Photoshop CS3 was released a few months ago and some of you may still be using CS2. Should you spend the extra money on upgrading to CS3? My answer is, It depends.
CS3's new RAW converter is powerful, but it is basically the same as Adobe Lightroom, so if you have Lightroom I don't think you really need CS3's RAW converter. CS3 'talks' to Lightroom and viseversa more seamlessly than does CS2, but they both do - like upgrading Bridge as Lightroom makes changes, but again, is that convenience worth the money. Lightroom's RAW converter has several more features than does CS2's, including a Target Adjustment Tool, and split screens for comparisons, so I believe Lightroom has the edge there.
CS3 has a new B&W conversion feature in the Adjustment Layers, Smart Objects - for referring back to the RAW file while in Photoshop, and Smart Filters - which I think have limited value since there is only one mask available for any or all the Smart Filtes, and a new Curves adjustment (in RAW) that is nifty. The neatest new tool is a Quick Selection Tool that acts something like a Magic Wand and Magnetic Lasso, making fairly incredible selections quite quickly.
However, you WILL need CS3 if you intend to use Photoshop with any new cameras that are introduced that have a different RAW converter. My Mark IIIs can't be read with CS2's RAW converter, so if I planned on doing anything in Photoshop I'm forced into getting CS3. Of course, I could work around this by first using Lightroom, converting to a TIFF and then opening, and working, in CS2, and if you love Lightroom that could be the answer.
Lightroom's keywording feature is still faster, but CS2 or CS3's Bridge is still a great way to move files if you don't want to use a one-big-batch approach that Lightroom encourages, which is counter to the workflow we use and teach. Lightroom will work with our workflow, however, so that isn't a problem.
Keywording has gotten better with CS3, and it now incorporates a Parent-Child-Grandchild-Great Grandchild type system where Keywords can be subsetted down. For example, a Keyword sequence could start as:
Mammals Birds Reptiles (Child)
Turtles Lizards Snakes (GrandChild)
Rattlesnakes Copperheads Pythons Boas Garters Water (Great Grand Children) so that a phylogenetic tree could be incorporated with a classification keywording, or you could do the same with Behaviors, and subset and subset those again, as your needs require.
CS3 is sufficiently close to CS2 in its operation that you could upgrade to CS3 without difficulty and use it without any training, using only the tools and work flow procedures you used in CS2. So there's not a huge unfamiliar learning curve. For the new options, you'll need a book, their Help menu, or one of our courses -- we're teaching CS3 as part of a Digital Complete Nature Photo Courses and our Photoshop courses.
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