Adobe Photoshop CS3 is brimming with so many image-editing tools that the biggest challenge facing it seems to be where to stuff them all. This latest version of Photoshop adds even more tools and enhancements to the mix, but it cleans up its act with a simple yet effective approach to palette organization.
Photoshop CS3 is Microsoft Windows Vista-compatible, and anchors Adobe's full Creative Suite, available now. On its own, the shipping version sells for £569 (£485 excluding VAT). It is also available in the many versions of Adobe’s Creative Suite – from £1,051 (£895 ex. VAT) for the Design bundle. Standard upgrade price is £163 (£139 ex. VAT); CS3 bundle upgrade from £492 (£419 ex. VAT).
Many Photoshop users opt for dual-monitor setups just so they'll have a place to stow the application's seemingly endless array of screen-hogging palettes. Photoshop CS3, however, introduces an important interface upgrade: resizable palette buttons with fly-out capabilities.
Both single-monitor and dual-monitor users can benefit from this upgrade. You can reduce the buttons to tiny size, or you can tear off the palettes and park them around your screen, as with previous Photoshop versions. A third option is to arrange them in one or two columns and choose only the palettes you want. At their smallest, the buttons are narrower than the tools palette (which also got a minor makeover - now you can resize it to be one column or two, as well).
The redesigned setup makes using those palettes easier, too. For example, to switch layers, just click the palette's tiny icon, and the full palette pops open. Click the layer you want and then click back to your image, and the palette automatically closes. Other Adobe apps already have similar fly-outs; they're long overdue in the company's flagship application.
With Photoshop CS3's new Quick Selection tool, choosing the portions of your image to act on is simpler, too. With this tool, you don't have to hold down the Shift key to add to your selection; instead, click the areas of your image that you want to select, and you're done (perfect for making a complicated selection while holding a cold beverage in your off-mouse hand).