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Manipulate digital photos by adding a plethora of effects to them. Resize, reshape, crop, add text, or use any number of a variety of tools to alter your images. Use the subtlest of effects to perfect photos or completely overhaul your images.
GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a freely distributed piece of software suitable for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition, and image authoring. It is a powerful piece of software with capabilities not found in any other free software product. It can be used as a simple paint program, an expert-quality photo-retouching program, an online batch-processing system, a mass production image renderer, or an image format converter. GIMP is modular, expandable, and extensible. It is designed to be augmented with plug-ins and extensions to do just about anything. The advanced scripting interface allows everything from the simplest task to the most complex image-manipulation procedures to be easily scripted.
Here's a robust browser photo editor, for all your editing needs. With Pixlr Editor, you have full control over your images - including layers and effects.
Autodesk Pixlr provides a straightforward photo editing process that even beginners should be comfortable with. With the program's desktop application, you can now use Pixlr offline.
Accessible tools: Even if it's your first time editing a photo, Pixlr is very easy to grasp.
Effect applications: Pixlr allows you to apply a variety of effects and filters that will look right at home on Facebook and Instagram.
High-resolution outputs: With the desktop application, you get pro-quality, high-resolution output of your work.
Limited free options: Although it is not very expensive, Pixlr does reserve greater control and tools in the app for paid subscribers. For example, you get full access to the masking tools only if you pay for the Pro-level membership.
Pixlr is a very modern and handy image editing tool. However, to really unlock the program's potential, you will have to sign up for a subscription.
Content Aware Clone - Remove, duplicate, and move objects or people within photos simply by brushing over them. PhotoDirector instantly fills spaces using an intelligent algorithm that blends perfectly with the surrounding background. AI Face Recognition - Easily manage large photo collections with an AI recognition engine powered by CyberLink's FaceMe. Just tag a face in a single photo, and the next time you use Face Tagging, PhotoDirector and FaceMe will automatically detect & tag that face in your shot.
AI-Powered Deblur - Blurry images are a thing of the past with intelligent deblur. Perfect for fixing up in-motion photos, excited children, pets, or from moving vehicles. Express Layer Templates - Express Layer Packs contain all the layer components that make up complex images. They're an easy way to put together stunning images, and also help to show how layers combine to produce photographic effects.
PhotoDirector is an all-in-one photo editor and manager that gives you complete control over your digital photography workflow. For new users and photography veterans alike, PhotoDirector has robust tools to help you perfect each snapshot.
Intuitive interface: PhotoDirector shares many traits with tried-and-true workflow interfaces like Lightroom. Primary adjustment and management tools are in menus that are aligned to the screen edges. Manual-adjustment sliders give you incremental control over every aspect of your photo file, from standard color-correction, brightness, and noise-removal tools to more perspective-altering adjustments like lens correction.
Filtered management: Get as basic or as granular as you please in organization. You can manage your photo gallery through tags and labels, and you can sort by flags, color, edit status, and stacks.
Performance: Version 5 takes advantage of 64-bit processor-powered machines, which is critical for loading images at higher resolutions, especially when entering Retina and 4K territory.
Varying import times: Our import times varied when importing about 40 raw images. Batch load times were noticeably inconsistent compared to those of other photo editors like Lightroom.
Lens profiles: PhotoDirector lacks some of the more precise lens perspective profiles that Lightroom has. That's not a deal-breaker, since most photographers will find 90 percent of their needs met by PhotoDirector's tools. However, for the few who take their discipline more seriously, that lack is a differentiator.
PhotoDirector offers a competitive package with comparable value. It's accessible for photographers of all levels, yet includes enough depth to enable serious photographers to get the most out of their shots.
Extend the creative possibilities with the ultimate collection of photo editing and design software. Take your underwater and drone photography to new heights with the Sea-to-Skyâ?¢ workspace and level up your photo editing workflow with smarter tools powered by AI.
PhotoScape is an all-in-one style photo editor. Major capabilities are: viewer, editor, batch editor, page, combine, animated GIF, print, splitter, screen capture, color picker, rename, raw converter, resizing, brightness, color, or white-balance adjustment, backlight correction, frames, balloons, text, drawing pictures, cropping, filters, red-eye removal and blooming.
PhotoScape provides a full suite of tools that you can use for editing and enhancing your photos to create the perfect memories. Then, put them together into a slideshow to enjoy with friends.
Tons of features: No matter what photo editing program you're used to, you'll find the tools you're looking for in this app. Crop your photos with straight or circular borders, apply multiple filters, and even edit your photos in batches to save time. And when you're ready, you can string them together into animated GIFs with customized transition effects.
Effects preview: To ensure that you're satisfied with the effects you choose for each photo, this program lets you preview each change before you make it. And because each effect, itself, is adjustable, you can make all of the adjustments you want on a sliding scale in the preview window before you finalize the changes on the photo, itself.
Redundant interface: The home screen for PhotoScape features icons for various tools arranged in a circle on one side, with links to tutorials and other special pages on the other. But most of the tools found on the home screen can also be accessed through the tabs at the top of the interface. While this doesn't prevent you from accessing all of the features you want, it can be a bit confusing at first, and is redundant at the very least.
PhotoScape is a convenient and versatile photo editing program. It delivers on all promised features, works smoothly, and costs nothing. So if you're looking for a new photo app, this is a good one to take for a test drive.
Introducing Influence Masks - completely new for the desktop edition of Pixlr. Pixlr tools provide more control over your photo editing process. Add focus to your photos and emphasize exactly what you want.Add effects like crosshatch, halftone, and dapple with a single click. Your options are limitless with hundreds of effects, overlays, stickers, and borders to choose from - experiment with different effect combinations and amaze yourself with the stunning art you create. Use familiar blending modes with double exposures, overlays, and effects for amazing results - free. Pixlr Pro members can use advanced blending modes with Influence Masks for greater creative control. Make your photos say more with Text Masking. Pixlr Pro members can use Influence Masks to add highly stylized text to their creations. Apply linear or radial gradient masks to blend effects or images, or create artificial light sources.
PIXLR PRO MEMBERSHIP FOR UNLIMITED CREATIVITY Automatic updates. Full masking controls. Unlimited photo creativity to make your moments beautiful. Get a Pro membership today.
Subscription includes access to both the Mac and PC version of Pixlr.
Pixlr for Windows brings the popular mobile app's fast, easy, and intuitive image editing and ever-growing range of filters and effects to the Windows desktop. The changeover from handheld touchscreen controls to keyboard, mouse, and pen preserves much of the functionality and feel that made the app popular.
Familiar face: Pixlr for Windows looks a lot like the app, so it's easy to learn if you're familiar with Pixlr in its other forms. Beginners will find its app-derived features easy to learn, too.
Translates: Pixlr's well-developed features and functionality translate well to the big screen.
User guide and support: A user guide, blog, website, and user community augment Pixlr's support options.
No clone: Pixlr for Windows does a lot but lacks some features and options found in many desktop graphics solutions.
Reverse engineering: Despite Pixlr's app-derived features, you might find the desktop version too similar to Photoshop et al to justify its somewhat smaller feature set. Others could find it too different.
While Pixlr for Windows lacks the full array of features and tools found in the major programs, it's far more capable yet just as easy to use as the stripped-down utilities.
Photo Pos Pro photo editor is the ultimate tool to turn you digital photos into stunning artworks, create eye-catching graphics and take your creativity to next level.
The software packed with powerful adjustments and enhancements, advanced selection tools, layers, masks and layers styles, vectorial objects, filters and special effects, advanced drawing tools, brushes and dynamic brushes. The software also comes with pre-made frames, collages, business cards, greeting cards and many more premade templates you can start with in order to make you work fast and easy.
Lightroom makes digital photography easier, faster, and more amazing. Experiment without limits in a nondestructive editing environment. Perfect your shots with advanced controls for tone, contrast, color, and more. Efficiently organize all your photos and share them almost anywhere.
Keywords and collections make it easy to categorize, find, and manage your favorite photos.
Use the Lightroom Develop module to make non-destructive adjustments, such as cropping, color correction, spot removal, tonal adjustments, and exposure.
In Lightroom, you do not save photos in the traditional sense. Instead, you export new sets of files that include Develop module adjustments. Lightroom export supports a variety of file formats suitable for a wide range of uses. For example, you can export photos as JPEGs to share online, or as TIFFs for a print publication.
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is a powerful and versatile program for editing and enhancing your photos, as well as compiling them into a slideshow. With an intuitive interface and plenty of built-in tips along the way, this program makes advanced editing features available to all experience levels.
Nice interface: This app provides you with a large viewing area, which is nice when you're working to perfect an image. But that doesn't mean you have to sacrifice the accessibility of the tools you use the most. Instead, these are nicely arrayed to the left and right of the viewing area, and collapsable menus keep everything within easy reach.
Direct uploads: In addition to photo editing and slideshow creation, this program also enables you to create HTML or Flash Galleries. When they're done, these can be directly uploaded to your website straight from the app.
Photo books: Another nice feature is the option to order physical photo books through the app. You can choose to have these printed by Blurb, or you can format them to export as a PDF and then print them yourself.
Text color: Some of the text in this program can be hard to read at times because of the lack of contrast with the black background that dominates the interface. This is especially true of the Tips, which are very helpful but are printed in gray in a black pop-up window.
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is a good option for novices as well as veterans. It offers a comprehensive list of features in an intuitive and attractive package, and it has some nice add-ons as well. You can try this app for free for 30 days, although you do have to create a free account with Adobe to do so. If you'd like to purchase a full license, it costs $178.77.
Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 software helps you edit pictures with easy-to-use options and share them via print, the web, and Facebook. Features include create the photo, keep track of your memories, count on step-by-step assistance, dramatically transform your photos with easy-to-use options, share experiences in fresh ways on the web, and different layouts.
Now in its 10th year, Adobe Photoshop Elements 10, which also comes as a bundle with its video-oriented sibling, Adobe Premiere Elements 10, offers photo enthusiasts and beginners a lot of imaging power for a lot less than its big brother. This version brings parity to the Mac for Organizer search, expands social tagging capabilities, some basic video support and path text, as well as enhancements to a few existing tools. It's a basic update that doesn't radically change the usability or capabilities of the program unless you shoot raw--and that's because it updates to the latest engine of Adobe Camera Raw. (However, if you do a lot of raw shooting, I recommend you try Adobe Lightroom instead.)
First, Adobe has beefed up the Organizer a bit to improve its video support, since it's serving Premiere as well. It allows for hierarchical tagging, as well as Smart Tags, which can automatically classify your media as high, medium, or low quality, as well as tag what it thinks is in focus, low contrast, blurred, and so on. This can be hit or miss; for instance, it classified a host of photos with shallow depth of field as out of focus. The new object search works reasonably well on rectangular objects--for instance, I used it to try to isolate the photos of cage cards--but not so well on others. It can search based on shape or color, and you can control how the two are weighted. There's a new Duplicate search based off the visual similarity engine, but it performs too inconsistently to rely on it. Plus, if you shoot raw+JPEG, it counts every pair as a duplicate. In general, PSE doesn't handle raw+JPEG well at all.
That said, if you're using the search tools to find images with a certain feel or color scheme to use in projects, the visual similarity search will suit.
From the Organizer you can do quick fixes, launch project creation, or share to a variety of popular sites. The Facebook integration comes in the People recognition view; there, you can download your Facebook friends' list to tag, so they upload pretagged; you can upload full or reduced resolution. New is YouTube uploading--it can directly upload unedited videos.
Photoshop Elements has the same task-oriented interface it's had for years, split into Edit, Create, and Share. In edit, you have a range of choices for how sophisticated you want the interface to be--Full, the traditional Photoshop-like experience; Quick, which provides a Lightroom-like panel with a handful of options; or Guided, which walks you through more complex adjustments and effects. There are a few new Guided adjustments. One's a gritty-glowy-diffuse-saturated transformation called the Orton Effect (here's how to do it in Photoshop.) Another is Picture Stack, which takes a single image and divides it up into a mosaic-like array. Of course, the images can be edited within the full editor after you've applied the effects. I have to say, I like the way Adobe intelligently handled the Picture Stack so that it really is possible to edit it (as opposed to panoramas). Finally, Adobe added a basic depth-of-field effect.
Another big addition for this version is text on a path. You can choose from a variety of preset shapes, which include heart and butterfly, as well as attach it to a shape or a selection. While it's easy to use and nice to have, you can't really fine-tune the appearance. There's no way to change the letterspacing to fix awkward breaks and as far as I can tell you can't edit the curve once you've clicked Done.
This version of the program supports Adobe's new Touch API, which means you can probably expect third parties to create tablet apps to drive tutorials in PE as well.
On my Mac, at least--a 2.53GHz Core 2 Duo with 4GB RAM running OS X 10.7.1--found the software slower than I'd like. And my least favorite words of the day are "Loading the Adobe Photoshop Elements Workspace..." Photoshop loads faster on my Windows XP system. Plus, there are various "Click here to learn..." links at the bottom of the screen (such as "Click to learn to use the Organizer") that want you to sign in to Adobe which is just irritating.
That said, while there's nothing terribly whizzy in this version of Photoshop Elements, the product itself remains the same solid, full-featured piece of imaging software it's been for the past years. While existing users may not find this a must-have upgrade, first timers should find everything they need here.
Adobe Photoshop CS6 Extended software is the ultimate solution for advanced digital imaging, delivering all the editing and compositing capabilities of Photoshop CS6 plus breakthrough tools that let you create and edit 3D and motion-based content.
Keep pushing creative boundaries with world-class 2D and 3D design. Use powerful new selection, painting, and warping capabilities to create standout images. Get just the right look for each client's site. Easily select intricate image elements for placing in layout. Create 3D artwork for logos and buttons. Create and enhance 3D and motion-based content and prepare still images and text for all your projects. Work fast with cross-platform 64-bit support, and create stunning HDR images for video backdrops. Design cutting-edge looks for interactive web content and experiences. Create 3D artwork, warped graphics, and realistic painting effects for all your projects.
Photoshop CS5 greatly expands the toolset that Adobe offers in its flagship product, charting new ways to make image manipulation easier while making older tools work better than before. Don't worry about the lack of a new interface; the new ways to get your project done make this version a must.
Photoshop has been in the English lexicon as a term to edit images for a long time, but the latest version of Adobe's flagship program stretches the canvas of manipulation much further than ever before. The look of the program has changed so little from Photoshop CS4 that users of that version should be instantly comfortable with this major update, but Photoshop Creative Suite 5 Extended gives photographers, artists, designers, and LOLcats obsessives a stunning array of new tools. Among the new features in Adobe's flagship image-editing software are automatic lens corrections, High Dynamic Range toning, automated editing tools, and significant improvements to creating 3D images.
Installation and setup
Photoshop installation is straightforward, although it does require an Adobe account. You can choose to purchase a license key immediately, which you will receive by e-mail, or try out the program for 30 days. When you receive your key, you can copy and paste the entire string directly from your e-mail into the first dialog box, and the other boxes will automatically populate. Both Photoshop CS 5 and the Extended come from the same 980MB installer for Windows, or 1.1GB on a Mac.
Depending on your Internet connection, Adobe says that users can expect download times of anywhere from 14 minutes on a corporate LAN to nearly 90 minutes on slower connections. On a Windows 7 computer with 2GB of RAM and a 2GHz processor on a T1, the download took around 40 minutes.
The Adobe installation process doesn't play well with Mozilla programs such as Firefox and Thunderbird, so those must be shut down before the installation can be finished. You can use other programs while installing, but CPU slowdowns are likely on many computers.
Adobe still refuses to have a Windows installation process that's respectful of standard program installation behavior. Associated program icons do not install into an Adobe folder in your Start menu, but are rather unceremoniously dumped into your Start menu's All Programs pane. First-time upgraders should note that Adobe will not override your previous installation of Photoshop, so you'll have to remove it manually. This may be annoying to some, but it's actually reasonable behavior given the cost of the program and the desire of many users to fully explore the trial. It would be nice if Photoshop came with a utility for removing previous versions, instead of having to go through the imperfect Windows uninstallation tool.
The installation and uninstallation frustrations aren't deal-breakers, obviously, but a little bit more attention here from Photoshop would result in a smoother process.
Unlike the dramatic interface overhaul that accompanied its predecessor, there's so little new to the look and feel of Photoshop CS5 that it's barely worth mentioning.
The Workspace switcher has been modified so that you can drag it out of the drop-down menu across the menubar. Doing so can push the menubar itself down to a second level, which might take up too much screen space for some people. Pre-existing workspaces can be deleted, custom ones added, and generally the workspace concept has gotten a bit more user-friendly.
Toolbox icons have been redrawn with a softer touch. This has the unfortunate effect of making them look mushy and out-of-focus against their gray background. At least the iconography is the same, so the spot healing brush tool still looks like a band-aid, but this was not a welcome change.
Despite lacking the aesthetic sensibility of its cousin Lightroom 3 (Windows|Mac), the overall layout of Photoshop remains consistent. It's not easy to use, nor is it hard to get used to the modular layout of adjustable panels. Further optional improvements can be made courtesy Adobe Labs' Configurator, for customizing some parts of the navigation. Although the CS4 interface improvements were appreciated, the UI is essentially mundane and in desperate need of refinement. It's sadly ironic that the premiere image editor looks like a cockpit.
Features and support
The new features in Photoshop CS5 completely sell the program. It's a bit hard to fathom that a program that's been around for 20 years continues to innovate and improve as much as Photoshop has, but this version of Photoshop, officially v12, doesn't just stretch itself here. It expands the limits of editing achievement, simplifying previously complex tasks and introducing new ones. It's not reinventing the wrench as much as it's making it do new things that everybody can immediately understand. This review won't cover all the new features and enhancements since there are more than three dozen feature changes alone, but we'll look at some of the best and most important.
The new Mini Bridge should directly affect every user's workflow. It opens a functional version of Adobe Bridge in a panel, speeding up processing by cutting down how often users have to jump out of the main Photoshop interface. Mini Bridge can be launched from the top of the interface to the right of the menubar, from the MB icon. As with any of Photoshop's panels, the Mini Bridge can be resized and moved around the window as needed.
On first launch, the Mini Bridge took longer than expected to read files before it could be used. After that initial sluggishness, it loaded smoothly, even after rebooting the computer. It was noticeably faster to launch images from either Bridge or Mini Bridge into Photoshop compared with the previous version, but sticking Bridge access directly into Photoshop is a long-overdue innovation.
Automatic Lens Correction automates a task that previously could be completed by hand only. As CNET has noted elsewhere, Adobe based the tool on close measurements of multiple camera bodies and lenses so that Photoshop can take over the time-consuming effort of removing barrel and pincushion distortion, darkened corners from vignetting, and colored fringe on the edge of images from chromatic aberration.
You can tell that Adobe expects this feature to be a big selling point because it's one of the few new features that comes bound to a hot key. Ctrl+Shift+R will bring up the lens correction panel, also accessible from the Filter menu. You can toggle on or off vignetting, chromatic aberration, and lens distortion correction, which are the three major fixes that the filter looks for; adjust how the filter affects the edge of the image; edit camera and lens profile search criteria; or create custom profiles. The camera profiles seemed to be limited in our testing to more-recent models. For example, the tool lacked profiles for Canon bodies older than the 50D.
High Dynamic Range (HDR) processing debuted back in CS2, but it's been greatly enhanced for this version. A new feature in the Merge to HDR panel called Remove Ghost will tidy up any minor alignment issues between your three HDR source images, and you can select which of the three images to base the final image on. The new HDR toning under Adjustments lets you fake that trendy HDR look without having to merge multiple images. This works fairly decently, but expect best results on images that have tricky lighting situations or are underexposed.
Content Aware Fill improves Photoshop's ability to intelligently replace part of an image with pixels derived from other, nearby colors, noise, and tone. The feature can be used as part of the spot healing brush tool for fine replacements, or lassoed selections to replace large or unusually shaped chunks from an image.
The feature introduces a redone method of resampling from the image. The differences between how the tool performs here versus in CS4 are not readily apparent since the changes in pixelation and accuracy depend too greatly on the situation. Tests with the spot healing brush revealed no differences to its CS4 predecessor, but that doesn't mean its not working. In general, it felt like there was less of a problem with incorrect sampling, but this wasn't really quantifiable, as it still occurred in some cases.
One of the most difficult Photoshop tricks has just gotten strikingly easier thanks to what Adobe calls "intelligent selection." It allows users to define a selected area, and then gently refine using the Refine option under the Select menu to more accurately include challenging selection areas such as fur, clouds, and feathers. It worked extremely well with hair, and slightly less so with the more discernible echidna spikes.
It sounds simple, but the introduction of the Smart Radius and Decontaminate colors functions in intelligent selection provides a stunning breadth of control during image masking. Following the tutorials for this is essential, because learning to do it right can impressively enhance your image control while cutting down on your workflow from CS4.
Puppet Warp sounds like it could be a filter to Muppetize people in your photo. It's actually a localized warping tool that gives you the ability to accurately recompose selected aspects of an image, such as changing a straight leg to bent. It can't add content where it hasn't existed, so it works best when used on a subject shot in profile, but the tool itself worked well.
Once you've created a selection, choose Puppet Warp from the Edit menu and apply pins where you want to create pivot points in the image. Playing around with them, you can stretch a selected area between two pins. Unlike the complicated intelligent selection, Puppet Warp took seconds to learn. Of all the new tools, this is probably the most fun to use. The tool may not appear to have much practical use, but it can easily lend itself to basic but creative 3D implementation without having to upgrade to Photoshop Extended.
Photoshop is not the best digital painting program around, but the new Mixer Brush and Bristle Tips features give it a much stronger easel to stand on. Briefly, the Mixer Brush lets you add multiple colors to a single brush tip and then blend them to whatever colors already exist on your canvas. Users can define how wet the canvas is, how fast paint gets re-added to the tip, the mix rate between brush and canvas colors, and whether the brush is refilled, cleaned, or both after each paint stroke. Bristle Tips provides similarly fine-tuned control over the brush tip, including shape, length, stiffness, thickness, angle, and spacing.
Although some photographers might swear otherwise, it's not necessary to use a tablet for photo editing. This was not the case with the new painting tools, where a standard mouse did not provide the kind of detailed control required to manipulate the tools properly. Still, by building out the painting options, Adobe's clearly trying to keep Photoshop competitive across all major disciplines.
Enhanced 3D tools remain the clearest difference between regular Photoshop and Photoshop CS5 Extended. If you don't need them, don't get the more expensive version. If you do, though, there are several notable new features. Adobe Repousse streamlines the process for converting 2D artwork into 3D, then provides a bucketload of options for altering the design. There's nothing revolutionary here except a reasonable, solid effort at reducing workflow. It's effective, and it's hard to argue with less than six steps to creating a 3D letterform.
Photoshop Extended users will get an equally quick workflow for adding realistic textures to 3D models. The program comes with a stack of textures, which users can edit and save as their own, as well as create custom textures from scratch and download new ones off the Web. There's also new options for introducing image-based lights for dynamic light sourcing on complex models, shadow capturing, and improved ray tracing. Much like the painting tools, the 3D options are not a full-on replacement for a 3D renderer, but they will do quite admirably for users looking to regularly add 3D pop to their art without having to shell out for a modeling suite.
Other changes include tweaks to everything from the Adobe Camera Raw plug-in to tool menus. Raw processing has earned itself some better tools for reducing noise, and adding vignettes and grain to give stills a more filmlike quality. The Raw tool in general also feels less jittery than its CS4 predecessor, and it now will automatically downsample your 16- or 32-bit raw image down to 8-bit JPEG when you save it. The relatively complicated process of straightening images has been replaced by a Straighten button in the Ruler tool. Throw in the Alt or Option key and you'll straighten without cropping. (Note that to fully undo the straighten, you have to go back through your Actions panel. Ctrl/Cmd+Z won't work.) When cropping, you can add an overlay grid after you set your crop boundaries. You can now prevent the Sharpen tool from creating artifacts by using the Protect Detail option, copy colors as a hex number, and gain a modicum of collaborative tools via the deeper hooks to Adobe's online CS Review. This crosses over tightly with Illustrator (Windows|Mac), Premiere (Windows|Mac), and InDesign (Windows|Mac). You can now change the opacity of more than one layer at a time, create layer masks from transparent layers, and use lens correction profiles when stitching using Auto-Align in Layers. Layer settings will also remember your previous settings. Mac users will see some specific improvements for their computers. A 64-bit Photoshop is no longer a pipe dream, with a 32GB RAM ceiling. The Finder-to-Photoshop workflow finally supports drag-and-drop, and the Cmd+H hot key will ask you whether you want to hide Photoshop or hide Extras the first time you use it. Trackpad gestures can be disabled, too. There's no doubt that the major features changes create a strong framework for CS5, but its the addition of these detail-oriented fixes that sell the picture of CS5 as an upgrade worth getting. Photoshop support is available on several levels. There are the free Adobe-sponsored forums, FAQs, and knowledge base articles. Given Photoshop's popularity, these should be sufficient for individual users. However, Adobe also offers per-incident support that can range in cost from $29 to $249. Technical phone support is available Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. To 7 p.m. PST, and customer service phone support is available seven days a week during the same hours. Though this may seem stingy, Photoshop's complexity is best-suited for users who don't mind learning stuff on their own or from a forum. The Help menu also comes with a direct link to Adobe's Photoshop Support Center, which provides an Adobe AIR-based interface for accessing Adobe's collection of how-tos and community advice. Performance As noted above, CS5 is fully compatible with Mac x64, although it won't run on legacy PowerPC computers or any version of OS X older than 10.5.7. Windows XP users should have Service Pack 3, whereas Vista users are recommended to use at least Service Pack 1. Of course, Photoshop is compatible with Windows 7 as well. The minimum requirements for basic Photoshop CS5 and Photoshop CS5 Extended are fairly rigorous, so if you've got an older computer it's recommended that you make sure it's compatible before purchasing. Benchmarks from CNET Labs will be added to the review when they become available. Conclusion That said, some photographers might not want to wait for the upcoming Lightroom 3. For them and others considering upgrading or buying new, there's simply no reason not to get it. The comprehensive range of improvements to Photoshop CS5 Extended makes this version compelling and nearly impossible to ignore.
For users who didn't make the jump to CS4, the new version of Photoshop will feel like it's got jet boots on. It opens faster, opens complex raw, PSD, and TIFF images faster, and processes faster. There are still noticeable lags during resource-intensive tasks, but without a doubt it feels like a better-performing version.
Because of its position as the industry standard for professional image-editing and the use of its name as a colloquialism for all kinds of image manipulation, many users mistakenly believe that Photoshop is a must-have program. It's needed for professional work, but contains far too many tools, far too much power, and is far too complicated for casual use. Not convinced? Hopefully the $999 price tag ($349 for upgrades) will scare you off. There are effective alternatives to Photoshop, including Adobe's own Photoshop Elements (Windows|Mac), as well as a multitude of freeware.
Other changes include tweaks to everything from the Adobe Camera Raw plug-in to tool menus. Raw processing has earned itself some better tools for reducing noise, and adding vignettes and grain to give stills a more filmlike quality. The Raw tool in general also feels less jittery than its CS4 predecessor, and it now will automatically downsample your 16- or 32-bit raw image down to 8-bit JPEG when you save it. The relatively complicated process of straightening images has been replaced by a Straighten button in the Ruler tool. Throw in the Alt or Option key and you'll straighten without cropping. (Note that to fully undo the straighten, you have to go back through your Actions panel. Ctrl/Cmd+Z won't work.)
When cropping, you can add an overlay grid after you set your crop boundaries. You can now prevent the Sharpen tool from creating artifacts by using the Protect Detail option, copy colors as a hex number, and gain a modicum of collaborative tools via the deeper hooks to Adobe's online CS Review. This crosses over tightly with Illustrator (Windows|Mac), Premiere (Windows|Mac), and InDesign (Windows|Mac).
You can now change the opacity of more than one layer at a time, create layer masks from transparent layers, and use lens correction profiles when stitching using Auto-Align in Layers. Layer settings will also remember your previous settings.
Mac users will see some specific improvements for their computers. A 64-bit Photoshop is no longer a pipe dream, with a 32GB RAM ceiling. The Finder-to-Photoshop workflow finally supports drag-and-drop, and the Cmd+H hot key will ask you whether you want to hide Photoshop or hide Extras the first time you use it. Trackpad gestures can be disabled, too.
There's no doubt that the major features changes create a strong framework for CS5, but its the addition of these detail-oriented fixes that sell the picture of CS5 as an upgrade worth getting.
Photoshop support is available on several levels. There are the free Adobe-sponsored forums, FAQs, and knowledge base articles. Given Photoshop's popularity, these should be sufficient for individual users. However, Adobe also offers per-incident support that can range in cost from $29 to $249. Technical phone support is available Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. To 7 p.m. PST, and customer service phone support is available seven days a week during the same hours.
Though this may seem stingy, Photoshop's complexity is best-suited for users who don't mind learning stuff on their own or from a forum. The Help menu also comes with a direct link to Adobe's Photoshop Support Center, which provides an Adobe AIR-based interface for accessing Adobe's collection of how-tos and community advice.
As noted above, CS5 is fully compatible with Mac x64, although it won't run on legacy PowerPC computers or any version of OS X older than 10.5.7. Windows XP users should have Service Pack 3, whereas Vista users are recommended to use at least Service Pack 1. Of course, Photoshop is compatible with Windows 7 as well. The minimum requirements for basic Photoshop CS5 and Photoshop CS5 Extended are fairly rigorous, so if you've got an older computer it's recommended that you make sure it's compatible before purchasing.
Benchmarks from CNET Labs will be added to the review when they become available.
That said, some photographers might not want to wait for the upcoming Lightroom 3. For them and others considering upgrading or buying new, there's simply no reason not to get it. The comprehensive range of improvements to Photoshop CS5 Extended makes this version compelling and nearly impossible to ignore.