Open source image editor gets even better
With the discontinuation of Photoshop CS6, you can no longer buy the program outright. Licenses for Photoshop are now part of the Creative Cloud monthly subscription fee. If you're looking for Photoshop functionality without the monthly fee, you may want to consider Adobe Photoshop Elements, a standalone program with some of Photoshop’s basic features.
While Photoshop is not free for students, Adobe does offer discount student pricing.
Creative Cloud applications are installed on your hard drive, so you're able to use them even when not connected to the internet. However, an internet connection will be required when you first install and license the program. In addition, Photoshop will attempt to validate its license periodically via the internet.
Photoshop has features aimed at both beginners and advanced users. Many basic tasks that can be performed in the program are intuitive; however, there are features that may take more experience or knowledge to use.
Major versions of the program are generally released every one to two years. Smaller updates addressing issues and functionality are released regularly between major versions.
While Adobe Illustrator files (files with the .ai extension) can be opened in Adobe Photoshop, you will not be able to edit the contents of these files as you would in Illustrator. The imported file will only be editable as a raster image – in the form of a Smart Object – and not as its component vectors. You can, however, edit the file’s original vectors in Illustrator by double clicking on the Smart Object in the Layers panel.
Photoshop can open and import SVG files; however, an SVG’s vector components will not be directly editable in Photoshop. You can open an SVG file as a Smart Object by selecting File then Place Embedded or Place Linked. Alternatively, you can drag and drop an SVG file directly into an open Photoshop document.
Smart Objects are a collection of raster or vector layers presented as a single object in the Layer panel. Smart Objects retain their original characteristics, allowing you to perform non-destructive editing on them. For example, you can apply transformations or filters to a Smart Object without altering the original image.
A Clipping Mask is a group of layers that combine to produce a single image. The bottom layer in a Clipping Mask defines the shape of the overall image based on it transparency. The layers attached to the base layer contribute their appearance based on their order and the transparency set by the base layer. Clipping Masks are created in the Layers panel by right clicking on a layer and selecting Create Clipping Mask.
Photoshop actions are a set of steps conveniently bundled together in an ATN file. An action is activated through the Actions panel and allows users to be more efficient by automating tasks. Photoshop comes with a limited set of actions; you can also download actions other users have created or create your own.