Adobe Photoshop CS (8.0)
Review

On December 9, 2003, in Review, by Tim Robertson

Adobe Photoshop CS (8.0)
Company: Adobe Systems Incorporated

Price: $649.00 (full) $169.00 (upgrade)
http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop/main.html

One problem with reviewing a program like Adobe Photoshop CS (8.0) is that one never knows just how much to write about. Adobe Photoshop is such a complex and massive program; it is almost an operating system in itself. So rather than going into each and every feature of the program, a task few would undertake in a product review, I will look at some of the new features of the program.

16-bit color support is probably the biggest improvement in Photoshop with the new CS version. Most graphic programs work with only 8-bit images, but Photoshop CS can now work with 16-bit in layers, brushes, text, shapes, and more. The support is worthwhile for those who need to work with the highest resolution images for color correction.

RAW Data. When you take pictures with a digital camera, the picture is compressed in .JPG format. This is not an ideal solution if you want to get the best picture you can, and with Photoshop CS, you can now work directly with the RAW picture data rather than the .JPG compressed file. Unfortunately, not all digital cameras are supported. Neither Kodak nor HP digital cameras will work with the RAW support in CS. Canon, Fujifilm, Minolta, Nikon, and Olympus does have some supported cameras. If you need to take professional quality images, but are using a digital camera, as well as having a supported product, you will be very pleased with this feature.

The new and improved File Browser in CS works exceptionally well. While I had been using the Browser feature in Photoshop 7.0 for a year, it was somewhat cumbersome and not as intuitive as I would like. Photoshop CS has taken the Browse feature to new heights, making it much more intuitive, and much faster on both my G4 and G5 machine than previous versions.

Histograms are now, finally and “about-time” in color. This will help you when you’re working with RGB channels. This may not sound like much of an issue, but when you are color correcting photos, working with a color histogram will allow you much more precise control over your workflow.

Better PDF integration. A neat feature is the ability for Photoshop CS to create a “PDF Presentation” even if you do not own the full Acrobat version. While I have no need for this feature, a Photoshop friend and avid PDF supporter told me this is a big deal. So there you go.

The new Shadows/Highlights filter, found in the Adjustments menu, is simply amazing. This one feature is now a must-have for me. I take a lot of photos with my digital camera, as well as having scanned all my old photos a few years ago. Even after cleaning my old photos up in previous versions of Photoshop, I was amazed at how much help the new Shadows/Highlights help them. It is a great filter, one I am VERY pleased with.

This is a major upgrade if you are a die-hard Photoshop user, and need the new features found here. If you take a look at Adobe’s website, read through the list of new features, and decide that the $169 upgrade fee is not too steep, you will be pleased. If, however, you don’t need the benefit, you would do well to wait for the next major Photoshop rollout.

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