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Photoshop CS3 and Lightroom Reflect Digital Photography's New Workflows

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Adobe Photoshop CS3, Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended, and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 1.0 offer the widest and deepest range of digital-imaging options ever produced by Adobe. How do you decide which of these applications should be on your upgrade list? Conrad Chavez sheds light on which combination is the best for your digital photography workflow.

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Getting an Extension

Of course, Photoshop isn’t just for photographers and designers. Some vertical markets, such as medicine, film and video, science, and engineering need just a few key enhancements to make Photoshop immensely more useful for their purposes. Because Photoshop is already top-heavy with features, Adobe chose to package special features such as 3D visualization and texture editing, object counting, and support for formats such as MATLAB and DICOM into a new version of Photoshop called Photoshop CS3 Extended. It isn’t an add-on; Photoshop CS3 Extended includes everything in Photoshop CS3 plus the Extended features.

In terms of a typical digital photography workflow, there isn’t much in Photoshop CS3 Extended that a photographer needs. Photoshop CS3 Extended does have additional capabilities for 32-bit HDR (high dynamic range) processing, and the Image Stack feature can create an ideal photograph from many similar (but not quite perfect) images of the same scene. However, these features aren’t critical to most photographers’ workflows, and the Image Stack advantages can be replicated to some extent with a little more time and effort using the new Auto-Align Layers feature in Photoshop CS3. If you do have important clients in the technical fields that Photoshop CS3 Extended addresses, you will want to get it. However, most photographers can skip Extended and simply upgrade to Photoshop CS3, secure in the knowledge that they aren’t missing out.

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