Adobe CS Moves to the Creative Cloud for Good

Today at its Adobe Max creative conference event, the company announced that when its new software hits—well, not shelves—this June, they will be available as cloud based subscriptions only. Along with the cloud-based subscription model, Creative Suite is also being rebranded Creative Cloud.

For the subscription fee, users will be given full access to the entire set of Adobe’s creative tools, with updates; as well as cloud storage services and collaboration tools.

What does this mean for photographers, illustrators, web designers and others in the creative field? If you normally purchase and use up to date versions, the only way you will be able to do so going forward is by subscribing to Adobe’s Creative Cloud.

There have been a great deal of rumblings (which will likely grow louder as more and more people hear the news) in the creative community since this announcement by Adobe, and the company has put a FAQ on their website regarding the many questions that everyone’s got.

Here’s the low down:

  • For a monthly subscription fee to the entire Creative Cloud, you’ll have access to all of the Adobe applications that were part of the Creative Suite (Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC, InDesign CC, Dreamweaver CC, After Effects CC, Premier Pro CC, Muse CC, as well as Acrobat XI Pro, Audition CC, Bridge CC, Encore, Fireworks, Flash Builder Premium, Flash Professional CC, InCopy CC, Lightroom, Media Encoder CC, Prelude CC and SpeedGrade CC), Edge tools and services (Edge Animate CC, Edge Inspect CC, Edge Web Fonts, PhoneGap Build, Edge Code CC, Edge Reflow CC, and Typekit); other services (including Creative Cloud storage, Story CC Plus, Kuler, Business Catalyst, Digital Publishing Suite, Single Edition, Behance and ProSite); Lightroom and Acrobat will continue to be available outside of the cloud;
  • As downloadable software that runs on your computer, not from a web browser or living in the cloud only, however, you will only have access to this desktop Creative Cloud (CC) software so long as your subscription is current. Canceling your subscription does not do anything to your files, you can still access them, and if you own an older version of the Creative Suite software, you can open and work on your files with those programs.
  • Individual, team and enterprise subscriptions are available.
  • You can purchase single app subscriptions;
  • Creative Cloud subscribers will get 20 Gigs of storage for their files. If you cancel your subscription, the capacity will drop to the 2 Gig free level of storage;
  • There is a free trial membership available that will give you 2 Gigs of cloud storage for files, and access to 30 days of trial use of the CC apps, as well as Lightroom and Acrobat.
  • Adobe is still selling Creative Suite 6 but the company says it won’t be updating the CS versions in the future.

Pricing: $49.99 a month for new CC members; $29.99 a month for people who are existing CS3 or later users; student and teacher pricing is $19.99 a month; full version of one of the desktop apps such as Photoshop is also $19.99 a month; team pricing is $69.99 and $39.99 a month for new CC subscriptions and businesses using CS3 or later respectively (and teams get more cloud file storage).

For more information, read the FAQ at or follow Adobe’s Creative Cloud blog at


Adobe Releases Creative Suite 6

Adobe Inc. announced the immediate availability of Adobe Creative Suite 6 today. The CS6 product line includes new releases of Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Flash Professional and additional titles. Four suite versions: Creative Suite 6 Design & Web Premium; Creative Suite 6 Design Standard; Creative Suite 6 Production Premium; and Creative Suite 6 Master Collection are available.

Announced last month and widely expected by photographers, Photoshop CS6 and Photoshop CS6 Extended are major releases of the image editing software. Added to increased speed and performance, the latest version of Photoshop will also offer photographers a host of new and improved features. New features include Content-Aware Patch, offering greater control than in the previous version; intuitive video tools, for the multimedia creator; improved type styles, and a new blur gallery that will let photographers imitate their favorite lenses’ attributes on any image. For the creative looking for 3D improvements, Photoshop CS6 Extended is optimized for 3D imaging.

For the digital designer comes the Illustrator CS6 upgrade as well as InDesign; the web designer sees new features and improvements in Dreamweaver CS6, Flash Professional; and the video-centric user will find enhancements within After Effects and Premiere Pro CS6 among other titles.

As always, we’ll have reviews of the new version of Photoshop as soon as we’ve put it through our testing.

For more information, go to Adobe’s website at


Software Review: Tiffen Dfx 3.0 Suite

Practically Every Digital Filter & Effect Except the Kitchen Sink

Text and Images by Diane Berkenfeld

The Tiffen Company recently released version 3.0 of the company’s Dfx digital filter suite ( I had used the first iteration of the plug-in for Apple Aperture a lot when it was first introduced. These days I use Lightroom extensively so I’ve been using the new version with Lightroom 3.

The suite is available as a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop, Photoshop Elements and Photoshop Lightroom, Apple Aperture, and as a stand alone program. One Tiffen Dfx photo plug-in license will allow it to run in all of the aforementioned image editors if installed on the same machine. The company also makes a version of the software for video/film editing using Adobe After Effects or Premier Pro, Apple’s Final Cut Pro 6/7 and with the Avid Editing Systems. One Tiffen Dfx video/film plug-in license will allow it to run in all of the aforementioned video editors if installed on the same machine too. It may not seem like a big deal, but most photographers use more than one piece of software for their imaging needs. Even though I do as much as possible in Lightroom, I still need Photoshop for some tasks. Knowing that I can use the same plug-in with both is convenient. I’m sure the same is true with folks working with video—using After Effects along with one of the video editors mentioned. For those multimedia folks who use Final Cut Pro X, look for a compatible version of Dfx in the future.

before and after image of orange poppies in field by Diane Berkenfeld

(l.) the original image, and (r.) the final image after masking the area around the main subject (the flower in the foreground) and emulating shallow depth of field.

I’ve been impressed with Tiffen’s Dfx software from the time the company launched the very first version, because of the extensive collection of effects and especially filters—digital versions of many of Tiffen’s photographic filters that we used to use so commonly with film cameras. Now with digital we can use software to emulate the effects of many of these filters in post-production, which is a great benefit because it lets you get really creative with your older images as well as those you just took. I love being able to go back to digital images that I shot years ago and tweak them in ways I wasn’t able to at the time the images were shot. The below shot is one that I photographed years ago on Ellis Island and every so often I’ll pull it out to work on it.

Tiffen Dfx 3 examples Ellis Island photos by DIane Berkenfeld

(l. to r.) Original image; Looks, color 8mm; ND Grad 1.2, cross print slide, preserving highlights; DeFog 6.

And, with the additional filters, lab processes, color correction and photographic effects that this new version offers, I’d say Tiffen has packed practically everything except the kitchen sink into Dfx 3. Over 2,000 different optical filters and effects are incorporated into the software. There’s so much that you can do with Dfx 3.0, you could conceivably replace a bunch of separate plug-ins—for B&W conversion, masking, adding lighting effects, adding blur/changing depth of field of an image, color correction, special effects like toning, adding grain, as well as debanding, deblocking, reducing noise, simulation of over a hundred film stocks, adding texture and matching the color, tone and detail of one image and applying it to another.

The DeBand, DeBlock and DeNoise are new, as are the key light and light rays, glow darks, color shadow and more.

That’s a lot of power in one plug-in/stand-alone software title. And what makes this software so unique is that its available in versions for both still images and film/video editing as well. With so many photographers delving into video these days, the familiarity of knowing how to use the plug-in for still images will be beneficial when you start working on video.

And like most plug-ins, you can tweak the strength of the filters. One of the cool things is that you can save filters as favorites, and when you’re looking for filters to use on an image, all of your favorites are in one location.

Diane Berkenfeld photo from Yellowstone park of hot spring in color and black and white

(l.) The original image, a close-up of a hot spring in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming and (r.) the B&W conversion, red filter. No additional tweaking was needed beyond the initial conversion.

There are so many different things that you can do with digital images these days, that sometimes you can find yourself at a loss as to exactly what a particular image might need until you begin to browse within the filters, seeing the effect on the image you’re working on. And I also think that once you use such an extensive program like Dfx, and get more familiar with the many things it can do, the extensive amount of choices becomes less overwhelming.

polarizer before and after image of boy by Diane Berkenfeld

(l.) The original image and (r.) Dfx 3.0's polarizer filter.

I love being able to use one program—stand-alone or plug-in—for a lot of the effects I like to use on my images. It makes your workflow quicker if you don’t have to keep switching from program to program. And with Tiffen’s Dfx plug-in for Lightroom, all I have to do is ‘Edit in’ Dfx 3.0, and I can browse filters to my hearts content. Dfx is very quick when you’re working within it, you see changes instantly on the fly when browsing among the filters and effects. When you’re done working with a filter or effect, rendering is pretty swift too.

Diane Berkenfeld screenshot of image in Tiffen's Dfx 3, masked

Masking is easy within Tiffen's Dfx 3.0 suite.

masked image of birds on rocks in ocean by Diane Berkenfeld

(l.) I had originally finished this image with a border in Lightroom; and then decided to work on it in Dfx 3.0, (r.) here is the image after masking and adding a graduated blue-red filter. I decided to crop the image, which I think makes the foreground stronger.

With regards to masking, Dfx gives you a variety of different ways to create the mask on your image, and a whole host of options for tweaking the properties of the mask once you’ve created it, and a myriad of ways to utilize masking a portion of an image with the thousands of filters and effects that the plug-in offers. Having the ability to create the mask within the plug-in saves valuable time, which may not seem like a lot when you’re working on one photo, but if you’re in the middle of a big editing session, all of that time switching between programs and plug-ins adds up. I also found it helpful that I could tweak the mask as much as I needed to if I didn’t like the way it was coming out—without having to start over.

before and after image of dalmation by Diane Berkenfeld

(l.) the original image, and (r.) the photo after I added highlights on the fireplace heath bricks at the top right. I added light, using a gobo for the mottled look on the bricks.

To find out more about Tiffen’s Dfx v3 software, watch the company’s promo video:


Adobe Unveils Highly Anticipated Creative Suite 5 Family

By Diane Berkenfeld

Today is the day photographers, graphic designers, webmasters and illustrators have been waiting for—the day Adobe announced the latest version of its Creative Suite. New versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and brand new web components for generating content without the need to write code were unveiled. More than 250 new features have been integrated into the Adobe Creative Suite 5 Master Collection.

Adobe offers all 15 software titles that make up the CS5 Master Collection individually, as well as in collections designed to incorporate those programs that photographers would need, or graphic designers or web designers. These are: Creative Suite 5 Master Collection [everything but the kitchen sink —Ed.], Creative Suite 5 Design Premium, Creative Suite 5 Design Standard, Creative Suite 5 Web Premium and Creative Suite 5 Production Premium.

Adobe’s website has a helpful product chooser, to help you figure out which product is right for your needs based on what you need to do, or what products you need to utilize. Check it out if you’re not sure which collection is right for you.

The fifteen different titles, available individually are: Photoshop CS5, Illustrator CS5, InDesign CS5, Acrobat 9 Pro, Flash Catalyst CS5, Flash Professional CS5, Flash Builder 4, Dreamweaver CS5, Contribute CS5, Adobe Premiere Pro CS5, After Effects CS5, Soundbooth CS5, Adobe OnLocation CS5, Adobe Bridge CS5, Adobe Device Central CS5 and Adobe Dynamic Link.

What’s New!

With 250 new features we can’t list them all here, but here’s a taste of what you can expect:

- InDesign CS5 powers the transition to digital publishing with new interactive documents and enhanced eReader device support;

- New stroke options in Illustrator CS5 allow users to create strokes of variable widths and precisely adjust the width at any point along the stroke;

- Dreamweaver CS5 now supports popular content management systems Drupal, Joomla! and WordPress, allowing designers to get accurate views of dynamic Web content from within Dreamweaver;

- Using Flash Professional CS5, designers and developers can create, test and deliver Web content across mobile platforms and devices such as smartphones, tablets, netbooks, smartbooks and other consumer electronics.

Since is devoted primarily to photographers, lets take a deeper look at what’s new in the latest version of Photoshop:

- Photoshop CS5 Extended offers improved edge detecting technology and masking in less time;

- Users will also be able to remove an image element and immediately replace the missing pixels with Content-Aware Fill;

- Native 64-bit support for both Mac and Windows;

- Next-generation high dynamic range (HDR) capabilities. When combining multiple exposures into a single HDR image, Photoshop CS5 preserves the full tonal range of a scene. The new HDR Pro offers exceptional ghost artifact removal and greater tone mapping and adjustment control. With HDR toning, users can emulate the striking look of an HDR image with any single-exposure image;

- A new Mixer Brush that blends an infinite combination of colors onto a single paintbrush tip, and Bristle Tips that offer lifelike brush strokes;

- Puppet Warp gives lets you precisely reposition or warp any image element, such as straightening a bent arm in a photo or manipulating the landscape to generate a new perspective;

- More than 30 features and enhancements were requested directly by the Photoshop community, and have been added to this release. These features directly impact the everyday workflow but may not always be at the top of the development list for a new release. These features include automatic image straightening, rule-of-thirds crop tool, color picker and the ability to save 16-bit images as JPEGs. A new customizable Adobe Mini Bridge panel is also available directly in the software for faster file browsing and management.

- Photoshop CS5 Extended includes everything in Photoshop CS5 plus tools for editing 3D and motion-based content.

Estimated Street Prices & Availability

Adobe Creative Suite 5 and its associated point products are scheduled to ship within 30 days.

Estimated street prices:

- Adobe Photoshop CS5 is $699 and $999 for Photoshop CS5 Extended.

- Adobe Creative Suite 5 Master Collection – $2,599

- Adobe Creative Suite 5 Design Premium – $1,899

- Adobe Creative Suite 5 Design Standard – $1,299

- Adobe Creative Suite 5 Web Premium – $1,799

- Adobe Creative Suite 5 Production Premium – $1,699

Tiered upgrade pricing from previous versions is also available. For more detailed information about features, upgrade policies, pricing and international versions, go to

? We’ll be posting reviews as soon as we receive our copies! Stay tuned.