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Standard Dialogs are resizable and remember their window positioning.  You can collapse the preview altogether and do all proofing right on the main image.

They have added RANDOMIZE buttons to most effects dialogs

Wow, you're not going to believe what you can do here. It's very different, so play around. To make a custom toolbar? First create one. Then drag and drop commands onto it. Assign your own keyboard commands.  

PSP 8 now uses an options bar. The options bar is separated into bands, and each tool can use as many bands as needed. Bands can be rearranged & resized to suit your working style.

Almost all tools support presets, to quickly access all your saved settings. With a few exceptions, all effect dialogs have the ability to save/load presets or to randomize the parameters.

Holding down the shift key while selecting any toolbar button or menu item bypasses the command dialog, and runs the command with the last used settings.

Material Palette (formerly Color Palette) has two different configurations, one for vertical orientations and one for horizontal orientations. As you resize the material palette it switches to the appropriate layout.

You can now assign your own custom keyboard commands. Use the program defaults, or change them to anything you'd like. A list of all the currently used keyboard accelerators can be found on the help me. Right click any toolbar, choose CUSTOMIZE,

With the exception of file open/save dialogs, all dialogs in the system remember their last used size and position.

All effect dialogs can be resized, and the preview panes can be shown or hidden.

Up to nine different custom checkerboard settings can be defined in the general program preferences.

Picture frames The PSP 7 picture frame wizard is now a single dialog. It supports the ability to rotate/flip/mirror a frame to better match the aspect ratio of image. There was no overhaul to allow for scalable frames that so many have been asking for. They tried, but were unable to get it in. They are, well aware of those issues, and will consider it in a future version.




The rest of the laundry list is below-

Reset Preferences dialog can reset various aspects of PSP to the out of the box configuration, without requiring editing of the registry, or secret keystrokes when starting the application.

File menu > Preferences > Reset Preferences

Effect browser has been completely redesigned, and generates a page of thumbnails. Each thumb shows the effect of applying a preset for any given effect. Thumbnails are generated for each preset of every effect. You can apply the preset directly right there, or launch the dialog to edit and tweak further. As you save presets from effect dialogs they will automatically be added to the effect browser



File Menu
PSP 8 has a full blown scripting engine, based on the Python programming language. Though you can use Python to write scripts from scratch, in general there is no need to do so. PSP includes a script recorder, and nearly everything in the application can be recorded.

Scripting functionality is primarily accessed either through the scripting toolbar or through the Script submenu of the file menu.

Scripts are saved to the scripts directory specified in the file locations dialog. Most scripts can be edited with PSP's built in script editor. Since scripts are text files they can be edited with any text editor. Python uses indentation to determine scoping, so be careful about mixing spaces and tabs. Use of a python aware editor such as PythonWin or Idle is a good thing if you intend to hand write scripts.

Batch conversion dialog now has the ability to run a script as files are converted, allowing you to script operations on multiple files at once.

Python is a full programming language, and can be used to execute malicious scripts.  PSP includes a restricted execution mode. Restricted execution mode is on by default. Restricted execution mode will not hinder anything recorded in PSP, but may prevent some useful, non-malicious, hand written scripts from running

Exercise care when running scripts from someone you don't know. If you wouldn't run an executable file that you receive from someone, you should be as skeptical of scripts you receive. Restricted execution mode provides a safer sandbox to use to try out a script from a source you don't know, but is not a guarantee of safety.

Scripts can be run interactively or silently. When run silently all dialogs are skipped and the commands in the script are executed automatically. In interactive mode all of the dialogs are displayed, and the user can change the settings in dialogs, before they are executed.

Printing has changed significantly. The print dialog makes it easy to print a single image at a specific size or scale, positioned anywhere on the page.

The print layout function (formerly multiple image printing) supports print templates that correspond to standard paper sizes. Use predefined templates or create your own. Images placed in template cells can be scaled or cropped to fit the cell, and rotated to make the best use available space.

The PSP browser uses a template to print thumbnails, so by changing the browser template you can change how the browser prints.

New file formats
AutoFX (AFX)
Brooktrout Fax (BRK)
CALS Raster (CAL)
Microstation Drawing (DGN)
AutoCAD Drawing (DWG)
JPEG 2000 (JP2)
Kofax (KFX)
Lazer View (LV)
Portable Document File (PDF)
Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)
Wireless Bitmap (WBMP)
X Windows Bitmap (XBM)
X Windows Pixmap (XPM)
X Windows Dump (XWD)

Postscript support is improved from Postscript Level 2 to Postscript Level 3.

PSP 8 now supports reading/writing of lossless JPEG files.  In addition, EXIF data is read and written to file formats that support it. The PSP file format now supports EXIF data, so you can open a JPEG file from a camera, edit it, and save as a PSP file without losing EXIF data.

File New
The new file dialog supports presets and the ability to use any material as the background of a new image. It is also possible to create a new image with a vector layer instead of a raster layer. If a solid color is used the image is created with a background layer. If a gradient or pattern is used, it is created as a layer with transparency. (It erases to transparent, not background color.)

Batch Convert/Batch rename
The batch convert dialog is enhanced to include the option of running a script during conversion, and can also rename a file during SAVE. The batch rename dialog simply renames files without having to open or edit them in any way. It is ideal for assigning meaningful names to digital camera pictures - instead of files named DCP048 through DCP096, you can rename them to "Wedding 01" through "Wedding 48".

Custom brush handling
PSP 8 no longer reads .jbr/.abr files directly. These files must be imported and converted to PspBrush files. The brush importer is on the preset droplist for all the brush tools, or can be accessed by the File->Import menu.  You can manage custom brushes visually using the PSP image browser. There is now only one brush per file, making brushes management more similar to patterns and frames.

Picture frame exporter
PSP 8 includes a picture frame exporter that can save the active image as a picture frame, provided it meets the requirements of a picture frame. Requirements for picture frames have not changed. See below for detail on changes to the Picture Frame feature.

JPEG Exporter/save options
In the JPEG exporter and file save as options, you can now specify the handling of chroma subsampling.

Auto Actions
Auto actions enable PSP to automatically perform needed operations to make a command available - change color depth, convert vector layers to raster layers, float a selection, etc. For example, most effects require a true color image. PSP 8 has an auto action called "Convert image to 16-million colors". Out of the box this action is set to prompt. Suppose you attempt to run an effect like Sunburst on a paletted image. In PSP 7 the menu item would be greyed out because sunburst does not work on a paletted image. In PSP 8 the menu item is enabled because it can make the command available by using an auto action. When you attempt to execute the sunburst command, you receive a prompt asking if you would like to convert the image to 16-million colors.

You can control the behavior of auto actions. Some (like promoting to 16 million colors) you may wish to happen whenever they are needed, without bothering with a prompt. Others (perhaps converting a vector layer to a raster layer) you might consider dangerous enough that you never want them to happen automatically. Finally, some of them you may wish to be asked about. All of this can be set in the general program preferences. Note however, that if you check the box marked "Always take these actions" when you are prompted for an auto action, you are setting that behavior for the action (i.e. promote to 16 million colors), not the command that called for it (sunburst).

File locations
The file locations dialog now supports dedicated locations for a number of new file types, and the previous restriction of no more than 3 locations for any file type has been removed.


Learning center
The new learning center provides a location in the application for displaying short tutorials called quick guides. Quick guides can use scripts to automate some or all of the steps in the guide. In an effort to enhance the user assistance pieces of version 8, we've created the Learning Center palette. To view/hide the palette, choose View > Palettes > Learning Center, or press F10. This Welcome page of the Learning Center consists of a number of links providing one-click access to often used features, as well as accessing the Quick Guides. (Note that some of the links on the Welcome page are not yet functional).

About the Quick Guides
Click the Quick Guides Home link on the Learning Center's Welcome page to access a number of brief but helpful guides to walk you through a variety of tasks. At the top of the Quick Guides Home page is the "Topics" section. This beta version contains four topics. Click the desired topic to display a list of Quick Guides in that category. For example, in the "Correcting Photos" category you'll find three Quick Guides: Correcting Perspective Distortion, Fixing Your Photos, and Straightening a Crooked Photo.
Each Quick Guide consists of step-by-step instructions for completing the given task. Additionally, each Quick Guide contains one or more scripts-- click the "Perform this step for me" link to run the script.

View Menu

Wow, you're not going to believe what you can do here. It's very different, so play around. To make a custom a toolbar? First create one, and then drag and drop commands onto it.

Image Menu The image information dialog now supports EXIF data.

Resize - Canvas Size - Add Borders
The user interface is redesigned, though functionality is mostly unchanged. Resize now supports an additional resampling method of weighted average. This was present in PSP 7 but called bilinear. What is called bilinear in PSP 8 is now real bilinear.

Add noise
The add noise dialog now supports gaussian noise, and a monochrome mode.

Pincushion Correction
Fisheye Correction
Barrel Distortion Correction

PSP 8 includes photo correction tools for correcting pincushion, fisheye and barrel distortion.

Manual Color Correction
Grey world color balance

In PSP 7 grey world was an option in the manual color correction dialog. It has been made its own filter in PSP 8. In addition, the manual color correction dialog now supports explicit setting of both source and target colors.

Soft focus simulates the effect of a photographic soft focus filter.

Magnifying Lens places a magnifying lens over a portion of the image.

Balls and Bubbles filter places one or more balls or bubbles on the image. Controllable light sources, bump maps and environment maps mean that this filter can be used to create a number of different spherical objects.

Halftone filter simulates the halftone process used in printing. Pixels in the image are replaced with dots, squares or lines at various screen angles.

Seamless tiling filter supports a number of different modes to make an image seamless. A selection can be used to protect a portion of the image from modification. This replaces the PSP 7 command of Selections -> Convert to Seamless Pattern

Offset filter is used to shift the image on the canvas, typically wrapping pixels around to the opposite edge as they go off canvas.

Drop shadow dialog has an easier to use control system, and can optionally create the shadow as a new layer.

Lens distortion effect can be used to simulate pincushion, fisheye or barrel distortion in an image.

Polar coordinates filter transforms pixels by mapping them from Cartesian to polar coordinates or vice versa.

Spherize filter alters an image as if it were wrapped around (or into) a sphere.

Page curl filter now supports setting the area behind the curl to transparent.

User defined filters now use the standard effect dialog that supports previewing, proofing, and presets. They also have the ability to compute a divisor value that won't change the overall brightness of the image.

Plugins host has been completely reimplemented.

Adjust Menu
Black and White points

Allows you to correct the color of an image by specifying how to adjust at least one of a highlight color, a midtone color and a shadow color.

Histogram adjustment dialog now displays both the histogram of both the original image and the adjusted image.

Layers Menu
Load mask/selection from disk/alpha
The dialog for loading a mask or selection from a file or an alpha channel has been completely redesigned. New controls allow selections/masks to be positioned and combined in various ways, and a visual preview of all available saved selections/masks is now available. Any supported image file format can be used as a mask or selection.

Layering has changed in several significant ways. First, it now supports layer groups. As an organizational tool, layer groups allow common elements of an image to be lumped together, and viewed, moved or hidden as single unit. Layer groups have rendering implications as well - all the layers in a group are blended together against a transparent background, and then the merged group is blended into the image. This implies that an adjustment layer that is placed in a layer group will only affect the members of the group. Layer groups can be nested.

Layer groups in PSP 8 are distinct from layer grouping in PSP 7. Since the PSP 8 behavior is a better fit with the intuitive definition of grouping, the old PSP 7 functionality has been renamed to "link set". What's the easiest way to create a layer group? Use the menu item new layer group, then drag and drop layers into the group.

Making use of layer groups, PSP now treats masks as a kind of adjustment layer, one that adjusts the opacity of the layers in its layer group. Masks are now implemented as their own layer type. PSP 7 had a mask edit mode - this is replaced by simply selecting the layer in the layer palette.

PSP 7 also had a view mask command, which showed the mask as a rubylith overlay. PSP 8 supports this overlay mode for masks, adjustment layers and the selection, with a configurable overlay color and opacity.

Because masks are now treated as a type of layer, the old mask menu has been removed - its functionality has migrated to the layers menu.

Like the effect dialogs, the layer creation dialogs in PSP 8 support previewing, proofing and presets.

Two new merge commands are present in PSP 8. Merge group merges a layer group and replaces it with a single layer. Merge down merges the active layer into the one directly beneath it.

Several new layer arrange commands are implemented as well - move in to group and move out of group control grouping of layers, and the ungroup command can be used to break an existing group.

PSP 8 has 4 new blend modes - Hue (True), Saturation (True), Color (True) and Lightness (True). The implementation of these modes actually matches the definition that has always been given - taking one or more channels from the upper layer while preserving the other channels of the underlying layers. The old blend modes have been retained for better compability to material written in older manuals and tutorials. They are renamed to Hue (Legacy), Saturation (Legacy), Color (Legacy), and Luminance (Legacy).  

Selections Menu
Selection Edit Mode
where the selection is treated as if it were a layer. In this mode, all of the raster painting/drawing tools and effects can be used to modify the selection marquee. In selection edit mode the marquee is automatically replaced with a colored overlay that indicates the area selected. While in selection edit mode the selection appears as a layer in the layer palette. This both indicates that the selection is being treated as a layer, and gives you a method of changing the overlay color used - double clicking the layer will bring up the layer properties dialog for the selection.

Selection modifiers have been significantly reworked. All now support the standard proof/preview/preset controls on the dialog. The view can be toggled between showing the selection against transparency, or showing the resulting selection marquee.

Select Similar - includes the functionality of both PSP 7's Select Similar and Grow Selection.
Select Color Range replaces PSP 7's Transparent Color/Remove Selected Color with increased functionality. Colors can be selected or partly selected and removed from or added to an existing selection. A specific color range can be selected in any image with the sequence: Select All; Select Color Range set to Remove; Selections > Invert.
Inside/Outside Feather - feathers inside, outside or on both sides of an existing selection. The Both Sides option may give slightly different results than PSP 7's Feather, but is the most similar.
Unfeather - a threshold determines which portion of a feathered region should become fully selected and which fully deselected.
Shape Based Antialias - antialiases a selection based on its shape.
Recover Antialias - uses the color of the selection surroundings to recover the antialiasing originally used to create the selected object.
Remove Specks And Holes - removes unattached specks outside a selection or holes within it according to size.
Smooth smoothes the edges of a selection, optionally preserving corners.
Select Selection Borders - creates a new selection as a band straddling the edge of the old selection. This may greatly reduce the steps needed for creating coloring pages.

Close All
The close all command now has a dialog where you can specify which files to save or discard, replacing the SAVE prompt for every open image.

Painting Tools
All of the brush tools (paint brush, airbrush, clone brush, color replacer, eraser, and all retouch tools) have totally new internals.

One side effect of this is that the hardness parameter is significantly different. The brushes have noticeably smoother edges than ever before. The default hardness is now changed to 50, which is approximately equivalent to a hardness of 0 in PSP 7.

PSP 7 has a buildup/non-buildup.  In buildup, if a single paint stroke crosses over itself the opacity was additive - it built up. In non-buildup, opacity would never get higher than the opacity of the brush. Many brushes could be used either in buildup or non-buildup modes.

In PSP 8, all brushes are either buildup or non-buildup. The mode can no longer be selected.

Always buildup are:
Airbrush, Eraser, Smudge, Push, Color Replacer, Picture Tube

Non-buildup are:
Paint brush, Dodge & Burn, Soften & Sharpen Emboss, Lighten & Darken, Saturation, Hue To Target, Clone

We now have the notion of continuous paint. In PSP 7 non-buildup brushes would only be non-buildup for the duration of a single stroke, where a stroke was defined by mouse down/mouse up. In 8, with continuous paint turned on, all input counts as a single stroke. Regardless of how many times the mouse goes down and up. You can start a new stroke any time by pressing the New Stroke on the brush options bar. Continuous paint lets you stay in non-buildup mode without having to constantly hold down the mouse button.

The wet look simulates a brush with a wet edge, where the edge is darker than the center.

In addition to custom brushes, computed brush tips have new controls. Brushes can be square or round, and then can be rotated or compressed with the rotation and thickness controls. Shape, thickness and rotation replace the single shape control that existed in PSP 7.

PSP 8 now supports a large number of brush variance options, tied to significantly improved tablet support.

A number of variance options can be used with just a mouse (including direction, jitter, fade in, fade out, and oscillating and repeating fades). Tablet users can also take advantage of varying parameters by altitude, azimuth, twist, z-wheel, fingerwheel, and pressure.  All of the standard brush parameters such as size, opacity, color density, and hardness can be varied by any of the variables list above. Jitter can be used to introduce random fluctuations in any value, which is very useful in attempting to create a more natural look.

In PSP7, retouch tools were lumped as a single tool. Now, each retouch tool is implemented as its own tool. For tools with an obvious inverse like Darken/Lighten, Dodge/Burn, your inverse is now available on the opposite mouse button.

Zoom Tool
The zoom tool now works in terms of percentages ratio instead of ratios such as 2:1, 3:1, etc.  Making it possible to size an image to fit your screen.  The resampling method used at scales of less than 100% is much less likely to lose small details.

The zoom tool has quick access to 100% zoom, as well as the various fit to window/image/screen commands. Zooming controls are also added to the Overview window.

Crop Tool has improved support for cropping to standard photo sizes. It can optionally update the resolution value of the image to force the output to match a desired size.

Freehand Selection has a new mode, called Edge Seeker. This mode is similar to the existing smart edge mode, but it is better at following a weak edge, or following a weak edge next to a strong one. By holding down the Alt key while drawing the selection the mode is temporarily switched from Edge Seeker back to Freehand for dragging or Point to Point for clicking, so it is possible to mix the modes in one selection operation.

Scratch Remover algorithm has been changed to get better results for removing objects on uniform backgrounds.

Magic Wand now has the ability to antialias the selection.

Eyedropper now supports multiple sampling sizes, from a single pixel, up to an 11x11 square.

Text tool is completely redesigned. Most controls are set on the options bar, and text entry is done on a floating window. Text tool uses the materials defined in the materials palette.

Pen Tool The line tool and the node edit tool have been combined into a single tool called the Pen tool. A number of new node edit functions exist, including a contour knife for breaking contours.

Raster Deformation
The raster deformation tool supports a movable pivot point. The pivot point defines the point around which a rotation is performed.

Perspective Tool
The perspective tool is new to PSP 8. It is designed to fix perspective errors in an image. Locate an object in the image that should be rectangular, and position the handles on the corners of the object. Applying the tool will correct the image so that the selected object becomes rectangular. Be aware that extreme corrections can introduce extreme distortion in areas of the image far away from the area being corrected.

Straighten Tool is new to PSP 8, and designed to straighten a scan or a tilted photo. Simply position the line along a horizontal or vertical object, and apply the tool.

Mesh Warp tool is new to PSP 8. This is a method of warping an image by distorting a mesh laid on top of the image. Moving the handles in the mesh moves corresponding pixels in the image accordingly. Entire rows/columns may be moved at once.  Shift moves handles in a line, Ctrl along a curve.

Warp Brush is new to PSP 8. The warp brushes let you distort an image almost as if it were made of rubber - stretch, shrink, twist, push, etc.

Background eraser is new to 8, and used to erase backgrounds from objects.


Materials Palette has replaced the color palette in PSP 7.  Texture controls are combined with style controls, and the flyouts for switching between solid, gradient and pattern are gone. Not needed.

The materials palette now supports saved swatches - anything from a solid color to rotated gradient combined with a scaled texture.

Rectangular & radial gradients now support rotation.  Rectangular and sunburst gradients now support separate center points and focal points.

Texture and Pattern files are no longer limited to bitmaps. Any supported file format can be used.  Pattern files can contain transparency.  Textures now support scaling and rotation.

Overview Window's Info tab
The info display is a new tab on the overview window, with general info about the image, and info specific to tool used.

Magnifier is a new floating window. When enabled from the view menu or by F11 key, it has a magnified view of the pixels under the cursor. Its zoom can be changed using Ctrl-+ & Ctrl--.

User Interface Customization
PSP 8 supports extensive customization of the user interface. You can move, add, or remove buttons on toolbars and menus. Create your own menus and toolbars. You can assign your own hotkeys. Customization accessed from the view menu or by right clicking any toolbar.

Workspace files store the state of all toolbars, menus and palettes. You can create multiple workspaces that are optimized for specific tasks.

Palettes can be either floating or docked. Docking is enabled on a per-palette basis in your general program preferences, or by rightclicking any toolbar.

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