PDN Review: Adobe Photoshop CS5

July 1, 2010
By Dan Havlik

Prod Reviews - Adobe CS5

Content-Aware Fill, which lets you easily remove objects from an image (like the one seen here on left), is one of the highlights of Photoshop CS5.
Photoshop CS4 is unlikely to figure too prominently in the history of Adobe software. Released in October 2008 at the start of the recession, PS CS4 offered several nice improvements—including a cleaner tabbed interface and some revamped editing tools—but nothing that put it in the "must buy" column for photographers. In fact, in my lukewarm review of Photoshop CS4, I noted that it seemed more like an incremental upgrade to CS3 than a full-fledged new release.

What a difference a few months can make.

Where the entire CS4 package seemed aimed at expanding Adobe's reach beyond photographers, the new Photoshop CS5 is designed squarely at bringing photographers back. Several new features in Photoshop CS5—including small things such as a straighten button on the Ruler tool and the addition of "Mini Bridge" to quickly access photo collections without leaving Photoshop proper—have entered my imaging workflow so quickly with PS CS5, I wonder how I functioned before without them.

Along with a slew of new user-inspired fixes—what Adobe's developers call JDI (Just Do It) features—Photoshop CS5 includes several "Rock Star" level additions including the much talked about Content-Aware Fill feature; intelligent selection and masking with better edge detection; and the whimsical yet useful Puppet Warp.

Add in Photoshop CS5's speed improvements including the fact that it's now a native 64-bit application for both Mac and Windows computers, and you have an extremely impressive program that photographers should consider putting on their shopping lists despite the hairy price tag: Photoshop CS5 ($699); Photoshop CS5 Extended ($999).

Yes, that still ain't cheap especially considering The Great Recession hasn't really ended yet. But did I mention that Photoshop CS5 also has new HDR and painting features; automated lens correction; and revamped RAW image processing in Adobe Camera Raw 6 among a few dozen other noteworthy new tools? I didn't? Ok, let me get to that.

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