Monday, October 6, 2008

Evaluating An Upgrade

Do you need to upgrade? Perhaps, perhaps not. The cover at right was created by Bob Staake. Now, the remarkable thing is that Staake used Photoshop 3, running on OS 9. Yes friends, a 14 year-old application, and an ancient OS.

Why?

(Continued after the Jump)

I submit that he was trying to make a point, because he also did this video detailing just how he did it.

The point is - do you really need all the features of Photoshop? Do you need to upgrade from CS3 all the way to CS4? It seems that most people I've spoken with will upgrade just to get the latest Camera Raw. That doesn't seem much like a reason to upgrade. What else is there worthwhile - and more importantly, do you need it?

PhotoShop News reports (What's New In Photoshop CS4 by Martin Evening) "Photoshop CS3 had some mixed reviews. It didn’t have quite as many features of interest to photographers as say, previous versions of the program...The most noticeable changes are in the interface design appearance."

Interface? That's what you've got?

There's talk of speed increases, but I just can't see that being the reason to upgrade, on it's own. At each new version, I look to see that one or two features that makes me go "I gotta have it..." . I just don't see it right now. Heck, John Nack even said on his blog that CS4 on the Mac wouldn't even be 64-bit. Yes, for you PC users, it's both 32-bit and 64-bit, but not on a Mac. One less reason to upgrade.

Frankly, and especially for photographers, Photoshop seems to be reaching the law of diminishing returns, where there are fewer and fewer possibilities for "oh my God" features. Maybe Photoshop CS4 will be Adobe's Vista, in that everyone hops over it to the next version? Heck, if PS3 works for magazine illustrators, 5 generations later (i.e. CS3) should be plenty for 98% of photographers.

Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.

13 comments:

C said...

I'm not planning on upgrading to CS 4. I plan to reinstall CS 2 on my Intel Mac rather than pay another $300 for upgrades to my plug-ins. Exposure, Pixel Genius, etc. I found no difference (for me) between CS2 and CS 3. I use Capture One or Raw Developer as my converters .

I wish I could run OS 9 on my Intel Mac so I could go back to using Live Picture for some projects.

spottheblogger said...

Heck, if PS3 works for magazine illustrators, 5 generations later (i.e. CS3) should be plenty for 98% of photographers.

CS3 is 9 generations (9 releases/versions) later than PS3.

I never upgrade to the "next version" of anything. I always skip at least 1 version, and often go 2-3 versions before I see enough value in upgrading.

Fotografia said...

Choosing an upgrade is never easy.
I believe that like to upgrade my skills not only my equipment.

Stan K. said...

Another thing to consider when upgrading. Will it require more of your CPU?

Same with new cameras with larger MP's. Will going from 10.2MP to 16MP slow me down? Will I need more CF cards, etc.

gio said...

It's well known that it was Apple's fault that led to us Mac users not getting 64 bit. But since when was there "one less reason"? Less? And what is "on it's own"? At least you'll have all that upgrade money to spend on grammar class.

Gio said...

To deal with the substance of your point, I regularly need to crop image to fit magazine and ad layouts. Have you see the new context aware scaling? Squeeze the image a bit and the main subjects are preserved while the out-of-focus background is magically squashed. That alone is wonderful.

And what is wrong with interface improvements? For example, if you ever noticed the black and white adjustment layer's targeted adjustment tool and its (note correct usage) targeted adjustment tool, that wonderful , very graphic interface element is now used in other adjustment dialogs too.

However, it is always possible to make a case for diminishing marginal returns (especially if you don't experiment or think deeply about new tools). After all, Photoshop doesn't help you go through the sort of volume of pictures that many of us need to process in these 10 frames a second days. For many of us, you get more bangs per buck going with Lightroom.

Tony V. Martin said...

I must chime in that I'm a working editorial photog and I use plain old PS CS 1 and Photo Mechanic. I also digital imaging illustrations. Have not seen the need to upgrade yet. Will probably be "forced" to at some point by operating system incompatibility...Heyjohn, how about a current review of photo business software, like new or improves studio management stuff?

Tony V. Martin said...

Sorry for the typos, got a massive head cold going-oops.

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