Your Photoshop CS5 Questions Answered (well, at least some of ’em anyway)


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?
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 ?
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?
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.
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.

  1. ” I’ve got CS4 right now and want to start doing HDR’s… Should I upgrade to CS5 or go buy Photomatrix Pro?”

    Please put that question together with,” Dear Mr. Jobs : My netbook died. should I buy an iPad or a new netbook.”

  2. Here’s just another reason to join NAPP – on over ten products, the savings alone more than pays for your membership and on another 4 your NAPP membership drops to less than $25 for the year:


    And the Cs2 to Cs5 update is correct – you can even go from CS3 or 4 Extended and upgrade to the standard if you like:


    Pricing is US-based, and taxes may vary depending on your state of residence…

  3. Thanks for the info Scott.
    The demo videos of CS5 truly are mind bowing in fact I’m still trying to recover from seeing seeing the Content Aware Fill in action let alone all of the other enhancements.

    Adobe have certainly hit the ball out of the park with this latest version which makes me wonder even more…’what will Photoshop be like in say 5 or even 10 years???’ I couldn’t imagine some of the new updates in CS5 so can’t even begin to imagine what will be available in later years.

    Great to hear you’re putting together a new Photoshop CS5 for Photographers Book. Rest assured I’m poised ready over the ‘Add to Basket’ button :)

    All the best to you,

  4. Hello Scott: I upgraded from CS to CS2 then I upgraded to CS3 and ofcourse to CS4 can I upgrade to CS5 or do I have to buy the Full Version now? Thanks in advance for you help. Take Care—Claude

  5. Hi Scott. In all your Q&A you are mentioning how CS5 is good and wonderful. But you didn’t write anything on performance and speed – a subject that Adobe is obvious proud of, as they were telling this on their live lunch. Is this that important that CS5 is now 64-bit, or it is not that impressive, and not worth mentioning it ?
    Thank you – Scott, you always rock !!!!

  6. At: Upgrade questions.

    John Nack posted fairly recently about the upgrade rules for PS. I don’t remember the exact details, but upgrades go back “N” versions, so with each new release, an old one falls off the upgrade chart.

    As he continued to say, if you have an old version that is about to fall off the list, it is cheaper to upgrade to CS4 now, then upgrade that to CS5 than it is to buy CS5 as a new item.

    Your opportunity to do that will end when CS4 upgrade packages are no longer available.

    1. It’s much cheaper to upgrade to CS4 now, in fact: In most (all?) territories, Adobe’s post-announcement grace period has kicked in, and your CS4 license can be upgraded to CS5 for free. So one upgrade fee both makes you eligible for CS5 and gets you CS5.

      It’s a heck of a deal if you’re still on CS.

  7. At speed question:

    I’m not a beta participant, so I can’t address CS5 directly. However I can say that when I went from Windows Vista-32, 4GB Ram to Windows 7-64, 8GB ram (same high end graphics card, new mother board, same CPU) ) the time to process a Pano in PS (about the most complicated thing I do) was cut by 2/3. In other words it now takes a minute to do a formerly 3 minute task.

    So, no matter what improvements Adobe made in the software, the hardware change will probably be the most significant determinant.

  8. Hey Scott…how come’s none of your vids from the CS5 Learning Center are working? :(
    Keeps on saying stuff like video not found or access denied!?…

  9. Scott,

    I am using Lightroom 2. Is there a way to get my photos over to CS5 to use the noise reduction while keeping it in the raw format? Thanks-Jeff

  10. Hey Scott

    Great day! You mentioned the following above re: NAPP discounts…

    “NAPP members here in the U.S. get 15% off the upgrade of Photoshop or the Suite”

    Is this to say that NAPP members outside the U.S. aren’t eligible for Adobe discounts?

  11. Dear Scott,
    One change I had been hoping for but I cannot find it covered in your online training sessions is whether the brush tool smart re-sizes in Photoshop as it does in RAW. With CS4 they added the great feature that when you zoomed in for fine brush work, your brush shrank automatically. It never behaved this way in Photoshop; have they gone and fixed this.

    Great work on the new CS5 classes.


  12. Thanks for the information and the great videos. The one area which I’m still a bit hazy on is how Lightroom 2 and CS5 will interoperate. It seems that Lightroom and Photoshop work best when they are using the same version of Camera Raw and it doesn’t seem that Lightroom and Photoshop will be using the same Camera Raw until Lightroom 3 is released. Until Lightroom 3 is released, what will be the recommended way to use a combination of Lightroom and CS5?


    1. Hi Mary:
      I’m not certain that Adobe has announced a firm shipping date, but what people who have ordered the update are telling us that Adobe told them it would arrive between the end of April and early May, and I would guess that’s about right (though I don’t actually know the firm shipping date myself).

      Hope that helps. :)


    2. The Adobe Store says that it will ship “mid-May.”

      Specifically from the Photoshop CS5 page of the Adobe Store:
      – English language version is expected to ship by mid-May 2010.
      – French language version is expected to ship by end of May 2010.
      – Spanish language version is expected to ship by end of May 2010.

  13. Scott,

    How does the single image HDR processing in CS5 compare to Photomatix? Photomatix crunches on a RAW file where CS5 processes after RAW conversion. Would there have been any benefit to having single HDR processing in Camera Raw?


  14. I had been considering purchasing Photomatix but with the HDR Pro feature in CS5 I don’t think I will need it. That means the money I was going to spend on Photomatix can now go toward the CS5 upgrade. Makes the decision pretty easy to upgrade, especially with my NAPP discount.

  15. Regarding Bridge, there was nothing much said about it other than you can access a small version of it from within CS5. Did anything change with the stand alone product?

    1. Hey Rick,
      I got to beta test Photoshop CS5. I am currently using CS3. I’ve only played with the beta of Lightroom 3, so I’m not an expert with it. However, the features and processing power of Bridge CS5 (in conjunction with ACR 6) are enough to dissuade me from purchasing Lightroom for the foreseeable future.

    1. Hi Kent, French speaking!!

      It is in the description above, “Here’s the link”.

      My question, is how, where and what must we do in order to have a chance to win an upgrade of CS5?


      1. GT, Oui, I took French when I lived in Canada (sad thing is I did better in French than English). I agree, where is the app for the cs5 give away.

      2. “My question, is how, where and what must we do in order to have a chance to win an upgrade of CS5?”


        Well, we still have 11 days left for the free giveaway of Photoshop CS5 (full) on our site, if you’d like a chance…

  16. As a photographer my workflow starts in Lightroom and then only 10-20% of my images are processed into Photoshop, NIK suite of products, OnOne Suite and Photomatix. I have beta tested Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5. When Lightroom 3 is available, I will probably upgrade immediately. That will get me all the new functionality including the Camera RAW/Develop Module/Bridge functionality that is part of CS5. Then the question is, as a photographer using Lightroom et al, why should I invest in CS5? The Content Aware and Refine Selection functionality looks great, but is that worth the price? Is the HDR functionality as good as Photomatix and with lower noise? What else am I missing?

    The last time I upgraded immediately to Lightroom 2 and Photoshop CS4. Then a short time later Adobe had a deal to upgrade both together that saved an additional $50. Maybe I should wait for the combined offer. It seems like I am paying for the Camera Raw/Develop Module twice in upgrading both products separately. Any comment?

  17. The NAPP 15% discount looks to be a one-time deal. If it has already been used for a previous purchase from the Adobe Store, it cannot be used again.

    Is that correct?!?!

    1. KC – That’s a good question.
      I didn’t realize that we could get the NAPP discount when I placed my order for the upgrade last night. :-(
      (On my receipt I was given an end of April shipping date.)

      1. Had to upgrade to CS4 in December 2009, after leaving an educational facility that had educational licensing for the students and staff–didn’t own my own copy.

        I’ve emailed NAPP, but have yet to hear back.

  18. Maybe I’m being dense but where do I as a NAPP member find a link to past Webinar ?

    “You’ve got to watch Matt’s side-by-side example from yesterday’s live Webinar of a file he processed in both programs.”

    ….. love to but where ?


  19. Hi Scott,

    All the educational stuff is excellent! Keep it coming. I’m a NAPP member and a Kelby Training devotee with a question. My recollection is that last time Adobe had a special deal for upgrading to Photoshop and Lightroom at once. Is it worth waiting for that now? I do plan to upgrade both programs.

    Thanks again,


  20. Hey Scott,

    Will Lightroom users be able to export photos from LR to Photoshop CS5 HDR Pro and then back into LR? And the same for PSCS5 new lens correction?


  21. Scott, I’m a student and will definitely be getting CS5. I noticed your book CS5 for digital photographers isn’t coming out until August on Are you going to be offering the book at CS5’s launch? I’d really like to have it then.

  22. Did anyone notice that many websites (including dpreview) initially posted the upgrade price for Photoshop CS5 as $149, rather than $199? I wonder if Adobe changed their minds at the last minute, or if an initial typo somewhere was just copied by other sites.

    I have to say, $149 would make the decision to upgrade a whole lot easier…

  23. Hey Scott,
    Maybe I’m blind, but I cannot find the free download of the webinars. Are they up yet? I’m not sure if I can watch today so I’m hoping to watch it later this evening.

  24. I am not sure if anybody noticed, but, Scott, what time is the 1st presentation?
    You have 1:30 and 1:00 listed.

    1:30 is listed near the top under the picture, and 1:00 is listed deeper in the FAQ.

    Granted you posted this after a long day, but let us know which it is! ;-)



  25. I’m currently using LR2 and PS CS4. The thing I love about LR2 is the non-destructive edits. Maybe it’s because I don’t trust myself yet, but I like being able to tweak thing and still go back to the original. Once it’s in Photoshop, the filesize blows up (I shoot RAW on my 5D) and everything takes that much more disk space. While the promise of awesome noise removal is great (I currently use Nik’s suite to perform that function), I really wish this same noise reduction could be done in LR3. Maybe I’m too new to photography, but I’ve never though of noise reduction as “photoshopping”, just “Step 0” in a workflow.

    1. I would like to know if Lightroom 3 is going to have the same great noise reduction algorithm that CS5 Camera Raw has?? I would much rather continue working first in Lightroom and then Photoshop CS5 since I have never bothered to learn Camera Raw.

  26. Does anyone know if Adobe allows customers to upgrade from an upgrade? I have the CS4 Design Premium (upgrade from CS3) and would obviously love to upgrade to CS5. I’m pretty sure you can do this without having to pay $1,800. Does anyone know for sure? On the Adobe website it just says upgrade from CS4 to CS5. Doesn’t say whether or not you can or can’t upgrade from an upgrade… Thanks everyone :)

  27. I’ve been pleased to see how far you’ve come along in producing a 64-bit version in CS4, but I still use the 32-bit version of CS4 because not all of my plug-ins work with 64-bit PS.

    Are there any changes in 64-bit CS5 that would make it easier to run older plug-ins?

    1. No. The 64-bit version can only run 64-bit plug-ins and the 32-bit version can only run 32-bit plug-ins. That’s just the way it works. That said, you can run CS5 in 32-bit mode on both Mac and Windows in order to run legacy plug-ins. There are few incompatibilities with legacy 3rd party plug-ins on the mac related to some infrastructure changes in moving the application from Carbon to Cocoa. These will require the 3rd plug-in developers to update their plug-ins in some cases.

      1. I’m sorry to ask such a silly question, but how can I find out which version of CS5 I am running in reference to 32 or 64 bit. Also, how can I make it run in 32 bit if I wanted it to. I am running a Mac with OS 10.6.3

        Thanks for your help!

  28. Thanks for answering my LR / Camera Raw gap question. Can you physically do a LR 2.6 or Beta 3 EDIT IN to PS CS4 once CS5 is installed without a workaround?

    In regards to the gap, I have collected Matt’s LR presets faithfully as well as others. Any way to translate them into Camera Raw CS5 easily (hint…hint).

    Adobe has announced the $$$ for various upgrades, but the actual buy it options are only built for a couple. A joint LR / CS5 upgrade not found.

  29. The NIK Define 2 plug-in only works in 32-bit CS 4, not 64-bit. I called the company and they assured me that they are working on a 64-bit version and hope to have it available soon. I don’t know if it will work in CS 5, but after seeing the video on CS 5’s noise reduction, I can see no longer see a great advantage in using Define 2. It appears that CS 5 will reduce noise in low-light / high iso shots quite well. When NIK finally does the upgrade, I’ll know for sure.

    1. I know that one of the advantages of CS5 is noise reductionand that it works in RAW but how well does it work on JPEGs and TIFFs with noise?

      I’ve noticed that all the plug-in vendors are promising updates but we need to remember that they will only be updating their shipping products, so that year old OnOne 4.5 that I’ve been running is now obsolete. The plug-in guys are going to love this because now they can get us to “upgrade” without having to “upgrade” their product in any way other than CS5 compatibility.

      I don’t seem to recall this being a huge problem in the past and does anyone have a list that shows if this is a big problem with CS5? I’d say that the lack of compatibility of plug-ins might be a good reason to keep your old CS3/CS4 on your machine along with your new CS5.

      1. Robbie,

        I was wondering the same thing about the JPEG and TIFF noise reduction and found this little nugget:

        “It also brings its magic not just to Raw files but to JPEGs and TIFFs. That’s particularly nice news for digicams with unbearable noise above ISO 400 or even just a photo taken by your cell phone.”

        Here’s the site it was taken from:

  30. I have Photoshop Extended CS4 academic (I am a college professor). Can I go through my NAPP membership to buy the CS5 Photoshop upgrade? I don’t want to pay extra for the extended since I don’t need those features and would rather get off the academic versions.


    1. Assuming you have a standard academic edition and the school didn’t provide you with a volume license, yes. Academic editions upgrade just like regular retail versions, and with CS5 you can opt for either a Photoshop or Photoshop Extended upgrade.

  31. I just talked with adobe and CS5 will be released April 30th. The really BAD news is that adobe will no longer give technical support for CS4 after CS5 comes out. So if you are having problems with CS4 you can’t fix them you are forced to buy CS5.

    1. Jacqueline, We support the current version and 1 version back, so tech support for CS4 will still be available after CS5 ships. That said, free technical support has a 90 day limit. So, 90 days after CS5 is released users will be charged $39 per case for CS4.

  32. Better noise suppression in the camera raw module will be helpful, but if, like me, you receive a lot of images that are not in a RAW format, or never were, I suspect that Noise Ninja or something similar still will be necessary.

  33. Hi Scott,
    I have your books Photoshop for Digital Photographers which I have found o be fantastic, I note above that you will be releasing the CS5 book soon. Any date as yet?If it is still a little way away any suggestions on how to become conversant with my upgrade that I received today.

  34. I ordered the CS5 Design Premium upgrade the day it was announced and, more’s the pity, NAPP either didn’t have or I failed to see the discount for us old members. The whole subject was secret, as you might recall, so it isn’t NAPP’s fault if the discount wasn’t yet posted. I’m asking — to no avail — if Adobe will give us the discount now available or apply it to a Lightroom 2 upgrade.

    Wish me luck.

  35. I have all your books and am looking forward to “The Adobe Photoshop CS5 Book for Digital Photographers”. Do you have a date as to when the book is going to be available?

  36. I am a beginer working on my laptop with Adobe Photoshop Elements. Obviously I am running out of space but instead of buying an external drive I would like to purchase Photoshop CS5 and put it on a stationary PC with a solid screen. Nothing else would be on this machine. Do you have any suggestions for hardware including a screen?

    thank you

    1. I am no expert but when you open two or more images in cs5, even though you only see one picture, at the top of the photo, you can see the other opened photos in minimized form.  I just click on the unopened picture and drag it and it automatically open.  now you have two open pictures.  Then I just re-size each so I can see all of each picture.  Hope this helps.

  37. I am using CS5 bridge/and camera raw to editing and organize my photos. (photoshop cs5 too of course) I am debating adding lightroom 3 to the mix. Can someone please tell me what lightroom can offer me that camera raw doesn’t?

  38. I have 5 photos taken of a building at night from a distance with fireworks going on around it.  I want to stack these images into one picture.  since generally each photo is the same except for the fireworks, combining these would give me one scene with a lot of different fireworks in one picture.  I have photoshop cs5 and lightroom 3. 

  39. I just ordered the printshop pro x5 and was wondering if its possible to fix a photo and have fun with it and send it to Walgreens to be printed or save it to a disk or a memory stick or Does the photos have to be printed on a personal printer?

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