Adobe Photoshop CS5 (beta)

Adobe Photoshop CS5 adds enhancements to the image-editing software that enable smoother workflow and boost creativity.

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Adobe Photoshop CS5 (beta)
  • Adobe Photoshop CS5 (beta)
  • Adobe Photoshop CS5 (beta)
  • Adobe Photoshop CS5 (beta)

Pros

  • Fun Mixer Brush offers creative potential, Refine Mask and Content Aware tools save time in selecting and cloning

Cons

  • HDR Toning works only on a single-layer image, Refine Edge dialog box doesn't have Undo/Redo options

Bottom Line

Adobe Photoshop CS5 has lots of little tweaks, enhancements, and improvements that add up to smoother workflow, greater convenience, and more creative potential for those who use Photoshop day in and day out. If you're still using CS3, combining the advances of CS4 with CS5 makes upgrading an easy decision. If you are currently using CS4, moving up to CS5 could save you some time and effort - especially if your regular tasks include masking and cloning.

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Adobe Photoshop CS5: A Magic Eraser Tool

Adobe Photoshop CS5 Content Aware FillThe new Content Aware Fill is like a magic eraser for extraneous elements you wish weren't in your photograph, such as telephone wires or the ex-boyfriend. Content Aware works with the Spot Healing Brush and is an option of the Fill tool. It fills a selected area with data from the surrounding area, so that the lighting, texture, and tonality fits. No, it isn't perfect in all circumstances; sometimes, you need to do bits of cleanup with the Clone tool. But, overall, it is an impressive time-saving feature. Adobe Photoshop CS5: Fun Creativity

Let's face it: Photoshop is more than just a workaday tool, it's a platform for pushing your creativity as far as you can. And CS5's latest add-ons for creativity make playing with your pictures even more of an adventure.

Adobe has boosted Adobe Photoshop CS5's Paint Brushes (including the Clone tool) in customizability and responsiveness - especially with control over Bristles - bringing them a bit closer to the painterly functionality of Corel Painter. The new Mixer Brush interacts with the colours on the picture. You can choose to work with (virtual) wet or dry paints, and wet or dry canvas, and you can set whether (and how much) the brush loads (picks up) color from the canvas, and when the brush should remain clean (with no loading or removing of paint that was loaded).

Control over Bristle number, size, thickness, stiffness, and behaviour provides a good variety of styling. While it takes practice to master colour and paint loading, you may find this feature somewhat addictive to experiment with. Photoshop remains tightly integrated with Wacom tablets, so that it supports pressure sensitivity when painting with the Bristle and other brushes.

The new Puppet Warp is an entirely different kind of creative tool. It allows you to place control points on your image, as though you were tying puppet strings to it. Then you can push and pull the shape as you wish. It works best when the background doesn't get caught into the "strings." As such, before proceeding you'll need to select the object you want to reshape and paste it into its own layer.

Adobe Photoshop CS5: High Dynamic Range

Responding to the growing interest in high dynamic range (HDR) images, and to the fact that some of the better photo printers are now able to output their heightened tonality, Photoshop CS5 offers features called HDR-Pro and HDR Toning.

While CS4 had HDR capabilities, Adobe Photoshop CS5's HDR-Pro offers enhanced options and new algorithms. The various controls - such as a Curve tool and sliders for adjusting Vibrance, Saturation, Exposure, Detail, and more - provide more precise, highly creative control over the dynamics, so you can create very personalized results, from the subtle to the dramatic.

The auto deghosting works well at removing artifacts caused by slight differences among the merged photos, such as a tree branch that might have rustled. You can choose which of your original images is to be used as the defining reference to resolve visual conflicts, such as a cloud that might have changed shape between frames. Find a style that you'll want to use again? You can save the settings as a custom preset.

One of the problems with HDR is that it requires that you have a series of nearly identical photos, taken at various exposures. The new HDR Toning in CS5 allows you to emulate HDR, using a single image. The controls are quite similar to HDR-Pro, and the tool provides a high degree of creative potential. Unfortunately, though HDR Toning is an Adjustment, it isn't part of the Adjustment Layer architecture; the effect works only on a single-layer image and will merge down into the original image.

Adobe Photoshop CS5: Better Lens Corrections

The Lens Correction filter now includes both automated and custom tools. The new Automatic Lens Correction will correct geometric distortion, chromatic aberration, and vignetting, based on the established profile of the lens (which is recognized by the software from the metadata in the image file).

If your lens doesn't have an established profile (or if you disagree with how the profile interprets your particular lens), you can create your own with the free Adobe Lens Profile Creator (downloadable from labs.adobe.com).

The calibration chart that you'll need to photograph in order to use the profile creator is a printable PDF that's also available at labs.adobe.com. Of course, you can also adjust the Lens Correction filter using the dialog box's custom tools.

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