First Look: Photoshop CS3 Beta

The long-awaited upgrade to Photoshop CS2 is finally on the way, which is especially great news for Mac users, as Photoshop CS3 will run natively on the latest Intel-based Mac systems. For Windows users, it’s ready for Vista, too.

The official release of CS3 is coming soon, but in the meantime, get an early look at the upgrade by downloading the public beta—a first for Photoshop—from Anyone can try it free during the beta period, but to continue using it, you must have a valid CS2 serial number. Remember, beta software is just that, meaning there may be functionality issues not yet resolved, so don’t ditch your earlier version of Photoshop just yet.

New Quick Selection Tool

With the new Quick Selection tool, you click and drag around the approximate area or object you want to work on, then CS3 analyzes the image to complete the selection automatically.

Enhanced Adobe Camera Raw

Users of Adobe’s Lightroom will recognize the new features added to the enhanced Camera Raw 4.0, which now has Fill Light, Recovery and Vibrance controls, as well as sophisticated black-and-white toning controls, a parametric tone curve and a grayscale conversion option.

Left Tool Palette Slim View

In the Photoshop CS3 beta, some noticeable changes have been made to the look of the palettes. The left tool palette can now be changed to a single column, giving you a larger, unobstructed view of the image on which you’re working. You’ll also notice the slot formerly occupied by the Magic Wand tool has been replaced by the Quick Selection tool.

Enhanced Black-And-White Conversion

The advanced Black-and-White conversion dialog gives you control over the conversion of each color in your image. You can easily fine-tune the tones of each color using sliders, select from a new series of black-and-white presets with the improved Channel Mixer adjustment or save your own custom settings as presets.

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