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'Extended' version of Photoshop CS3 planned

Additional version of Adobe's CS3 revealed

Adobe plans to unveil two versions of its flagship image editor when it announces the rest of its Creative Suite 3 bundle on 27 March.

Photoshop CS3 - which is already available as a public beta (see our review here) - and Photoshop CS3 Extended will share many of the same features, but the Extended version will target some new markets.

"What we're seeing in the market has been accelerating in the last few years," said Kevin Connor, senior director of product management for digital imaging at Adobe. "Photoshop is being used in a much wider array of workflows and there's been pressure on PS 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 for integrating 3D and motion graphics, image measurement, and analysis.

"At one point in time, we considered separate versions, but we found a lot of overlap in the features that these people needed," Connor said. "That led to another type of strategy for Photoshop. Rather than create a new application, Extended is a superset of features that can specifically benefit people in those markets."

With Photoshop Extended, video professionals can perform 3D model visualisation and texture editing, as well as paint and clone over multiple video frames. Animations created in the upcoming version of Photoshop can be exported in several formats including QuickTime, MPEG-4, and Adobe Flash Video. Despite the new features, Adobe says it's not trying to turn Photoshop into a fully fledged 3D tool; rather, the company's goal is to complement the tools its customers already use.

"We recognise our place in the 3D and video workflows," said Connor. "Adding 3D features is important so people don't run into the speed bumps they did in the past."

Photoshop Extended is not just about 3D - the new version also has features for other professions, as well. Users will now be able to extract quantitative and qualitative data from images. In addition to measurement and analysis tools, architects, medical professionals, and scientists will enjoy increased support for specialised image formats so they can easily view, annotate, and edit images in their native format.

For example, radiologists can closely monitor a patient's progress over time. Scientific researchers can create animations from medical images for presentation purposes, while architects can make accurate measurements of objects in their 3D images.

While Adobe did not make specific features details or pricing available Photoshop CS3 and Photoshop Extended are expected to ship later this spring. Adobe will formally unveil the apps along with the rest of the CS3 suite on March 27, the company announced earlier this week.

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