If you’re a graphic artist or developer, especially one with a new MacBook Pro or any of the other Intel chip equipped macs, you should RUN to the Adobe website and download the free beta version of Adobe’s latest generation of the popular Photoshop application dubbed Photoshop CS3. The application is a free 2 day trial BUT, if you have a registered version of Photoshop CS2, you can register that serial to unlock the new beta version for unlimited use. If you don’t already have CS2 and want to use the new version, you will have to purchase a CS2 liscense and then upgrade from there.
I’ve not had time to fully explore all the new features of CS3 but from what I’ve seen, the additions and improvments are substantial. Adobe has apparently adopted a new icon set to begin with… kind of the color wheel meets the periodic table. When I started CS3 for the first time, I almost fell out of my chair as it opened faster than any version of Photoshop that I’ve ever used. The new GUI and pallette docks are a nice feature. The palletes are nested in a way that they are kept just a click away and hide nicely when not in use. Some nice new features I’ve already played around with are the nondestructive filters (you can apply filters to layers without destroying the original pixel data). This works similar to the smart objects that Adobe included in the CS2 release. An additional black and white adjustment dialog makes converting color images to black and white a snap without the guesswork of using the channels mixer as before.
For a little more fun, Adobe added the ability to export large images in the Zoomify format (see: http://www.zoomify.com/photoshop.htm) directly from the FILE menu. With the image exported this way, you can zoom in and out of large images and navigate around sections easily with the keyboard or mouse.
The greatest thing about this for me is that it is Universal Binary meaning it’s optimized to run on the Intel Macs. CS2 had to run under Rosetta and thus suffered some performance problems. From what I understand, this is the main reason Adobe chose to release this as a public beta.
I’m sure you’ll find plenty of other more comprehensive reports on what the new version holds out there, but I wanted to share my experiences. Scott Kelby posted a really nice review on the NAAP website if you want to know more. ( http://www.photoshopuser.com/cs3/sk_features.html ) Remember, this is still a beta version of the program, you might still run into a few bugs. I believe the actual release should be late spring. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a Illustrator CS3 release too… maybe I just want too much.
Get your copy of Photoshop CS3 at the Adobe website
( http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/photoshopcs3 )