Many graphic designers swear by Photoshop and consider it to be the pinnacle of perfection in image manipulation programs. The CS5 edition only enhances this reputation with a host of new features that are remarkably useful. Since the standard and extended editions have many features in common and the extended edition can cost a couple of hundred dollars more, many people may assume the standard edition is perfect for them. Is the extended edition worth the extra cost? That depends solely on what you want to accomplish with your designs.
Both editions of Photoshop CS5 have fantastic new features including a host of new tools to create realistic painting effects. These improvements allow for on-canvas color blending at any level of wetness and realistic brush strokes to take your painting enhancements to new levels. Other great new features include enhanced HDR image creation, intelligent edge selection tools, mobile integration, and enhanced raw image processing that make it easier than ever to achieve your desired results. In addition to these upgrades, the new Photoshop also allows for puppet warp, which enables you to manipulate the position of any element in an image. Perhaps the most impressive, and likely most useful, of the new features is the content-aware fill. This powerful tool allows you to remove any portion of an image and fill in the space with lighting, tone, and noise matching so flawless that it looks like the missing image never existed.
Other less visible enhancements allow you to work with Photoshop more easily than ever. Cross-platform 64-bit support utilizes current hardware to the fullest advantage and Configurator 2.0 gives you the freedom to set up your toolbars any way you need them. Other simple but useful improvements include the ability to create a new layer simply by dragging and dropping an element, the ability to delete all empty layers with scripts, an option to set your ‘save as’ default to the last folder in which you saved an image, and the ability to move an object even when the active layer is hidden, and an overlay grid for cropping that allows you to trim more evenly without guessing. These improvements are just a sampling of the many new surprises available in this release of Photoshop.
As impressive and useful as these features are, the extended edition delivers even more of a punch with its suite of 3D tools. With these tools, you can paint realistically on 3D objects and add 3D elements to your designs or create composites. You can also use an image-based light source to add natural-looking lighting to your objects and it even allows you to animate your objects or light source for extra effect. Repoussé lets you transform your 2D objects into 3D using the extrusion qualities of your choice. You can then pause and restart your renderings for added control. Finally, the shadow catcher feature allows you to effortlessly create realistic shadows for your objects.
So what’s best?
So which edition of Photoshop CS5 is right for you? Both will take your image manipulation and creation to previously unbelievable levels. Both will also make using the program more hassle-free than past editions. But, if you really want to make your web designs eye-popping, the 3D imaging tools in CS5 extended edition make this version well worth the added cost.