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Adobe Photoshop CS3 Preview

Public beta hits tomorrow; creative tools expanded; full release still scheduled for spring By Dave Nagel
Adobe tomorrow will do something unique in the history of Photoshop: release a public beta of a full-version upgrade months before the final product hits the shelves. We have the details prior to the new release, which will be available Friday morning. (See link at end of article.)

The new release of Photoshop CS3, you should be cautioned, is unfinished software. This is not a "final gold" beta. It's a real beta. Not everything will work correctly, and not all of the new features will be complete. But its availability will give you a chance to play around with the new version to get a feel or the workflow and interface tweaks and get a little experience using some of the new features.

The Photoshop CS3 beta will be available to all users tomorrow morning. However, you must enter a valid serial number for Photoshop CS2, Creative Suite 2 (either version), Creative Suite Production Studio (either version) or Web Bundle, Video Bundle or Design Bundle. Otherwise the software will time out after two days.

Also worth noting: The public beta is English-only, though it will install on non-English systems. Technical support will not be available for the beta, though Adobe is encouraging testers to submit feedback and ideas. The beta will expire when the final release of Photoshop CS3 ships.

So, all of that said, do you have to look forward to in Photoshop CS3 tomorrow?

For Mac users
Well, perhaps the most significant change in the new release is that the new version--including the public beta--is a Universal Binary, allowing it to run natively on Intel-based Mac hardware. In fact, Adobe says it's the company's primary purpose in releasing this beta to allow Mac users to use a native version of Photoshop.

Says Adobe in a document released earlier this week to the press: "Adobe has a long-standing commitment to the Mac community, and this release is Adobe's way of delivering native performance to our Mac customers many months earlier than we otherwise could have done. Over the years, Photoshop has consistently done right by Mac customers, offering a free PowerPC update for Photoshop 2.5 and a free G5 update for PS 7, even though new versions were right around the corner. Making the Photoshop CS3 Beta available to all of our Mac-based Photoshop CS2 users is a further proof of our commitment to the platform. Since a large portion of our customer base is on Windows, Adobe is simultaneously releasing a Windows version of the Photoshop CS3 beta to Windows XP and Vista users."

What does this mean to you and me?


Photoshop running under Rosetta has been slow. Sometimes brutally slow. In our own benchmark tests, Photoshop under Rosetta ran at anywhere from 60 percent to 40 percent the speed of Photoshop running natively on PowerPC hardware, which can, at times, be intolerable.

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