This review will focus on Photoshop CS 2 from the web designer/developer point of view. When it comes to creating web art, Photoshop still is king. There is nothing else on the market that even comes close. Yes, there are other tools, but there are no other industry-accepted tools. It is important to consider image output just as image creation and manipulation. All printers accept “psd” formatted files, and exchanging files between web designers is quick and easy. Even transferring a Photoshop file between the mac and the pc is effortless (except for potential font issues). Let’s start with a simple statement; Photoshop is King of web design applications.
I will start this review with the installation process. If I had to rate the program solely on the installation process, I would give it 1 star. This is based on having to install six (6) total cds. Why can’t Adobe provide the installation on a single DVD? If their argument is about piracy, that is hooey, their activation technology is rock-solid. (this is the installation process for the CS2 Suite, this review is about Photoshop and general Suite elements only)
One of the features I like from a web design standpoint is being able to save a file natively to PDF. This allows for easy comp creation and submission to the client for review.
Love the font samples — finally you can see a preview of the font without having to play “which font was that”.
The next big new piece of Photoshop is actually not part of Photoshop at all. It is called “Adobe Bridge”. Basically it is the new file browser for Adobe applications and really is well done. The Bridge allows you to view all of the details about your photos and easily organize them. I like being able to view all of the characteristics of a digital photo or psd file by just clicking on the file. No application to open, all of the information is presented. Changing the size of the thumbnails is easy, using the Size slider, you can make them any size you want. You can also rate photos from 1-5 which is great for weeding out the poor images from your camera’s memory card.
One of the changes that you might be shocked by is the layers palette change. You can now Shift-click to select layers, or Shift-click layers in the image window. But the link column is gone. Takes a bit of getting used to. You can still highlight multiple layers and right-click to link.
The tools palette has remained basically unchanged. Which is a good thing considering that many designers use the keyboard shortcuts so any change could become a major issue. Probably the number one feature that Adobe is promoting in Photoshop CS2 is the new Vanishing Point filter. It allows you to edit, clone, and retouch images in perfect perspective.
Another great feature in CS2 is Image Warp. Image Warp is similar to Text Warp but for images! So take an image and wrap it around a product for quick product mockups or wrap a building or car easily.
Adobe ImageReady CS2 continues to be bundled as a separate application within Photoshop CS2. There is tighter integration of the two products in this release. Of course, today it seems that Flash has become a designer’s first choice for animation. I don’t hear the same buzz about ImageReady that I did 2-3 years ago.
There is a lot of support within Photoshop CS including many tutorials on how to use the features of Photoshop CS. It sure does seem that a lot of the links within the help push you to the ExpertSupport (fee) or to training cds/dvds (fee). A bit over the top if you ask me.
One thing of note, the specs needed to run Photoshop CS — this comes straight off the package so you probably should look to have at least 30% more to be safe (windows version):
- Pentium III or 4 processor
- 384MB Ram (1 GB recommended)
- 3GB of disk space – more for additional add-ons, 1GB on primary disk
- 1024×768 resolution (what designer is still working in this)
- CD-ROM (grr!)
Photoshop is still King. I suggest that anyone looking to buy a new packaged version of Photoshop, get this version. The new features make it worth it over picking up a CS or 7.0 version at a reduced price on eBay and the like. If you are already using CS or 7.0 and are just working on standard web design, I am not sure it is worth the upgrade. Adobe has lowered the upgrade price to $149 which might just be worth it for the new features described above.
$649 full / $149 upgrade
Paint Shop Pro
The most widely used design application on the planet. Transferring files is a breeze.
Price. Resource needs. Learning curve. Installation process is very slow.
Photoshop is still King among web design applications.