Adobe Photoshop CS2
Adobe Photoshop CS2 Version 9 is part of Adobe's Creative Suite 2 and brings a new range of interesting features for digital photographers. The objective of this review is to highlight the new and changed features compared to Photoshop CS. As usual, we will focus on those features which are useful to digital photographers.
This review of Photoshop CS2 is based on the final version for Windows with Adobe Bridge 1.0.2 (the current version is 1.0.1, but 1.0.2 should be available in the very near future).
Following the Adobe Photoshop tradition, each new version is a smooth evolution from earlier versions which makes it easy to switch versions and allows you to benefit from your earlier learning curve. Apart from a few exceptions, most of the commands and shortcuts are identical to earlier versions.
I see no reason why besides the current "classic" Photoshop view, there is no optional "modern" view based on the progress made with Photoshop Elements 3 which has a toolbox and expandable palettes which are integrated into the window itself. As far as the palettes are concerned, it matters less as we still have the palette well. But we are still stuck with the floating toolbox which cannot be docked anywhere. Its odd shape takes up valuable real estate and often gets accidentally hidden behind other palettes. I hope this is the last version of Photoshop we have to put up with this rather trivial inconvenience.
A long awaited improvement is the display of a sample word next to the font name in the font list of the Type tool so you have an idea what the fonts looks like. Unfortunately the word "Sample" is not much to go by as it exemplifies only 6 sample characters and no numbers.
    Adobe Bridge
    The File Browser which was introduced in Photoshop 7 and improved in Photoshop CS is now called "Adobe Bridge" because it can be accessed via the other Creative Suite applications as well. Just like the File Browser, Bridge's integration with Adobe Camera Raw 3.1 allows you to preview, adjust, and process multiple raw files at once. Moreover, the processing can be done in the background while performing other tasks in Photoshop. Bridge can also run independently from Photoshop as a standalone application. New features include scaleable thumbnails, many types of image review modes, and improved rating and labeling features. We will now have a closer look at the performance.
    Performance tests were done with on a 3.4GHz Pentium 4 machine, with 3GB RAM, 30" Mac LCD driven by a Nvidia Quadro FX3400 graphics card, four 200GB serial ATA disks (one for with the OS and CS2, one dedicated scratch disk, two for data), with Windows XP SP1, and no other applications running or installed. Test results with other hardware configurations will of course be different. So you should mainly be looking at the relative numbers.
    Starting up Photoshop CS2 and then Adobe Bridge 1.0.2 for the first time after a reboot took about 16 seconds. Subsequently, it took about 8 seconds. Very similar to Photoshop CS and the File Browser. However, you can launch Bridge faster as a standalone application without opening Photoshop. The first startup after reboot is at 6 seconds, slower than the 2 seconds ACDSee needs. For subsequent launches, the difference is only about one second.
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