I broke with this pattern when CS5 came out. My brother Coy of Country Captures shot JPEGs in his 30D and processed them with the old Photoshop 7, but he decided to change to shooting raw shortly after CS5 came out. I watched him working one evening and realized that CS5 was a great improvement over CS4. For one thing the images from it simply looked much better, and there was greatly improved noise reduction, and sharpening available in the camera raw processor along with other features. I learned an important lesson at this point as I had been using CS4 much the same as I had CS3 and didn't realize that there were a lot more features available in camera raw, such as the local adjustments window, which enabled one to do dodging and burning, etc. in camera raw. I had purchased Scott Kelby's CS3 book, but not the one for CS4. I bought the book for CS5 and found it to be extremely valuable as it told about new features and improved workflows. To my surprise, some of these were available in CS4 also, but I was locked into the same workflow I used in CS3 and missed these important features. The point is that if one does not buy a book, watch online tutorials, or participate in discussion groups, it is easy to get the latest version of software, continue with your ingrained workflow, and miss many of the new features that will improve or simplify your work.
Recently I became aware that CS6 was available in a beta version, which one can test free of charge. It is essentially a trial version of CS6 extended, but Adobe recommends that once CS6 is launched that one should un-install the beta version and download the actual release version, although it is possible to purchase the serial number and activate the beta version.
At any rate I have been using Adobe Photoshop CS6 beta for over a week and am very impressed with it for the most part. Perhaps it is just me, but I think there has been a further improvement in image quality since CS5. Perhaps most noticeable is the change in the appearance of the interface, which now has a dark elegant appearance.
|CS5 Interface-Note light grey color scheme|
|CS6 Interface-dark elegant appearance|
Menu and Crop Tool Options Bar
As is usually the case there is somewhat of a learning curve as some controls are not where one expects them to be. I immediately ran into this with the new and "improved" crop tool. Perhaps in time I will come to prefer it to the one in CS5, but only time will tell.
Another important change is that one can grab any of the corners of the crop box and drag it diagonally. In all previous versions of photoshop, at this point one composed the photograph by moving the crop box over the photograph, but now one must move the photo about within the crop box to position the image. Initially this is very confusing as it is easy to reflexively try to do it the traditional way. One can select "classic mode" so that it performs like previous versions, but on my machine it k reverts to the default mode when I close an image, so that I must select classic each time I open a new image. I think I will adapt to the new method, but I do I hope Adobe puts the resolution box back in the options bar,
Based on my experience to date, I think this is a worthwhile upgrade and I intend to purchase it when it is officially released. At the time I downloaded the beta version, they said that this would be within 30 days, so it should be before the end of May.
Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.