I want to bring up that Adobe now offers subscription services for their products. Instead of paying around $700 for Photoshop CS6 and then paying for upgrades, you can now subscribe to it for $240/year with all updates free. You can subscript to all of their products for one set price (higher)
While PS CS6 is very powerful and has paintbrushes (which I like), it is harder to learn and use than Corel Paintshop Pro. Adobe could take some lessons from them.
Go here for more info. http://tv.adobe.com/product/creative-cloud/
I so understand the statement you made, "Adobe could take some lessons from them." Having wrote a book on PS, and teach it at the college (PS-1, PS-2, PS-3), I find PS offers a rather steep/sharp learning curve where as Corel is much flatter (in relationship). I think the hardest part of learning PS is that there is no real assigned way of learning it, a "work-flow" of learning if you wish. I teach it where we start with the desk top, then the "Tool Box," then the "Palettes," then a means of how it all works together. Auto mechanics didn't learn how to use a "Boring Machine" until they had mastered some of the more complex hand tools. The same analogy works in PS. If a person is trying to learn PS, if they started with the basics and work through to the more complexities of the program, their understanding soars and their fears seem to diminish expotentially (that's my experiences anyway).
I understand the subscription your spoke of, but look at it from a different direction. Once you have bought the full program the upgrade is a mere $200.00 which comes out to $100.00 a year since Adobe generally releases a new upgrade every two years. However if you skipped a year of upgrades, then your looking at $50.00 a year. Just a thought. Me? I up grade with each new version as soon as I can get my hands on it, with the exception of this latest upgrade as I was in Europe working at the time it came out.
I learn fast but tend to forget things I'm not using so that makes it tough at times. I got Martin Evening's book on Photoshop CS6. In the subscription you get updates as they come available. I already got one, though I'm not sure what changed. I tend to upgrade my photo editor because I want to add to my skills. For me the subscription is better but I probably won't ever learn all the things in Photoshop.
I have both Adobe Photoshop Elements 8.0 and Corel Paint Shop Pro 12. Which program I use depends on the effect I am looking for. In my opinion, PSP is much easier to us, esp if you are a beginner.
The odd thing is I'm the only person in my photo club that uses Paintshop Pro (I have X4), everyone else uses Elements or Photoshop with some using easier programs like Picasa. Paintshop X5 won't read my Sony RAW files.