The Healing Brush, introduced with Photoshop 7, was so revolutionary that once you got used to it, there was no turning back. This was because of its excellent performance in so many situations. Without it, you'd be wasting a lot of time trying to achieve the same results with other tools. Photoshop CS was an upgrade targeted towards digital photography with the introduction of the histogram palette, full 16bits/channel support, a greatly enhanced Camera Raw, Match Color, Shadow/Highlight, and several other goodies. Although there was no true killer application like the Healing Brush, the combination of all the new features was definitely worth the upgrade for any digital photographer.
Photoshop CS2 offers again a range of very impressive features, with HDR, Warp, Smart Sharpening, and the Lens Correction filter being my personal favorites. However, many of the new features are only applicable to a narrow range of images. For instance, HDR is interesting but only applies to static high dynamic range scenes, while Vanishing Point is not something you will find yourself using as frequently as the Healing Brush or Shadow/Highlight, or the histogram palette, unless you are into architectural photography. Likewise, barrel and pincushion distortion do not need to be corrected frequently and can be corrected (even more accurately) by freeware plug-ins like PTLens. However, the upgrade still offers a very attractive bag of goodies if you add things like the Spot Healing Brush, improved Camera Raw, and the many other workflow enhancements not mentioned in this review which focused mainly on the photographic aspects.
At US$149 or 25% of the US$599 price of the stand-alone full version, this upgrade comes at a reasonable price tag, preserving most of your original investment in an earlier version of Photoshop. If you are still running Photoshop 7 (or an earlier version), it is certainly worthwhile upgrading to Photoshop CS2 now as you get two (or more) upgrades at only US$149.
Unfortunately for digital photographers who previously bought Photoshop CS as part of the Creative Suite, there is no upgrade path from Photoshop CS to Photoshop CS2 only. They either have to upgrade to the Creative Suite 2, or buy Photoshop CS2 at the full price.
~This article is written by Vincent Bockaert, author of
The 123 of digital imaging Interactive learning Suite featuring
Adobe Photoshop Elements 2 & 3 and Photoshop 7, CS & CS2
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