PhotoPlus v. Photoshop
Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, Tuesday, 11th September, 2007
I MAKE PHOTOSHOP last me a long time: I was able to purchase Photoshop 4 (1996) with my first scanner, a Umax Astra, and I kept going with that until my last possible chance to upgrade to the latest version, which at the time, in 2002, was Photoshop 7. Upgrading to the current version, Photoshop CS3, would cost me about £150, so, when I had a chance to try out Serif PhotoPlus 11 for a fraction of the price, I thought I'd take the opportunity.
With PhotoPlus you can do more or less everything you could possibly need in digital image editing, but I'm not ready to give up Photoshop yet. This simple dip pen sketch of my art bag shows why:
You can see that PhotoPlus (above, right) has left a pale wash of off-white behind the image. Sometimes it does this, sometimes it doesn't. Obviously I'm new to the program but I don't find it as consistent as Photoshop, which invariably gives me a pure white background when I adjust the levels (right) with the slider control.
GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) images, like those above, use a limited palette of colours and Photoshop gives you more control in manipulating them by presenting you with a Colour Table (left) as you save the image for the web. You can ditch unwanted colours, such as varying shades of off-white, by selecting them and popping them into a waste bin.
Both the images above are about the same file size (13/14K) so PhotoPlus is perfectly capable of doing the job, but I prefer the extra option of the colour table that I get with Photoshop.
I scan at 75 dots per inch for this online diary but PhotoPlus seems to have a preferred resolution of 150 dots per inch and it insists on converting my 75 dpi scan to 150, giving me the extra work of converting it back again.
Serif's PhotoPlus e-mail technical support soon came back to me, so full marks there, but, after inquiring about one of two of the settings I was using, they tell me 'Unfortunately there isn't any way around this, you'll need to go into the "Image Size" & adjust the DPI setting after the image is scanned.'
Serif offer a 30 day trial, so there will be no problem getting a refund which I'll need because I guess that the time has come to consider upgrading Photoshop while I'm still eligible, as it's over £500 new.
Things I like about PhotoPlus:
it comes with a printed manual, which is rare these days
I can open RAW files from my digital camera, which I can't in my old version of Photoshop
PhotoPlus gives you a full screen Save-For-Web window which makes my Photoshop 7 version look rather cramped
PhotoPlus 11 also has the ability to output your images as PDFs (Portable Document Format), useful for both the web and for print. It's not a feature I need though, as I always output PDFs from my page design program. This is another Serif product, PagePlus 11 (right), which I now use in preference to the more expensive Macromedia Freehand and Microsoft Publisher.
So, five stars for Serif's PagePlus but only, um, 4 stars for their PhotoPlus.
Serif (PhotoPlus, PagePlus)