BitDepth#838 - June 12

Adobe introduces Photoshop 6. Should you care?
Dear Adobe...
Photoshop CS6 brings the software’s interface into greater harmony with its other imaging tools. Photo by Mark Lyndersay.

I’ll confess this up front. You’ve had me as an almost constant upgrader to versions of photoshop ever since Photoshop 3. Not CS3, just plain old pre CS-3. I’d occasionally skip a version, but for the most part, I could be depended on to pony up the cash for an upgrade just to stay on the wonderful roller coaster ride of your flagship product.

I’ve been running the public beta of Photoshop CS6 on my system for three weeks now and I’m not going to be buying it. Frankly, I don’t care, and that’s in spite of the fact that it keeps opening everytime I use my copy of CS3, popping up its dusky gray, all-in-one interface like a digital puppy, longing for attention.

So what happened to us? Where did it all go wrong?
Some of it is a good thing. After developing the File Viewer you introduced with Photoshop 7 into the perfectly agreeable Bridge, Lightroom came along and life for photographers has never been the same.

For people working with images, Lightroom has been an amazing addition to Adobe’s software suite, a product designed from the ground up to streamline a photographer’s working day.
Photoshop remains the champ for making lots of detailed edits to a single image, but many of my peers are also spending most of their working day using Lightroom.

You’ve done such a great job with Lightroom, in fact, that it’s the tool that I always update first from your company. Now about that updating thing.
Right up until Photoshop CS3, I had a great relationship with your company. I’d order software and you’d ship it. When online speeds improved, you allowed me to download it. I bought a lot of software from you, including several versions of the impenetrable GoLive, which I never figured out before you killed it.

Right after CS3 though, you stopped accepting my money.
I have no idea why and nobody I’ve spoken to can figure it out. My buddy Keifel spent hours on the phone with you as my US-based avatar and you resisted putting through a simple platform change worth US$10 with admirable vigour before finally relenting.

When Lightroom 4 shipped, I called and tried to buy it from you. Now get this, Adobe knows I am a customer of long standing and substantial investment. My purchase list is long and expensive. I clearly don’t pirate your software and yet nobody could figure out how to take my money for a legitimate purchase.

Because your product is significantly better than your payment systems, I eventually bought it online from Amazon and downloaded it in 15 minutes.
Why would you do this? A customer is on the phone trying to buy your software and you give up? Who does that in a world of torrents?

And then there’s what you’ve been doing with Photoshop itself. With new version since CS3, all the improvements seem to be geared toward compositors and artists who need to hack pixels with abandon.
Did you know that several major news agencies have banned the use of any version of Photoshop after CS2? The ease with which things can be removed, shifted around and replaced scares people who deal with hundreds of images in an hour.

I love your stuff Adobe. It makes my working day easier and more pleasant and has for more than two decades now. But really, I don’t think you care about me or my money anymore. You’re hanging with a hip, fashionable new crowd now and I don’t know what you’re going to do when you realise that many of them think payment is optional.

New to Photoshop 6
Impressive improvements to the already formidable patch tool, a new content-aware option makes patching large sections of an image more seamless.

Likewise the new content-aware move tool, which makes images into digital plasticene, allowing novices to move objects and people around while the software fills everything in neatly.

Film editors and 3D modelers will appreciate the editing tools now available in the basic edition.

Several new features attempt to kill off third party software and plug-ins. A new defocusing tool meant to fake out of focus areas in an image challenge both onOne’s FocalPoint and Alien Skin’s Bokeh while the CS6‘s adaptive wide angle for correcting extreme lens curvature pokes at DxO Optics.

Likely to get real world use is the new properties pane for managing adjustments to layers and, I fear, the video support that’s been added to the basic edition, allowing you to add awful filters to your clips that you’d think twice about applying to a still photo.
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