Photoshop CS

by Michael Sauer

Photoshop CS Hits the Pavement Running. Adobe's latest release of Photoshop, aptly named CS (Creative Suite), is action-packed with fun, new, and productive features, as well as makeovers of some of the classics. While the entire Creative Suite includes Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat, GoLive and Photoshop, its best innovation is that all of these applications work seamlessly together. Photographers, illustrators, web designers and graphic artists can now switch between these once uniquely separate programs with ease, thanks to integration of many of the functions and features they all now share. Each application is still available as an upgrade or stand alone program, yet available in two 'suite' - Standard* and Premium*.

But the CS flagship application, as far as I am concerned, is Adobe's Photoshop. As a professional photographer I am naturally biased towards the software program that has for the most part revolutionized digital photography. While Photoshop CS (version is listed as 8.0) has all the same great features of its predecessor 7.0, it has some marked improvements.

First, the ability to now work with RAW and 16-bit images is a big step for professionals. Many high resolution scanners and very high end digital photography equipment products have long been producing 16-bit images, only to be, unfortunately, scaled back in Photoshop to 8-bit quality in order to manipulate them.

Next in the list of goodies is the new Shadow & Highlight tool. This single panel of adjustors allows those not so great images to be adjusted for under or over exposures with incredible ease and accuracy.

Photomerge, the super cool feature of "stitching" several images taken separately of, let's say, a wide landscape into a single panoramic print in a just a few keystrokes, is going to waken the creative giant in many an avid photographer.

Not to be outdone, is the Browser. If you have used the browser in previous versions of Photoshop, you will now find that you cant live without it. Flagging images, adding keywords, adding to the metadata, as well as accessing all the "automatic" tools, like instant web galleries, making contact sheets and picture packages are all right in the browser and never even have to leave your comfy chair to use them. While a few of these are new they all have been made much more user friendly in their placement and functionality.

Filters have always been fun to use to enhance an image or make a rather dull picture into a digital masterpiece. Photoshop CS proudly introduces the Filter Gallery, showing you an instant preview of all the filters available in CS in a handy browser like environment. No more searching through a sea of names for that killer filter you want to apply. You might even make some new friends here with filters you hadn't even considered before.

Everyone talks about wanting to be more productive and work smarter, but that only works if it's easy to use and easy to remember. Hence, CS now allows you to edit the keyboard shortcuts of all the features of Photoshop. The saving grace of this awesome new power is to humbly change back to the Adobe defaults if you get yourself lost or to follow along in a classroom study or use reference book.

Lastly, you must, at least, check out the new Match Color feature. If you have ever wanted to effortlessly match the color or colors of something in one picture with something in another, then this is for you. Want to make several images that were shot digitally match in color? Even though you changed the white balance between two different images, you can now correct them without being a Photoshop guru.

In conclusion, there are several more advances that Adobe has added to some already wonderful features that are noteworthy for you to find. To see for yourself, Adobe's website offers a 30 day trial download (248 MB) to those with wanting to see first hand this new and vastly improved Photoshop.