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Friday, January 12, 2007

Buyer's Guide 2007: Digital Imaging Software

From basic fixes to professional tools for the most demanding enthusiast, there's a photo app

Adobe Photoshop CS2 Adobe Photoshop CS2 really needs no introduction. It has long been the standard image editor to which all of the others have been compared, and it's the standard application used by most pros and service bureaus.

While it has never been considered an easy program to learn, the latest release has made complex features more intuitive and useful, taking some of the interface ideas first seen in the entry-level Photoshop Elements. Photoshop CS2 offers extensive support for 16-bit image editing, excellent RAW image conversion with Adobe Camera Raw, and the most extensive color management support of any application, making it ideal for critical color work, including printing.

The CS in CS2 stands for Creative Suite, which is a full set of applications for the publishing professional, including page layout, vector graphics and Web authoring. These applications, available separately or in a bundle, are all tied together by Adobe Bridge, which serves as an image browser with keyword tagging, sorting and rating features.

If you create websites, the ImageReady component of Photoshop makes it easy to create buttons and animated graphics for your pages, and allows you to slice your graphics into smaller files that load faster.

Photoshop has the most powerful tools of any application covered here, with curves, channel mixer and extensive layer and masking support. For those things that Photoshop can't do on its own, you can be sure there's a third-party plug-in that will handle the task for you. And if you're worried about the learning curve, Photoshop has the most extensive selection of training options and books of any program on the market. List Price: $649.




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