Photoshop CS 2, by Adobe
Posted: 13-Aug-2006

4 1/2 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: Adobe Type: COMMERCIAL

Reviewer: Bill Catambay
Co-Reviewer: Judd Spitzer
Class: PRODUCTIVITY

Overview
Adobe Photoshop has for years been the quintessential photo editing application for the Macintosh. Photoshop has evolved tremendously from version to version, incorporating features and filters that go far beyond just photo editing. Photoshop has become the professional image-editing standard and the flagship of Adobe's line of digital imaging products. Photoshop is a powerful, CPU-intensive application, which is why it's no coincidence that Photoshop is the application most frequently used at Macworld Expos for demonstrating processor speed of the new Mac systems. Photoshop is well-known in professional communities, if not the entire Mac community. While Adobe targets professionals such as photographers, graphic designers, web designers, architects, and artists in film and video industries, Photoshop is also very popular with Mac hobbyists who simply want to do creative things with their digital photos and images.

There are other applications available that allow editing and retouching of digital photos, such as Apple's iPhoto (which comes free with each Mac system), and Apple's Aperture and Adobe's Lightroom (recently released commercial offerings for photo enhancement). Photoshop, however, is a professional tool that goes far beyond any of these other offerings, providing you total control over every aspect of a photo, and providing a huge arsenal of features and special effects that can change your photos into amazing works of art limited only by your imagination. Photoshop CS2 comes with the Photoshop application, as well as Adobe Bridge, Image Ready, Adobe Help Center and Adobe Stock Photos.

Features

  • Adobe Bridge - Simplified file handling with Adobe Bridge, the next-generation File Browser, where you can process multiple camera raw images at once; resize, rate, and label thumbnails; quickly review images in Slideshow mode; search metadata; and more.
  • Multitasking - Compact floating mode in Adobe Bridge to process images while simultaneously working in Photoshop CS2 or other CS2 applications.
  • Viewing options - Present your images with features like Slideshow and Filmstrip mode; scale thumbnails to any size using a slider; and view and edit metadata.
  • Automated batch processing - Automatically process batches of images in Adobe Bridge to rename, convert format, adjust exposure, create a web gallery or Adobe PDF Presentation, and more.
  • Rating and labeling - Quickly rate and label photos in Adobe Bridge.
  • Sophisticated search - Find any image using search capabilities in Adobe Bridge that let you specify a variety of parameters. Save searches as Collections that you can recall anytime.
  • 32-bit High Dynamic Range (HDR) support - Create and edit 32-bit images, and combine multiple exposures into a single, 32-bit image with expanded range-from the deepest shadows to the brightest highlights.
  • Shadow/Highlight correction - Quickly improve the contrast of over- or underexposed areas of an image, including CMYK images, while preserving the overall balance of the photo.
  • Revolutionary Vanishing Point - Save time with the new Vanishing Point, which lets you clone, paint, and paste elements that automatically match the perspective of the surrounding image area.
  • Image Warp - Create packaging mock-ups or other dimensional effects by wrapping an image around any shape or stretching, curling, and bending an image using Image Warp.
  • Spot Healing Brush - Retouch photos-including 16-bit images-in a single click with the new Photoshop CS2 Spot Healing Brush.
  • One-click red-eye correction - Instantly neutralize red eyes with the one-click red-eye correction tool, which supports 16-bit images and lets you set pupil size and darkening level.
  • Optical lens correction - Easily correct common lens distortions, such as barrel and pincushion, and fix chromatic aberrations and vignetting.
  • Smart Sharpen - Easily counteract common image blurring with fine correction control based on the specific blur types: motion, lens, and Gaussian.
  • Camera raw workflow enhancements - Process an entire photo shoot in a fraction of the time by simultaneously adjusting color, curves, cropping, and more-and continue working in Photoshop! With support for a comprehensive range of digital cameras, Photoshop CS2 lets you automatically adjust settings, convert to Digital Negative (DNG) format, and apply nondestructive edits to batches of images.
  • Advanced noise reduction - Polish digital photos with advanced noise correction in high-ISO shooting plus JPEG artifact reduction.
  • Special effects filters - Achieve amazing results with more than 95 special effects filters. Easily preview and apply more than one filter at a time from the Filter Gallery.
  • Web animations - Quickly create dynamic GIF animations-using one or more images-directly within Photoshop CS2 by taking advantage of the new Animations palette and layer palette animation options.

See more features listed on the Photoshop web site.

Requirements

  • 500 MHz PowerPC G4 processor
  • Mac OS X 10.2.6 and later
  • 512 MB RAM (1 GB recommended)
  • 500 MB available disk space

Test Machines

  • iMac 17" 800Mhz G4, 512 MB RAM
  • PowerMac 1.47Ghz G4 Quicksilver, 640 MB RAM
  • PowerMac Dual 2.3Ghz G5, 1 GB SDRAM


Price

  • Full version - $649
  • Upgrade from earlier version - $169
  • Upgrade from LE, PhotoDeluxe or Elements - $499

NOTE: Photoshop CS is also included in the full Creative Suite 2 package which retails for $899, and includes full new versions of Adobe Photoshop CS2, Illustrator CS2, InDesign CS2, Version Cue CS2, Adobe Bridge, and Adobe Stock Photos. It's also included in Creative Suite 2 Professional which retails for $1199, which is basically Creative Suite 2 plus GoLive CS2 and Acrobat 7.0 Professional. Adobe also offers Student and Educator discounts.

Installation

Photoshop installs with the typical Apple installer program. During the install, you are asked to enter your name and serial number. Towards the end of the installation, a 2nd progress window pops up showing installation of Shared packages, such as Adobe Bridge, Help Center, and Stock Photos. The installer seemed to stall during the "Finishing Installation" part, where no sounds were coming from either the CD-ROM or hard disk. Just when I was thinking that something may have gone wrong, the installer finally presented the activation window.

In CS2, it is important to note that serialization and activation are two separate things. Activation is required to unlock your software so you can use it, and the activation is tied to the hardware on which you are using the software. Unlike with Photoshop CS and prior where you could install and run the software on all the computers in your household, with Photoshop CS2, you are only allowed to activate and run your software on up to two computers.

You can choose to activate immediately over the internet, via telephone, or activate later (you have 30 days to activate after installation). I attempted to activate over the internet, but my iMac connects to the internet via a very unstable wireless connection. My online activation attempt failed with a "connection not detected" message, so I had to opt for the telephone option. The telephone option gives you a toll-free number to call. An automated system answers the call and prompts you to first enter a 24-digit serial number, then a 28-digit activation number, both of which are presented on the "Phone Activation" window. Once Adobe validates the numbers, it provides you a 20-digit authorization code to enter into the activation window. After entering the code and clicking on "Activate", the software installation is complete.


Phone Activation for Photoshop CS2

This new activation step introduced with CS2 is an obvious and understandable effort on the part of Adobe to control software piracy and protect their bottom line. It is questionable, however, how effective this change is. With any protection scheme, it's important to balance the inconvenience caused to paying customers versus non-paying customers. Most paying customers who have previously used Photoshop on multiple computers did so understanding that they were the only user. For example, I have a G4 tower, a G5 tower, a G5 iMac and a G4 Powerbook. I am the only one who uses any of these computers, so it was very convenient to be able to have it installed and ready to use on each computer. Depending upon where I was in the house, or what type of project I was working on, I would change which Mac I would run the Photoshop on. With the activation scheme, I now have to pick only two computers to install on, say the G4 tower (where I do my reviews) and the G5 tower (where I do more CPU intensive projects). If I wanted to do some work downstairs on the G5 iMac, I would first have to de-activate the software from one of the other computers, then activate for the G5 iMac. And, of course, when I wanted to go back to the computer where I just de-activated, I would have to de-activate one of the other computers, then re-activate it. To a paying customer, this can be an annoying inconvenience. Likewise, if one of your systems crashes hard and you replace it, you will not be able to de-activate (since the computer has to be up and running to de-activate). In this case, you have to call Adobe support to have them de-activate it for you before you can activate it on another computer. Some CS2 users have even complained that this new activation process is one step short of spy-ware (given that your physical hardware is tied to an Adobe server).

Interface
The Photoshop interface has made small improvements over the years, but it's interface is still recognizable for those familiar with older versions.


Photoshop CS2 Interface

There is the tools palette on the left, a toolbar at the top directly under the menu bar, the main document window (when a document is opened), and palettes on the right for various functions such as layers, channels, history, actions, swatches, styles, and many more. Palettes that you do not use frequently can be docked into the toolbar as tabs, thereby saving precious screen real estate. Likewise, you can combine, resize, and move palettes to maximize the efficiency of your working space to best suit your needs. When a tool is selected, the toolbar changes to provide information and settings that are specific to the selected tool. For instance, with the Type tool selected, the toolbar includes options for font, font style, font size, anti-aliasing, alignment, color, text curves, and a button to access the characters palette.


Tear-off of the Photoshop toolbar with the Type tool selected

Adobe made a major change in one aspect of the interface in PS CS2. Adobe has replaced the old file "browser" with a stand-alone application called the Adobe Bridge. The Adobe bridge behaves similar to the browser that was in PS CS, but it supports more features and also interfaces with the entire suite of CS2 documents.

Adobe Bridge runs somewhat sluggishly on the older G4, to the point of being undesirable. However, it runs quite smoothly on the G5, which is where I had the chance to fully explore its features. The Bridge gives you quick access to your stored images as well as the Adobe Stock Photos that come with Photoshop. Double click on an image, and it opens right up in Photoshop. Further, the Bridge recognizes images that are used by other applications. For example, it will also show .PDF and .AI files, and when double-clicked, Bridge opens the file with the appropriate program (e.g., .PDF files are opened with Acrobat or Acrobat Reader). You can view the images in thumbnails view, filmstrip view, details view, and versions view. I really liked the filmstrip view, as it gives you a scrolling thumbnail list either along the bottom or the right side, with the selected thumbnail shown in bigger detail along side it (see figure below). You can setup keywords, ratings and other information to improve the browse and search capabilities, making it easier to find images to work with. The Bridge is a handy and powerful complement to Photoshop (as well as to any other of the Creative Suite applications).


Adobe Bridge

One thing that was initially confusing with the installation of Photoshop, however, is Stock Photos. Photoshop CS2 comes with "Stock Photos", which left me with the impression that actual stock photographs would be installed with the product. However, when I clicked on Stock Photos within the Bridge, and double-clicked on an image I found (see above), instead of opening the image with Photoshop, it took me to a new window that provided purchasing options. I expected to already have the image on my hard disk, and I certainly did not expect to see it priced so high ($149 for low-res up to $449 for the super high res, just for one photo). I learned that the Adobe Stock Photos that comes with Photoshop is the software that supports the shopping for stock photographs, and is not actually the stock photos themselves. This was a disappointing discovery, and coupled with the outrageous prices of these photos, it put a damper on the Stock Photos experience. Renaming the tool from Stock Photos to something else, such as "Photo Storefront", would have been more appropriate and less misleading.

Speed and Stability
Photoshop CS2 ran fine on the G4 (pretty much just like Photoshop CS). I did notice, however, then when a lot of applications were open, PS CS2 did start to bog down, so it would appear that CS2 is a bit more memory hungry (this G4 has 640MB RAM). In the review for Creative Suite 2, PS CS2 took longer to startup than PS CS on a lower-end G4. These newer programs are taking full advantage of the newer systems that are out there, but in doing so, they tend to leave the little guys behind. On the other hand, on the G5, PS CS2 starts up pretty quick. PS CS2 is not Universal, meaning that it runs under Rosetta on an Intel Mac. We don't have an Intel Mac review machine, but reports I've read all indicate that the CS2 applications are pretty slow under Rosetta's emulation mode (as one might expect). If you are are big user of CS2, I would recommend holding onto your G5 until Universal versions of CS2 (or CS3) are released.

As stability goes, Photoshop CS2 is rock solid. Both in the CS2 review and the Photoshop CS2 review, PS CS2 never crashed on any machine, never froze up, and even when it may have lagged on slower machines, it always completed its tasks. When you expend hours of effort on a project, it's important to know that the application is going to be reliable and not cause you to lose any work. I feel confident when working in PS CS2 that my work is safe. Of course, saving often is still recommended since you never know when another program may misbehave (and while OS X is improved, it is still known to freeze up forcing a hard reboot).

The Basics
Photo editing is the first and most important thing that PS CS2 does, and it does it with precision control. Basic editing features include: Color selection, brightness and contrast controls, shadow/highlight, exposure, and a variety of other adjustments. Not only can you can edit photos and fix their exposures, lighting, contrast, colors, and so on, but you can fix blemishes, dirt, alignments, red eye, and more. Photoshop includes one-click tools to perform many adjustments automatically (such as Auto Levels, Auto Contrast, and Auto Color), as well plenty of tools for manual adjustments to achieve results that are exactly what you want.

As an example of exposure adjustments, below is a photo of Cocoa Beach, Florida, where the picture was slightly under-exposed. The photo following it is the results of using PS CS2's Auto Color feature. With Auto Color, Photoshop automatically makes adjustments to color and contrast. The results may not always be what you want, but most of the time, it's spot on (and you can always adjust the results using Levels or Curves).


Cocoa Beach photograph - Under exposed


Cocoa Beach photo with Auto Color applied


Filters
Beyond the basic photo editing, PS CS2 also provides a lot of specialized Filters for manipulating your photographs in ways you might never even imagined. Filters are great to achieve a more artistic look and feel, or to creative an effect that simply was not available when the photograph was taken. There are over 50 filters included with PS CS2, and many more are
available online, both commercially and free. Once you understand how all these filters work, what you can do with your photograph is limited only to your imagination.

New in PS CS2 is the Filter dialog box for the majority of the filters. There are still filters, such as Lighting and Gaussian Blur, that have their own specialized dialog windows, but most of the filters are now displayed in a large dialog box that contains a preview of the filtered photo, the currently selected filter, and the filter settings. What's nice about this new dialog box is that if you decide you don't want to use the filter selected, you don't have to close the dialog box and hunt for another one, you can just re-select a different filter from within the same dialog. As soon as another filter is selected, its options are displayed.


Photoshop CS2 Filters Dialog


This new dialog is a real time saver when you just want to experiment with all of the many filters available. The list of filters are categorized into groups: Artistic, Brush Strokes, Distort, Sketch, Stylize, and Texture. Click on one filter, adjust the settings, and if you don't get the results you want, simple click on a different filter. The old filter is not applied until you click on OK, so you can run through all the filters until you find the one that suits you. The only feature I would have liked to have seen here is an "Apply" button. In some cases, I liked the effect, but wanted to add another effect on top of it, so it would have been nice to have the option to apply one effect and then another, and still with the option to cancel all of them. As it is, to do multiple effects, you simply use the dialog to apply one effect, press OK, then choose another filter to apply a second effect. With Photoshop's multiple undo's, you can always undo all the filters applied.


Cocoa Beach photo with Diffused Glow filter


Action History
As mentioned above, PS CS2 supports multiple undo's, and this is an extremely useful feature. During any editing session, PS CS2 keeps a history of what you've done to the file and allows you to undo many many times over. You can use Cmd-Z to toggle back and forth the last action only, or you can use Shift-Cmd-Z and Option-Cmd-Z to cycle backward and forward through the history. You can also use the history palette to see all the effects and changes that you've done to a photo, and skip right to any change event you want, just like a timeline. This way you don't have to click undo 14 times to find that area where you did some color changes.

Layers
The Layers tool in Photoshop is one of the most powerful features of the program. Single layer editors, such as iPhoto, provide rudimentary photo retouching on a single drawing page. Layers allow you to take numerous photo elements and combine them into one canvas in separate overlapping images. One layer does not affect any of the other layers, so this is a very safe to operate using components, transparencies, masks, and much much more. You can toggle layers on and off so that you can see what the canvas looks without it, making it really simple to compose the canvas. Likewise, each layer can have it's own layer effect, such as Dissolve, Darken, Lighten, Overlay, and several others. These layer effects change the way the layer fuses with layers beneath it. It's best to experiment with the different options to see how one layer may affect another. This is also where tutorials and Photoshop training can really help. For advanced users, layers can be used for performing amazing tricks, but even for beginners, layers are very useful for adjusting and experimenting with image compositions.


Using Layers to compose the MacSurvivor group photo

In the MacSurvivor: Castillo contest, contestants were asked to compose a group photo showing them all standing together on a beach (above), even though they lived in different states. Layers were used to compose the characters (each being in their own layer), as well as the front part of the sand castle, the MacLion logo, and the text. Using Layers made it possible to place the individual elements exactly, resize, color correct, and "tweak" them as desired without changing anything else within the photo.

Other Tools
One common use of Photoshop is to take scanned images and touch them up, so it is very handy to be able to directly import photos from your scanner. If you are preserving lots of photos, this can be helpful for getting them into Photoshop to quickly retouch them. Of course your photos will only be as good as what you start with. If you scan at a low resolution, don't expect Photoshop to increase the resolution. It can sharpen it up, and make it a bit easier to see, but it won't be able to help you blow up those tiny faces that you see on the photo if you don't scan at the higher resolution. Remember, PS CS2 can handle those large files with ease, so go ahead and make them as big as you need.

Photoshop includes a variety of basic drawing tools for adding graphical content to your composition. You can use the paint brush or pencil to manually draw on top of your photo, or better yet, in a separate layer to not destroy your original photo. Photoshop also has a line drawing tool for straight lines, and this tool also supports adding customizable arrows on either end of the line. There are no drawing objects, such as boxes or circles, but you can use the selection tools to create those basic figures, then fill the selection with a color to create the object.

The selection tools can be used for a wide variety of other functions as well. You can mark off a selection and paste into it for precision pasting. Using the Lasso selection tool, you can trace an object manually, or using Option-Clicking you can trace an object with greater precision. There are selection modifiers for expanding, contracting, and smoothing a selection, as well as feathering a selection for softer edges.

The Text tool in Photoshop has come a long way, providing a great number of text editing features. In addition to text sizing, fonts, spacing, style, and alignment, the Text tool also supports several preset adjustable options for text on a path (such as arcs, waves, fish eye, twist, and so on). You can also apply layer styles to text objects, such as drop shadows, glow, emboss, and more. It's not a page layout solution, but for most text effects, the Text tool provides all the power you will likely ever need for image editing.

Photoshop includes many time saving tools as well. The Healing brush tool retouches small areas of your photos to remove imperfections such as dust and scratches (great way to remove a blemish on someone's face or a scratch off of your car). The Clone tool samples one area of your photo and applies the sample to other areas, very useful in fixing larger areas of your photo where you want to remove an object. To save you even more time, PS CS2 includes a number of automation and smart tools, which are reviewed below under "What's New".

There are still many more tools and features that are not mentioned here. To discuss all of the tools available in Photoshop would take up a very large manual.

What's New
For those using Photoshop CS and considering the upgrade to CS2, here is a review of what's new in Photoshop CS2.

Adobe Bridge
As mentioned earlier, Adobe Bridge replaces the old Photoshop file browser. The Bridge is a stand-alone application, and is a godsend if you desire to do batch processing of photos. Specifically for PS CS2 files, you can do processing on files in Bridge while you continue to work in PS CS2. Bridge is your gateway into Adobe's stock photo service, where you can pay for some great royalty free photos to use, or even order prints. The only thing that seems to be missing here is a way for people to easily access their iPhoto library and get busy with their photos.

Vanishing Point
Vanishing Point is an amazingly cool new feature. This tools lets you work in perspective within Photoshop, something that has always been a very difficult task in the past. You first set up a grid based upon your existing image. For example, if there is a wall in your image. you point and click on the four corners of the wall to create the grid. The grid now maintains the perspective of your image. You can slide grids out of the initial grid to create new grids at right angles that are all in perspective. You can then copy selections within the grid, and slide those copied images along the grid to other areas in the image. The amazing part about this feature is that as you slide the image along, Photoshop maintains the perspective. For example, if you copied a window in the foreground, you can use this tool to copy the window, and place it on the side or in the background maintaining size and skew perspectives (on the side it would be skewed more, and the further back it goes, the smaller it gets in size). Vanishing Point does that automatically, so you don't have to fuss around with resizing the object or manually skewing it.

Another nice feature of Vanishing Point is that you can remove objects using the Vanishing Point clone stamp tool, all in perspective. For example, if you had a wooden deck that you wanted to remove an object from, add a grid outline on the deck, then use the clone tool to paint over the object, and just like magic, Vanishing Point fills in the deck seamlessly, with all the boards aligned and in perspective. Achieving these results in the past were possible with Photoshop, but it would take a long time and tedious effort. Vanishing Point simplifies and automates the process greatly, providing a time savings that, by itself, makes PS CS2 well worth the price of the upgrade!


Original photo of a house



Vanishing Point interface with grid after adding new window on left


Vanishing Point clone tool removed window on right and diamond ornament


In the examples above, I used vanishing point to create a grid on the front of the house. I then used the selection tool to copy the window on the right with a feather of 2, and Cmd-Opt-Shift drag the window to the left. Vanishing Point made a copy of the image, and sized it in perspective when I placed it on the left. I used the Luminous Heal option of Vanishing Point to adjust the lighting on the new window according to the lighting of that area of the wall. I got an amazing result in a matter of a minute or two. Then using the same grid, I was able to use the clone tool to paint over the window and diamond ornament on the right, with seamless results.

NOTE: The above example does not fully demonstrate the power of the clone tool in Vanishing Point. If the house were wood planks or bricks, you would see the perspective change throughout so that all the planks or bricks were in the right size and perspective.

Vanishing Point can do a lot of cool things, and being a new feature, I'm sure we'll begin to see more and more examples of what can be done with it. Being new, there are also some limitations as well. For instance, if the image is skewed in any way, not all of the perspective is managed accurately. In the example above, I tried to add a grid to the left side of the house, but the picture is skewed, so the grid didn't line up correctly. You can manually adjust the grid to force it to line up with the wall edges, but when I slid a window around to the left side of the house, it was oversize and looked out of place. Also, the selection tool which does select in perspective currently only supports rectangular selections. If I wanted to copy the diamond shape ornament on the wall, I would have to use a rectangular selection which includes large portions of the house. It didn't match very well once I moved it to the left wall. I'm sure we'll see improvements in the next iteration, but even as is, Vanishing Point is a very exciting and useful new tool.

Image Warp
Image Warp is a transformation that provides true envelope style distortion, and includes some warp presets built in. This transformation divides the selection into 9 sections, and you can manually warp the image, or use presets (such as arch). You can use standard transformations such as scale and skew to align the warped image to an underlaying image, and layer effects and styles to blend the image onto the background. This is a very handle tool to do things like applying a custom label to an object, such as a can or bottle.


Applying a flat image to a rounded object using Warp

Red-Eye Correction
Automatic red-eye correction may seem like a given since most all the low-end photo touch-up programs have this capability, but Photoshop never automated it... until now. In PS CS, it was easy enough to use selection tools with desaturation and levels, but now under CS2 it's finally a one click function. The tools seems to be pretty intelligent in interpreting how to fix red-eye. When you select a red eye in a photo, or even just near the eye, Photoshop will fix the eye automatically.


Red-eye Correction - Before and After


Graphics in Motion
Graphics in Motion is a nifty tool for quickly creating animated GIFs from your images. In the past you would have to find a plug-in or use a third-party application to get your animation set up. PS CS2 now makes this easy with lots of customization options, such as frame hold times and whether or not to loop. This is a great tool for creating eye-catching graphics on your website.

Spot Healing
Spot Healing is similar to the standard Healing brush, except you don't have to designate a sample area prior to applying it. Instead, you just apply it to an area, and Photoshop figures out what is around the area to determine how to heal. Depending upon the consistency of the area, you may not always get the results you want, but when you do, it's quite amazing. Take a look at the images below. This is a countryside landscape with various ranch buildings as well as cattle. I wanted to make it just nature by removing all the man-placed objects. In the past, I could have spent a lot of time tediously patching over those objects, but with the Spot Healing brush, I just painted over them all, and in a matter of about 10 seconds, I got some pretty decent results!


Original landscape with buildings and cattle


Landscape after using Spot Healing


Smart Tools
PS CS2 introduces a number of "smart" tools that do things you've done before with Photoshop, but now they are done more intelligently. For example, there's Smart Sharpening, Smart Guides, and Smart Objects (arguably, Spot Healing and Red-Eye Correction could have been called Smart Healing and Smart Eye since they fit in the same category).

Smart Objects is probably the biggest player of the smart tools, as it allows you to apply non-destructive transformations. For example, say you resized an image object to a smaller size, then days later decide you want it big again. Scaling it down was a destructive transformation, meaning that pixels were lost, and just sizing it back up results in poor resolution. Now, before applying any transformations, you can make the object a smart object. After that, resizing or any other transformations visually perform the same effect, but the original image is stored in the layer. So if you sized it down, and later sized it back up, it would be at the same resolution as the original (i.e., no pixels lost). Another nice feature is if you make duplicates of a smart object, they are all smart objects using the same image as reference. If you were to open the original image (by double-clicking on the smart object icon in the layer row) and apply changes to it, those changes are automatically propagated to all of the smart objects linked to that image. Very nice!

Smart Guides is also a nifty time saving feature that provides guides based upon an objects edges and center. Say, for example, you want to make duplicates of an object, and keep them aligned. Smart Guides makes this task fast and easy! No more creating guides manually, filling your canvas with countless messy looking lines.

The only smart tool that is still missing, one that I have been wanting for a long time, is Smart Trace. I don't know how many times I've had to manually trace an object in an image, and even with the option-click using the lasso tool, this is a tedious process. The magic wand selection tool has never produced results that have been useful for tracing an object, so a smart trace tool would definitely be a benefit. Or even a lasso tool where the points of the lasso can be altered (similar to a vector editing program) would be a benefit.

RAW Format Support
PS CS2 now has built-in support for the RAW format provided by most of the leading camera manufacturers. The advantage of the RAW format for the professional photographer is that you get access to all of the information captured by your camera, absolutely no data loss. This support extends into your ability to edit your photos in the RAW mode without having to convert it to some other format first (such as JPEG or PNG). The result of your edits remains in RAW format of the same quality as the original. Another advantage of RAW support is that color temperature, black & white, sepia and other effects normally applied by the camera can be changed after taking the picture, as many times as you like, without loss. Also the exposure scale is linear, not logarithmic, so you can retrieve more detail out of underexposed areas of photos. Photographers will love this feature.

Some other new features worth noting are Advanced Noise Reduction, 32-bit high Dynamic Range (HDR), Optical Lens Correction, new PDF engine integrated with Version Cue CS2, menu customization and event-based scripting. All in all, this is one of the more exciting Photoshop upgrades!

Documentation and Training
PS CS2 comes with the Enhanced Adobe Help Center. Adobe probably chose not to go with the Apple Help client so that they would retain the same consistent look and feel in the cross-platform environment. There is adequate help provided, as well as third party disk filled with a video tutorial to help you get started. The video tutorial, by Total Training, highlights many of the new features, and shows you how to use them. Both Total Training and Lynda.com (and probably others) offer a number of full training videos on Photoshop, and there are a great number of books written on Photoshop CS2 as well. Photoshop is a very powerful application with so many features that probably even the most long-term users may not even be aware of them all. The other thing with learning Photoshop is that even when you know the tools, it doesn't mean you know the best way to use them. There has been some amazing work done by Photoshop professionals using tools in ways that most people simply never imagined. It really helps to get up to speed on what the tools are and how they function, but much of Photoshop is learned through trial and error, creative exploration and experimentation. It's also nice to find web site tutorials and books that focus not so much on the tools, but on tips and tricks on exactly how to use those tools to do some cool and amazing things.

Summary
Adobe Photoshop CS2 is the premier photo editing application on Mac OS X, providing amazing results for photo retouching and image composition, and an endless range of special effects. For photographers, Photoshop provides countless features for improving your photographs, fixing exposure problems, adjusting color and contrast, and removing blemishes, dirt and scratches. Photoshop's layer features make image compositions a breeze to edit and manipulate. New in Photoshop CS2 is support for RAW format editing as well as a one-click red eye correction tool. For web site designers, game developers, graphics designers, and any hobbyist interested in expressing their artistic talents, Photoshop CS2 provides amazing transformation and filter tools to satisfy your creative needs. Not everything is easy to do in Photoshop, so to fully unleash your artistic talent, be prepared for a steep learning curve to take advantage of all the tools that Photoshop has to offer. However, even for the novice to intermediate users, there are plenty of tools in Photoshop which are easy to use. Photoshop CS2 also includes tools that streamline effects that in the past have been tedious and time consuming to achieve, such as the Spot Healing brush, Vanishing Point, Warp transformation, and Smart Objects. Photoshop is priced for the professional user, so home consumers on a budget may find that Photoshop is out of their reach. If you are in any profession that works with photographs or graphics, or even an aspiring hobbyist artist or photographer with a healthy budget, I highly recommend Photoshop CS2, as there is simply no match for it when it comes to photo editing and graphics design.

Pros

  • Amazing tool for image editing and composition
  • Vanishing Point perspective tool
  • One-click Red-Eye correction
  • RAW camera Format support
  • Smart Objects, Smart Sharpen, Smart Grids, etc.
  • Powerful yet intuitive interface

Cons

  • Restrictive and obnoxious activation requirement
  • Pricey for the home consumer
  • Still no integration with Apple's iLife suite
  • Steep learning curve for fully grasping the software
  • No Smart Trace


Overall Rating:

4 1/2 out of 5 Mice