Photoshop is a name that is an industry standard and as such it carries a level of quality that cannot be found in any other image software in my opinion. Although the interface looks complex at first it is a piece of software that you need to get to know and learn as you go along. It is used basically daily by myself as a photographer for editing images and fine tuning images before they go to print.
The list of features goes on and on and really will tidy up most photographs. As you go along you'll learn various features and how to combine things such as using the lasso with the magic wand to select certain areas of an image to edit.
To try and cram all that Photoshop can do into this review would be near impossible as it is constantly being added to, with new downloads in the form of filters and actions (applying pre-written actions for Photoshop to do to adjust an image to Black & White (for example)).
Running this on a Mac (though i have no Windows comparison) is also a dream as they have been made to work together well and so load times are a lot quicker than previous versions and it handles large files well (RAM dependant obviously).
Overall an incredible program but one that comes with a price tag to match (usually around £700) but you really do get what you pay for with this piece of software.
Nowhere near as good but a free version is available called GiMP http://www.gimp.org/ which aims to mimic a lot of features available in Photoshop but without the price tag attached.
Choosing the right design package is essential if you are serious about creating professional quality artwork, or simply want to perform advanced adjustments to your digital photos.
Cheaper design software often has its limitations, and although you will save money by using it, you will ultimately be frustrated in the long-run. Therefore, if you want real quality, look no further than 'Photoshop CS3', which is part of Adobe's flagship trio of image editing software. It often comes packaged with 'InDesign' and 'Illustrator' under the umbrella of the 'Creative Suite' - although this review is for the stand-alone version for the Apple Mac.
Photoshop is one of those pieces of 'equipment' which is a must have for any graphic designer, photographer or illustrator, and if you are a Mac owner, this product will suit your computer beautifully - Mac and Photoshop go together like Peter Andre and Jordan (...ok, perhaps not the best example!).
It did not take me long to realise that Photoshop has an incredible depth, and it is a program which will grow with you as a creative professional. On a weekly basis I find new features hidden away in the menu system, many of which I do not yet understand (and I have been using the product for around 8 years!).
But enough of the intro, what can Photoshop actually do?
As an 'all-round' program, it can;
-Retouch, edit and generally manipulate photos.
-Create layouts for documents (although Adobe's sister product 'InDesign' is better suited for that).
-Create original artwork, with a wide vartiety of tools available.
-Create designs for a range of packaging.
-Create basic animation.
From the list above, you can see that Photoshop could potentially be used for designing a variety of commercial and personal products for the web through to printed media.
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The Photoshop franchise is around 20 years old, and as such has had plenty of time to perfect itself as a product. It is one of those pieces of software where you do not necessarily have to own the newest version, as even Photoshop 6 has an amazing array of features which are still practical to this day - and that is eight years old!
Last years release of 'CS3' marks the tenth version of the program and adds a few new features to the design package. It is also a lot larger in size than its predecessor, taking up to 2 Gigabytes of disk space in its installation.
How does Photoshop CS3 differ from the previous version?
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I am not going to list every new feature which this product offers as I would be writing into next week, but the updates and additions which I have found incredibly useful include:
-A new user interface, which is most apparent in the form of a dock palette design which really helps conserve space if you are using a small screen (it is great for my 13" Macbook). The tools palette now appears in a single-column arrangement which allows me to have the main document displayed a little larger than I could before.
-Improved 'Photomerge' feature, which allows you to join multiple images together. Now working even more effectively, this is a huge boost for photographers. There is also a function which helps create composite images more efficiently - for example, you can take the best bits of multiple images, with the program doing the majority of the work for you.
-New 'Auto-Align Layers' command, which helps line up selected layers and offers the ability to easily move and resize them as needed.
-Improved 'Vanishing Point' feature, which allows you to paste graphics in perspective (an excellent feature for helping create packaging design). Now you can create multiple 'planes' for each image, whereas before you could only add planes in 90 degree angles.
-New Camera Raw system, which processes data from your digital cameras raw files in a non-destructive way, and offers support for an even greater range of cameras. There are also new Fill Light and vibrance controls to help fine-tune the lighting in your photographs.
If you don't think that the above list is much of an improvement over the feature on offer in CS2, then there are many more subtle changes and improvements of a more minor nature which are documented on the Adobe website which can be found at www.adobe.com.
It sounds impressive, but how much does it cost?
All professional design programs are expensive, and this is no different. On its own, Photoshop for the Mac costs just under £700 - which is very pricey. Luckily for me, I use a copy which has been provided for me by my work, so I did not have to shell-out the colossal amount myself. If you want to upgrade from a previous version of the product, it will still cost around £250, but this obviously is the way to go if you own an older Photoshop and want to save some money.
Overall, if you are working for a company and therefore do not have to pay for this product personally, I would recommend CS3 - as there are enough new features to make photo and document editing easier - however, I would not recommend paying the full price for this software if you are not in the design industry - the cost is excessive even though the product is excellent.
Photoshop CS3 for the Mac is a fantastic product - it really can do seemingly anything. The program itself is the same as the PC version, but the Mac runs it incredibly smoothly and seems to be perfectly suited for its processor hungry engine.
Photoshop IS the industry standard graphics product, and therefore it is not just rated highly by me, but by every other designer, photographer and illustrator out there. It has reached the pinnacle of its field not through luck, but because it is a finely tuned piece of essential design equipment.
The minimum system requirements for running Photoshop CS3 on the Mac are as follows:
-PowerPC® G4 or G5 or Intel-based Macintosh
-Mac OS X v.10.4.8
-512MB of RAM
-2GB of available hard-disk space (additional free space required during installation)
-1024x768 monitor resolution with 16-bit video card