Photoshop CS (Creative Suite) - What the Experts Think

We sent the following five questions to some of the top experts in the industry

We've also included information about the path to upgrade Photoshop
The Questions:
  1. Every new version of Photoshop has new features that help people work more efficiently with images, and sometimes there are some changes that are less welcome. Could you relate to us a few of the new features or capabilities you like and what changes you feel might negatively affect your usage? Please feel free to mention any books or resources of yours that might be helpful to our readers.
  2. More and more people are purchasing digital cameras. Do you have any tips for digital photographers just starting out in Photoshop, or upgrading from a previous version?
  3. Photoshop, coupled with inkjet printing, has replaced the traditional wet darkroom many photographers depended on. Are there aspects of Photoshop CS which will affect the way these new "light room" photographers will work?
  4. What cool new features does Photoshop CS or ImageReady CS offer photographers that previously had to use other programs to do for web graphics?
  5. Please provide one quote that sums up your feeling about Photoshop CS.
The Experts:

Lynda Weinman - Lynda Weinman is a well-known author and trainer. Her company, lynda.com, creates education materials for digital artists in the form of books, online movies, cd-roms, and events. Check out www.lynda.com to see the new Photoshop CS offerings.

Katrin Eismann - Katrin Eismann is an internationally recognized artist, author, and educator who has been working with digital imaging tools since 1989. Katrin's extensive teaching and speaking engagements address the latest tools and techniques of digital imaging and the impact they are having upon professional photographers, artists, and educators. Katrin's latest book is titled Photoshop Restoration & Retouching 2nd edition. http://www.photoshopdiva.com   http://www.digitalretouch.org
Gregory Georges - Gregory Georges is a photographer and author of six books on digital photography including 50 Fast Digital Photo Editing Techniques, 50 Fast Photoshop 7 Techniques, and the soon-to-be published 50 Fast Photoshop CS Techniques. He is also a Contributing Writer for eDigitalPhoto magazine and he presents at a number of conferences and workshops each year. To learn more about Georges and his work, visit his Web page at www.reallyusefulpage.com
Richard Lynch - Richard Lynch will publish The Hidden Power of Photoshop CS in 2003 for advanced Photoshop use. This book is part of a series which includes The Hidden Power of Photoshop Elements 2, a book for advanced Elements use that provides work-arounds and additional tools for users to imitate many of the functions found in Photoshop. For more information on his books and free tools for users, visit http://photoshopx.com http://photoshopcs.com and http://hiddenelements.com

David Blatner - David Blatner is the co-author (with Bruce Fraser) of “Real World Photoshop CS” and the author of several other books about QuarkXPress and InDesign. You can find more information about David and his books at www.moo.com

Eddie Tapp - Eddie Tapp is an award-winning photographer, lecturer, consultant and author on digital imaging issues. As an award-winning photographer with over 20 years of experience in computer technology, Eddie has been actively involved in educating and consulting corporations, studios and agencies in the applications of digital imaging workflow, color management, pre-press and digital photography globally. His articles have appeared in The Professional Photographer, Photo Electronic Imaging, Infoto magazine, Southern Exposure Digital Capture and others and has served on Adobe’s Photoshop beta team. www.eddietapp.com
Ben Wilmore - Ben Willmore is the founder of Digital Mastery, a training and consulting firm that specializes in Photoshop. He is the author of the award-winning, best-selling book Photoshop CS Studio Techniques. Ben contributes to MacWorld, Photoshop User, MacDesign, Photo-Electronic Imaging, Design Graphics, PSBS Electronic Design, and many other magazines. He travels the world teaching photographers how to harness the power of digital imaging with his signature style of teaching the why behind the how of everything that is Photoshop. Point your browser to www.digitalmastery.com for details on his books, seminars, videos, tips and other fun stuff. You can also sign up for his free e-mail tips at www.digitalmastery.com/tips
Dan Margulis - Dan Margulis is a professional prepress manager with over 20 years experience heading electronics departments at high-end trade shops. He is the author of Professional Photoshop, Fourth Edition, the leading guide to color correction and image enhancement. His column, “Makeready,” which focuses on practical production issues, appears in Electronic Publishing magazine. His small-group, hands-on classes in color correction draw an international clientele. In September 2001, he was one of the first three persons named to the “Photoshop Hall of Fame” of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals, to recognize “those individuals whose contributions to the business, education, development, and art of Adobe Photoshop have enduring value.” http://www.ledet.com/

The Answers:

1 - Every new version of Photoshop has new features that help people work more efficiently with images, and sometimes there are some changes that are less welcome. Could you relate to us a few of the new features or capabilities you like and what changes you feel might negatively affect your usage? Please feel free to mention any books or resources of yours that might be helpful to our readers.
Lynda Weinman - I’m very excited about the Macromedia Flash SWF format support, but it’s quite hidden! I wish that it had appeared in the Optimize palette or Save For Web areas instead of the Export menu. Another exciting addition is the handling of HTML tables with slicing - which has spawned a new palette in ImageReady called Tables. These two new additions aren’t really featured prominently in the CS literature, but they’re both really great! I was already excited that you could export layered files out as separate files. I didn’t realize until the release however that you could export a Flash animation this way! They changed the way you do Rollovers, but I think it’s still hard to learn because of how many palettes you have to learn to juggle.
Katrin Eismann - This version of Photoshop has a number of ground breaking features and a great deal of improved features that will make image processing more efficient and enjoyable. Among the ground breaking features is the ability to work with layers in 16-bit, which is fantastic for the many people who have digital cameras that can capture hi-bit RAW data. Now you won’t have to jump through hoops to work in 16 bit as selections, masks, painting, and layers are now supported in hi-bit.

The second feature, which I feel is very important, is Version Que, which is the glue that ties the entire creative Suite together. So many people need to increase workflow efficiency and image tracking and with Version Que they’ll actually be able to track and find their images. It sounds like a simple idea - but how much time have we all wasted looking for files??

Among the improved featured are the more robust File Browser and Camera RAW and that you can now use the Healing Brush onto a separate layer, similar to the way the Clone Tool has behaved for many years.

Which ones will negatively affect my images? None - it’s up to me to use or abuse Photoshop responsibly!

Gregory Georges - The most appealing aspect of the new Adobe Photoshop CS to me is not a single feature; but, rather the ability to be able to use many of the more important features in 16-bit mode. The end results of converting a RAW file, then editing it in 16-bit mode can in many cases be vastly superior to an image that was edited entirely in 8-bit mode. This is especially true when you are working to bring out more detail in the shadows while protecting or enhancing detail in the highlights.

The downside to using 16-bit mode is that files are bigger and all image editing takes considerably more computer power and time. Sadly, there is a cost to working in 16-bit mode.-if you don’t have the computer power-you won’t like working on large images in 16-bit mode. Adobe Photoshop CS is a “must upgrade” if you shoot with a digital camera AND you shoot in RAW mode as Adobe Photoshop CS’s comprehensive 16-bit editing absolutely can help you to make better photographs.

Richard Lynch - There are several welcome additions in the Photoshop CS package. As in PS7, a lot of these enhancements are power-user additions or enhancements that effect specific user groups, but this set of enhancements seems more valuable. Many possibilities open with availability of all tools in 16-bit editing mode, log tracking for what steps you take with an image, large file support (up to 300,000 x 300,000 pixels), inclusion of the camera RAW plugin, nested layers sets (up to 5 levels), and conditional actions and SWF saves for Image Ready. Some of these may be too specific for general users, but they may be indispensable for professionals with access to equipment powerful enough to make use of these features.

Several items are more useful for the general user, like healing to a layer, text on or in a path, the Filter Gallery and customized shortcuts. Healing to a layer gives the user more opportunity and flexibility to use the healing results less casually and potentially destructively, and so the user can manipulate the result after the fact. Text on a path has always been a sore point for users who creatively use text in their images and had to turn to Illustrator to do the job. The Filter Gallery is finally a way to implement filters creatively as they should be used: in sets. You can rarely get an interesting and desirable creative effect applying Filters one at a time, and this enhancement makes grouping possible. With customized shortcuts, gone are the days when you have to research out a shortcut that you knew you used once...and you get a new productivity boost by keying in your own without having to create separate actions and use F keys. Not only do you have access to the shortcut listing from within Photoshop, and a very well presented interface for changing shortcuts, but you can print them all out. You can copy that shortcut file and take it with you to propagate on other machines, and customize personal sets for multiple users on any machine.

For newer users, the possibility of adding content to the Help menu will probably be a huge boon. Many experts will be interested in providing quality information — probably for free — to include on the menu. I’ll be providing some myself from ps6.com, photoshopx.com or photoshopcs.com.

I don’t see a lot of negatives except what might have been sadly over-looked in broadening the implementation of enhancements. Healing to a layer is a smart change, but one that was regretfully not implemented for Patching. Conditional actions are a welcome addition to Image Ready, but why not add them to Photoshop? The Filter Gallery is also great, but why not have the ability to save filter configurations? Sure, Adobe has to have something to put in the next version, but my bet is they will have quite a lot of other things to tackle as users become even more sophisticated, digital images become even more broadly used, and equipment and technologies advance.

David Blatner - Whenever those wacky software engineers at Adobe make our lives better with cool new features, they also make our lives more challenging. Perhaps it’s just the nature of software upgrades. The Layer Comp feature, for instance, is incredibly useful for almost every user who uses more than two layers in a document. Maybe it’s just me, but I was just baffled by this feature at first. I don’t think there’s any better way for Adobe to have designed it, but it definitely takes some getting used to. In our book “Real World Photoshop CS” (Peachpit Press, www.peachpit.com), we take the Layer Comp palette apart and try to make it obvious how it all works.

Similarly, we discuss how and why you’d want to use 16-bit images for color correction and how to get the most out of the Color Matching feature (this feature alone could drive someone to distraction without a clear understanding of what’s going on behind the scenes).

Eddie Tapp - Photoshop CS isn't going to look or feel very different at first... but once you start using it in production you're going to find the most progressive tool for the photographer ever. The new additions and enhancements are very large to say the least. The enhanced File Browser along with Camera RAW 2 is a good place to start and finish for that matter... and if you're into production, File Browser CS will become one of your best friends... it offers so much for automating a workflow in from the FB Menu's in editing, batch processing, organizing and speed of productivity... mentioning all the features in detail would require a host of pages... but rest assured that the new File Browser is worth the upgrade alone, easy to learn and take advantage of in a production environment. I think I'd have to say this is a major Schewe upgrade too looking at the 16 bit enhanced abilities and features... somewhat amazing. But once you get beyond the FB one of my most favorite features (that I have established a custom keyboard shortcut to) is the new Shadow-Highlight command. WOW... the ability to control the shadow and highlight so easily (midtones too) with this control has saved me tons of time diverting from advanced used in curves, and producing much better control and results. I really have nothing negative to report at all... but one would think there is always room for improvement... at this time, I can't imagine what I'd change right now with Photoshop CS.
Ben Willmore - Of the great many new features in Photoshop CS, here are three that have changed the way I think about working in Photoshop.

a) Being able to customize keyboard shortcuts allows photographers to customize Photoshop to their workflow, which should make them much more productive. For instance, I am very big on using adjustment layers when fine-tuning my images. Now with Photoshop CS, I can reassign the keyboard shortcut for Image>Adjustments>Curves so that it automatically creates a Curves Adjustment Layer.

b) The Healing brush was one of my favorite features from Photoshop 7, and now it’s even more useful. In CS, Adobe added the ability to heal to an empty layer. That small change has made use of the Healing brush much more central to the way I retouch images. Now that I can leave the original untouched image on the bottom layer of the document and keep all my retouching on a separate layer, I can experiment in ways that I might not have considered in previous versions. The only thing you have to look out for is how adjustment layers might apply twice if you don’t hide them before healing to a separate layer.

c) The updated File Browser is a vast improvement on the previous version, and there’s one new feature in particular that can completely change the way you use Photoshop. In Photoshop 7, you were limited to viewing your thumbnails in three sizes: small, medium and large. Oftentimes the large version just wasn’t big enough to be useful. But now you can view your thumbnails in near-giant proportions, up to 1024x768 pixels. In order to use those larger thumbnails, you’ll have to choose Custom Thumbnail Size from the View menu in the File Browser and set the size of thumbnails you’d like to see by choosing Edit>Preferences and changing the Custom Thumbnail Size setting. You can also take advantage of those huge thumbnails by doing the following: Double-click on the Folders and Metadata tabs to get them out of the way. Then drag the bar that divides the left and right sides of the browser to make the Preview area dominate your screen. After doing that, click on one of the thumbnails on the right side and use the up and down arrow keys to cycle though your images checking for sharp focus and good composition.

2 - More and more people are purchasing digital cameras. Do you have any tips for digital photographers just starting out in Photoshop, or upgrading from a previous version?
Lynda Weinman - The most important skills are learning to work with layers and masks. Practice in those areas! The File > Automate menu has lots of great treasures, from generating Picture Packages, to PDF slide shows, to full web sites.
Katrin Eismann - Depending on your photographic and computer experience you may need to learn new skills to take full advantage of the benefits of digital photography and digital imaging. I recommend taking a digital imaging class at a local community college or at the Santa Fe Workshops or at the Lepp Institute. To develop your computer and digital imaging skills take classes and workshops, read articles, or watch over a friend¹s shoulders as they work on a computer. Most importantly find a project that excites you, keeps you up at night, and won¹t let you go. This can be a personal project to document your family, a landscape series, or a community documentary. Any project that motivates you to keep honing your software skills is a good choice.

Depending on your comfort level you may need to develop new skills, which I think is a good thing. You wouldn¹t want to stay in an analog rut would you?

Gregory Georges - The more we are presented with powerful feature-rich image editing tools like Adobe Photoshop CS, sophisticated digital cameras with long lists of features and settings, and highly capable photographic printers-the easier it is to forget that the best way to get a great photograph-is to shoot a great photograph. My tip to those new to digital photography is to make sure you spend far more (as in many factors more) hours shooting than you do editing and printing your images. Truly good photographs need less editing and they make better prints too. Go shoot. Over time you will understand the value of this tip!
Richard Lynch - For those starting out, there is a tendency to think it is OK to lower the bar for shooting original images or in scanning because you can just “Photoshop it”. Your original capture is very important. Photoshop enhancements are mostly made to help get the most out of a good image, not to make a good image from a bad one (read: poorly scanned or badly shot). Become intimate with whatever equipment you are using for capture (read the manual, experiment, and learn about capture) because Photoshop can only manipulate the image information you bring to it...missing details, lack of resolution, fuzzy edges and other issues that could have been solved easily in capture can become bulking pains in the neck to fix, and can unnecessarily waste time.
David Blatner - Use the File Browser a lot. The problem with digital cameras is that everyone takes a billion pictures and instead of having shoeboxes filled with snapshots, we have hard drives and CDs near-overflowing with them. The beefed up File Browser in Photoshop CS helps manage a lot of that. (Here’s another tip: don’t forget you can delete most of what you shoot.)
Eddie Tapp - Take the time to experience the learning curve for Photoshop... it's fun, frustrating and then totally rewarding. The ability to automate processing for the beginner is there along with giant abilities for the more advanced user to create and be creative. Take one step at a time and soon enough you'll find yourself becoming familiar and comfortable working with files from any digital camera or workflow.
Ben Willmore - Digital Shutterbugs can rejoice with the introduction of Photoshop CS’s integrated camera raw support. If your camera saves in the Raw file format, you can finally reap the benefits of that format directly in Photoshop. When adjusting the Exposure and Shadows setting in Camera Raw, hold the Option key (Mac), or Alt key (Windows) to see which areas of your image are becoming pure white or pure black. When adjusting the Exposure setting, move it towards the right until you start to see small white areas showing up and then back off until all you see are colored areas and no whites. The only areas I allow to become solid white are where light reflects directly off a shiny object (known as specular highlights). Move the Shadows slider towards the right until you see small black areas appearing and then back off a bit until all you see are colored areas, otherwise you’ll start losing detail in the shadows of your image. Also, if you need to scale your image up, do it by choosing one of the higher settings from the Size pop-up menu at the bottom of the Camera Raw dialog box. That will often produce a higher quality result than scaling the image up once it’s open in Photoshop.
3 - Photoshop, coupled with inkjet printing, has replaced the traditional wet darkroom many photographers depended on. Are there aspects of Photoshop CS which will affect the way these new "light room" photographers will work?
Lynda Weinman - Absolutely. The new File Browser is an awesome way to organize and locate your pictures. Layer Comps are a great way to present and compare variations of images.
Katrin Eismann - The new and improved image interpolation Bicubic Smoother when sizing an image up and Bicubic Sharper when downsizing will give digital photographers better results when scaling their images. As mentioned, the 16-bit features will yield better results and the new Shadow/Highlight adjustment have rescued some of my exposure bloopers which I thought would be impossible to salvage.
Gregory Georges - The new digital darkroom provides photographers with extensive capabilities for altering images in an almost infinite number of ways. This means that photographers must always be thinking not only about what they want to do and how to do it-but, also what should they do to their images. All kinds of photographers from photojournalists to nature photographers and event photographers are being questioned about their “ethics of editing.” Will this “new” photography technology ultimately bring us to the point where we distrust photographs?
Richard Lynch - I am sure there will be mention of the Shadow/Highlight control here by other experts to create changes in exposure. It is an interesting tool, but one I have already seen being over-used, poorly used, and which might mask understanding of corrections and how they work. A similar situation happens when users implement embedded profiles as a means of managing color without really understanding what they are doing: you might get good results for the wrong reasons.

Learning to use Soft Proofing (not new in Photoshop CS) would probably be one of the most useful ways to change how to work. One thing you really can’t get in a darkroom is a pre-test of the result without using paper and chemicals to test exposures. Soft Proofing can provide a reasonably accurate preview of output so long as you have a device profile handy—all done without wasting paper or ink. Done correctly, it can save time and money, without the potential uncertainty that accompanies embedding a profile.

David Blatner - Absolutely! The shift to high-bit image editing is very important, but it takes some getting used to (and a fast machine doesn’t hurt either). Thinking in high-bit terms can really open the doors to an unfettered workflow.
Eddie Tapp - The only thing you'll miss is the fixer fingers smell... No real changes in Photoshop CS from 7 in this department... that is if you don't include the new abilities of the Picture Package... Printing from CS takes advantage of drivers as before especially using "Print with Preview"... making it easy using a color managed workflow with the Adobe engine or the likes of the Epson driver to control the output... The new Epson 4000 will certainly make things a bit more controllable as well with 8 channel ink features... (photo black OR matte black options).
Ben Willmore - The new Histogram palette is an awesome addition for those who know how to utilize the information it provides. It can indicate when you’ve blown out your highlights, clogged up your shadows or over-adjusted an image, which can cause posterization. The extended 16-bit image support in Photoshop CS can also change the way you work on preparing your images for output. Since you can work with many more shades of gray (or colors), you can avoid common problems like posterization when you attempt to brighten the shadow areas of your images.
4 - What cool new features does Photoshop CS or ImageReady CS offer photographers that previously had to use other programs to do for web graphics?
Lynda Weinman - The ability to make images in Photoshop and save them as PDF slide-show presentations or Flash presentations. Both features are a bit hidden under the File > Export menu.
Katrin Eismann - There are new fantastic Web Gallery templates that allow you to build a Web Gallery that includes client feedback options. I can shoot, post a website gallery, and get feedback from clients within minutes.
Gregory Georges - If you want to get feed-back on your photos from your clients by presenting them on a Web page, Photoshop CS’s new Web gallery styles makes it easy. However, the limited Web Gallery styles will keep me using other programs to create Web pages in almost all cases. The new down-sizing interpolation algorithm (Bicubic Sharper), Web Content palette, and the ability to export to Flash (SWF), and several other new features are “nice to have features); but, they are not sufficient for me to consider leaving my primary Web page creation tool behind.
Richard Lynch - Data-driven development, Flash exports and conditional actions are very powerful new tools that enable users to do things you just couldn’t do before in Photoshop or Image Ready. Changing elements based on data can help quickly take care of mundane things like captioning a group of images that will be used separately while keeping color and positions uniform. Exporting to flash can make better use of vector components in rendering and integrating Photoshop and Image Ready in a Flash workflow. Conditional actions can help complete repetitive tasks like duplicating and moving an object a set number of times to create animation. These are true power tools for web development.

My one disappointment with the enhancements to Image Ready is that over-all performance was not enhanced to really take advantage of more robust possibilities in development of large multi-layer, multi-component files. To be truly integrated with Photoshop, Image Ready needs to match the power of Photoshop in handling larger files. When moving from Photoshop to Image Ready, a 40 MB warning for files over that size points to a potential deficiency and can be a drawback if you create very complex elements.

David Blatner - The tools for building Web portfolios are getting better and better, but it’s still not push-button magic.
Eddie Tapp - Adobe has really created a communication link as never before... some of the new features in the enhanced Web Photo Gallery include the option to preserve Metadata and create a Web Photo Gallery as a slideshow and even as a "feedback" gallery which will make sending proofs for assignments just plain awesome. When you receive a "Feedback" gallery you have the option to select • Approved or • Other along with a comment box to write detailed request or comments... once you've viewed the whole gallery you can click on the "send email" button and send an email detailing all the images selected with the comments. A real winner for using the Web Photo Gallery in Photoshop CS.
Ben Willmore - For photographers who take their images on the journey from camera to Photoshop to the web, there are fewer bumps in the road. The fact that Photoshop now remembers the Camera Raw settings that were last used when an image was opened, and that you can apply different Camera Raw settings to multiple images makes it possible to directly convert your raw images into web photo galleries without having to open each image first (just Option/Alt-click the Ok button in Camera Raw to assign the current settings to the file without actually opening it). Also, the ability to sort images in the File Browser by just dragging them around and then being able to create a Web Photo Gallery that respects that sorting order is rather nice. Not only that, but some of the new gallery options allow clients to provide e-mail feedback on the images that are displayed in a gallery.
5 - Please provide one quote that sums up your feeling about Photoshop CS.
Lynda Weinman - The deepest imaging program on the planet just got deeper. An infinite paradise of possibilities!
Katrin Eismann - Photoshop CS is a better and deeper version of Photoshop that is not splash and flash, rather this version reveals a deeper maturity and is a serious tool for the serious image maker.
Gregory Georges - Adobe Photoshop CS is a “must upgrade” if you shoot with a digital camera AND you shoot in RAW mode; as comprehensive 16-bit editing absolutely can help you to make better photographs. You also won’t want to miss out on many incremental changes throughout Photoshop CS and ImageReady CS including some of my favorites which are: the Shadow/Highlight adjustment tool, enhanced File Browser, ability to edit and view file information in useful ways, modify Picture Packages, track editing history in text form, create lens blur effects, and convert RAW files. The downside to all these new features is that you may once again be forced into an upgrade for a more powerful computer and you will undoubtedly need to spend time learning how to get the most out of these new features if you choose to use them.
Richard Lynch - Photoshop CS is a far more desirable and significant upgrade than PS7 was in that it takes on a lot of bigger, biting enhancements to make for a more powerful tool for professionals. The combined enhancements in PS7 and CS would be a good reason for users on any prior version to take on the upgrade — if they are a serious user.
David Blatner - To me, while some folks might be fine sticking with an earlier version of Photoshop, CS is a must have for anyone serious about digital photography. Similarly, InDesign CS finally just hands-down beats QuarkXPress as a page-layout program.

With any program, there always an issue that might be considered controversial or unwanted. In Photoshop 7 it was the way digital camera Jpegs opened and gave you a save changes when closing even though no changes had been made. In this version of Photoshop, Adobe is trying an internet or telephone based activation process for Windows users to cut down on the amount of bootleg Photoshop CD’s out there. A few of the authors we spoke to had something to say about the activation procedure in their response.

Eddie Tapp - Nest-able Layer Sets!... Match Color!... Version Cue!... Bicubic Smoother or Sharper!... Healing Brush preview!... Text on a Path!... Histogram Window!... Photomerge!... Camera RAW 2!... Keywords, Flags and Pane Control in FB!!!... PhotoFilter!... Lens Blur!... Customizable Keyboard Shortcuts!... Wow!... Filter Gallery!... 16 bit enhancements!... Full Screen Mode enhanced!... Layer Comps!... Shadow/Highlight command!... and actually much more... or should I just say... Wicked Awesome!!!
Ben Willmore - The improvements in Photoshop CS were heavily weighted towards the photography crowd. From extensive16-bit image support, the awesome new Histogram palette, a much improved File Browser and the new Shadow/Highlight adjustment, it’s glaringly obvious that photographers are a key segment for Adobe and they definitely didn’t let them down with this update.
The Activation Issue - With some new versions of popular programs, there's bound to be at least one controversial issue. The Windows version of Photoshop CS requires a connection to Adobe's web site for activation. Microsoft programs have had this "feature" for the past few years starting with Win XP and Office 2002. Intuit also required activation of TurboTax which turned out to be a disaster for the company and resulted in lawsuits when registered users had difficulty doing their tax returns.
Dan Margulis - The one area I can speak about is the product "activation" brand of copy protection that is being inflicted on Windows users by Photoshop CS. I hope that those considering purchasing the Windows version of this product will give serious consideration both to whether the advantages of new features outweigh the inconvenience of the copy protection and to whether they wish to encourage this sort of behavior on the part of other vendors.
Richard Lynch - I have heard several complaints about “activation hooey”, having to do with Adobe’s choice to require program activation for Photoshop CS (BTW for those who didn’t know, Adobe has released what amounts to PS8 in a package called Photoshop CS—just ‘released’ but not shipping). The process of activating is pretty simple, similar to registering your product with the company. For those not familiar, products requiring activation will not work until you get in contact with the manufacturer. The purpose is hopefully to slow the spread of piracy, which in the case of Photoshop is seemingly fairly rampant. Frankly I could care one way or another how Adobe chooses to protect their software. I am curious if anyone really has a valid position against activation. I have used all sorts of things in purchased software...dongles, activation, passwords, subscriptions, thin client, and nothing. I DON’T SEE WHY it is such a big deal if: 1) you are using the program legally. 2) 2) your computer works and doesn’t need to be overhauled every month.

I can’t for the life of me see why either of these things should be unusual. If this allows Adobe to concentrate more on creating stuff for the program (e.g., they don’t have to worry about suing pirates, and can spend that money better), GREAT. If I have to make a call to them every 1.5 years to activate, perhaps I’ll get a freindly person on the other end and I’ll have a fine chat for 15 seconds and never talk with them again. If it even takes 5 minutes of your lifetime, is it that big a deal? How much time do you spend in traffic? at stop lights? brushing your teeth? Sometimes there are necessary evils in the path to getting to where you want to go, and my guess is you’ll want to have fresh breath when you get there. You won’t complain about the price, but you complain about a phone call? let me ask you...when you get out of your car with your fresh breath, do you lock the door? do you lock your house when you leave? Do you have keys to a post-box? If you were selling things at a flea market, would you just leave then things there and go to lunch and come back hoping to find money on the table for the items that were gone? for every one person that left money, 5 would think about picking it up...and maybe none would on a really really good day. Is it really more complicated than registering the product? I think not, so I’d do it. Does Adobe deserve the fruit of their labor? I think so, so I’d do it. Do I want to use the program? Yes; so I do it. It is the manufacturer’s choice, not the client’s, what goes into a program...as it is the manufacturer’s sweat. You can choose not to use a product because they want to be sure you are using it legally. Having some background in software, and entrepreneurship, I can’t fault them. It isn’t even locking the car, it is more like being careful to whom you give the keys. Most of us would do that. Those of you who don’t, might I borrow your car for a little trip I’m taking? I didn’t think the PS7 upgrade was all that much to scream about...I think there are far more beneficial features in CS though, and if some “activation hooey” is enough to stop you from upgrading, it is spiting no one but yourself and perhaps making their case for them.

The path to upgrade from previous versions of Photoshop
Adobe has followed Macromedia’s lead and bundled the latest versions of their best selling image, print and web-publishing programs into two “Creative Suite” collections.

The Creative Suite bundle comes in two flavors, Premium edition and Standard edition. Both contain the most recent versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Adobe’s Version Cue File Manager, which enables searching and keeping track of images used by any of the individual software packages through thumbnails, key words or metadata. The Premium version also comes bundled with Adobe’s web design program GoLive and Acrobat Professional.

In addition, they have abandoned the practice of giving new releases of their software version numbers, choosing instead to add the letters CS to each of their newest versions. So if you have been waiting for Photoshop version 8.0, look instead for the new Photoshop CS. Likewise, Adobe lllustrator CS replaces Illustrator 11, InDesign CS replaces InDesign 3.0, and GoLive CS will replace GoLive 7.0. It seems that Adobe Acrobat 6.0 Professional is the only application in the group that will keep a version number denominator. Each application will continue to be available as a stand-alone software program, as well as part of a suite.

The retail price of the Creative Suite Premium Full Release, which includes Adobes five top professional programs, will list at $1229. (Purchasing the programs individually would run a total of $2700). But it is the upgrade price that will probably motivate many people to acquire a suite. If you own an older version of any one of the programs you can upgrade to the entire Premium bundle for $749, or to the to the Standard edition for $549.

Be aware though, once you begin using one of the Creative Suites your future upgrade path will be restricted to upgrading the entire suite unless you already own a full prior version of the program you want to update. This could make your future upgrade costs considerably higher than simply upgrading one package at a time. Another caveat is that the Create Suite does not come with the standard bound program manuals we’re used to finding in the box with the individual releases. Instead, Adobe has chosen to place PDF files containing the user guides on the installation CD’s.

If you choose to stick with just the Photoshop CS program you will find that the retail list ($649) and upgrade prices ($169) are in line with what you have paid in the past.

Creative Suite FAQ page on Adobe’s web site: http://www.adobe.com/products/creativesuite/faq.html

We would like to express our appreciation to all the people who responded and took time out from their busy writing schedules to answer our questions.
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