Books Reviews Workflow

Review- Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom 3: A Photographer’s Handbook

I recently received a review copy of Rocky Nook’s Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom 3: A Photographer’s Handbook by Stephen Laskevitch. I always enjoy receiving a book from Rocky Nook to review because they print their books on acid-free paper and the reproduction quality is as outstanding as the content.

As a workshop teacher I am always interested in another teacher’s approach and quite admire the methodical, logical, and easily-understood approach that Stephen Laskevitch uses in Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom 3: A Photographer’s Handbook.

Steven Laskevitch is an Adobe Certified Instructor who uses his comprehensive knowledge of Photoshop and Lightroom to introduce the two as a working pair rather than use the more usual approach of dealing with each application seperately. This approach caused me to rearrange my computer room while reviewing this book (more on that in a moment).

Featured Photoshop Software

First Look At CS5

Creative Suite 5 is out, and it’s got bells and whistles.  I am hesitant to call it a game changer.  Just better bells and whistles.  Here are some highlights that immediately jumped out at me:

Photoshop, Premiere, and Aftereffects are now 64 bit.  Snow Leopard users should see an improvement in performance as a result, especially in video preview and playback.

Photoshop junkies…the content awareness capability is actually “all that“.  I can’t wait to try it.  Of equal importance is the new Refine Edge command which will allow you to further tweak your Quick Selection Tool grabs.  The new overused graphic tool? Repousse.  It turns a selected 2d graphic into a 3d one.  Do not get me wrong, it’s nice.  But if not used properly, it is going to be the new lens flare.  Brushes now have a natural media Natural Media Bristle Tip along with a Mixer Brush tool.  This allows you to control the bristle size/shape/rotation of the brush tip.  The mixer gives a variance to multiple colors, transparency, and rotation.  To me, this looks like a challenge to Corel’s Painter, and it will be interesting to compare.  For photographers (although anyone who likes good file management should appreciate this) is the incorporation of a Mini Bridge palette.  An overly quick demo was made of Puppet Warp which looks like a more intelligent mesh warp.  General improvement tweaks were made to sharpness, noise reduction, and mosaic filters.

For Illustrator, of particular interest to myself was the Variable Width Stroke tool, which allows you to manipulate the width of a line by doing a pass over it.  This should be a hit among those in the comics community for digital inking.  InDesign now has an animation palette for Flash content and video (which can be scrubbed through.)  For web designers, Adobe has created a Browser Lab application which is a godsend.  It allows for a full preview in various browsers via a dropdown menu.  More than one window can be opened so you can compare a page generated in Safari v. one in Firefox.  You can also overlay them with an onion skin to see the minute differences.  Aftereffects has better compositing tools that take advantage of Photoshops content awareness and greatly simplifies rotoscoping.

Also announced was the purchase of Omniture which will integrate business tools into the CS5 suite which will make your management/sales section happy in generating some content analysis.  Of particular interest to DAJ’ers may be Business Catalyst which will provide some ecommerce capability for small businesses.

One thing to keep in mind when they talk about creating content for all “smart phone and media devices” is Apple’s recent iPhone SDK 3.3.1 announcement, which states that all apps for the iPhone must be written in C/C++/Objective-C.  This flies in the face of Flash development.  If you’ll notice there is no iPhone or iPad pictured or in use during the presentation.

The demo today was fast and furious, and I recommend researching further online for details as they come up.  Watch it yourself and draw your own conclusions at