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The Design Center, DT&G / Photoshop Department / George Engel Reviews Photoshop CS2  

A software review by George M Engel; continued from the previous page

Photoshop CS2

What a great adventure this is

image wrap Did you ever want to take a picture and just wrap it around a soda can, for instance? Notice how difficult it is to try and get the picture to look right? In CS2 you can do it in a minute with the new Image Warp tool. There are lots of presets here to make it even easier. Just set the control points on the warp grid and they'll just snap onto the can, or whatever.

Smart Objects If you also use Adobe's new 'Smart Objects' option, you'll find that you also can make any text on that can that you just pasted on there 'Edit-able.' Without messing up the text. You can scale, warp and rotate layers, even vector graphics placed from within Illustrator.

There's a new 'Reduce Noise' filter for you digital camera enthusiasts out there. Check out the advanced controls to look at individual channels for those annoying jpeg compression artifacts which can mess up a good picture. I re-saved some good Beach Sunsets this way.

The new 'Red Eye' tool has improved a lot. In the past it was either Re Eye or Black Eye. Now you have some adjustment with a 'pupil size' and a 'darken amount' adjustment slider. If you want fast and easy, this is it for most photos. Though I'd still do it the longer way for portrait shots I really care about.
red eye filter

How about those pictures that had those funny lens effects that you try so hard to correct afterwards. Like Vignetting, barrel shapes and perspectives out of real alignment. With Adobe's 'Optical Lens Correction' tool, you can correct for most of these easily. You have an adjustable grid that shows you constant feedback, so that you can easily manipulate the vertical and horizontal surfaces of your picture. You have a lot of controls here to play with.

I've played with the new 'Smart Sharpen' tool a tad and I like it. I've always been told that the tool to use is 'Unsharp Mask' rather than the 'Sharpen Tool.' This new tool is supposedly a step beyond 'Unsharp Mask.' I've used it and like it better for most pictures. I'll continue to use it regularly. If you think it's too much, you can just 'Fade Smart Sharpen' to whatever percent you like until it looks just right for you.

There's a 'Spot Healing' brush, similar to the 'Healing Brush,' which I find can work on small areas sometimes, but in most cases I still rely on the 'Clone Stamp' tool. But then again, maybe I haven't been playing with it long enough to really evaluate the tool.

Adobe says that if you have one of the newer 64-bit processor computers, CS2 can now address more than 3.5 GB of RAM. Boy, talk about FAST! With so much going on here, I'm sure that I've only scratched the surface of Photoshop CS2. I haven't customized my menus, haven't colored them, and haven't automated them for batch-processing or other nice things. I also haven't done any scripting, or used Events.

I feel as if I'm not in Kansas anymore, Toto. Why, the world is now all in color! That's how I feel as I boot up Photoshop CS2. What a great adventure this is, and an affordable and very worthwhile upgrade.

George Engel

Adobe Photoshop CS2
Upgrade price from Photoshop xx: $149.00
Upgrade price from Elements: $499.00
Photoshop CS2 full package: Save up to 30%

About the author: George Engel has been a computer guru probably longer than he will admit -- as a computer expert, he authored The Naked Serviceman book, about his journey through the history of Apple's Macintosh as owner/founder of an authorized Apple Service Center. He owned one of the first Apple II computers as well as one of the first Macintosh 128s. He hangs out with the Lakeland User Group in sunny Florida


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