Adobe Photoshop CS5 – King of all Image Manipulation Programs?

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This is a guest post by Achal Varma. He is a student from New Delhi, India and dabbles in Web Development and Digital Design. His home on the interwebz: He studies in his spare time. If you would like to write for TheDolt’s Blog, do read our page Be My Guest; Write A Guest Post.

The latest addition to the Photoshop family is The Creative Suite 5.  Power packed with 250+ new features, this upgrade is capable of performing a plethora of new tasks we’ve never seen before, and packs a real big punch compared  to other closed-source Image Manipulation Programs like Corel’s PaintShop Pro,  Apple’s Aperture and iPhoto.  Few people may  know how they can use CS5’s new features to their advantage, and the new tools to their full potential. This write-Up  highlights the most efficient ways of optimizing your Images using these new features.

BackEnd Changes

Before we go any further, you may want to know a little bit about the back-end development of Photoshop CS5.
The Programming team had its hands full during the development period, since they had to write most of the program from scratch,  to accommodate 64-bit processing. For Windows Users, this is a boon in disguise as they can now open and edit HUGE files, of up to 4GB in size, and utilize more RAM, making the Program run marginally faster, and its effect processing zippier.  However, users of Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) and OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) will barely notice the change in launch, or processing speed.

They have also made some of the Mathematical Algorithms that govern the Way Certain Effects work, more accurate. For Instance, the Shape Mesh of the Warp tool is closer knit, and now allows transformation up to a much larger extent.
Bad News is, that to accommodate the new programming code that allows for 64-bit processing, some plug-ins and filters, like the built-in Variations and Lighting Effects, only work in 32-bit mode, and that surely will disappoint some users. Moreover, most third party plug-ins too will work only in 32-bit mode, until they are updated.

Thankfully for Mac Users, it’s easy to switch between the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the Program;  just select the application icon, choose File>Get Info,  turn on the 32-bit option, and re-launch Photoshop. There is no such option available for Windows yet.

Changes in Photoshop User Interface

Another major change one notices upon launching the Program is the UI.

Very Different from the Photoshop CS3 and CS4 UI’s where the last major change was made, this new UI lets the User Customise the way tools are classified, and lets the User place them in different tabs (Essentials, Design and Painting), according to preference and Usage.

As shown above, the UI of Photoshop CS5 is more advanced, and with nifty new features like Tabs and Built-In Image management software like Adobe Bridge in the form of a Plug-In.

Never seen before Features in CS5

  • Graphic Design

    –  Customizable Wet Media Brush Presets
    –  Puppet Warp Tool
    –  Repoussé 3D Rendering Capability with HD Render Lighting presets
    –  Faster Realtime 3D Engine with Different Camera Angles and Perspective
  • Photography– The Content Aware Fill Tool
    – Adobe Bridge Mini Preset  – For Image Management
    –  Cleaner, Easier Image masking and GreenScreening/Chroma Keying.
    –  Image Tone post  Processing in 3 Different modes – RGB, CYMK and many  RAW formats

Photoshop CS5  –  A Graphic Designer’s Paradise

CS5’s many new features were included keeping the Special needs of Graphic Designers in mind.

This is Adobe’s Effort to make sure Photoshop CS5 has features which are not available in any other Image-Manipulation Software, while keeping in mind all the expectations and needs of Digital Imagers today.

Customizable Wet Media Brushes

Photoshop CS5 has a totally Overhauled Brush Dynamics Engine.The new Bristle Tips feature makes brushes behave like their real-world counterparts, letting you create more natural paint
strokes. A revamped Brush Preset panel lets you see what the new bristles look like before you use them, and the new Mixer Brush lets you mix colors from your sidebar onto the Document. One can even determine how wet the canvas is, how much paint you’re mixing from canvas to brush, and how many colors you want to load onto your brush tip. There’s even a brush-cleaning option !

You can also change brush size and hardness with the same keyboard shortcut:
Control-Option-drag horizontally or vertically respectively.

And if you’ve used the Rotate View Tool to spin your canvas so it’s at a more natural angle, your brushes won’t rotate. Just don’t expect the new brush behavior to kill Corel Painter, Photoshop’s brush improvements are in their infancy and will take some time to blossom fully.

Other painterly improvements include keyboard shortcut access to a “heads-up” version of the Colour Picker (it appears atop your image, sans dialog box), making it easier to swap colour while you’re painting; improved support for graphic tablets (like the option to have tablet settings override brush settings); and a new sample ring for the Eyedropper Tool, which shows the current and new colours, making it easier to grab the colour you want.

Puppet Warp Tool

If you ever need to move your subject’s arms, legs, or tail into a better position, the new Puppet Warp tool can get it done. This Inverse-Kinematic-Plugin Feature has been in Adobe AfterEffects since AE CS3.  However, this new Photoshop feature has been upgraded to provide less pixelation upon Warping, and overall Cleaner results. One begins by dropping markers (called pins) onto the item you want to move, and then Photoshop generates anchor points, handles, and a grid-like mesh that you use to move and distort the item. It works with pixel-based layers as well as Smart Objects. Unless you frequently need to move a model’s arm or leg, or adjust a road or path so it’s more or less curvy, you’ll rarely use this feature.  Still Pretty Cool, Huh ?

Repoussé and new 3D  Tools

Photoshop CS5 Extended users will enjoy the new Repoussé feature, which lets you create 3D versions of a variety of 2D items such as text, paths, layer masks and selections. It creates a 3D layer that you can use with Photoshop’s full arsenal of 3D tools. Don’t expect it to be a quick process, though; no matter what workstation you have, Photoshop requires some time to perform the 3D extrusion

To use the Repoussé tool, first select your item by clicking on the thumbnail, then going to 3D> Repoussé>Current Selection. Then Select your settings.

Other 3D features include the new Ground Plane Shadow Catcher, which gives you an easy way to generate a realistic shadow cast on the ground (or, in this case, mesh) beneath a 3D object. Photoshop CS5 also sports faster 3D Ray Tracer rendering (think of Ray-Tracing as tracing the path of light rays reflected off an object and back to the camera for a more photorealistic image), which lets you render a selection, pause and resume rendering, and change render quality. Adobe have also added a slew of new materials, light sources, and overlays, and also the ability to change 3D depth of field, new 3D preferences and more.


Photoshop CS5 – A Photographer’s Playground ?

Be it Camera RAW Processing, Lens Correction or even High Dynamic Range Imaging (HDRI or just HDR), Photoshop CS5 has it ALL.  Ready to delve deeper into these often un-explored depths of  Photoshop?

HDR Tone Mapping in Photoshop CS5

HDR  Tone  mapping in Photoshop CS5 reduces the dynamic range, or contrast ratio, of the entire image, while retaining Images with too much tone mapping processing have their range over-compressed, creating a surreal low-dynamic-range rendering of a high-dynamic-range scene.

Basically, It reduces the sharpness of the image, which makes the Image more comfortable to look at, While also retaining the Collective contrast (mapping) those pixels in the image which are closely related in terms of color and relation b/w Hexadecimal Codes.
Very useful to for those avid Photographers who want the Perfect Picture, Every time.

All New RAW format Support and Lens Correction

RAW images taken directly from camera sensors offer more flexibility and quality than JPEGs that have been processed by the camera, but they also bring headaches since some editing is required to make them useful for sharing with others. Another headache: software companies must continually add support for the proprietary raw formats that come with the unending  parade of new cameras in the Market.

Adobe Bridge Plug-in – Manage Your Photos Better

What was available as a Paid Plug-in in the previous two Versions of Photoshop has now been fully Integrated Into PS CS5.
This Plug-in helps you to Manage your photos so well, and SO easily that a Photoshop Newbie, or even a Photographer using it as a Post-Processing tool can use it.

It derives information (Shutter-Speed, ISO setting, Curve Balance and even tips to help you optimise the image)  about each photograph one browses in the window, provided that it recognises the Camera from which the Image was taken. As expected, it cannot do so for images taken off the Internet.

One Area where this fails is that it provides no information about the Location where the photograph was clicked,  unlike a few other Photo management Applications such as Google’s Picasa.


So, is It worth the Money, Or the Upgrade from previous Versions ?

YES ! – If you are an Aspiring, or professionally qualified Graphic-Designer, and want those really cool new 3D render tools, and a Revamped Photoshop work Environment, along with stepped-up features spanning many categories

Not Quite ! – If you are a Photography Enthusiast, and use Photoshop only occasionally for photo post-processing & Image-Management, Since Older versions may suffice for those purposes.
After All, Adobe Bridge Plug-Ins are available for Older Versions Too !
However, All the New ‘Photography-centric’ additions WILL make this task easier.

On the Whole, an Exciting Product, and we hope Adobe continues its legacy of producing Ground-Breaking Software that takes the IT community by storm.




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