picture of the Moment series by clicking on the logo at the upper right.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Out & About San Diego — #6: Sheraton Harbor Island is a great place to stay when you come to San Diego

Out & About San Diego

#6
Sheraton Harbor Island
is a great place to stay
when you come to San Diego

This post is dedicated to Al and Peggy Cunningham, aliens who live north of the border in Brampton, Ontario, Canada.

Al and Peggy were all set to come to San Diego to visit in September 2010. Just a couple of days before they were to get on the airplane, one of them (won’t mention any names) realized that HIS passport had expired. Trip canceled.

I was out and about San Diego on a whale watching cruise yesterday, and as the boat left San Diego Bay, it passed right by the Sheraton Harbor Island where Al and Peggy had reservations. I thought it would be nice of me to take some pictures of what they missed.

Here we have the Sheraton Harbor Island as viewed from the Bay at sunset:

Sheraton Harbor Island as viewed from San Diego Bay

 

The Sheraton Harbor Island is right across the street from the San Diego International Airport. As you’re coming from the airport exit, this is the view of the Sheraton Harbor Island:

 Sheraton Harbor Island as viewed from the airport

 

There are no bad rooms at the Sheraton Harbor Island, and most rooms, if not all of them, have a view of downtown San Diego, which looks something like this when the sun is setting:

Downtown San Diego as viewed from the Sheraton Harbor Island

 

If you know anyone moving to the Toronto area in Canada and need some great real estate agents, contact Al and Peggy Cunningham, voted “Best people in real estate in 2011,” their sixteenth year receiving that recognition.

Pictures taken by Russel Ray using a Canon 550D.
Post-processing using Corel PaintShop Pro X4.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Why is a picture correct on my computer but not correct when I post it in my blog?

Russel Ray Photos

Why is a picture correct on my computer but not correct when I post it in my blog?

That’s a good question, and I’m not sure I have the complete answer. Here is an entry to the Russel Ray Photos January contest that exhibits this problem:

Picture that won't upload correctly

I’ve had it happen to me before, too. What I’ve found is that the computer usually recognizes whether a picture should be portrait or landscape. Sometimes it doesn’t but I haven’t been able to determine why. However, I have discovered that if your picture shows correctly on your computer but won’t upload correctly, simply open the picture in a digital software editing program. I use Corel PaintShop Pro X4. Then simply rotate the picture 90 degrees in the proper direction, in this case, counterclockwise, and then save it. Even if it looks wrong then in PaintShop Pro X4, that’s okay. In every instance that I have tried, the picture will appear correctly on your computer AND upload correctly. Try it and let me know.

When I opened that picture in Corel PaintShop Pro X4, it opened as upside down:

Upside down picture

That left me wondering just how much to rotate it. I tried 90° counterclockwise and saved it, but it was exactly like the first picture posted above. So I tried 180° counterclockwise and saved that, which gave me the correct picture and which uploads like this:

Picture rotated 180° counterclockwise

Hope that helps.

Straightening crooked pictures using Corel PaintShop Pro X4

Straightening crooked pictures is extremely easy to do in Corel PaintShop Pro X4 (PSPX4), as well as several other digital photo editing programs that I’m familiar with. I’m using PSPX4.

Here is a friend’s dad taken in London, with a crooked tower and buildings, as well as a crooked water front:

Dad in England

Dad in England

I opened that picture in PSPX4 and clicked on the Straighten tool, which looks like a crooked picture. Red arrow points to it:

Straighten tool in Corel PaintShop Pro X4

Straighten tool in Corel PaintShop Pro X4

That action puts a straight line on the picture:

Straight line on picture

Straight line on picture

All one has to do is move the line so that it is next to whatever you want to straighten. I chose the big tower since it’s a dominant part of the picture. In order to align the line and the tower really well, I increased the magnification to 800%:

Alignment line next to tower
Alignment line next to tower

Once that is done, all one has to do is double click on the picture to tell PSPX4 that you’re done. That gave me this:

Straightened picture
Straightened picture

You can download a free, fully functional, 30-day trial version of Corel PaintShop Pro X4 right here. Corel has not provided me any compensation whatsoever for this tutorial.