Get everything in AdobeÂ® PhotoshopÂ® CS3 software and more with Photoshop CS3 Extended, which enables you to edit 3D and motion-based content and perform image analysis.
Opening Photoshop CS3 Extended ($999) for the first time for me was like standing on the high diving board a week after learning to swim. I was really excited, but apprehensive, nervous and more than a little daunted by the prospect.
Why the analogy? Well not only was this my first time with Photoshop, but I am hardly what you could call an expert when it comes to photo editing.
I had always wanted Photoshop, although I couldn’t really have told you why. It seemed like one of those things that I ‘should’ have, even though I knew that I wouldn’t really be able to do it justice. To be honest it was inevitable that I would get it: first I got a Mac, then a 23″ Apple Cinema Display, then a Nikon D80 ……… so Photoshop was a natural addition. Not for one minute though had I appreciated how huge it was – in terms of product features, instructions and guides, tutorials, books, seminars, disciples, forums and followers it has been like opening the door to a whole new world. Oh yes, it makes my photographs look better as well!!!!
I really couldn’t do the exceptional features of Photoshop justice, and to be honest there are so many really good reviews and tutorials around on the internet by people that actually know what they are doing, so it seems that the best I can do is share my experience and observations with you.
Let’s start with the price – it is expensive. Actually it is very expensive! At $649 the non extended version is still a lot of money. I couldn’t even say if it was worth it or not as that is going to depend totally on your own circumstances, but what I can say without any hesitation is that is is a totally amazing feeling to take a RAW image, ‘mess about’ with Non Destructive editing, try all kinds of ‘styles’ and come out at the end with a picture that really could have been taken by a professional (OK, maybe they were having a bad day!) . Personally it has taken me another step higher on my Photographic enjoyment ladder. I thought the Nikon D80 improved things, so to improve immensely something that had already undergone a huge improvement is, well it’s immensely huge.
It isn’t as daunting as I thought it would be, but it isn’t easy by any means. Fortunately I had a reasonable idea of what could and couldn’t be done, and perhaps more importantly I had already adjusted my approach to actually capturing photographs. You really do need to focus on creating a photograph rather than ‘taking a picture’. For example my tendency used to be to capture the whole scene to show something, whereas now I will also capture a specific part of the detail and that allows me to get some incredible imagery with Photoshop.
The most amazing thing? The feeling when people actually stop and take the time to comment on your photographs. I have always liked to show people our photographs when they come round – but I have really noticed that now rather than politely wait for me to stop rattling on about them, they are asking me questions, lingering on pictures, comparing them etc.
So Nikon D80 (expensive) + Photoshop (expensive) = amazing experience (priceless)
That probably sums it up. Amazing. I am still in ‘shock’ at how impressive it is and how much enjoyment I am getting from it. I have a long way to go still, but at least I will have some great photographs to record the rest of the journey. I didn’t want to leave it there though so I asked my friend Mac what he liked most about CS3 “The primary thing I like about photoshop now is speed. Obviously…. It runs a lot faster now on my intel macs. Does not necessarily load faster, but over all operations are much faster. Also I really like the new toolbox/window layout. I find it more intuitive and logical.“
For those of you that haven’t already visited the site to see the features here they are:
Edit nondestructively with new Smart Filters, which let you visualize different image effects, and Smart Objects, which let you scale, rotate, and warp raster and vector graphics â€” all without altering the original pixel data.
Rich painting and drawing toolset
Create or modify images with a wide assortment of professional, fully customizable paint settings, artistic brushes, and drawing tools.
Create more accurate composites by automatically aligning multiple AdobeÂ® PhotoshopÂ® layers or images based on similar content. The Auto-align Layers command quickly analyzes details and moves, rotates, or warps layers to align them perfectly, and the Auto-blend Layers command blends the color and shading to create a smooth, editable result.
3D compositing and texture editing
Easily render and incorporate rich 3D content into your 2D composites â€” even edit existing textures on 3D models directly within Photoshop Extended and immediately see the results. Photoshop Extended supports common 3D interchange formats, including 3DS, OBJ, U3D, KMZ, and COLLADA, so you can import, view, and interact with most 3D models.
Enhance video directly within Photoshop Extended. Now you can paint, add text, and clone over multiple frames of an imported video sequence.
2D and 3D measurement tools
Extract quantitative information from images with new measurement tools. Easily calibrate or set the scale of an image, and then use any of the Photoshop Extended selection tools to define and calculate distance, perimeter, area, and other measurements. Record data points in a measurement log and export data, including histogram data, to a spreadsheet for further analysis.
Faster, more flexible asset management with Adobe Bridge CS3
Organize and manage images more efficiently with next-generation Adobe Bridge CS3 software, which now delivers improved performance, a Filter panel for easier searching, the ability to group multiple images under a single thumbnail, the Loupe tool, offline image browsing, and more.
Better raw-image processing
Process raw images with increased speed and superior conversion quality using the Photoshop Camera Raw plug-in, which now adds support for JPEG and TIFF formats; new tools including Fill Light and Dust Busting; compatibility with Adobe Photoshop Lightroomâ„¢ software; and support for over 150 camera models.
Enhanced Vanishing Point with 3D support
Edit in perspective on multiple surfaces â€” even those connected at angles other than 90 degrees â€” with the enhanced Vanishing Point, which also lets you measure in perspective; wrap graphics, images, and text around multiple planes; and output 2D planes as 3D models.
Wide range of supported formats
Import and export an even greater range of file formats, including PSD, BMP, DICOM, Cineon, JPEG, JPEG2000, OpenEXR, PNG, Targa, and TIFF.
I have absolutely no idea how much better CS3 is over CS2. When I was digging around to try and find out I found this really useful article. It was based on the CS3 beta so if anything I would assume that the performance is even better. The article is full of interesting graphs like this:
Just in case you are a CS2 user that hasn’t heard why you should upgrade it appears that these are the main reasons why you should upgrade:
* Smart Filters
* Quick Selection and Refine Edge tools
* Advanced compositing
* Streamlined interface
* Better raw image processing
* Improved Adobe Bridge
* Enhanced Vanishing Point
* Enhanced 32-bit HDR support
* Peak performance
* Black-and-white conversion
So back to the diving board. I survived, it was pretty ugly at first and if I am honest the first couple of times resembled a pretty horrific belly flop! I am going to persevere. In fact I am going to do more than that, I am going to ‘crack it’ as I am totally hooked already. I think the best thing will be to stop the review now and maybe come back in a month or so and see what my thoughts are then.