I got a preview of the latest version of Photoshop the other day and I have to say I am impressed, but this blog will be controversial because I know that many will disagree with some of what I have to say. That is because it is subjective and because I am a photographer. As a photographer, I do not use Photoshop even though I have a copy of it. Instead I use Lightroom. But more about that in a bit.
Adobe has had amazing success with their line of software for photographers. They are the envy of the industry and they manage to command a hefty price premium over and above all of the others. They intend to maintain that advantage by continuing to add features and capabilities. In this release alone they have 62% more features than CS5 and 65 new capabilities inspired by user requests. So may hat is off to Adobe for listening to their customers. However my mind thinks 62% more features and I think of feature complexity, bloat, and a product that few will ever be able to master.
To try and help with the added complexity Adobe has been doing some work on their user interface. Not only is it more pleasing to look at, something I have enjoyed in Lightroom 4 for a while now, but they have started to think about consistency in the product. Now they don’t have 10 styles of buttons, or sliders or dialogs – they all look the same. They have also added a new graphics engine which they demonstrated using their liquefy feature. It has gone from being a herky-jerky feature to being smooth and able to be interactive.
They have also added video editing to the standard product and it seems to be a nice start. I have not done any video myself and not looked at other products for video editing so I am not sure how well it compares. Finally they have added some 3D capabilities that make it easier to line up sight and vanishing lines when overlaying images.
What Adobe has done with some of the features is quite amazing. I can only imagine the complexity behind some of the algorithms they are using. In each release they manage to do ever more sophisticated manipulation of images that may seem natural to our minds but very difficult to perform at the pixel level. It takes semantic knowledge of the picture and its components to be able to do it. Amazing. This new version of Photoshop will be available soon, but so far the release date has not been set.
Now this is where I create the controversy. This is not a product for photographers. It is a product for people who want to manipulate images that, while they may be graphically pleasing, are no longer photographs. People who present them as such are dishonest. I will use Lightroom to adjust aspects of the image so that it more closely reflect what the human eye would see, and to make adjustments that correct the limitations of the equipment I am using, but I do not modify the photographs.
What say you? Am I just a stick in the mud?Brian Bailey
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