The Bottom Line
Photoshop CS5 is the latest version of Adobe's ever-popular image editing application. It's available in two versions, Photoshop CS5 and Photoshop CS5 Extended, both of which share the same core capabilities. The Extended version adds support for 3D imagery and motion-based content.
Photoshop CS5 is a must-have update for Mac users, provided your Mac meets the minimum hardware needs.
Adobe is using CS5 to draw a dividing line between older PowerPC-based Macs and newer Intel-based Macs. Considering that the newest PowerPC-based Mac is at least 5 years old, this change certainly makes sense.
- Now a 64-bit native Mac application.
- New content-aware fill.
- New brushes with new painting effects.
- Improved HDR imaging.
- No longer has a 3 GB memory barrier.
- Runs on Intel Macs only.
- Poor multi-processor/multi-threading support.
- Requires OS X 10.5.7 or later.
- Requires a multi-core Intel processor.
- 1 GB of RAM minimum. More is better, and Photoshop CS 5 removes the 3 GB barrier of previous versions.
- Available in two versions: Photoshop CS5 and Photoshop CS5 Extended.
Guide Review - Review of Photoshop CS5
Photoshop CS5 continues the program's long tradition as the premier image editing application on the Mac. With Photoshop CS5, Adobe has moved to a 64-bit application completely rewritten in Cocoa, Apple's native Objective C programming language. This may seem a bit esoteric to the average user, but by making the transition to Cocoa, Adobe assures its Mac customers that Photoshop is compatible with both the latest OS X operating system and any updates that will come down the pike from Apple in the near future.
Beyond the improved underpinnings, Photoshop CS5 has some dazzling new capabilities that easily make it a must-have upgrade for most current Photoshop users. The exception is if you're using a Mac that predates Apple's conversion to Intel processors. If you have a G5 or earlier Mac, Photoshop CS4 is as far as you can go on your current hardware.
There are loads of new features in Photoshop CS5; too many to list here. I'm going to mention the four that I personally find very useful. You can see a full list of new features on Adobe's web site.
Content Aware Fill. This is an amazing tool, one that will undoubtedly become one of your favorites if you spend any time repairing images. Content Aware Fill works by analyzing lighting, tone, and noise, as well as sampling similar areas within an image. It then uses this information to replace areas in an image. The result is that you can easily remove items such as dust, spots, and errant power lines from a photo by just erasing them with the appropriate healing brush.
Complex Selection/Masking. Another new feature of Photoshop CS5 is the ability to select and refine the edges of a selection to create masks. The new edge detection capabilities are top notch, easily the best I have seen in quite a while.
HDR Imaging. Photoshop CS5 has updated HDR capabilities. The new system incorporates automatic ghost removal and better tone mapping. Unfortunately, I didn't have any multiple exposure shots to test the process on, but even with a single-exposure image, the HDR system can produce amazing results.
Lens Distortion Correction. Like the new Adobe Lightroom 3, Photoshop CS 5 includes a database of popular lenses. This database profiles the geometric distortion, chromatic aberration, and vignetting characteristics of each lens. You can use the lens profiles to correct for these distortions in your images.
Overall, Photoshop CS5 feels much faster than previous releases. This can be attributed to the expanded memory available to Photoshop as well as the ability to use your GPU in some, though not all, instances. Adobe still has work to do on tweaking Photoshop for best performance, but CS5 is a great improvement.
Photoshop remains one of the best, if not the best, image editing applications for the Mac. The new CS5 version serves to cement the lead Adobe has enjoyed to date. If you're looking for a top-notch image editing application, take Photoshop CS5 for a test spin.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.