Above is the initial loading screen when installing CS2
Various new features are plugged during the installation process. Yes, there are four CDs required for installing the Premium version.
Adobe is making a big thing of the new CS2 Bridge function that links up all the component applications and helps you to manage your CS2 media files.
On boot up in Photoshop CS2 you get a welcome screen with some handy links to documents that introduce the latest features.
The Bridge (above in Mac form) is, at first glance an image file browser and, indeed, it appears when you use the 'browse' menu command.
In Window form the layout is very similar. An Adobe Photo Album-style slider at the base of the window lets you adjust the size of displayed thumbnails in real-time from very small to around four thumbnails occupying the entire window. File and folder information can be displayed (top left), below there is a larger view of the currently selected thumbnail and below that you can find embedded file information, including camera exif parameter.
The Bridge is more than a media management tool. It brings the component applications within the Creative Suite closer together. Here you can see how the Bridge provides centralised access to applications settings. Photoshop settings in this case are being accessed via the Bridge opened in Illustrator (unseen).
Photoshop RAW import options are significantly improved.
There are now several more settings tabs containing extra adjustments fine tune your RAW images.
Images can be converted to 32-bit mode now.
32-bit mode is initially greyed-out, but if you convert an 8-bit image to 16-bit or load a 16-bit image, 32-bit mode becomes accessible.
A great enhancement to the already brilliant healing brush introduced in CS1 is spot healing. You no longer need to set up a source region for the cloning action, just set your brush size and click.
Another excellent healing brush enhancement is a new red eye option. Again, simplicity is the key - just drag select around the red eye area, release the mouse button and it's done.
Additional creative filters have been developed for CS2 and these can be browsed via a new gallery-style interface.
A powerful addition to Photoshop CS2 is the vanishing point mode. This lets you teach Photoshop the perspective of your image.
Once the perspective has been decided, you can make selections that conform to the perspective you have set. Selected areas can be moved to another part of the scene and the perspective will be automatically altered to fit the changed perspective at the destination.
Some professionals found Photoshop's 2GB memory limitation... limiting. This has been addressed in Photoshop CS2.
There are many more detail improvements to explore in CS2, but we round off this introductory tour with a quick look at the new CS2 Help Center. Our beta version was only partially working, but it does offer one-stop help for all the Creative Suite components.
We certainly look forward eagerly to the final product when it's ready.
Adobe Creative Suite 2 should start shipping at the end of May. Our Adobe CS2 launch news story has further details about pricing and links to Adobe press releases.