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Tuesday October 1, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Tuesday October 1, 2013 MYT 9:03:39 AM
by tan kit hoong
SHAKE IT OFF: Photoshop CC's new Shake Reduction feature helps to fix images that have been ruined by camera shake. It doesn't work for every blurred shot though.
Adobe’s photo-editor software gets its annual refresh with tweaks and new features, but its biggest change is the move to a subscription model.
Photoshop has undergone its annual upgrade as usual but beyond the new features it also embraces a subscription-based model. Whether this is a good thing or not we’ll deal with towards the end of this review.
Adobe has tweaked and added more features to Photoshop Creative Cloud (Photoshop CC), making an already good image-editing application even better.
Installation and requirements
First off, we’ve come across users who are a little confused about the new Photoshop because it uses the term “Creative Cloud,” which implies that this version is online-only or requires a constant Internet connection.
This isn’t true — like every previous version, Photoshop CC has to be downloaded and installed on your computer and once it’s activated by connecting on the Internet initially, it only needs to connect to the Internet to confirm your ownership once every three months.
However, as part of the installation, Adobe requires you to install the Creative Cloud Desktop app, which sits in your system tray — it’s meant to be the place where you can see all your subscriptions and updates.
Unlike Premiere Pro CC which only works in 64-bit Windows, Photoshop CC can be installed on 32-bit versions of Windows 7 or 8. However, on the 32-bit Windows 7 machine we have (which is well within the system requirements) we occasionally would get “out of RAM” messages.
The problem is probably because Windows 7 32-bit can only address 3.25GB of the 4GB of installed RAM, and Photoshop CC seems to be more memory hungry than previous versions.
Anyway, as long as you’re paying the subscription for any CC product, you will always get the most updated version of it.
In the standard perpetual licence model, such as with Adobe Photoshop CS6’s, your support only goes so far as bug fixes and updates but you will not get the new features introduced with the next generation of the product.
With Photoshop CC, Adobe has dropped the version number because as long as you are a subscriber, you’ll get every new feature and update. Period.
The downside, of course, is that you will have to keep paying annually to continue using the software, or it will stop functioning.
Yearly subscription for Photoshop CC (or the entire CC suite) is far cheaper than paying for a single perpetual licence but it can get quite expensive in the long run if you are the kind of user who only buys or updates his/her version of Photoshop once every three or four years.
As part of the subscription you also get 20GB of Adobe cloud storage — you don’t have to save your files in the cloud if you don’t want to, but doing so will allow you to access the files when you are away from your PC.
As anybody who uses it on a daily basis will tell you, there’s really no other photo editing software as powerful and feature-packed as Photoshop.
It may have a steep learning curve, but once you grasp its keyboard shortcuts and learn the basics, you can create magic with Photoshop.
Photoshop CC is no different — the interface has had some very minor tweaks but if you’ve used Photoshop CS6 before, it’ll look practically identical.
However, what Photoshop CC adds is a number of new tools, most notably a Camera Shake Reduction filter (accessible from Filter\Sharpen\Shake Reduction in the menus).
This filter actually reduces motion blur caused by camera shake and actually produces a much sharper photo from a shot that is normally unusable.
In use, it actually works okay and there are a number of sliders that allow you to increase or decrease the effect. There are limits to how much shake can be reduced in a photo but if you’ve ever had shots that have been ruined by slight camera shake, this may actually be able to save it. Again something that will interest photographers is that Photoshop CC also features an improved upscaling feature if you want to enlarge your photographs beyond its original size.
It does seem to do a good job, although again, don’t expect it to add details back into an image where there was none to begin with.
Adobe has also made some interesting changes to how Camera RAW works in Photoshop CC.
With previous versions of Photoshop, Camera RAW would only open as a separate app when you first open a RAW file, after which the photo would be imported into Photoshop proper.
Now, if you were editing in Photoshop and suddenly wanted to go back to editing the RAW file in Camera RAW, then you’d lose all the changes made in Photoshop.
With Photoshop CC, that’s changed — when editing in Photoshop, you can now go into the Filter menu and open Camera RAW as a filter.
What you get is basically the Camera RAW interface which allows you to edit your RAW files without losing what you’ve already done in Photoshop.
It goes without saying that Photoshop CC is still the king of image editing applications although there’s not a lot of new features here that would warrant an immediate upgrade if you already own Photoshop CS6.
Adobe’s addition of the Shake Reduction, improved resizing and RAW as a filter are certainly useful, but certainly not great reasons to upgrade unless you have a version of Photoshop older than CS6, where the differences would be a lot more.
The problem is that once you move to Photoshop CC, you’d have to switch to a subscription model — while Adobe quotes a “monthly” price of RM60.99 for a single-app subscription of Photoshop CC, the truth is that the company requires you to pay annually.
This works out to RM731.99 per year, while the entire Creative Cloud suite works out to about RM1,860 per year. Cheap compared to the boxed editions, but it’s still pretty expensive for the average user.
We think it’s high time Adobe makes a more drastic change to its pricing model — even with the reduced pricing per year, buying Photoshop CC or the Creative Cloud suite is still beyond the reach of most Malaysians.
Sure, you can opt for Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop Elements, which are still sold as standalone editions with perpetual licence, but those can’t really replace Photoshop for some users.
We would gladly pay RM350 a year for Photoshop CC if Adobe priced it at that level.
Pros: Shake Reduction and Camera RAW as a filter are useful
Cons: Subscription model could be too much for some; occasional out of memory messages in 32-bit Windows environments.
(Adobe Systems Inc)
Platform: Windows 7 SP1/Windows 8/ Mac OS X
Price: RM60.99 per month
Review unit courtesy of Adobe Systems Incorporated, 1-300-80-0027
Tags / Keywords:
Science & Technology, Adobe, Photoshop CC, Creative Cloud, CS6
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