As I ran a workshop in Photoshop over the weekend I didn't get much of a chance to have a play with Photoshop CS3. One thing though I learnt was that my ability to convert my raw files using Photoshop 7 has been removed! When I delete the beta version hopefully this will correct itself? Another thing I learnt is that you can only use a CS2 license not a CS license number to activate the full functionality of the beta software.
Why am I NOT surprised? Of course Photoshop are determined to sell you the latest, fair enough too I guess, they are a company they need to continue to make money. What worries me though is the must have the latest and greatest mentality that exists in these kinds of things.
Everything I do in photoshop revolves around curves, levels, adjustment layers and layer masks, all features that have been available since version 5. Sure 16 bit editing* has come in since then, sure, the History Palette has also been implemented since then, and sure the Lens Correction filter has been an added bonus as well, do I NEED any of these features, no. Well the 16 bit editing is a bit of a must but as for the rest, whatever. But hey I open an image I crop, I adjust levels, I burn and dodge a little I emphasise colour slightly, I sharpen, all of this is gone globally and or locally on an image, do I need any of the other guff no, but more importantly do my students?
What my students need is to be able understand what constitutes good exposure either digital or analogue, what constitutes good lighting, and good composition, the rest is simply workflow and can almost be automated, on a global image level anyway.
So, do I need photoshop CS2 or 3? No! Would I appreciate it if as an educator I was given a real opportunity to find the strengths and weaknesses of an application by trying it out properly, so I can then share this knowledge with my students. Abso-fucking-lutely. Is this ever going to happen, I severely doubt it.
I want my students to understand first principles, I want my students to understand the idea of finding a workaround, I want my students to be creative and critical thinkers, so sorry Adobe, I'm off to find a creative solution to the problem of modern day digital photography editing and I beginning to doubt that Photoshop CS3 is part of that solution.*I am however still waiting for TRUE 16 bit editing and while we are at it, non-destructive pixel editing and correct colour handling, I can only hope and dream I guess?