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Full user review
"PhotoLine 16 is a great choice for photo editing +"
*64 bit for both Windows and Mac
*Very fast, loading in about a second on my Windows 7, 64 bit system
*Does what Paint Shop Pro & Photoshop will do, some functions much better
*Excellent customer support
*Compatible with PSD
*Steep learning curve
*Some of the terminology different than Paint Shop Pro and Photoshop
*The English-language manual, although thorough, needs rewriting with better explanations and more examples of PLs various operations
From the CNET editor's review, it appears they examined a different program than the one I use. Or at least, they didn't spend any time looking under the hood.
PhotoLine 16 is a powerful and fast program, handling photo editing, desktop publishing, RAW conversion, vector graphics, graphics for the web, flash animation and more, without all the bloat of Photoshop. All that for under $100 US.
PL is published by a German software firm with a large user base in Europe. It is translated into English, French and Polish, and PL maintains an English-language support forum on its website.
If you're making the transition from another image editor, you can customize keyboard shortcuts and add icons to the workspace to make operation of the application more comfortable for you. There are two problems with adding icons: (1) Not all of the PL operations are assigned unique icons and you can wind up with the same icon repeated for different tasks; (2) some users will perceive the addition of more icons to the workspace adds to a cluttered look.
All of the important operations you used in that other program are available in PL. In some cases they are better. In some situations the terms will be different, but with a little effort you're get past that pretty quickly. PL will run the standard Photoshop format plugins from Flaming Pear, Picture Code, Alien Skin, etc. However, it will not run the new automation tools such as Alien Skin's Blow Up and onOne's Photo Essentials, which were written specifically for Photoshop (some will run under Photoshop Elements).
Former Paint Shop Pro users who hate the new organizer will like PhotoLine's familiar Browser. It's styled like the old PSP browser, but it's much more powerful with batch processing, file conversion, slide show creation, etc. built in. In addition, that's where RAW files are routed to the developing process.
I've been using PhotoLine since version 14, and I'm extremely impressed by the company's customer support. If you don't find an answer to a problem on the company's web forum, just send support an email. You'll get an answer directly addressing your issue rather than a generic response suggesting you unload and reinstall the software. When I switched from 32-bit to 64-bit Windows, I had a problem with a 64-bit plugin that would not run under PL. Support pointed me to a link to a beta of the next version of PL that solved the problem. The English-speaking Germans on the forum are also extremely helpful and patient with those of us having problems making the transition to PL.
Overall, PhotoLine 16 is a powerful program. Download for the trial period. Download the English manual and join the English user forum. If you're willing to commit a little time, you'll learn to appreciate it's abilities. The price is right!