Design Visualization

Photoshop CS5 Extended

26 May, 2010 By: Ron LaFon

First Look Review: This image and photography editor includes new features that help users create more realistic 3D designs.

Photoshop CS5 Extended from Adobe Systems is an amazingly capable image and photo editor, equipped with features that make it a valuable tool for a broad range of professional endeavors, including CAD, DCC (digital content and creation), and visualization. Although a Standard version is also available, for this review, I evaluated Photoshop CS5 Extended, which offers high-end capabilities of interest to design professionals and the professional imaging communities. This release packs in more technological advancements from Adobe Labs than any other, and incorporates enhancements to everyday tasks requested by users. Advanced tools for 3D address the needs of the video, Web, medical, manufacturing, and engineering industries.

New Features and Enhancements

Photoshop CS5 Extended
Image and Photograph Editing
Overall Grade: A

Faster performance, enhanced editing capabilities, integrated lens correction for major camera brands, HDR integration, Mini Bridge panel, 64-bit version in the box, remarkable new features.

Cons: None significant.

Price: $999, with upgrade pricing available from $349.

Adobe Systems
One of the most dazzling new features in this release is content-aware fill. You can remove any image detail or object, and this tool fills the space left behind, matching lighting, tone, and noise so that it looks as if the removed content never existed. This tool operates quickly and is a real time-saver.

With Puppet Warp tool, you can precisely reposition or warp an image element. You can, for example, stretch text for special effects, or move a person's raised arm to his or her side in a photo.

Enhanced 3D realism and rich materials are new, enabling you to enhance 3D objects and designs with easy shadow creation, image-based lighting, and materials like glass and chrome. Adjusting the range for depth-of-field lets you explore various focus points in your 3D scene. In addition, Adobe Repoussé enables the creation of 3D extrusions from any text layer, selection, path, or layer mask.

Using Adobe Photoshop's Camera Raw 6 plugin, you can nondestructively remove image noise while preserving color and detail. You can add grain to make digital photos look more realistic, or match an inserted object to the surrounding photographic image. Post-crop vignetting is also possible now.

Automated lens correction lets you correct various types of lens distortions, including converting fish-eye barrel distortion to a correct rectilinear appearance. For those interested in HDR (high dynamic range) images, Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended includes HDR Pro and HDR Toning.


Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended's automated lens correction lets you correct various types of lens distortions, including converting fish-eye barrel distortion (above) to a correct rectilinear appearance (below).

There are many other new features, as well as enhancements to usability and the day-to-day tools one commonly uses. Even interface management is enhanced, with a new Workspace Switcher and live workspaces — you can edit the pull-down menus to place the tools you want where you need them. The customizable Mini Bridge panel lets you sort and filter, then drag files into your document.

You can touch up rendered images in Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended, and the included Mini Bridge application lets you easily navigate images from within the program.

Add these new features and enhancements to the 2D and 3D features already familiar from previous releases, and Photoshop CS5 Extended becomes the most powerful and flexible version yet of this veteran application.

Purchasing Details

Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended is available internationally, and in a broad range of languages. Both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Adobe Photoshop Extended are included with purchase; you can optionally install one version or both, though obviously you'll need a 64-bit operating system in order for the latter to work.

To review system requirements for both the Windows and Mac OS versions of Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended, please refer to the list posted on the Adobe web site.

Pricing for Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended is unchanged from the previous version ($999 for the full version, with upgrade pricing starting at $349). Numerous bundles are available that couple Photoshop CS5 with other Adobe applications that are popularly used in conjunction with Photoshop.

A Standard version of Adobe Photoshop CS5 is available for $699 (with upgrades from $199), which lacks features such as the Repoussé technology, 3D materials library and picker, enhanced ray tracer with progressive rendering, 3D merging and scene compositing improvements, and 3D workflow improvements. Both versions of Adobe Photoshop CS5 are superb — the choice between the two is dependent upon your particular needs.

A trial version of Adobe Photoshop CS5 is available from the Adobe web site as a 979.9 MB download for the English-language Windows version; the trial is time-limited, but allows you to evaluate the application and run it through its paces on your system and in your workflow.

Final Thoughts

Adobe Photoshop is 20 years old this year. I remember reviewing the first PC version, and we have come a long way in those two decades.

The release of Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended has much to offer, no matter what your specific needs may be. The amazing depth and flexibility of this software make it useful for a broad range of applications in the design and visualization workplace.

If you're using an older version of Photoshop, this new release provides ample reason to upgrade to the CS5 version. Some of the new features, such as content-aware fill, can literally turn a tedious, hours-long project into one that takes only a few minutes — or even seconds. Combined with the faster overall performance of Photoshop CS5, this (and many other features) easily earned this release our Highly Recommended rating.


About the Author: Ron LaFon

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