ps6qa

Thanks to everybody who posted questions yesterday, and who asked questions during our free CS5 Live Webinars yesterday (don’t forget, we’re going two again today—one at 1:30 pm EDT and one at 4:00 pm EDT. Here’s the link to join in).

We’ll be answering your questions again later today live, but in the meantime, here’s a few from yesterday’s post and launch stuff:

Q. I’ve got CS4 right now and want to start doing HDR’s… Should I upgrade to CS5 or go buy Photomatrix Pro?
A.
Think of it this way: If you buy Photomatix Pro, you get HDR. That’s it. If you upgrade to CS5, you get HDR, Content Aware Fill, world class noise reduction, incredible masking features, built-in automated lens correction, better Raw processing, a better way to manage your images from within Photoshop with Mini Bridge, and a ton of other stuff that will improve your workflow and expand your creativity. To me, this is an easy choice.

Q. How|does the HDR processing output compare to Photomatix Pro ?
A.
Photoshop CS5′s new HDR Pro has two pretty significant advantages over Photomatix Pro: (1) It has a built-in Ghosting feature, that can remove much, if not all, of the ghosting you get if anything was moving in your scene when you took your HDR image, and (2) perhaps the biggest thing is that HDR Pro doesn’t add loads of noise like Photomatix. You’ve got to watch Matt’s side-by-side example from yesterday’s live Webinar of a file he processed in both programs. The results were both amazing and shocking (and lots of people who saw it live, said that right there they were sold on HDR Pro in CS5).

Now, Photomatix definitely has it’s fans (I use it myself), and people who are really comfortable with Photomatix may not switch to HDR Pro immediately, but I agree with Matt that new users, who always wanted to do HDR but didn’t want to invest in a separate HDR program (and the learning curve that comes with it), will love having real HDR built right-in to Photoshop, and they’re going to embrace it big time.

This is one of those things that will get debated back and forth (my way’s better—no my way’s better!), but in the end, since it’s built right in to CS5, you can always try it out and see which one works best for you, but one thing’s for sure: 2010 will be the year of HDR.

Q. Will Content Aware Fill remove a watermark?
A.
Absolutely. So will the Clone Stamp tool, the Patch tool, and the Healing Brush. You’ve been able to remove visible watermarks since Photoshop 1.0.

Q. I would like you to please comment on the differences between Photoshop CS5 and CS5 Extended as it relates to Photographers.
A.
There honestly aren’t a lot of extra photography features in the Extended version that aren’t in the Standard edition. For example, on Adobe’s site they have a “What’s New” list for both editions, and under the Standard Edition they list new features for “Photographers & Print Designers,” but for the Extended version, they list new features for “Video Professionals, Cross-media Designers, Web designers, and Interactive designers.”

Q. Could you comment on regarding the major Photoshop plug-ins and their compatibility, or if all new versions/upgrades will be needed?
A.
If there are any compatibility issues with plug-ins, the big name plug-in makers are usually great about providing free updates in a pretty timely manner. As is usually the case with a major update like this, a number of major plug-ins will have to have updates to work perfectly with CS5. For example, OnOne Software announced today that they are fine-tuning their plug-ins for CS5, and those free updates will be available within 30-days of CS5 shipping.

Q. When will you be coming out with a Photoshop CS5 Down and Dirty Tricks book?
A.
My plate is pretty full this year, so although there won’t be a CS5 update of my Down & Dirty Tricks book, I am releasing “The Photoshop CS5 Book for Digital Photographers” shortly.

Q. CS5 Camera Raw vs Lightroom beta: does the gap close even more?
A.
Historically, for compatibility reasons, both Camera Raw and Lightroom’s Develop module have pretty much shared the same Raw editing features and if you look at Lightroom 3 Public Beta and the New Camera Raw in CS5, well…..there ya have it.

Q. Is there a NAPP discount on the CS5 Upgrade price?
A.
Absolutely! NAPP members here in the U.S. get 15% off the upgrade of Photoshop or the Suite (so you can save $30 on just the upgrade, $89 on the suite upgrade, or more on buying the full version of Photoshop or a Suite).

Q. As a photographer what is the most compelling reason to consider an upgrade from CS4 to CS5?
A.
That’s a tough one, because it will be different for different photographers. I think a lot of folks will naturally want it to create HDR images, but I think the built-in masking features (using Refine Edge) is even more compelling for most photographers. Content aware fill is big (and it works amazingly well), but then the Noise Reduction in Camera Raw is just insane, so it’s a tough call to make. Luckily, any one of those is worth the upgrade alone, so if you get all four, this is an easy decision for a lot of photographers.

Q. I still have Photoshop CS3 Extended. Can I upgrade to CS5 Extended or do I have to buy the full version?
A.
You can upgrade from CS3 Extended directly to CS5 Extended.

Q. I’d like to know how the noise reduction compares with third party plugins like Nik Dfine or Topaz Denoise or Noise Ninja.
A.
The noise reduction truly kicks butt—partly because it applies the noise reduction directly to the Raw image (before it’s processed, whereas nearly all plug-ins come in after the raw image has been processed), so that’s a great advantage for CS5. It removes the noise, but maintains an amazing amount of detail. Personally, I don’t think I’ll have a need for any third party noise plug-ins from here on out.

Q. Not a single word about Lightroom 3 in the announcements or on the Adobe site.
A.
Well, here’s the thing: Today was the launch of Photoshop and the Creative Suite. Lightroom is a totally separate product, and not part of the Suite. So, even though they’re designed to work together (if you have both Photoshop and Lightroom), Lightroom 3 hasn’t been officially released (it’s still in Beta Testing), so I’m not surprised Adobe didn’t address it during the Photoshop launch.

Q. Will Camera Raw 6.0 features be available as a separate Camera Raw download or is it CS5 exclusive?

A.. It’s CS5 exclusive (in other words; Adobe doesn’t go back and add new features to software they don’t sell any  longer)

Q. How far back can the new CS5 be upgraded? I am running CS2?

A. I believe you can still upgrade directly from Photoshop CS2 to Photoshop CS5 (but anything earlier than CS2, you’ll have to buy the full version).

Q. What time are your free CS5 Webinars today?

A. 1:30 pm and 4:00 pm EDT. (Here’s that link again)

Q. What if I can’t watch live during those times?

A. We’ll be posting both Webinars online for FREE so you can watch them whenever you get a chance.

Q. What do you personally think of the CS5 upgrade?

A. Honestly, I think it rocks. We all do (Matt, Dave, Corey, RC and the gang). I think it’s the most significant upgrade Adobe has released in years. As a photographer, there’s a lot of really useful and helpful stuff here for me, and there’s some stuff that isn’t just for photographers that I’ll wind up using as well. Adobe made lots of improvements and enhancements throughout the program (much more than they did in CS4), and overall I can tell you without reservation that CS5 kicks butt. I think Adobe knew they needed to knock one out of the park, and to their credit—they did.