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Paint Shop Pro

Become a better photographer today!

Join 's Course: Paint Shop ProLearn how to use Corel Paint Shop Pro - a veritable powerhouse of features and image-making potential. This excellent course is taught by instructor and master photographer-author Robin Nichols. In this class, you'll explore such subjects as layers, image retouching tools, blend modes, filter effects, natural media drawing tools, and advanced tone control.

Key Features

  1. Workspace Essentials
  2. Advanced Tone Control
  3. Understanding Brush-based Tool Sets
  4. Working with Text
  5. Understanding and Mastering Layers
  6. All about Blend Modes
  7. Selections and Filter Effects
  8. Using the Natural Media Drawing Tools

  • Overview of the entire program.
  • Easy Fixes, with impressive ‘automatic’ tone-fixing tools.
  • Advanced tone control.
  • Learn all about adding text and special text effects to the picture.
  • Get professional-looking effects using the image retouching tools.
  • Create awesome fine art painting effects.

$396.00 USD

What You Get


You get direct feedback on your photos from world-acclaimed, professional photographers. You can learn photography in this way from anywhere in the world.  
  • Learn at your pace, with structure.
  • Be guided by a real pro instructor.
  • Get your photos critiqued every week.
  • Join students from around the world.
  • Go far beyond any book or DVD.
  • Make great pictures, again and again!



Photography Instructor: Robin  Nichols Robin Nichols
Like many other instructors at, I’m in the envious position of combining one of my life’s passions, photography, with my job, photography and publishing. And, although I’m normally in front of the computer way too much for my liking these days, it remains one of the best jobs in the world.

Originally from the UK, I’ve spent the past 20 years living in Sydney, Australia, working initially as a rostrum cameraman in the audio-visual business, then as freelance photographer. More recently, I’ve worked (struggled) as a freelance writer, then as a full-time magazine editor for eight years. For the past six years, I have run my own small publishing business, Better Digital, producing Australia’s largest-selling specialist digital photo publication. (As an interesting side note, Better Digital is not affiliated with - we simply have similar good tastes when it comes to names!)

With the launch of Better Digital, I have passionately pursued the goal of producing clear, well-illustrated publications written in "plain English". I have continued to develop this plain-speaking style in another specialist magazine devoted almost exclusively to Photoshop, called Better Photoshop Techniques. Recently I added Digital Photo ART to the list of publications. This deals more with project-based techniques for the digital enthusiast whose interests, those with a crafty bent wanting to do something more with their shots.

I have also written several books, including www.imaging, efficient photo preparation for the world wide web (Watson Guptill, ISBN: 0-8230-5855-7), co-written with Philip Andrews, Paint Shop Pro 8: a guide to creating professional images (Focal Press/Elsevier Press, ISBN: 0-240-51698-2), and recently, Paint Shop Pro 9 for Photographers, co-written with Ken McMahon, (Focal Press/Elsevier Press, ISBN: 0-240-51981-7).

When I’m not out shooting, travelling, or writing for one of my publications, I teach digital photography! In fact, there’s nothing I like better than showing newcomers how to fine-tune their shooting skills and how to get the best from their gear. The beauty of digital photography, of course, is that students can appreciate their efforts almost immediately, a fact that fuels greater exploration of the craft.

Sample Photos by the Instructor

© Robin Nichols 

© Robin Nichols 

Examples of Student Photos


View photos by previous students. You can make pictures like this too!

Course Outline


Lesson 1: Workspace Essentials
In this introductory session, we look at the basics of how the program works. What all the different tools do, the kind of photo you’d use them on and how they operate, We look at the interface (that’s the bit that you see when the program is first started), file formats, Wizards, the palettes and the various tool bars.
Assignment: Shoot a group of four kitchen/household objects, using a tripod and the camera’s self-timer setting for maximum sharpness. Then open them in Paint Shop Pro and run the ‘Auto’ correction tools over them to see if they appear better, or not. If ‘not’, try again with the original but use a different auto tool till you see a definite improvement.

Lesson 2: Advanced Tone Control
What happens when the auto tools fail, when they don’t quite make the changes that you’d envisaged? Easy, in Paint Shop Pro, the next task is to open the image and attack it using one of the powerful manual tone control tools: either use Levels or the more sophisticated Curves tool. In this lesson we run through how both these very powerful tone and colour control tools work so that you never have to fix the contrast or colour using anything else, ever again!
Assignment: Using three of your own images, open them in Paint Shop Pro, and fix using Levels or the Curves tools. Upload the before and afters as examples.

Lesson 3: Understanding Brush-based Tool Sets
In this overview, we look at the amazing brush-based drawing, erasing and painting retouch tools that are available to us in Paint Shop Pro. Learn how easy it is to darken small sections of the image, to paint in colour or to remove it! Use the tools to create classic dual-colour effects, monochrome and even selective focus effects simply and quickly using nothing more than a brush!
Assignment: Using your own pictures, start with one where the background is too sharp (too clear) and use the brush tools to soften it down so that the background ‘recedes’ and the subject becomes more noticeable.

Lesson 4: Working with Text
All of us want to add text to a photo at some time or other, even if it’s just to digitally ‘sign’ our photos. In this lesson we look at Paint Shop Pro’s Text features. How it works, how to bring all the picture, logo and text elements together to make a business card, and how to add our own names, in the form of a digitally created signature, to the photo.
Assignment: Make your own business card and headed notepaper! Use the text tool, the Materials palette, the Flood Fill tool, and combine text with a vector ‘shape’, add the elements together to make printable stationary for work, or for the family.

Lesson 5: Understanding and Mastering Layers
Paint Shop Pro comes well equipped with Layers, a feature that allows us to add multiple elements to one document while retaining editability of each small individual part. Learn how to create your own collages and how to use the eraser tools to rub out and blend the layers into one impressive photo-collage.
Assignment: Combine three to four images into one collage using the layering techniques learned in this lesson. Upload the ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots so we can see where you started from.

Lesson 6: All about Blend Modes
Moving on from our newfound understanding of layers, learn ‘how to wow’ with Blend Modes. Use this layer-based feature to create truly awesome blended visuals for both images and for text layers! Move away from layers and check out how cool this feature is using Blend Modes with the paint and drawing tools!
Assignment: Create another, different collage, using different images but this time overlap the frames, add text and change the Blend Modes to create a stronger visual impact.

Lesson 7: Selections and Filter Effects
Paint Shop Pro is probably the best software application for creating awesome effects using its huge range of special effects filters. It also has an impressive range of selection tools and selection modification tools (used to get the selection looking perfect). Filters are used to transform images into drawings, paintings, etching, soft focus, sketches and more.
Assignment: Use the filter sets to create a black-and-white illustration, a sketch, a drawing, soft focus and a textured painting.

Lesson 8: Using the Natural Media Drawing Tools
One of the main features that separate this program from the rest lies in its Natural Media paint tools. These are designed for you to recreate ‘the look’ and actually, ‘the feel’, of using ‘real’ paint, crayon, pencil and even oils.
Assignment: Create your own painted masterpiece using one of your pictures using its natural media brushes and upload to BetterPhoto.

Review: Voting on Best Work

© Robin Nichols 

© Robin Nichols 



  • Corel Paint Shop Pro version 9 or above.
  • A PC with plenty of RAM (at least 512Mb RAM) and a fast processor (2Ghz+ CPU is also recommended).
  • Recommended that you know the basics about navigation and image-editing.



Is this course intended for beginning, intermediate, or advanced image-makers?
BetterPhoto's Paint Shop Pro course targets the advanced beginner to intermediate level student. For this reason, it's essential to know the basics about navigation and image-editing to progress speedily through this course.  

What version of Paint Shop Pro do I need?
Corel bought out the original design company, Jasc, in late 2004, so, although we have only seen one upgrade (and this was quite significant!) from Corel so far, we deal with this and previous (Jasc) versions of the software, namely Paint Shop Pro version 9 or above. You'll be able to do most of the exercises using these older versions but bear in mind, some of the assignments are based around the program's natural media drawing tools (found in versions 9 and 10) so in order to get the max from this class, you should consider upgrading (it's only US$60 to upgrade from a previous version!).  

Is Paint Shop Pro a good program?
Absolutely! Everyone has heard of Adobe Photoshop, most complain about its cost – Corel Paint Shop has the same sort of tools, in fact it has tools that Photoshop hasn't even discovered yet so be prepared to be amazed at the things that this economical, yet extremely powerful software program can do for your image-making!  

© Robin Nichols 

© Robin Nichols 

Do I have to be online at any specific time?
No, you do not need to be online at any specific time. The lessons are sent to your email and you are also provided the Campus Square - where you interact with your classmates and instructor. This is also where you upload your photos to be critiqued by your instructor. The instructors are very punctual and respond quickly.

Will I have access to the instructor to ask questions during the photo course?
Absolutely! Students can ask questions in the special Q&A forum set up in the course's Campus Square, or can ask the instructor via email.

Do you offer a money back guarantee?
Yes. We are confident that you will fully enjoy our courses. All the same, for our 8-week classes, we offer a 100% money-back guarantee before the Wednesday that Lesson #3 is sent out. If for any reason, you are not satisfied and let us know that you would like to withdraw before the Wednesday that Lesson #3 is sent, you will be promptly refunded.

For our 4-week courses, we offer a 100% money back guarantee before the Wednesday that Lesson #2 is sent out from BetterPhoto. If for any reason you are not satisfied and you let the ordering department know that you would like to withdraw before the Wednesday that Lesson #2 is sent, you will be refunded within 7 days. After the second lesson has been sent out, no refunds will be given.

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