The Adobe PhotoShop CS5 (12.0) Review

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I always see reviews for experienced Photoshop users. Yes all that techy talk makes you seem very smart, and Im sure you are. Just because I call my spot healing brush my Bandaid thingy doesn’t mean I don’t know what I’m doing. What about the people that use the program day in and day out? What if you just started using Photoshop? What if you just want the meat and potatoes of the new version? I wanted to write a review for both beginners and veterans of the Adobe Photoshop world. So, here it goes.

What is Adobe Photoshop CS5 (12.0)?

Adobe Photoshop CS5 is the milk to my cookies.

Adobe Photoshop CS5 is the 12th series of a graphic editing program developed and published by Adobe Systems Incorporated. The first series of Photoshop (Photoshop 1.0) was released in 1990 exclusively for Macintosh. The “CS” stands for Creative Suite which rebranded the Photoshop series in 2003. Adobe Photoshop CS5 was released in 2010.

For Veterans:
Yes… more tools, more toys, more fun and more importantly more efficiency. The upgrade from CS4 boasts time saving tools, organizable and personalization of interface and advancements in speed and performance. Additions of 64 bit cross platform support, customizable interface, tweaked panning and zoom, addition of content aware fill, a new canvas rotation tool, refined edges tool and more!

Is it easy to use?

The transition from CS4 is very smooth. Familiarity in conjunction with new tools = speed!

For Beginners:
Photoshop. I know you have heard of it in some context or another. “Photoshop” me out of that picture… Make a poster in “Photoshop”… If I had “Photoshop” I could do it… Maybe you are about to embark on your college career and you are researching majors. Maybe you are bored of your current career and you are thinking about switching professions. Perhaps you are an executive learning the ins and outs of a business. How about you just want to make that family photo look better? The list goes on and on for the reason you need to learn about Photoshop.

But is it easy to use?  Yes and no.  Photoshop is a tool. You have to learn the basics before you can operate it like a pro. This takes time, patience and training. Make use of all the tutorials offered and learning materials provided.

Who uses Adobe Photoshop CS5 (12.0)?

The extensive list of users is consistently and continuously ongoing. The majority of CS5 users are graphic and web designers, multimedia artists, illustrators, artists, photographers and animators. The program is also utilized by video and film makers, architects, publishers, television producers, advertising and marketing professionals, fashion designers and more.

See list above. This list multiplies by the minute, so stay educated, stay creative and most of all stay on top of your game!

What does Adobe Photoshop CS5 (12.0) do?

The capabilities for creativity are endless. In Adobe Photoshop CS5 you can use tools for painting, image editing, image manipulation and graphic creation. CS5 gives you the interface to personalize your workspace to enhance your workflow as well as your ability to create. CS5 offers features to support and drive creativity and production.

Key features Adobe Photoshop CS5 has added:

Customizable Workspace

You now have the option to set up preferences and customize your workspace specifically to what you are working on. You can set up and save custom menus, keyboard shortcuts and settings conducive to your workspaces. You can also switch back and forth between these spaces. Hello convenience and efficiency! This particular addition has certainly helped me maintain a productive speed.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Ok… having the ability to make your own keyboard shortcut is incredible. All you have to do to create a keyboard shortcut in a particular workspace is go to Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts

A menu pops up and allows you to create your own shortcuts from different dropdowns.

Yes… that just happened.

Content Aware Tool

The tool everyone is talking about. Ok, so say you don’t want that tree or power line in your image. This tool is supposed to magically fill in the removed image detail using information from the surrounding pixels. It is said that this tool matches lighting, textures and tones making the removed detail look as it never existed. In the good old days, I would sit there and clone stamp for hours. Adjusting opacity, brush sizes and hardness… and your telling me this tool does all that in one swoop? Obviously I was eager to try it.

So here is something I would normally clone stamp to get rid of:

I made a selection with the lasso tool right around the tattoo (directly on the background layer) without any feathering.

I then hit delete and this menu popped up:

I chose Content-Aware from the Use: dropdown and hit OK. This was my result:

Ok not bad!

But how does it work on landscape? Lets see… instead of using a lasso I used the spot healing brush on the wires. This was my result:

Ok, epic fail. Maybe if you change some settings and play with it a bit it would work better. So although the Content aware tool can be used for specific things, the “magic” just didn’t happen for me. However, the next tool made my day…

Refine Edge Tool

When you are an extremely picky designer or retoucher, selecting edges can take up most of your time. Selecting, feathering, contracting, expanding… zooming in down to the pixel. And hair? Forget it. Even a quick mask would be frustrating. So, when I discovered the Refine Edge tool needless to say I was elated with the results.


Ok. Lets change the background… look at all the hair… eeek.

Made a general selection with my quick selection tool…

Hit Refine Edge… this screen comes up. Went around the edges with the tool (pretty quickly I might add) and hit OK.

Wow… that is awesome.



All I did was add a new layer for the background. So the Refine Edge tool is amazing.

Puppet Warp Tool

The tool is exactly what the name says it is. Using a mesh overlay with points you can select to move or anchor, you can use this tool to reposition things in an image. Basically, you can play puppet master.

Access by Edit > Puppet Warp

Here is my 5 minute process and result:


It can be a useful tool if you do not want to use the liquify gallery.

Ok CS5 so you’ve showed some amazing things you can do with photography and images… what about painting? Can you do that?

Painting Effects

As a designer, I love my brushes. CS5 gave me a reason to love them even more. In this version, they added bristle brushes with pressure sensitive capabilities and color mixing that simulates actual painting. You can actually “load” your brush with paint, and “clean” it as well.

This was what I was greeted with when I clicked on a bristle brush.


The little brush in the top left hand corner is a 3d image that rotates and shows you what the brush is actually like. The bristle brushes that were added to CS5 included a fan brush, round tip brush, flat brush and angle brush. There are other variations of these as well. The presets can all be changed in so many ways, it would be ridiculous to list them all. So for about 3 min I played with some settings and brushes and made this:


The options are incredible. While it may take a bit getting used to the fact there are so many options and settings to “paint”, it is well worth it. And, there is no mess!

Those are some of the hyped up and most talked about features in Adobe Photoshop CS5. There are several other features you should mosey on through and check out as well. A few are listed below.

This is a list of CS5 upgrades from CS4:

  • Workspace Management and Options to Customize
  • Keyboard Shortcuts
  • Content Aware Fill
  • Painting Effects
  • Puppet Warp
  • 64 Bit Performance
  • Refine Edge Selection Tool
  • Black and White Conversion
  • Automatic Lens Correction
  • Straighten Image Tool
  • Color Decontamination
  • Paste in place
  • Post Crop vignetting


As a designer and owner of a multimedia firm I use Adobe Photoshop CS5 on a daily basis to help my business thrive. I compare and contrast software and its usability with efficiency to achieve maximum productivity. I have been using Photoshop for 10 years, and have gone through several versions and upgraded when necessary. I believe the upgrade from CS4 to CS5 was a necessary upgrade in order to maximize my business potential. I felt the transition from CS4 to CS5 was very smooth and almost effortless being a veteran Photoshop user. If I were a beginner in Adobe Photoshop CS5 my head would probably spin. I was once a beginner too, and after trials and tribulations in Photoshop through the past 10 years I would offer this advice… Stick with it. Do not let the fear of all the options, tools, menus and jargon defer you from learning. Do not think that once you have mastered one tool you have become a professional. Adobe Photoshop is a constant learning process. Once you have learned the basics there is no telling what you can do, IF you keep learning.