March 27, 2007

What’s unique to Photoshop Extended?

I’m often asked what features of the CS3 release are unique to Photoshop Extended. This edition starts with all the capabilities of Photoshop CS3* and extends them (hence the name) with the following:

  1. Opening/placing 3D files (specifically .3DS (Max), .OBJ (Maya), .U3D (Acrobat 3D), Collada, and KMZ (Google Earth), then adjusting their view options (rotation, camera parameters, render mode, cross section, etc.).  Animation data in these files is preserved.  Photoshop does not include 3D modeling tools, but it is possible to turn planar geometry from Vanishing Point into a simple 3D model or 3D layer.
  2. Painting directly on the textures of 3D files & updating the models.  (I’ll try to post or at least link to a demo of this working as it makes things clearer.)
  3. Opening/placing video files (essentially anything that QuickTime supports) and image sequences, treating these as video layers that you can scrub back and forth and on which you can paint, erase, run filters, etc. Some details:
    • PS Extended includes a revised Animation palette, more consistent with what you find in After Effects.
    • Basic GIF-style frame animation is in both Photoshop and Photoshop Extended, as it was in CS2. In Extended you can toggle the mode of the Animation palette between frame mode & timeline mode.
    • PS Extended features new a Render Video dialog that lets you render files in whatever formats QuickTime supports, or as image sequences.  If you have Flash 8 Professional or Flash CS3 Professional, the video export list includes FLV.
    • The “frame offset” option in the new Clone Source palette makes it possible to clone/heal from one point in time to another and is unique to Extended, whereas the rest of the palette is the same in both editions.
    • The ability to import video frames as layers is in both editions of Photoshop CS3, because it was previously in ImageReady.
  4. Support for painting and layers in 32-bit/HDR files.  Merge to HDR is enhanced in both editions, as is basic HDR editing (e.g. using Levels).  The rationale for dividing the HDR enhancements is that the photography-centric parts appear in both editions, whereas the aspects geared towards film, 3D, and technical work are in Extended only.
  5. MATLAB integration: It’s possible to access Photoshop CS3 Extended directly from the MATLAB
    command prompt in order to grab image data from Photoshop, use
    MATLAB to run different image processing routines, and then return the image data to
    Photoshop to view the results.
  6. Measurement & counting tools: Photoshop Extended makes it possible to set a scale for the image (e.g. 512 pixels = 30cm), then take measurements of selections and rulers.
    • This includes tools inside Vanishing Point for taking measurements in perspective.
    • Measurement scale is specified via the Analysis menu, which is unique to Extended.
    • The Count Tool (nothing to do with this guy) is a simple but effective way to annotate an image (e.g. while counting blood cells)
  7. DICOM format support, enabling the app to open files from medical imaging devices (CT scans, X-rays, etc.).
  8. Image stack analytical filters, which make it possible to stack multiple images into a single Smart Object, then run a filter across the range of images.  For example, an astro photographer might take a range of high-ISO images, then run Mean or Median across the range.  (It also makes for a great “disappearing tourist” demo…)

There’s a great deal more about Photoshop Extended online, and as I say we’ll endeavor to provide some video demos ASAP as they’ll make a number of points clearer.  That said, I hope this list provides a useful summary.  For reference, none of these features were included in the Photoshop public beta.  [Update: I've revised the video section in hopes of being a bit clearer.]

* A note about naming: The products are, officially, “Photoshop CS3″ and “Photoshop CS3 Extended.”  That is, there’s no “Photoshop Standard” per se.  That’s why you may see us refer to “the regular version,” “the standard version” or something similar, but not “Standard” with a capital S.

Posted by John Nack at 12:16 PM on March 27, 2007
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