By Bob LeVitus
I’m not an artist and I don’t even play one
on TV. Still, over the past ten years I’ve used Photoshop
as often as many real artists. I use it to:
- edit screen shots for books and articles
- repair crummy digital pictures
- create artwork for iMovies
- create graphics for Web sites.
And, while it’s probably overkill, I also use it
- design t-shirt transfers
- make greeting cards and business cards
- create removable tattoos
- make labels
And much more…
Not long ago, Adobe introduced the latest and greatest version,
dubbed Photoshop CS, which is
part of both new Adobe Creative Suite
packages, the Standard and Premium editions. Both editions
bundle combinations of Adobe’s finest programs at
a reduced price. While they’re not cheap, they are
an excellent value if you need any other Adobe program in
addition to Photoshop.
I used Photoshop much more than any of the other apps in
the suite so that’s what I’ll tell you about
today. For what it’s worth, all the other programs
worked fine and since they share interface elements, palettes,
and keyboard shortcuts with each other, I rarely needed
to consult the better-than-average online help.
Photoshop CS shows the polish of its many years of continuous
development and has matured into an elegant and polished
program that’s a joy to use, with excellent real-time
feedback from its numerous interactive dialog boxes and
New features in the CS edition include an enhanced file
browser, a feature so useful I predict you’ll never
use the Finder to manage graphics files again. There’s
also a sweet new Shadow/Highlight control that works wonders
and can add detail to under or over-exposed digital pictures.
I personally appreciated the new non-square pixel modes,
which make it easier to create art used in DVD, video and
film projects. And the new Layer Comps feature lets you
save multiple design variations in a single Photoshop CS
file, which is something I’ve dreamed about forever.
It beats the heck out of saving dozens of files with cryptic
names. There’s also new Lens Blur that simulates the
depth-of-field blur effect you’d get using a high-end
camera, and does so better than any other blur effect I
know of. And my personal favorite new feature is the Filter
Gallery, where you can combine and apply multiple filters
in a single window in (more or less) real time. Sweet!
I love Photoshop—I never stop learning new tricks
and I collect books about Photoshop like they’re going
out of style. But I’m almost out of space so I’ll
save that discussion for another column.
If you work with digital images, nothing comes close. Photoshop
is the Rolls Royce of digital image editing. Unfortunately,
priced at $600+, you may prefer a Chevrolet or a Lexus.
If that’s the case, check out Adobe’s
Photoshop Elements 2.0, which is kind of like Photoshop
with training wheels and some features you’ll never
need torn out. Alas, Elements hasn’t been upgraded
to a “CS” version yet, but even the 2.0 release
makes a great introduction to the Photoshop family and costs
Adobe Photoshop CS.
Street price: $649.
Adobe Creative Suite Premium (includes
Adobe Photoshop CS, Adobe Illustrator CS, Adobe InDesign
CS, Adobe GoLive CS, Adobe Acrobat 6.0 Pro, Version Cue).
Street price: $1,229.
Adobe Creative Suite Standard
(includes Adobe Photoshop CS, Adobe Illustrator CS, Adobe
InDesign CS, Version Cue). Street price: $999.
Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0.
Street price: $90.
Adobe Systems Inc. San Jose, California
800-833-6687 or 408-536-6000
is a leading authority on Mac OS and the author of 41 books,
Little iTunes Book and
Mac OS X for Dummies, 2nd Edition. E-mail comments to
Copyright © 2003 Bob LeVitus
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