I am hoping there is an old AMIGA user out there who remembers the ease of use and incredible power of Deluxe Paint IV. or maybe there is someone who discovered Ulead Co.'s Photo Impact for Windoze.

The reason my plea for help is preceded by the above paragraph is that I know if I asked if there was a good program for photo editing and graphics the answers would have come back as Photo Shop, Gimp, or Pixelmator.

These are not what I am looking for. Why? Well, I started out with the AMIGA using graphics programs that were so logically intuitive it puts most everything to shame. I was morphing images/photos; animating; making 3D photorealistic pics/overlaying computer graphics onto video/etc. clear back in the late 80's. The power was there - not a lot of people knew it, but it was there. But on this platform, I rarely had to read a manual to master a program - this is how intuitive the software was.

I got stuck in the Microsoft world. After a few years I had a professional printer intro me to Photo Impact on Windoze (they are not supporting Mac - and I do not yet have an Intel mac or my troubles would be over). The printer, Adobe Photo Shop literate, said Photo impact blows away Adobe's touted program. I was skeptical, after all, it IS Adobe (sounds like Windoze-thinking mentality). After i got a used copy for a whopping 2.50 (+ 2.00 shipping( off of ebay - i KNEW I'd wasted my $$. However, i was, that very day, humbled and shocked at the power that was in my hands and was so ligical to use. I did not HAVE a manual and never needed one. Photo Impact is very logical and easy to use. The newer versions (sprung for 11.00 to get version 10 - they currently are up to V.12). Very little manual reading needed and makes perspective, frames, text, textures, etc. etc. very, very easy to use - for anyone. Photo modification is absolutely amazing.

Why do I not like things like the Gimp? B/c things such as the following scenario occur. I went to use the "Lasso Tool." Since I come from a user friendly background I will tell you what I was expecting:

1. Click on lasso tool.
2. Click on the pic and outline the area I want to take out of the pic.
3. When getting back to the first place I started, click on that point (or close) and the dotted outline appears.

OK - this is fine - so far - now, here is what i am used to:

4. As soon as you click on the place you started, the dotted line appears (this was step 3) and you have "put away" the lasso tool.
5. Click on the pointer (or hand) tool,
6. Move the pointer to the dotted-line-surrounded selection and you can move the object wherever you want. You can pick up and move it, save it, copy/paste it - whatever.

In short:
select tool - click to start - trace - click to finish - click pointer tool - manipulate object.

So simple - so intuitive.

But - in the Gimp, etc, I still am not sure how to make the lasso tool "go away" and let me start manipulating the cutout. I read the manual. it was very detailed on how to select the tool, how to start the trace, and then said nothing else about how to manipulate it or drop the lasso tool so i could start working with the object. The manuals feel like they were written like a Microsoft-originated manual.

Same thing with the smart scissors - good idea! But why make extra steps in order to get to a place you can actually DO something with the selection?

The best selection tool I have ever seen - and I hate to say it - is Microsoft Picture It! 99. They got something right! Although the layout of the program is simplistic, and looks as if designed for the (very) novice computer operator, it is amazing how quick it is to cut something out of one photo, put it into another, and color/balance/blend the object in so it looks like it belonged there all along. I still am not sure how they managed to make this program b/c, so uncharacteristic of Microsoft, there are a minimum of button clicks to get a job done and you can master the program w/out ever looking in the manual. Now, typical of the Microsoft, it WILL (Microsoft tech's own words to me over the phone!), after using it for awhile stop saving pics in jpg. You have to change a registry key to get it to work correctly again - but - this is what you expect from the Gates clan.

So - does anyone out there have an idea of a powerful/user-friendly/intuitive/can-be-run-sans-manual program out there? Right now the only reason I keep my Xp machine is so I can run these two programs!