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PaintSupreme 1.5 image editor released, on sale

Sections: Features, Graphics / Design, Hands On / First Looks, Mac Software

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After 6 months of development, German developer BrainDistrict Software has released version 1.5 of its speedy, powerful PaintSupreme image editing and photo editor. They’ve added a lot of new features (like integration of IFX-Supreme effects and filters), enhanced the overall speed and workflow, and fixed a few bugs. Already one of the fastest photo editors and paint programs in its class, PaintSupreme is now even faster than previous releases, includes a number of user enhancements and new features, and is on sale at the friendly introductory price of $9.99.

Claimed to be one of the fastest image editing products in the App Store, multi-platform PaintSupreme is available in Windows, Mac and Linux versions. Speed impresses from the get-go. PaintSupreme starts up from cold on my not especially speedy 2.0 in about six seconds.

The second thing that impresses is the gorgeous piano black user interface theme. Adobe argues that grey is more functional and less distracting, but the black just flat-out looks great. PaintSupreme’s UI combines Pixelmator’s blackness with a full-screen array more reminiscent of Photoshop Elements, those two apps being the logical competition.

So, does PaintSupreme represent a serious and cheaper alternative to those apps? In some ways, yes. Its got the speed, and then some. Its toolbar arrays are the most convenient and easily accessible that I’ve used, and yes, PaintSupreme supports multiple layers, and like most German software I’ve used over the years, it’s a smooth and slick performer, with the overworked Mercedes/BMW/Audi analogy coming to mind. BrainDistrict claims that with 10,000+ users, not a single major bug has been reported. The program is designed to be intuitive, and it is, but if intuition falls short, it also comes with an excellent online manual.

However, PaintSupreme still has a way to go in terms of refinement, user friendliness, and full feature support. You can’t drag an image file to PaintSupreme’s Dock icon to open it. You must either use the more cumbersome “Open” dialog, or drag it directly into the program’s editing window, which is a pain with a full-screen or near full-screen UI.

Another function I always look for in image editors is the ability to select an image sector and option-drag and drop it to another part of the image. This is supported in PSE and Pixelmator, but I failed to find a way to do it in PaintSupreme. These are not fatal flaws, just disappointments.

However, it’s early days yet for both this app’s development and my experience using it. I’ll be surprised if the feature and function shortcomings I mention above are not addressed in subsequent versions.

PaintSupreme also includes an array of special effects and filters that allow you to change the entire image or just parts. Add textures, remove unwanted elements, change colors, transform into black & white, all with a few clicks. Filters can transform all or part of a photo into a painting with brushstrokes. Liquify an image so it seems to flow. Create ripples, pinch, pull, polarize, and dozens of other effects. Mix tools and filters together to create an unlimited range of effects

You can also create your own image from scratch in a variety of styles. Create documents like greeting cards, posters, invitations, and brochures. PaintSupreme supports both pixel and vector images. Drawing tools let you design a simple element or a complex image. Create and print a drawing to color with crayons or watercolors.

Selection tools to select all or part of an image include rectangular curved, or freeform shapes. Editing tools allow you to easily remove blemishes and unwanted elements like shadows or a fence, balance or skew color, lighten or darken, sharpen or blur, and create a gradation of color across an area or the entire image. Multiply elements in your photo to turn one star into 20, or one flower into a bouquet. Change colors; turn a green shirt to red or blue house to yellow. Pull an element from one photo and insert it into another—add your dog to a picture of your car, or put yourself on the beach. Text tools let you add words and phrases so you can title or caption photos, label people, streets, buildings, and other elements.

Advanced tools support more complex transformations as you build your skills Layers let you build up effects and create multiple versions of the same original image. Selection addition and subtraction functions let you operate on specific areas of your image by joining or removing sections.

Guides and rulers make it easy to lay out your project and keep elements aligned. Pre-set shapes let you quickly add squares, circles, triangles, rectangles, ovals, and other standard geometric patterns. Add shadowing to highlight an element or create a dramatic effect. Apply color in styles from painterly to pallet knife Blend edges or keep them hard. Airbrush in gradual tones and highlights. Blend and mix colors to suit.

Save your edited photos, drawings and paintings in an astonishing range of pixel-based or vector formats, some of which I’d never heard of.

New in Version 1.5:

  • Seamless integration of filters and effects created in IFX-Supreme. Users can now download new filters and effects from the IFX-Supreme library directly into PaintSupreme for free and immediately drag-and-drop them onto their photos or create cool effects with the press of a button.
  • Even faster performance doing transformations and using the drawing tools.
  • Faster switching between layers so changes appear instantly as you move from one layer to another.
  • User interface has been enhanced with a brighter text and a cleaner layout.
  • Red Eye removal tool which removes the red-eye effect caused by flash photography with a click.
  • Shortcuts for the Vector tool making vector image manipulation quicker and easier.Increased sensitivity for the Bucket tool.
  • Improvements to the operation of the Crop and Clone Stamp tools that make them easier to use.
  • Many smaller enhancements, speedups and bug fixes

I’m not comfortable assigning PaintSupreme a review rating on what has thus far been only a few days use. I’ll do that in a follow-up review once I’ve got some more mileage with the program under my belt. But for now, I have to say this is an impressive piece of software with an amazing range of capabilities for the money,

You can try PaintSupreme before you buy it by downloading the appropriate version for your system. Trial versions are fully functional, except you can’t save your results. When you’re ready to buy, purchase a registration serial number that unlocks your trial version. Or you can buy PaintSupreme in the Mac App Store.

PaintSupreme is currently available for a special v1.5 introductory price of $9.99—a 50% discount off the regular price of $19.99 until the end of January. PaintSupreme v1.5 is also available now in native 64 bit versions for Windows 7 / 8 and Linux.

For more information, visit www.braindistrict.com. PaintSupreme is also available in the Mac App Store.

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