It’s real.  A big, public beta of Photoshop CS3.  Now, if you own CS2, you can see what’s been keeping us so busy lately.

Now, you can read all about features on other sites – I don’t think this needs to be yet another me too list of features.  And this isn’t the place for reporting bugs or asking questions – use the Labs forums for that, I’ll be there along with some of the other engineers, time allowing (hey, we have to finish this thing).

We are doing this mostly because we wanted to get the Macintosh Universal Binary of the product into your hands as soon as we could.  It really wasn’t possible to do that with an updated CS2, it really did take that much effort, and it really wasn’t ready until recently.  But then, it wouldn’t be fair to do just a beta on the Mac side and not let the Windows users along for the ride.

This is a beta, but I think it’s in pretty darned good shape.  Part of why is that as a development team we broke free of the old waterfall methodology.  If you’re a developer, visit Waterfall 2006.  I find it pretty funny, maybe that’s just me – I’ve been living the waterfall nightmare for so long, the laughter comes from a dark place…

What it means is that we’ve kept the bug count low the entire cycle – especially the nastiest bugs.  Now, your "favorite" long-time bugs and annoyances may or may not be fixed (yes, we do listen, I keep a list, and we get to as many as we can), and after all, this is still a beta, there will be dragons there, but for the most part for something still this far from release, it’s in pretty good shape – and this wasn’t a special, lots-a-pain bug-fix build, but pretty much just pulling out a daily.  Yeah, I know, some of you developers will be going "but we’ve been doing things that way for a long time".  Hey, around here, a lot of the groups fall right back into waterfall at the first sign of trouble.  Nasty.

A couple of notes – due to the platform rules, the Macintosh version when running native on an Intel-based Macintosh will not load and run PPC-only plug-ins.  You’ll have to run under Rosetta to access those old scanner plug-ins. Or better yet, just use the scanner software in stand-alone mode.  Also, brush-sized cursors aren’t working when running Macintosh Intel native yet (they do work in Rosetta).  With a little help from Apple, the replacement for the old framebuffer-fiddling methods are well underway, but they didn’t make the beta.

The new UI can test Windows XP video drivers a little more, so you may want to make sure you have those updated, especially if you see some problems.  I like the new palette panes, but they do take getting used to, so give them a chance.  There are legacy workspaces in there if you really need the floating palettes back.  Vista support is in there, too.

As for performance, you should see start up times that are much lower than for CS2.  We’ve really worked hard on this – there’s more to go, of course, this is just a beta.  Oh, and as for comparing performance between platforms now that they use the same chip and we’re a Universal Binary on the Macintosh, well, I just don’t think such comparisons are valid – there are so many variables involved: number of processors, system memory bandwidth, disk I/O bandwidth, OS scheduling, API performance.  So if you see sites claiming that one platform or the other performs better, take it with a big grain of salt – I do.

So, if you’ve got the time and inclination (and Photoshop CS2) go ahead and grab the beta from Adobe Labs tomorrow and see what we’ve been up to.

[Edit – 12/15/06 9:30amPST – The links still aren’t live on the labs pages yet. It’s being worked on. – Scott]

[Edit – 12/15/06 12:15PST – They’re live now. Visit the forums at Adobe Labs for more help and info.]

17 Responses to Beta!

  1. Paul Gardner says:

    Is CS3 goig to support XP64 natively or use the WOW 64?[No native 64-bit executable this time – not enough benefits for the cost yet. We’re continuing to look into it though. – Scott]

  2. Alex Lovett says:

    Excellent, great work guys, from what I’ve seen already, the new UI and new Smart Filters is just what I’ve been waiting for.

  3. Chad Crowell says:

    So- its Dec. 15 and the link to the beta leads to nothing. I know some people have gotten the download but why is it gone already, or, whare has it moved to?[There were problems found in the download pages overnight, so they’ve been pulled until a fix is ready. They’re being worked on. – Scott]

  4. Ken Gehle says:

    Bridge CS3 will not load on my laptop (which also has CS2 installed). I get a java script error: VersionCue.jsx – line281 -addAppCustomRootAny idea?

  5. Mike Guthman says:

    Love CS3 but my CS2 no longer loads. Need to use it to get to plug-ins. Running 10.4.8What to do?Mike

  6. A. Dias says:

    I am a CS2 and CS Windows licensed. I now replaced my desktop with a Mac Pro, but cannot run CS2 or the new CS3 beta. Can you guys open up the CS3 beta to cross platform?Thanks,A. Dias[There used to be a platform cross-grade program, but I can’t find anything anymore. As for the beta, I suspect it would have just complicated things too much. – Scott]

  7. LJL says:

    What happened to the Web Gallery automation in CS3? Used to be able to access this from Bridge to create Web galleries drectly from selected images in a totally automated way. Not found in Bridge/PS CS3. Hope this is merely an oversight on the beta and they bring this back into the real thing.[Web Photo Gallery will end up in Bridge, which is a more appropriate place for it. It’s missing from the Beta. – Scott]

  8. Rob Adams says:

    WOW! The new UI is interesting. Glad we have a while to work with it before full release.

  9. Ed Bell says:

    I get the following message when trying to get my beta SN. Any thoughts?Sorry, but the serial number you entered is not eligible for the Photoshop CS3 Beta download. Please try your Photoshop CS2 serial number again, or, if you do not own a license for Photoshop CS2, you can purchase one on and use the serial number to download the Photoshop CS3 Beta.[They’ve been having trouble getting all the serial number translation going on the web site. Stay tuned for fixes… -Scott]

  10. Scott:Folks that installed CS3 yesterday back in the office encountered some quirks when attempting to run it alongside CS2 as well as when trying to save in legacy formats and trying to open the files again in the older versions. Is that a behavior you’d expect to see? Why?If you don’t mind replying on my blog post about CS3, I’d appreciate it.Thanks![There is some annoying behavior when saving files with certain new capabilities used and taking that back to CS2 or CS – you can get warnings on each layer. The file will still open fine. The warnings have been clarified in CS3, and an option to say OK for all layers has been added to fix this when CS4 adds some more capabilities. Sorry, we’ll keep trying to minimize that annoyance before release, but it may not get better – one of the gotchas of adding capabilities into the file format. – Scott]

  11. Nick Pope says:

    I own CS (not CS2). I probably should have upgraded a long time ago, but I haven’t. I’m kind of stuck now: I don’t really want to pay to upgrade CS2 now and then again for CS3 in 6 months. Could you not include CS users in the beta? If not, then could you provide a way to pay for the CS->CS3 upgrade once?[Ah, such things are decided by marketing. There is a way of paying for the upgrade just once, but it involves waiting for the release – not fun, I know. This is the first time we’ve done a beta for an existing product, so there are kinks to work out. – Scott]

  12. Paul Takeuchi says:

    Scott, I am very impressed with the performance of the CS3 beta on macintel. You guys made the right decision to give us something while we wait for the final. I really hope that you and Apple are working together to maximize performance and scalability for OSX on multi-core and -processor machines. I bet you optimize based on where your market share money is coming from, but now that the hardware is essentially the same there’s no reason for it to run faster on either platform.I have to say that for being such a large company, you guys are a hell of a lot more responsive to users than other giants like Microsoft. While I hate to pay every 18 months for an upgrade, when you guys offer a new version, I can actually see the improvement in performance, usability and features–things I will gladly pay for. With the Lightroom and PS CS3 betas, it’s clear that you have been listening closely to us professional users.[Thanks. We try very hard! – Scott]

  13. I wanna write some filters and plugins under OS X – does new the SDK now work with Apple’s compiler ? Where can I find the new SDK ?Edmund[When available, the new SDK, which should be XCode compatible, will be at – Scott]

  14. Riot Nrrrd™ says:

    Hi Scott,Doubt you’ll see this ‘cos it’s been 4 days since the last posting, but just in case …I love the native MacIntel speed of the new CS3 beta, but I had to go through Hell to get it working.Apparently no one in the Mac dept. has ever initialized a Mac Volume as “Case-sensitive, journaled” HFS+ – a.k.a. HFSX. Photoshop CS3 won’t even launch on a Case-sensitive HFS+ filesystem. I had to spend a good hour going down through the guts, making a zillion symbolic links (“MacOS” to “macos”, “Resources” to “resources”, “A” to “a”, and so on) to get this thing to run at all. Very time-consuming and frustrating – and apparently this has been the case for a while now.Oh, and the Adobe Stock Photos app wouldn’t run either, because somehow it was magically missing the “adobe_cops.framework” Framework, despite it being present in all the other CS3 elements.I’ve managed to work around all of these issues (with one exception, that being Adobe Crash Reporter, that dies with a strange error – go see my VersionTracker comments posting for the gory details) which kinda makes it hard to report back to the Mothership :)P.S. As someone that’s made the mistake of trying to build everything I build (I’m a Systems Programmer) on Solaris be 64-bit, only to watch things crash & burn time and again because of broken application code or broken/missing shared libraries, etc., I *fully* support your position on 64-bit Photoshop as espoused in the following Blog entry.[No, we haven’t made running on a case-sensitive file system a requirement yet, it would take work and since it’s not the default option for formatting a drive, we don’t expect many customers to need it. Being an old Unix-head I’d like to be case-sensitive compatible, but it’s a lot of ducks to line up, as you found. – Scott]

  15. David Allen says:

    Hi Scott,What kind of development methodology did you use to get such good productivity?Dave[The two key pieces were using a quality first model of development – the beta release really was just another daily build – and organizing around functional teams (we called them Molecules, because it’s catchier). There’s more to it, of course, and this is worth expanding on, but I’ll do that after the break. -Scott]

  16. Craig says:

    The new UI looks great. Now here’s hoping Adobe’s actually allowing Mac users to use the standard shortcut for switching windows (Command+~), rather than the Windows one (or at least to change this shortcut via key bindings, which you can’t do in CS2).

  17. happyzone says:

    I’m in the process of switching over to the Mac and am looking for a good photo program. I normally work with jpeg and mpeg but would also like the ability to work with raw photos from time to time, so I was wondering whether or not I should go with Adobe Photoshop CS3 or Apple Aperture to meet my needs. I checked both out via the web and Photoshop seems to be a better candidate for working with jpeg and mpeg files and you can remove unwanted images from photos (not sure about Aperture though) but Aperture integrates well with other Apple software such as iPhoto and iWeb (which I plan to use a bit)..[Have you checked out Lightroom? I like it’s organizational and print capabilities better than Aperature (but I’m also biased :-). Yes, to get fully into editing the pixels, you’ll need Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. You may not need the full power of Photoshop, so check out Photoshop Elements to see if it provides everything you want, and it’s interface is more approachable. – Scott]