Yesterday I went out and bought Paint Shop Pro 8. I started playing around with it and sure enough I was blown away. I remember using PSP in the past and loved it's ability to batch process which is good when doing sequencing but the big thing I found was that it did handle photoshop files, retained the layer information from the multi-pass renderer, then allowed me to edit sequences using those photoshop files, still preserving layering, and save out the entire sequences after edit so that I can dump them in premeir. Then there was also the animation area in PSP8 which allowed me to animate brushes with my sequences, sort of like using my warp brush to create wrinkles in Aura and animating the effect. In the end, I was blown out of my seat. This only cost $94.00 bucks, and I paid $295 for Aura, I still have photoshop 5.5 but that was $400.00 at the time that I bought it and Deep Paint 3D with Texture weapons cost me $1200 bucks at the time that I bought it.
In the end it pays not to overlook software. Granted I would have bough Deep Paint 3D reguardless, but I could have saved money and time by looking more at Jasc software and gotten it instead of Aura as it comes with more filters out of the box and scripting seems to be a snap. Also the fact that I can use photoshop files sequentially and deal with single files with layers when multi-pass rendering instead of a file for each pass is also a plus.
I know there are more PSP users out there, it however feels like a big secret with Adobe products being the big trademark in the texturing arena. $94.00 bucks for all of that functionality is something worth taking a look at. I guess I've been living in the dark for years now when it comes to painting software.
Now I'm not sure on the capabilites of Photoshop 7. I've never used it and had no plans on upgrading so if someone has used both, please post a fair comparison assesment of the two.