Thanks for the feedback all.
OK, pity about that. Looks like I'll have to put my mouse out of reach when I'm trying to do this sort of parallel work!
Tolouse: I can see why you might be puzzled, but it's probably because I'm using PE4 (for now anyway) in a radically different way to you. And I'm guessing probably to most users.
Briefly, I enjoy making family DVDs, mainly of holidays. My photos (and some video clips) are one major iinput. I recently decided I'd try making some 'painting effect' versions of a few of these JPGs, with the aim of including video clips incorporating them. So, for example, instead of my usual panning/zooming, I might fade from real to 'art effect', or vice-versa, or display a 2x2 collage of maybe Oil/Modern/Coloured Pencil/Seurat, etc.
Bear in mind I'm a total novice, with only a couple of days experience of the program. But so far I've found I get the most pleasing result if I let PE4 run to its conclusion. (One possible exception I might experiment with later is Oil Painting, to get a result a bit closer to the less realistic effect I used to turn out during the period I was obsessed with landscape painting in oils and acrylics a few decades ago!)
A full run seems to take a couple of minutes per photo on average (typically 2816 X 2112 from my Canon Ixus 60). And my current idea is to create about 10 styles for each photo, so that I can choose later at my leisure which ones I use and how I use them. I'll probably try this for say 20 of my 200 photos in the current project (which also includes a similar number of other inputs, such as AVI video clips, Google Earth tours, web images to supplement my own, and so on.) So that's 20 x 10 = 200 runs at maybe an average of 2 mins each. 400 minutes. Even if I didn't have this impatient temperament, nearly 7 hours is too long for me to waste watching PE4 do its stuff!
BTW, if you stop the run (accidentally or deliberately) and then press Start again, does it literally start from scratch or simply pick up from where it left off? And if the former, does it matter that it's now painting on an already used canvas?
P.S: I see that I'm still showing as '0 posts'! Some sort of forum quirk?
Terry, East Grinstead, UK