Announcing two flavors of Photoshop CS3

Adobe is announcing today that there will be two editions of Photoshop CS3–Photoshop CS3 and Photoshop CS3 Extended. From the press release:

In addition to the highly anticipated Photoshop CS3 software for designers and professional photographers, Adobe will also deliver Photoshop CS3 Extended, a completely new edition of Photoshop which allows cross-media creative professionals to stretch the limits of digital imaging. Photoshop CS3 Extended includes everything in Photoshop CS3 plus a new set of capabilities for integration of 3D and motion graphics, image measurement and analysis. Photoshop CS3 Extended also simplifies the workflow for professionals in architecture, engineering, medical and science.

Now, because the products haven’t been formally introduced yet (that’s what the March 27 event is all about), I can’t get into a lot of details about the features (or price, or Suite configurations).  But I can pass along what’s in the press release:

  • Film and video specialists can perform 3D model visualization and texture editing, paint and clone over multiple video frames.
  • Animators can now render and incorporate rich 3D content into their 2D compositions.
  • Graphic and web designers can create an animation from a series of images – such as time series data – and export it to a wide variety of formats, including QuickTime, MPEG-4 and Adobe Flash® Video*.
  • Architects, medical professionals and scientists will enjoy increased support for specialized image formats so they can easily view, annotate, and edit images in their native format.
  • Scientific researchers can create animations from medical images for presentation purposes, and architects can make accurate measurements of objects in their 3-D images.

So, in a nutshell, Photoshop CS3 Extended includes everything that’s in Photoshop CS3, plus support for 3D, video, and measurement.  The point is not to turn Photoshop into After Effects, Premiere, Maya, etc.  Rather, the idea is to extend what you can do with the application, being smarter and more flexible about bringing in 3D and video, letting you use Photoshop’s unique painting and compositing tools in new ways.  It allows Adobe to address specialized needs in a way that was never practical in the past, with a one-size-fits-all Photoshop.

About the name:

  • The products are called "Photoshop CS3" and "Photoshop CS3 Extended."
  • There is no "Photoshop Standard," and there is especially no "Photoshop Pro," "Photoshop Advanced," "Photoshop Premium," or the like.

Why is the name a big deal?  Simply put, we don’t want to express or imply
the message that Photoshop CS3 isn’t advanced or pro, or that "This extended version is the one everyone
would get, if only money were no object."  The standard version of Photoshop will be the right choice for many people.  Extended is there for people with specific needs, who want to push the tools & their skills in new ways. 

What do you think?  I’m extremely excited about this evolution in the history of Photoshop, and I wish we could give you a demo of exactly what’s coming, but we’ll be there soon enough.


[Update: A bit more info has been posted on]

* This relies on Flash Professional being installed, as it supplies the FLV codec.

0 thoughts on “Announcing two flavors of Photoshop CS3

  1. This will be tricky to manage marketing wise. I mean the people you address with the extended version are the verticals the ones that are domain specialist but not necessarily graphics specialists. For them to have regular Photoshop PLUS all the extended stuff is going to be overwhelming user experience wise.
    [I think you’ll be surprised at how little impact the features have on the overall appearance of the app, complexity of the menus, etc. There’s one new menu, one new option for the Animation palette, one new tool, and a few new submenus. Other than that, there’s very little that makes the app seem larger or more complex, and none of the new stuff increases launch time, eats RAM when it’s not running, etc. –J.]
    I’d much rather see an a la carte approach where you can either be a digital pixels master (mainstream photoshop) or one of the science guys (Photoshop ‘analyze’) or one of the 3D guys, but each of these version would have less of the other stuff instead of all piled into one package.
    [As I point out elsewhere in this thread, there’s a case to be made for not introducing a lot of complexity (tons of configurations). We’re wary of balkanizing Photoshop, of splitting it into a thousand little pieces (so that you have to spend a ton of time up front picking just the right configuration, and you can never be sure just what capabilities someone else’s copy of PS has). –J.]
    Maybe I am dreaming of CS4 being truly modular and customizable and it could all start with the simple free web version.
    [I fully agree that we need to make Photoshop much more customizable in order to emphasize what’s relevant to a particular user/task & hide the rest. The core app capabilities should always be there for when you need them, but they shouldn’t be in your face. You can see evidence of us moving in that direction (customizable menus, keyboard shortcuts, and workspaces), but that’s just a start. –J.]

  2. I’m unsure about this move, as I have been about any popular application splitting features across different versions, but I’ll keep an open mind until I get a chance to see the new extended features demoed in all their glory.
    BTW, in the paragraph following your bullet point stating there is no standard version of Photoshop you mention: “The standard version of Photoshop will be the right choice for many people.”
    [Ah, but I said that there’s no product *called* “Photoshop Standard,” and that’s true. It’s a very subtle point, I know, but I wanted to try to make the nomenclature clear. –J.]

  3. This is… interesting. I want to see and play with Extended and I have high hopes it’s going to be something I can really use as I do 3D and motion graphics – which it seems you can never have enough tools for.
    I remember the rumors of a “pro” PS some time ago, but really I wasn’t expecting it after the public beta and all.
    I am concerned about the prices and bundles, especially when it comes to updating my personal copy of the CS suite. I guess I’ll just have to wait till the announcement.

  4. What’s the price difference?
    already fell ripped off by costumer support when they treated me bad with my macromedia products, sorry but just feels like a way of getting more money.
    Adobe is starting to be like Microsoft.
    Love the products but you costumer support is rotten.

  5. The products are called “Photoshop CS3” and “Photoshop CS3 Extended.”
    Um, I thought it was Adobe Photoshop CS3…
    [Oh, I’m sure there are myriad TM’s and R’s in there, and that you’re supposed to follow the name with the word “software” upon first use–yet more reasons I didn’t follow the rest of the family into law. –J.]

  6. Looking forward to see it in action to get the real picture about the Extended… looking good so far!
    Keep on coming Adobe!!!
    Best regards,
    Dede Villela

  7. That’s pretty cool. now if you could only teach the Acrobat team how to deliver feature compatiblity cross-platform :-/
    [FWIW, they’re generally much closer than they’ve been in years past. –J.]
    (oh, and your anti-spam box there is kind of scriptable)
    [Yes, but that’s the price of making it accessible to people with disabilities. If some putz scripts it, I’ll get creative. But so far it’s keeping the knuckle-dragging weasels at bay. –J.]

  8. wow!!! excelente.
    Esto si que a sido una gran sorpresa, contar con 2 versiones de Photoshop. Esperare con ansias su salida.
    Y cito este documento en mi blog
    Sorry, that it is in Spanish
    [On the contrary, I quite enjoyed it as it adds some extra flavor. 🙂 –J.]

  9. Mr. Nack
    Thank your for clarity. As an avid user of Photoshop CS2 and soon CS3 It is hard to know how or what I should buy to “keep up” in emerging trends.
    Being an avid amateur I need to set limits on what I purchase.
    I made a personal commitment 3 years ago to learn Photoshop in and out. At 60 years old, cs2 has added purpose in being my best in family photography.
    Thank you,

  10. I may be alone on this one, I prefer to have the one version. I’m really annoyed with (in my opinion) the higher price of Acrobat 3D by several hundred dollars over the regular one. I would just like to be able to do everything with the program, especially opening more file formats and things.
    [Well–and I don’t mean this to sound smart-assed–I’d like my car to have leather seats, too, but that was an option I didn’t choose. I don’t resent the car company for not throwing in every option (and then making me pay for them all). –J.]
    Since I haven’t seen the price points I can’t say too much, but if the extended version is more than $100 more, I’ll probably be annoyed. I’m from the POV that if the technology is possible in the software, unless there are usability problems, to push the envelope and make the software do everything it can for people. Besides, 600-700 for software, especially for how many people buy it, is plenty.
    [“Plenty” is relative. If you buy software and use it 8+ hours a day to run a business, as many people do, then I think the price is totally reasonable relative to the value. If, however, you’re not getting value from the app (either because you don’t need it, or because we haven’t done a good job delivering what you need), then *any* price is probably too much. I’m confident that both flavors of Photoshop deliver a ton of value. Whether you agree that it’s worth what we’re asking is, of course, up to you. –J.]

  11. I think I’ll wait for the demo version to see what it is. There will be one, right?
    At least some screencasts to show the whole set of features, rigt?
    [Yes, absolutely on both counts. –J.]

  12. Yikes… seems like some of these commenters think that 1) Adobe has no experience in releasing multiple versions of something before [Acrobat? Any of the Suites?] and 2) That Adobe’s only marketing push for this new product is this blog post.
    Calm down folks! I’d wager they’ve thought about most of this and have a nice little campaign waiting in the wings to deter all kinds of speculation and confusion.

  13. Well, there we go, it seems that I am not the only one thinking- just like Gates and co.,
    [Uhhh… –J.]
    will there be a CS4 standard extended and CS4 extended standard upgrade A, and then CS5 by Christmas? Then Scot Kelby could start 3 more magazines and half a dozen podcasts. Seriously- this is adding a level of complexity that will come back and bite somebody.
    [Hang on a sec. You’re saying that having two flavors of Photoshop means unbearable complexity? Yet other people here are suggesting that Adobe should sell the additional features one at a time–or maybe sell *all* features separately, so that you can build-to-order your own copy of Photoshop (never mind if it’s not like any other). *That* would be some serious complexity, and that’s why we didn’t go down that path. –J.]

  14. I agree with Mike,
    I don’t like this at all. It feels (and I’m not saying that Adobe is) like Adobe is trying to get more money out of me. I would imagine the cost difference will be at least a hundred or more (or else why not combine the two into one program). I do work with video and special effects once in a while, so I’m going to feel like I need to purchase the more expensive products even though I probably won’t use the extended features that much. I would rather see you split the difference from the extended and standard version and add that to the current price of Photoshop – that way we would have just one version.
    [Well, that would have been one alternative: in order to pay for the extra effort required to deliver these features, we could have raised the price on everyone. But that doesn’t strike me as being fairer than saying “more capabilities = higher price.” –J.]
    On a side note, I think Adobe would have been wiser to just release one version of Photoshop and then sell the extended plug-in. This wouldn’t solve my problem with the split versions of Photoshop, but I think it would have been a smarter marketing tool. Adding features by plug-ins is pretty much standard practice with 3D/special effects programs. I think professionals would have an easier time swallowing that move then trying to decide if they need to purchase standard or extended.
    [Practically speaking, I don’t really see the difference. Each option results in Adobe offering multiple configurations at multiple price points, letting people choose the one that’s right for them. Does it help to think of Extended as Photoshop plus a bundle of capabilities (3D, video, technical)? That’s essentially what it is. And you could make the case that it should be possible to buy each of those pieces individually, but if you’re concerned about people having to make up their minds about different options, doing so would make things worse by introducing more complexity. –J.]

  15. There is no “Photoshop Standard,” and there is especially no “Photoshop Pro,” “Photoshop Advanced,” “Photoshop Premium,” or the like.
    Sigh, does that mean we’ll never have Photoshop CS3 Pro Extended Plus (Photoshop PEP)?
    [Don’t tempt the marketing gods. >;-) –J.]
    That makes me cry.
    And I don’t understand the other commentators. I just view “Extended” in the same way as I view the PageMaker plugin pack for InDesign. So maybe if “Extended” was treated more like a plugin pack or if it was Photoshop CS3 w/3D or something. As to not confuse the people that have to handle purchase orders.
    Also, will this new Extended version require me to enter my admin password 3 times during install or just 2? (I hope my previous post on that is remembered..)
    [The installers have sucked this time. We’re trying to make them better, but the whole challenge of getting Adobe and former Macromedia apps onto a single foundation has been significant. –J.]

  16. This is INSANE
    “We never imagined that Photoshop would someday help make major motion pictures, let alone save lives,” said John Loiacono, senior vice president of the Creative Solutions Business Unit at Adobe.
    What about JOHN and THOMAS KNOLL – Does ILM ring a bell?
    [Yes; see my posts about John. –J.]
    Photoshop was used on “The Abyss” in 1989.
    [I know. Not everyone has been here a long time. Anyway, it’s a good point. –J.]
    No wonder all the Adobe stuff is going haywire, they don’t even know their own products.
    [Lovely. –J.]

  17. This sounds interesting but like others have said, I have to see how much it costs. If it’s $99 more I’d buy it. If it’s $399 or something for the upgrade (which is normally around $179) I’m not gonna get it.
    [I recommend checking out the features themselves, then deciding whether they fit your needs. –J.]
    My biggest hope for the CS3 product line is that Adobe *finally* makes all the box art and icons match so on my shelf, my Premiere box doesn’t look completely different from the Acrobat packaging or the CS3 apps. Pick a design and stick with it!
    Years ago Adobe used to do this!
    [I think you’ll be pleased. –J.]

  18. John
    Did I just have great timing with my previous standard/pro question, or have I rattled Adobe into releasing further details before they intended to? ;o)
    [I’d love to flatter you, but it was just some great timing. 🙂 –J.]
    Back in the real world, I don’t want to get bogged down in the semantics of it all, but this is essentially Photoshop CS3 Pro.
    [I really, truly don’t see it that way. There’s nothing less than “pro” about the standard version, especially for photographers. We’re making an effort to tailor the two versions to specific needs. Having said that, I grant that having just two versions isn’t terribly granular, so it’s not possible to be totally surgical in determining which features go where. –J.]
    I don’t have a problem with that per se, and I’ll almost certainly end up with the extended edition as part of an overall “CS3 Premium Extended” upgrade from CS2 Premium.
    I’m intrigued as to the possibilities, and look forward to seeing what you’ve got lined up for us….

  19. Hmmm, at first I thought the effect of splitting Photoshop into two versions could be likened to After Effects, where you have a Standard and Pro version. I’m not sure how that works out on the business end (i.e. sales of Standard vs. Pro), but there doesn’t seem to be a huge backlash regarding the different versions. Although admittedly, you really do need the Pro version of AE, as the Standard version is somewhat limited IMHO.
    I think the problem here is that the majority of people see Photoshop as the ultimate tool for graphic work. As it is the industry standard application for graphic work, people expect it to be able to do everything. Moreover, when a new version comes out, we expect to reap the benefits of all the features Adobe has managed to add by paying a small upgrade fee for our loyalty, not just some of the features. Now we’re going to have to decide between getting the “better” version (which is what Extended will be viewed as no matter how Adobe markets it) and the “LE” version (aka the “standard” version).
    A version split also introduces the question, “will the best new features in later versions be limited to the Extended version?” Regardless of the answer Adobe provides, there will likely be a sense of uncertainty in the minds of the users.
    Of course, we will all have to wait to see if the features are specific enough to certain industries so that it doesn’t seem like the capabilities of the “standard” version are limited. I guess the question I’d most like to ask is “Why?“. Why not give all users everything Photoshop has to offer as it has always done in the past? It sounds like the justification is that these features are too specific to certain industries or types of users. Does that mean that the inclusion of these features makes Photoshop more difficult to use for a user who wouldn’t regularly use the “extended” features? I don’t use all tools currently in Photoshop on every project, but that doesn’t mean those tools are “in the way”. That’s the beauty of the palette. You just select the tool you want and use it, while all the other tools stay off to the side.

  20. “That’s pretty cool. now if you could only teach the Acrobat team how to deliver feature compatiblity cross-platform :-/
    [FWIW, they’re generally much closer than they’ve been in years past. –J.]”
    Depends on the features you’re talking about. In general, it’s gotten worse in more places than not.
    [I guess I’m just not familiar enough with what Acrobat offers & in what configurations to comment further. –J.]
    It’s why I’m gradually going to stop recommending Acrobat to Mac shops and start recommending InDesign. I find the ID (and CS teams overall) actually listen to Mac users far better than Acrobat will.
    To be fair, it’s not much better on the Windows side. If you’ve less than 10,000 or more seats, the Acrobat team does a very good impression of not caring.
    Photoshop and the rest of CS however, do show continual signs of listening, hence my willingness to keep my Mac *and* Windows users current.

  21. I respectfully disagree with Mike’s all in one. I have no use for the animation or what has been released in Extended. The last thing I need is a heavier PS footprint and memory requirements for stuff I may never use or would want to pay for.
    [Ah–but there are no extra memory requirements for these things unless you use them. Components like the 3D engine, video import, etc. are invoked only on demand and remain dormant the rest of the time. But in any case, we are aware that there’s already quite a bit of functionality in Photoshop, so we want to offer a choice. –J.]
    What happened to elements? Did that go away in CS3 or does that have a lifecycle of it’s own?
    [The latter. –J.]
    As for the Standard, Premium, Extended, etc. just be happy you are on the good sides of the Apple marketing team or jokes.
    [FWIW, the MSFT iPod spoof was actually made by MSFT. –J.]

  22. I was working in an educational capacity few years back and bought student/teacher version of Creative Suite. With all these new suite variations what kind of upgrade would I be eligible for? Is it a flat rate discount applied to the version that best suit’s my needs?
    [All this info will come out on the 27th. Sorry that I can’t share more until then. –J.]

  23. After the many naysayers commenting (as they did with the logo commotion), I thought I’d chime in with some optimism. I’m generally quite happy with this, although not so much because I’m looking forward to the new features. I was really concerned that there might be a “Pro”/”Standard” divide, so to hear that the divide is based largely on motion graphics makes me feel better. I’ll have to see what the new features are, but I doubt I’ll miss them since I don’t do any motion work. But who knows – maybe I’ll change my tune once I realize that I’d love to have those new animation tools you’ve cooked up. Ultimately, if it had to happen, I’m glad this is how it did.

  24. I’d like to nominate a file format for inclusion in the new PsCS3Ex. Stereolithography or .stl files. They’re a 3-D file for outputting a solid 3-D shape. To be able to read and write them would be great.
    [I wish I could say more at the moment, but what I can tell you is that we aim to do things in a way that’s readily extensible, so that if a capability doesn’t ship in the box (e.g. support for a particular format), it can be added via a plug-in. –J.]

  25. I for one am fairly excited about this – though I also a bit confused as to what, exactly, 3D means in this context. I work in the film industry and have been searching in vain for a really good 3D paint package that lets me still work within the photoshop framework. If this extended version allows the easy painting of 3D texture maps I am all for it! My fear, of course, is that it will be a mini-3D paint package which will reach towards the holy grail that I and my colleagues have been searching for, but then drop the ball long before getting there. (This isn’t a cut on Adobe at all, simply a realization that most “3D” apps out there are targeted towards very simple projects and not the kind of stuff I am struggling with every day).
    Here’s keeping the faith though!

  26. Until specific details are released there is always going to be speculation that veers from “this move is brilliant” to “This is the the worst thing even done to humanity.”
    But I think its important to keep in mind that for the large majority of PS users the addition of an extended version will have zero effect, unless you just can’t stand the thought of someone owning a version of PS with more features/tools/plug-ins/menus, what have you. It seems the extended version is for a relatively small user segment. Otherwise, I’m guessing the tools would have been rolled into a single version. With 2 versions, Adobe gets to charge a premium, but only to those who need the features. The rest of us, most likely can carry on as usual. I prefer this approach over 1)having to pay extra for features for which I have no practical use or 2) having to spend time and energy choosing a la carte from a long list of features whose values are not so clear cut. I’d rather have 2 choices than 50,in this case.

  27. John,
    This may be off topic here, but what about 16-Bit support for ALL filters and the new features in the Extended version?
    [No, what you see in the public beta is what’s been converted. We don’t see making things like Plastic Wrap 16-bit compatible as a priority. –J.]
    Switching between 16-bit and 8-bit modes in order to edit images because some filters (and other features) don’t work in 16-bit is impractical.
    [What 16-bit features are you missing? –J.]
    Will 16-bit editing capability help in say, 3-D editing?
    I realize as you get this out the door it will not be incorporated in CS3, but is it being worked on ? Glad you’ll have trial versions…Extended features sound intriguing.

  28. Well, the news has me very interested but also lotta head scratching. John, you mention that its one new menu, a new tool and some new sub-menus. That doesn’t sound like a lot when we are talking about the kind of function that the press release suggests.
    [I don’t mean to say that the features aren’t significant; they are. But I’m saying that they don’t eat up a lot of real estate in the menus or toolbar. –J.]
    Does the 3D texturing suggest a “BodyPaint” or “DeepPaint” like product? Hopefully we can UVs back and forth between Extended and more 3D apps than just May and Max. I use Maya, XSI, and C4D. Are we talking about transforms and edits in x,y,z space or just views? Or no true z space support? And then there’s animation and paint for 2D as the press release suggests. Is this the reincarnation of Curious gfx with its roto and paint capabilities finally coming to light? I did like the Curious product a lot but it had a very different UI than PShop. I can see blending the Paint side but Roto??? I know, Pen Tool on steriods but you have to put some type of timeline into the UI with keyframing to make roto and paint work. That seems to suggest lots of UI changes, or, all of us who currently do roto and paint on a regular basis have to adapt to a whole new pardigm; not easy. I recently tried to adapt my roto style to Imagineer Systems Motor and it was a “no go” so I am trying to imagine Photoshop with a good timeline and viewer and it still is Photoshop. Money wise, yeah, if you pull it off right, it could be worth it. BodyPaint is something like $400 and Silhouette Standalone is over $1,000 so there you go. But, I already have those tools and know how to use them. What’s Photoshop going to bring to the table??? I can’t wait til March 27th to see.
    [I know, I know–but I think we’ve gotta sit tight until then. It’s a slightly weird state of affairs, but the idea was to give people a heads-up on the two-pronged Photoshop story ahead of the big onslaught of news. –J.]
    Please bring a working copy to NAB in April so we can touch.
    [I hope to do just that. –J.]

  29. What matters to me is: “are any of the CS3 Beta features only in the “Extended” version?
    [Nope. –J.]
    In other words, is there a risk of photographers who have used the Beta version inadvertently finding themselves locked into the Extended version, even though they would normally have no need for such a package?
    [That’s not how we roll. 🙂 –J.]

  30. To follow up on the NAB 2007 event in Las Vegas comment: If Photoshop Extended really does have some cool features for post-production (roto, paint, clone, 3d texture), I would hope you all have a huge booth because we will ALL want to see it. In fact, it would be fantastic if you had someone swing by the Post-Production World Conference to do a show and talk,,, please

  31. John Welch wrote: “It’s why I’m gradually going to stop recommending Acrobat to Mac shops and start recommending InDesign. I find the ID (and CS teams overall) actually listen to Mac users far better than Acrobat will.”
    I could not agree more.
    [Just for my edification–and for the sake of passing along the feedback to the Acrobat team–it would be helpful to know what, specifically, isn’t working for you guys in the Mac version of Acrobat. This is of course off topic for this thread, but it would still be good info to have. –J.]

  32. John said:
    […We’re making an effort to tailor the two versions to specific needs. Having said that, I grant that having just two versions isn’t terribly granular, so it’s not possible to be totally surgical in determining which features go where. –J.]
    Isn’t “Photoshop Lirghtroom” a third flavor of Photoshop? And with Elements there’s getting to be quite a pile of ’em. Surely some are more …advanced… than others. Adobe must want a perception of a Pro version. That’s not a bad thing, so why not admit it? I’ll pay for the Excel version (or whatever it’s called this month), that’s all you need to know.
    [I guess there are different ways to view things. My take boils down to “Diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks.” Calling the apps “Standard” (or “Basic”) and “Pro” would imply a clear hierarchy: one is better than the other. But what’s “better” depends on who you are and what you do. If the features in Extended are up your alley, then it is indeed better for you than the standard version. That may or may not be true for someone else.
    You’re right that the Photoshop family is growing larger, and that evolution reflects an effort to do a better job of providing the right solutions to a diverse set of markets. I’m not trying to be weaselly and political here. We really do want to provide a set of options tuned to different needs. Extended lets us do that in a way that’s never been possible before now. –J.]

  33. [What 16-bit features are you missing? –J.]
    Specifically, when in 16-bit mode in Photoshop, the following filters are not available (grayed-out):
    Blur-Smart Blur
    Distort-ALL (except Lens Correction)
    Render-Lighting Effects
    Stylize-ALL (Except Emboss, Find Edges, Solarize)
    Brush Strokes-ALL
    Pattern Maker
    Is there some over-riding reason for this, and is anything being worked on to make ALL filters usable in 16-bit mode?

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