Adobe Photoshop CS5 – A Photographer’s Review

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The long awaited version of Photoshop CS5 is now out there! You can purchase the software or trial run it for a short period. For the most part, we have a lot of experience with the Beta version and felt it was important to post some thoughts on what it has to offer.

There are numerous features with the new format. One unique one is called Puppet Warp this concept lets the user drop control pivots on the object that you are viewing, a face, house, etc. You can then distort the object by pulling and bending it into odd formations. I cannot imagine how this would be useful for most photographers, and is likely more geared to children and pranksters.

Another cool feature is the CAF (Content Aware Fill). Let us say you have a great family shot, but your brother was dating some floozy, you can pull her out of the shot and have the background fill. This truly is a great tool for removing various aspects in your images. The feature works rather well and the changes are barely noticeable.

If you are a fan of Image Compositing there are some excellent selection tools that provide neat enhancements. Photoshop CS5 builders did an excellent job in creation of this aspect. You now have the capability of cropping and editing your photos edges while selecting a specific color scheme or style. Previously this would be a painful and difficult task, but with the CS5, it is rather easy. Gone are the days of the costly filters that had to be purchased. The sky is the limit with this regard.

Adobe Raw Camera 6 is also a new feature in Photoshop CS5. They have added some great noise reduction tools similar to the ones found in Lightroom 3. For those of you who have not viewed the beta version of this, you are in for a real treat here. Raw Camera 6 is a fantastic converter and in this writers opinion the best on the market.

With today’s technology all about HD and 3D, one feature that is sure to be a favorite among all photographers and videographers is the HDR capabilities. HDR or High Dynamic Range provides photographers with the capability of blending various shots of the same subject. With this tool, you end up with an image that is now a 32-bit pixel and the background will have no effect, the shadowy or brightness is eliminated fully.

We did note that while viewing these photos is as true to the naked eye, color printers and some monitors will not provide a true feel for what the image value holds. Adjusting the brightness range through tone map is required for a traditional 8 or 16 range which most of us are use too using. Some will say that this is a lost cause and is actually moving backward but it is necessary to compress the range in order to manipulate the naked eye to visualize what the real image is that would normally not be visible.

Some artists out there have taken the tone mapping to a completely new level creating what is known as hyper-real artwork. For the most part this aspect can be useful to all photographers, however I think that it will be more utilized by the more advanced types that want to tone map an image to get a truer look and feel.

Lens Correction is a filter that allows the photographer to use the EXIF data that is embedded into digital images. You can auto adjust various components such as the pincushion, barrel, and other distortion aspects of the lens. DxO Optic Pro is a similar program and some would argue superior to this version. However having this additional feature in the new Adobe Shop is a great asset.

Another great tool that Adobe Labs provided here is the ability for the user to create their own profiles for their specific camera lens needs. Once created you can swap profiles with other users to experiment with a new look.

MAC OS users will be extremely happy that Photoshop CS5 is now available in their platform. It has been a long time coming, and I know a few users that are ecstatic. Adobe also has upgraded the driver supports to TWAIN 64 for each platform. It seems that they have heard the noise as they seem to have grasped the 64-bit notion. To date anyone using the older CS4 version has been stuck in the 32-bit era.

The 64-bit version while quicker in CS4 the lack of support was its downfall. I hope that this will be the end of the 32-bit version and we can move past this entirely.

Not sure others found it as frustrating as we did, but Adobe fixed the conversion on Save command for 16 bit pixels. Previous users will understand this in that when you were editing or processing at 16 bit and you attempted to save to jpeg, you had to convert it manually prior to saving. The new version does this automatically in the back ground for you. Thank goodness for small fixes that help to alleviate stress in our lives.

Another feature that is notable and quite helpful is the Mixer brush. This mirrors natural brush strokes on a canvas paint mix. New layout also provides a better black and white conversion, and a number of user controlled interfaces and a new version of Bridge.

Adobe has seized the market in that you are unable to upgrade unless you are a licensed user. Previous versions were upgradeable by Adobe however if you are not a licensed user you will need to pay for a full version. Some people are going out and buying a used version but there are not many out there at the moment.

While a bit expensive, the new Photoshop is quiet amazing. There variation of tools and options available make this the best on the market in our opinion. Some people may ask, what is the point of upgrading the old version is fine. We feel that the fact that you get the HDR capability, as well the Raw Camera 6 reduction tool makes it worth it alone.

The auto conversion for JPEG saving is also a very appealing aspect for anyone using PS for big projects. The Puppet Wrap makes for a great conversational piece, and the Content Aware Fill also is a great tool to spiff up your images and remove Brother Bob’s bimbo from the Xmas party photo. I would suggest that you look at your actual needs and requirements before going out and purchasing this version.

It really is dependant on individual specifications and the budget you have available. Have fun and enjoy this great product. A+ is the rating we would provide.