Photoshop CS3 and Photoshop Extended offer one-two punch

Adobe first told users that it planned to deliver two versions of Photoshop earlier this month. While Photoshop CS3 and Photoshop Extended will share many of the same features, the applications will be marketed to separate industry groups.

“What we’re seeing in the market has been accelerating in the last few years,” Kevin Connor, senior director of product management for digital imaging at Adobe, told Macworld. “Photoshop is being used in a much wider array of workflows and there’s been pressure on Photoshop to do more in those spaces.”

The new markets Adobe is reaching out to with Photoshop Extended include professionals in architecture, engineering, medicine, and science. Photoshop CS3 Extended includes the same tools as Photoshop CS3 plus a new set of capabilities.

Photoshop Extended has support for popular 3-D formats, which allows users to render and incorporate rich 3-D content into their 2-D compositions, including texture editing on 3-D models. The application also uses an Enhanced Vanishing Point, giving designers the ability to measure in perspective and also export from Enhanced Vanishing Point to a 3-D model.

For video post-production, Photoshop CS3 Extended now includes video-format and layer support to edit video files frame by frame. The resulting video can then be exported to a variety of formats including Flash. Furthering its use into new markets, the Measurement Log palette calculates a range of values within an image, the Scale Marker easily adds a scale graphic to any image, and the new Count tool tallies features in an image simply by clicking on them.

The addition of 3-D features into Photoshop does not mean the application is transforming into a full-fledged 3-D product.

“We recognize our place in the 3-D and video workflows,” said Connor. “Adding 3-D features is important so people don’t run into the speedbumps they did in the past.”

While Photoshop Extended is an important application for Adobe’s future markets, the company did not forget about its traditional designers. Photoshop CS3 also includes new features aimed at making its users more productive.

For example, a new Auto-align Layers command quickly analyzes details of an image and moves, rotates or warps layers to align them perfectly. Additionally, the Auto-blend Layers command blends the color and the shading to create a smooth, editable picture.

Photoshop also now includes support for over 150 raw formats, JPEG and TIFF files, and has other new tools such as Fill Light and Dust Busting. The applications are also Universal Binary, running natively on Intel Macs.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 and Photoshop CS3 Extended will begin shipping in April 2007 to customers in the United States and Canada. Adobe Photoshop CS3 will cost $649, and Photoshop CS3 Extended will be $999. Upgrade pricing is also available.

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