Adobe Photoshop CS5 (beta)

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

Adobe Systems Photoshop CS5 (beta)
  • Adobe Systems Photoshop CS5 (beta)
  • Adobe Systems Photoshop CS5 (beta)
  • Adobe Systems Photoshop CS5 (beta)
  • Expert Rating

    4.50 / 5

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.

Would you buy this?

Adobe Photoshop CS5: Lots of Little Tweaks

A number of small improvements are sprinkled throughout Photoshop CS5; some are quite useful time-savers, though not exactly earth-shaking. One of our favorites is that you can now define new Layer Effects defaults, based on your own preferences. For instance, you can specify how you usually like your layer shadows to be defined. The Crop tool has a grid overlay that can be set to nine squares (for a classic Rule of Thirds composition). And - a feature we've been asking for, for years - when you do a Save As, you can set the default to always go to the last folder where you saved a file, so that we no longer have to constantly navigate to the same folder over and over again, with each Save As.

If you're an old Photoshop hand, some changes, especially those to the Zoom tool, may take some getting used to. Now, when you drag the Zoom tool diagonally across your image, it doesn't define a rectangular section of your picture to which you want to zoom. Instead, dragging the zoom across your image will zoom in or out of the image, depending on the direction you move your cursor. Fortunately, this behavior can be turned off by unchecking the Scrubby Zoom option in the Ribbon Bar.

Adobe Photoshop CS5: Photoshop Extended Boosts 3D

As with previous versions, Adobe Photoshop CS5 comes in Standard and Extended packages, the primary difference being that Extended offers 3D tools that Standard doesn't have. In CS5, PS Extended includes the new Repousse dialog box, which gives far more control over how 2D artwork and text are extruded into 3D.

Extended has also improved the level of realism it can impart to 3D, using different texture, image-based lights, shadow generation, and improved raytracing. While Photoshop can't compete with a full 3D-modeling program, Photoshop CS5 Extended offers just enough control to generate very decent quality 3D models that can then be used in Photoshop layouts and on the web.

If you are into painting, the new Mixer Brush may be enough to make upgrading worthwhile. And if you do a lot of low-light photography, in which noise is a problem, the fact that Camera RAW 6 won't be available to CS4 users is very compelling. However, moving from CS4 to CS5 it isn't one of those mandatory, can't-avoid-it decisions for other Photoshop users who are satisfied with their current workflow and toolset. As usual, Photoshop and the rest of Creative Suite 5 are available in a somewhat confusing array of packages. But when you stop to read what each contains, it becomes a clear issue of deciding just what programs you need (or want) and which ones you don't. You can buy Photoshop CS5 Standard or Extended as stand-alone applications.

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