Other Products in the Adobe Photoshop Family

Currently Adobe offers several Photoshop programs that all have the same theme (to allow the manipulation of computer images), but each of the programs have different features depending on your needs and they come with different price tags. The main program is Adobe Photoshop CS4 (Creative Suite 4), but there are also Photoshop CS4 Extended, Photoshop Elements 8 (which you can get bundled with Adobe Premier Elements 8 and any of those have a Plus version) and Photoshop Lightroom 2.

Let’s start out by taking a look at the big gun. Adobe Photoshop CS4 allows you to edit pictures, create web pages, make pictures from scratch, manipulate photos, organize photos and just about anything else related to image adjustment. Some of the new features include an Adjustments Panel which gives you all the tools needed to brighten, sharpen, and enhance color and tone, etc. all in one place. There is also the Mask Panel that allows you to put filters on top of your picture or just a portion of it to make images pop out from the background. The third new feature is Content-Aware Scaling. This is really cool. You can stretch a photo to create a longer background without stretching the object that you have focused on (like a person) this makes for excellent panoramic shots, without the panorama. Other improvements from the CS3 version include printing enhancements, workflow between programs, customization of the panels and more.

Photoshop CS4 Extended adds the ability to work with video and manipulate 3-D objects. The Photoshop CS4 version allows for more technical editing of the image than the other programs and is more for the advanced user. Photoshop CS4 costs $700 and the extended version is $1,000.

Photoshop Elements 8 is a great all around program for the beginning and intermediate user. Great for amateur photographers, or those who just want to tinker with the family photos, you get all of the features necessary to create stunning masterpieces. Organize your pictures with visual tags and smart search options as well as “People Recognition.” Edit your photos for clarity, add funny captions, create slideshows, share with your friends, etc. With the addition of Premier Elements 8, you can create movies that have audio. Most of the things in Elements 8 and Premier Elements 8 are automated so you can let the program do the work for you with just a few clicks of the mouse. At $100, Photoshop Elements 8 is a good choice. Combined with Premier Elements 8, the cost is $ 150 and for the average user, you can do practically anything you want to your images.

Finally, there’s Photoshop Lightroom 2. If you want a photo studio in your home, this is for you. At $300 you can do your own photo shoots and make them look good enough to put in any major magazine. Even if the lighting when you took the picture was crummy, you can make the shot look great. Of course you can also manipulate images like you would in the other programs, but not necessarily to the same extent.

With these products, anyone can become a graphic designer. Whether you are just a hobbyist looking to make your pictures perfect with Adobe Photoshop Elements 8, or a professional photographer who needs to take blemishes off of their models with Adobe Lightroom 2, or even a movie editor that needs to turn several pictures into a moving animation with Photoshop CS4 Extended, you can’t do better than a Photoshop program. You can just get one or any combination of programs and know that they will all work together seamlessly so you can create the next blockbuster movie (or at least a blockbuster slide show for the family).