Photoshop CS3 Beta Released


12.15.2006—As we announced yesterday, Adobe today released the beta version of Phtoshop CS3, an update to the company's flagship image editing and compositing tool. The new version offers Universal Binary support, allowing it to run natively on Intel-base Mac hardware. It also supports Windows XP/SP 2 and Windows Vista. (Mac and Windows versions of the beta have been released simultaneously.)

Adobe cautions that the new version is not a final release candidate; it does not offer complete functionality; and it may not be stable for some workflows. However, it is fully functional to the extent any beta could be. The company says it's offering this beta primarily to allow Mac users the opportunity to get up to speed, at it were, with performance enhancements built into the new version. Prior versions of Photoshop did not run natively on Intel-based Mac hardware, causing a significant lag in performance compared with similarly equipped PowerPC-based Macs. The new version, according to Adobe, runs up to 40 percent faster on Intel-based Macs for common operations.

New features in Photoshop CS3 range from editing and compositing tools to workflow and interface improvements. Highlights include:

  • New non-destructive "Smart Filters;"
  • Improvements to Vanishing Point, such as the ability to manipulate the angles of the perspective planes interactively;
  • Black and white conversion;
  • Improvements to Curves adjustments;
  • Adjustable cloning with a preview overlay;
  • Adjustable healing with a preview overlay;
  • A new "Quick Selection Tool" for masking;
  • A "Refine Edge" function for improving selection outlines, including feathering, contraction and expansion, mask previews and other features;
  • Automatic layer alignment and blending (for compositing and for merging photos)
  • Enhanced "Merge to 32-bit HDR"
  • A streamlined interface, with collapsible palettes;
  • An update to Camera Raw;
  • Integration with Photoshop Lightroom;
  • A new version of Adobe Bridge, which includes support for filters and the stacking of images, a new loupe tool and previous of Flash content; and
  • Improvements to printing.

Aside from these changes, Photoshop CS3 also includes a new application called Device Central to help designers build content for mobile devices.

Mac system requirements: The Photoshop CS3 beta requires a PowerPC G4 or G5 processor or an Intel chip; Mac OS X 10.4.8; 512 MB RAM; 1.5 GB available hard disk space; and a 1,024 x 768 resolution monitor with 64 MB video RAM. The download is approximately 750 MB.

Windows system requirements: Photoshop CS3 requires an Intel Xeon, Xeon Dual, Centrino or Pentium 4 processor; Windows XP/SP 2 or Windows Vista; 512 MB RAM; 650 MB available hard disk space; and a 1,024 x 768 resolution monitor with a 16-bit graphics card and 64 MB video RAM. The Windows download is about 450 MB.

The Photoshop CS3 beta is available now. See the link below for download information. The full version of Photoshop CS3, along with the rest of the new Creative Suite, is still scheduled for a spring 2007 release.

More info:


About the author: Dave Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's educational technology online publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at [email protected].

Have any additional questions? Want to share your story? Want to pass along a news tip? Contact Dave Nagel, executive editor, at [email protected].

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 29-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEDavidNagel (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).