See, 6 and below were fairly traditional raster-based editors. But starting in 7, and with substantial improvements in 8, PSP introduced the concept of raster and vector editing capabilities, in the same document. You could create raster layers, and do traditional drawing and filtering, and you could also create vector layers, where you could draw shapes and paths which would remain editable and would be rasterised on the fly.
It took a while to get your head around this capability, but once you did, it was incredibly powerful, especially for the time period we're talking about. Coupled with the rate at which its general raster editing capabilities were improving, I suspect Corel feared not just that PSP was becoming a more serious competitor in the raster space, but that it would undermine the market for CorelDraw, and threaten the whole model of selling separate vector and raster editors.
In the past few years, mixed paradigm vector/raster editors like Sketch have become more common. But download a copy of PSP 8 and you'll see that Jasc got there years before the rest of the industry, to such an extent it meant PSP had to be killed.
Fireworks was also doing this around the same time but seems to have been completely been forgotten because of Photoshops dominance.
I think its heyday was when HTML table layouts were still how you had to layout websites and it's slicing capabilities were really convenient. I suspect that was the killer feature for a lot of people but once CSS layouts took over, Fireworks really fell out of favor and Adobe never bothered to reposition it as a UI tool.
I still use it to this day for my limited editing/mockup needs. The new workflow seems to be mockup tool (like Balsamiq) -> Photoshop design -> HTML/CSS, but for my needs, I can get reasonably close enough in both layout and design in Fireworks just do Fireworks -> HTML/CSS.
I don't know if a tool that is close enough to Fireworks to be a good replacement has come around, but I know it's definitely not Photoshop, which I find far too complicated for the basic tasks I need.
I've gone from Photoshop (1st version was 4.0 that I remember) -> Fireworks -> Sketch
Despite having the full creative suite I still turn to Fireworks for quick jobs sometimes when I need to do a fast crop or slice job, or put together a simple 'constructed' image element.
Actually, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SuperPaint_(Macintosh) is where I first saw that (wiki says released 1986, sounds right.)
Funny enough, at first I thought that the article was about that, although the name didn't seem quite right, and obviously the years and outcome were wrong.
There is a searing pain I feel when I know precisely what I want to do in "modern" editors and simply can't find the command buried in the menus somewhere, and have to resort to forums to find the answer. I never got that with SuperPaint.
That was my idea too, but since my experience with graphics editors is ridiculously small, I shut up about it. But yeah, it was very nice to use, and I haven't met its match since.
I discovered the program around 1995, after Corel acquired them. I figured it would be a 'cheap' version of Corel Draw. Instead, it was quite a bit better! Particularly for the time, there was nothing faster that I was aware of. (In 1995 memory was prohibitively expensive, and Xara was very efficient.)
I still use it to this day, though the software reverted back to it's original owner long ago.
A Fireworks PNG document, then, was a pile of shapes (just like a Flash animation frame), with each shape referred to as a "layer"; along with a pile of mutable texture data for the shapes to use, with each texture bound 1:1 to a particular rectangle shape, with the shape and its texture together referred to as a "raster image."
Every time you changed anything, the whole thing just got re-rendered onto a canvas using the Flash rendering logic. When you saved the PNG "document", it kept all the document chunks, but added the baked rendered representation it had been using for previewing as a basic PNG chunk at the end of the document. Thus, it was kind of an actual PNG file. (But the flattened PNG chunk was only "the document" as much as the JPEG cover image inside an .epub is "the book.")
PSP is only potentially a replacement for PhotoPaint, which was always bundled with Draw. It would never be a threat to their other raster tools like Painter. Nor would Draw be threatened by a tool with vectors grafted on. Corel just wanted to bring in a successful product for the entry level market.
Corel also notably let PhotoPaint wither on the vine even though it was vastly superior to the contemporaneous Photoshop version in its earlier incarnations. They just weren't willing to invest the dev resources to add more sophistication.
Where GP said:
> you could also create vector layers, where you could draw shapes and paths which would remain editable and would be rasterised on the fly.
Apropos nice letters and communications from founders of software companies such as JASC, the hosting company I worked for used many of Persits Software's components on our Windows/IIS servers.
Every now and again I'd need to clarify some technical thing with them that wasn't in their documentation and every time I'd get a reply within 4-8 hours directly from Peter the founder of Persits. I didn't even need to supply a license number or proof of purchase, it was just straightforward good old fashioned support and customer service. What was also nice about them as well was that they never fleeced you for "upgrades", you bought a lifetime license and that was it.
We conduct business in a similar way, as do (I suspect) most other very small software companies. It's one of the things that irks me the most when developers rail about proprietary software and use MS/Adobe/Oracle as the examples. There are a lot of good, small software companies out there that have been doing proprietary products for years, and they possess a lot of qualities that we all seem to value quite a bit (responsiveness, understanding, flexibility, loyalty, etc.).
Piratism hurts small low-cost hobbyist software most by dislocating them with free professional juggernaut tools.
"Piracy" is the usual word.
I'm pretty hopeful these days about Qt for Python and this build system: https://build-system.fman.io/
Unfortunately, it costs money even if your app is OSS, in some cases.
You might be thinking of Justin Frankel: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justin_Frankel
The connection is still kind of cool though!
He has nothing to do with foobar2000, which BTW has a very poor view of FOSS.
Foobar still can not do proper crossfading on track change!
Foobar is almost perfect except the lack of crossfading and broken WASAPI exclusive mode output, which every other WinAmp clone seem to have gotten right, e.g. AIMP.
Most other paint programs all worked based on keyboard shortcuts (which weren't bad, they let you fly through the interface)
iTunes has obviously turned into something else at the time, but SoundJam was fantastic.
I'm not that particular about Winamp's exact interface, but i vastly prefer audio players with a compact layout that is made up by an area displaying the current song, a slider for seeking, play, pause, stop, prev, next buttons and a floating playlist you can change and hide on the fly.
It was largely responsible for my early development as a web designer and later developer. I still remember it being incredibly intuitive and fun to use. I probably logged thousands of hours inside of that application.
I'd still take Photoshop over it, but it was a surprisingly solid alternative.
I fricking loved Paint Shop Pro. As a teenager I made some websites for local bands and record companies. I was at the stage where you'd create one fancy image and then slice it into website parts to position them as backgrounds on the page and layer the textual elements over them. Paint Shop Pro was a joy to me as the maker of these cheesy band website layouts that I'd then slice up.
I had the opportunity a couple of years ago to thank Brad for C64 Assembler and the role it had in forming some of my ethics around fair-use and paying for intellectual property.
TIL: JASC stood for Jets and Software Company..
Adding my name to the list of people who loved Paint Shop Pro and had several amazing interactions with the company.
It won't open modern x264 files, but works fine with uncompressed video.
And the GIF format just won't die thanks to hipsters.
Thank you JASC and hipsters!
I was not as honest as the author of this article. I didn't buy Paint Shop Pro and I didn't write to its creator. I got a free trial on a cover-disk of some PC magazine and managed to extend the trial indefinitely via some hack or other.
Until then my only image editing tool was Microsoft Paint(brush), and PSP was a whole new world. Layers, clone tools, airbrushing. It was amazing. I was one of the few kids in my school who could edit images like that -- there were a couple who had Photoshop because their parents did design or photography.
Then at some point they clamped down on dodgy users, but by then Adobe had old versions of Photoshop out for free and eventually the GIMP made it to Windows.
Rewarded maybe financially, but it must have been a bittersweet moment considering that PSP probably had already peaked at that point and definitely did not prosper under new ownership.
It still seems a bit difficult to find a replacement for these two on macOS and Linux. Intuitive interfaces focusing on primary image editing functions and stable output to various formats are probably what is missing for non-professional users like me.
GIMP seems like a great project but has a terrible overblown UI. I tried Photoshop / Illustrator for a year as you get the CS4-subscription at a low price from my university. A few features, e.g. how embedded images were handled are nice, but the software is massive and the interface is so weirdly complex that I had to search for guides for the simplest tasks (who is profiting from having to "study" CS4...?). With PSP7, which is decently powerful I went through a couple of tutorials and was set up for years. Also, I had spent half an hour to deactivate all the spyware that comes with CS4, this is a no-go.
You can read that I am just really ignorant about modern graphics editing workflows. I'm not a graphics professional, but need to make "production level" graphics every few months. I need relatively technical vector illustrations (e.g. of experiment flows, NN models) and clean figures of scientific results (raster) in a visualization-heavy field.
For vector graphics I now really like Inkscape with its SVG basis. I still go back to Dia a lot though whenever the illustration fits their limited (but sufficient) scope. Both can be used on Linux and macOS.
Still searching for a powerful but plain & simple (and stable!) raster graphics editor though. Currently Krita looks nice, but it is clearly in development stage. Would pay for either Acorn or Pixelmator if I wasn't concerned that they will also start emulating the UI of Photoshop in the future.
Once you learn how to do something in it, it makes sense as to why.
GIMP on the other hand, once I learned how to do something, I still hated it.
Then again GIMP makes simple things like pasting a major confusing pain.
Have you tried the new 2.10 and the single window mode?
Did Robert Voit die, or was this prompted solely by the author's reminiscence?
I forgot about PSP. But Reading about it brings lots of memories. It was a great program, just like its author.
The Wikipedia page about Jasc  does give some information about Robert Voit, which is written in present tense, indicating he is still alive. However, the page has not been updated for a while.
Decision making is critical for a pilot, in the worst case hesitation can mean death. Robert Voit was a master at taking in relevant information, making a decision, and moving on. That's an essential skill for a good business leader.
But for me, the best version ever was 3.0. I was able to draw pretty impressive diagrams at the pixel level, without any problem.
In subsequent versions, they modified the zoom tool, the GUI and the brushes, so it was quite harder to do the same thing.
Eventually, I added Gimp to my "arsenal" for occasional complex work, but that 20 year old Paintshop Pro is still my daily driver for quick graphics stuff. Runs fine on Windows 10.
Amazing piece of software and Minnesota!
I just noticed you can buy a brand-new copy of Paintshop Pro for $48 (cheap!) at https://www.paintshoppro.com/en/products/paintshop-pro/stand... I'm thinking about it.
Corel had made it available via Jasc's FTP server for free a number of years back when I went looking for it again.
I check every now and then, but I've never found anything nearly as useful. Other software seems to have a much reduced feature set, be extremely slow or unstable, and maddeningly, not offer any control over individual frames.
It's possible there's something in the Adobe suite, but I (alone, of seemingly everyone on the Internet) never pirated Photoshop, and wasn't willing to fork out the asking price.
Never did find out if he knew about the latter.
edit: the article states simple re-installation was enough to reset the evaluation? I thought I tried that. Maybe it changed with later versions?
I know that it's widely hated on HN but I still find GIMP is quite suitable for nearly everything. It integrates poorly on macOS though.
My employers were not the sort to have pirated software on the premises, however, the process if getting a purchase order for £30 software rather than £10000 software seemed almost more awkward.
My colleagues who did have the £40K SGI workstations with the £10K+ Parallax Matador software and giant Wacom tablets just did not have the tools needed to make the all important weather icons. This was in the days before maps had been sorted out so they mostly drew artistic interpretations of maps, with limited knowledge of geography - quite embarrassing really. But, you know, gotta work as a team.
The icons had to be made as sprites and only a certain amount of RAM was available, I think they also had to align on some type of kilobyte boundaries too. Needless to say JASC Paintshop Pro was the perfect tool for the job.
I did have access to Photoshop which actually came full version with a scanner. My colleagues in graphics saw Photoshop as a cut down PC tool, not really professional at all. So I could not get to meet with them in the middle whereby they would be able to do the icons and somehow get them into the formats needed for broadcast. That thought was tantamount to asking them to sweep the streets and empty the bins - below them.
Maybe I stuck with PSP longer than I should have done as I did have a bit of a learning curve a few years later when Photoshop became the vital tool for part of a job I moved on to. Due to consolidation in TV and nobody being able to pay £100K for a seat for graphic artists my colleagues also had to move on from their tools of choice. They chose to be dinosaurs, to be usurped by kids with dirt cheap tools. Sad really. So many games of status and other delusions made up the reality of working in broadcast television at that time, the toys being part of that.
The funniest thing I found was the giant Wacom tablet gorilla arm problem. If you were a proper graphic designer then you had to have the biggest of huge Wacom tablets, great in principle except the action is all in the wrist. They would be dragging their elbows to the far corners of the desk to get to a palette colour or menu item.
Most of my PSP work was done with a mouse and 1280 x 1024 15" CRT monitor. However I did get a lucky break when learning Photoshop as I had a small Wacom Tablet and an excellent mentor in a former graphic designer that just barked hotkeys at me. I did what he wanted done in doubleplusgood time, studio crew of twenty waiting...
Creating masks and other image corrections were done in the way that bluescreen video is done, dealing with the whole image and doing so very quickly. Only years later did I understand what some of those toolbox icons were or what the hotkeys corresponded to in the menus.
Sometimes it pains me to see today's graphic artists spending all day doing basic artwork stuff where they are manually deleting pixels and drawing around things, headphones plugged in, no knowledge of hotkeys known. Despite being retired the lessons that my mentors taught me come back to haunt me and I do a little bit of teaching.
PSP was the opening for me to not be just a mere techie but to cross that imaginary line into doing creative work. There is no point being adamant that you are just an artist and don't do tech stuff. It is also cowardly to be a techie and never do creative artwork stuff. For me PSP enabled me to let go of the handrails and become a creative techie.
I agree with your sentiment, but I'm not promoting my game in the least. It was created back in the mid-90s, never was released to the public, and never will be. Robert expressed that he looked forward to playing the games we made with PSP, and we never shipped a game he could see. The video captures the entire gameplay simply to show him what we were up to as kids as a part of our thank you.
I hope this clarifies things for you.