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What Makes Photoshop So Expensive?

Paint in Photoshop?

There have been various natural-media painting packages over the years (Corel Painter is the best known), but their developers have assumed you’ll start from scratch or repaint a source image that you don’t want. Photoshop has long had artistic effects that can make a whole image look like an oil painting. In CS5, it gets paint features that let you paint over an image or on a blank canvas, with realistic brushes and paint. Put a layer over your image and you can pick up paint colors from the photo but keep the original undamaged.

Choose the brush combination to choose whether the colors of your image act like wet paint or dry as you use the brush.

Choose the brush combination to choose whether the colors of your image act like wet paint or dry as you use the brush.

If you’re happy with the preset brushes, they live in the brush presets panel, while if you want to change or design your own bristle tips you can open the Brush panel. You’re not just choosing the size and style of the brush since you can choose how much the bristles move while you’re painting and how much the tip changes shape, what texture the bristles have (and whether they’re all different), how much paint is transferred, and even how much paint is on the brush and whether you’ll "run out" of paint and have to reload the color. As you paint, the color you put on the brush mingles with the colors of the original image–you can choose how much of that gets picked up as well as how wet the surface is that you’re painting (whether the ink dries quickly or smears on the wet surface).

Tweak a preset brush to get a different effect on the page.

Tweak a preset brush to get a different effect on the page.

You get an extraordinary amount of control with the new paint options. You’ll need a graphics tablet with lots of settings to make the most of them and you’ll need to invest plenty of time in learning how to use the options to get good effects. The feature represents a shift away from image editing towards image manipulation. If a painting-like effect or a partially painted photo is what you want, you can do it all in with this feature, although its appeal may be limited.

Load the brush with a color from the image and choose how long to paint with it.

Load the brush with a color from the image and choose how long to paint with it.
  • mitch074
    Nice. Photoshop sure is quite the package.

    However, I wonder why, along with all the tools you cite, there is no mention made of the Gimp...? After all, it is available on Windows, Mac and Linux, it doesn't cost a dime, and it also includes:
    - HDR effects (in script-fu): Tone Mapping and Exposure Blend
    - painting effects (programmable brushes)
    - GEGL (yes, 3D in Gimp)
    - lens correction

    Now, all of these aren't as advanced nor are they as easy to use as the Photoshop versions, but they are here and they work. For free.
    Reply
  • marybranscombe
    Mitch - to fit in as much information about Photoshop CS5, I only had room to mention a tiny fraction of all the image editing tools out there ;) I'm quite a fan of Paint.Net and Irfanview, personally...
    Reply
  • cruelacid
    The Gimp also had content aware fill years ago in a plugin called Resynthesizer.

    Reply
  • mitch074
    Paint.NET, iPhoto, WL Photo Gallery are not exactly professional-grade applications - while the Gimp (with colour profile management capabilities, layers-based approach, programmable filters, vector graphics capabilities, advanced stylus management, etc.) is, actually, used by some professionals... And a direct competitor to Photoshop.

    Thus why I found its absence (Paint.NET isn't quite there yet, it does have the merit of being free for use -but not open source- ) a bit surprising.
    Reply
  • Traciatim
    "Digital SLRs let you save files not just as JPEGs but in a RAW . . . "

    So does my point and shoot from 2002 . . . and (I believe all new) Interchangeable Lens Digital Cameras, and lots of point and shoots available today. You could have just said "Many Digital Cameras" rather than implying that Digital SLRs do something that other cameras don't, which is not true.
    Reply
  • marybranscombe
    Traciatim - true, but 1) the CS5 emphasis is very much on the DSLRs judging by the minimal list of cameras covered by the cusotm lens correction (and Adobe refers to only 275 cameras whose RAW formats are supported) and 2) my feeling is usually that point and shoot cameras with small lenses and sensors tend to need the in-camera processing to deliver good images
    Reply
  • cadder
    Photoshop is the ultimate consumer image editing tool. There are lesser tools sold by Adobe that will do for most people with digital cameras, and they are a lot less expensive- Photoshop Elements and Photoshop Lightroom. Of course Gimp and Irfanview are much cheaper options than that for the average person too.
    Reply
  • anthropophaginian
    If it was for sale for half-price $300, I doubt sales would double. The same universities and design companies would buy it, but it would still be out of many consumers' price range. At this price range, with spreading of costs the time saved and final quality of the product will justify the price.

    ...Also you're paying for the ostentatious value.
    Reply
  • punditguy
    Student discount FTW! Adobe Creative Suite Design Standard, $299 at Amazon. Won't be available until June 30, though...
    Reply
  • Tomsguiderachel
    Traciatim"Digital SLRs let you save files not just as JPEGs but in a RAW . . . " So does my point and shoot from 2002 . . . and (I believe all new) Interchangeable Lens Digital Cameras, and lots of point and shoots available today. You could have just said "Many Digital Cameras" rather than implying that Digital SLRs do something that other cameras don't, which is not true.I would argue that most point and shoots today do not offer RAW. And, most interchangeable lens cameras ARE DSLRs (not all).
    Reply