Now there’s an adobe Photoshop for the rest of us: businesspeople, digital-photo hobbyists, even a reviewer’s 11-year-old son. Adobe Photoshop 5.0 LE is a $99 graphics tool that falls between Adobe PhotoDeluxea low-end image editor bundled with many scanners and digital camerasand the full Photoshop 5.5. It offers many useful functions you won’t find in the former but lacks the extensive feature set and high price tag of the latter.
With Photoshop LE, you can simultaneously open multiple images, apply most Photoshop filters and image-correction operations (including Variations), and employ the same painting and selection tools found in the full version. However, Photoshop LE works only in gray-scale, Indexed Color, and RGB color modes; if you’re a print professional who handles CMYK images, you’ll need the full version. You can’t edit individual color channels or add alpha channels, but using the Layer Mask feature, you can create masks that act like alpha channels. You can generate as many as 99 layers (with variable transparency and multiple blend modes), but you can’t apply the full version’s layer effects. If you need a drop shadow, you’ll have to create it manually or use a third-party plug-in.
| Basic Building Blocks Photoshop 5.0 LE provides the same painting tools found in the full version. |
Photoshop LE has a limited Text tool reminiscent of the one in Photoshop 4.0X. When you add text, it is automatically placed on its own layer, making it easier to change opacity or create other effects. However, once you have created the layer, you cannot edit the text. On the plus side, Photoshop LE includes a Type Mask tool that makes it easy to create selection marquees for text outlines.
Also missing from Photoshop LE are Photoshop’s History and Actions palettes. Without a History palette, you’re limited to one undo, and the lack of an Actions feature means you have to perform repetitive tasks by hand. However, most users who need batch-processing capabilities are probably graphics pros who would be better off with the full version.
Photoshop LE can save files in any format supported by the full version, including PDF and EPS. However, it cannot import Illustrator, PDF, or EPS files, and it lacks Photoshop 5.5’s ability to preview and optimize Web graphics.
January 2000 page: 44