Go to advertiser website.
Go to advertiser website.
Photoshop CS3 to be released as public beta tomorrow  
Thursday, December 14, 2006 | by Rob Galbraith

The elves at Adobe are busy today preparing an early Christmas present for users of Photoshop CS2: a sneak peek at the next version of Photoshop. Starting tomorrow, the company will make available for download both Windows and Mac versions of Photoshop CS3 in public beta form, to give Intel-based Mac owners a version of Photoshop that will run at native speed, and to give those on either computing platform a chance to see first-hand the new features in Adobe's flagship image editor.

Once the Photoshop CS3 beta is available to the world on December 15, we can delve into a bit more detail about the new program's features and performance. For now, we'll focus on the purpose of the CS3 beta, who is eligible to download and run it and highlight some of the whizzy new capabilities of the program.

Why a beta of Photoshop CS3

First, why is Adobe doing this? In a press presentation last week, Adobe Senior Product Manager John Nack said that it's to deliver native platform performance to owners of Macs with Intel processors, as well as to provide an advanced glimpse at the program's new bells and whistles to all users of Photoshop CS2, whether they live on Windows or have either a PowerPC- or Intel-based computer from Apple. Since a Photoshop CS2 serial number is required to obtain a serial number for and activate the CS3 beta, the bean counters at Adobe may also hope it generates new sales of Photoshop CS2 in advance of the planned spring 2007 rollout of the final version of Photoshop CS3.

Adobe is stressing that the Photoshop CS3 beta is a beta; that is, the company is still actively stomping out bugs, tidying up certain features, writing the documentation, preparing language versions other than English and more. The program is essentially feature complete, though; unlike the ongoing Lightroom beta, which has been about garnering feedback from photographers to aid in the evolution of that application's feature set, Adobe has mostly locked down what will and won't be in CS3. Also unlike Lightroom, Adobe doesn't plan to release successive betas of Photoshop CS3.

Tech support through standard Adobe support channels will not be offered for the Photoshop CS3 beta, though a forum on the Adobe Labs website will allow beta users to report bugs and will probably allow some level of engagement with Adobe developers in working around CS3-related problems as they crop up. Adobe isn't saying precisely when the Photoshop CS3 beta will expire, only that it will be sometime after the final version of the software is released for sale in spring 2007.

Who is Photoshop CS3 beta-worthy

To download the Photoshop CS3 beta tomorrow, you'll need to have your Photoshop CS2 serial number at hand. Though the beta will be an English version of Photoshop CS3, a serial number from any language version will be accepted, as long as it's valid for Photoshop CS2. And it can be Photoshop CS2 that you bought as an upgrade or full version (including versions sold through education channels), or as part of a Creative Suite bundle.

Once you've entered your serial number for CS2 during the download process, a CS3 beta serial number will be generated for you. Once the Photoshop CS3 beta is downloaded and installed, it will function for two days before activation will be required. Installing Photoshop CS3 beta will not overwrite your current Photoshop CS2 installation, both can co-exist on the same machine (though you will have to manually migrate various program settings, from Actions to keyboard shortcuts, to the CS3 beta).

Also note that while third-party plug-ins that work in Photoshop CS2 should also work in the Photoshop CS3 beta for Windows, and on either PowerPC-based Macs or an Intel-based Mac running the application in Rosetta mode, most if not all plug-ins will need to be recompiled for use on an Intel Mac running the Photoshop CS3 beta at native speed.

The system requirements are as follows:

  • PowerPC® G4 or G5 processor, Intel-based Macs
  • Mac OS X 10.4.8
  • 320MB of RAM (512MB recommended)
  • 512 minimum of RAM if you are running Adobe Bridge as well
  • 1.5 GB of available hard-disk space
  • 1,024 x 768 monitor resolution with 16-bit video card and 64 MB of video RAM
  • Internet or phone connection required for activation
  • Intel® Pentium® 4, Intel Centrino®, Intel Xeon®, or Dual-Core Intel Xeon processor
  • Microsoft® Windows® XP with Service Pack 2 or Windows Vista
  • 320MB of RAM (512MB recommended)
  • 650 MB of available hard-disk space
  • 1,024 x 768 monitor resolution with 16-bit video card and 64 MB of video RAM
  • Internet or phone connection required for activation
What's new in the Photoshop CS3 beta

Here's some of what you'll see that's new in the Photoshop CS3 beta:

Speed Application launch time is improved across Windows and Mac platforms, with the time it takes to launch Photoshop for the first time being cut the most dramatically on Intel-based Macs. While Photoshop CS2 already launches fairly quickly on Windows, both XP and Vista users (especially Vista users) will notice that the Photoshop CS3 beta is open for business in less time than it takes to have a sip of coffee.

Once the program is launched, however, the real beneficiaries of the speed improvements are Intel Mac owners. Adobe's Nack cited a performance jump of 40% relative to CS2, which is an overall figure derived from testing 250 Photoshop operations on a 3GHz Mac Pro. We'll provide some performance numbers of our own tomorrow, but for now it's safe to say that Adobe's 40% figure grossly understates how much faster the program feels, and how much faster it can plough through intensive operations such as running the Smart Sharpen filter on a 16-bit EOS-1Ds Mark II file.

For the Intel Mac crowd, the number one feature of the Photoshop CS3 beta is speed.

Camera Raw 4 Photoshop CS3 beta sports a new version of the Camera Raw plug-in. The changes will look familiar to those who have been processing RAW files in the Photoshop Lightroom betas.

Quick Selection Tool Think of this as the 2007 version of the Magic Wand tool, and this time it's truly magical in how it knows where to lay down the path of marching ants around an object. Another new feature, called Refine Edge, enables a selection to be fine-tuned and previewed more effectively than before.

Better Curves Curves has received a makeover that includes the ability to save presets that are choosable from a popup menu inside the Curves window.

Smart Filters This feature is a close cousin to Adjustment Layers. Smart Filters enable one or more filters to be applied to a layer, where the filter settings are stored with the layer and can be re-adjusted later or the filtering can be undone completely. For instance, it's possible to apply Smart Sharpen to a layer via Smart Filters, and subsequently change the amount of sharpening or undo the sharpening altogether. It's also possible to choose a blending mode; to apply Smart Sharpen just to image luminance, for example.

Refined interface New palette and toolbar displays options enable better use of available screen real estate, especially when using the program on a single display.

Revamped print window The main Print window is the former Print with Preview, and now includes a colour-managed preview of the picture to be printed, with the option to soft-proof the preview as well, plus there are window layout changes and other minor tweaks.

There's plenty more that's new, including a dedicated black-and-white conversion filter, enhanced Photomerge function with improved automatic alignment and blending of frames in a panorama, optional automatic layer alignment, improved merging of multiple exposures into a high-dynamic range image plus a new version of Bridge, called Bridge CS3.

All this is coming tomorrow in the Photoshop CS3 beta. Adobe hasn't said exactly when it will be made available for download, but it will be sometime in the early morning hours (Pacific Time) on December 15, 2006 at the Adobe Labs website. The Mac download is estimated to be about 750MB, while the Windows download is to be about 415MB.


Send this page to: Twitter Twitter Facebook Facebook Google Bookmarks Google Bookmarks Email Email
Go to advertiser website.
©2000-2013 Little Guy Media. Not to be reproduced without written permission.