Adobe Photoshop is one of the most versatile and sophisticated image editors. There are several versions and flavours available:
- For the amateur often bundled with a digital camera or a scanner named 'photoshop LE' (older) or 'Photoshop Elements' (recent).
- For the professional (or who ever wants to pay the higher price) more featured and simply named 'Photoshop', 'Photoshop CS', 'Photoshop CS2' or 'Photoshop CS3' (PS CS3 is also available in an 'Extended' version)
Photoshop CS/CS2/CS3/CS3Ext. are currently the only versions that allows layered full 16 bit workflow (alternatives see below). For any other panorama work photoshop is recommended although not strictly necessary since f.e. Panorama Tools Plugins work with many different image editors as long as they are compatible to use photoshop plugins (like f.e. IrfanView).
Some (randomly chosen) features of Photoshop CS (current version is CS3/CS3Extended):
- Full color management.
- 16 bit layers
- large image support up to 300,000 x 300,000 pixels
- action recorder for simple automated tasks
It is possible to launch a spherical viewer from inside Photoshop. To do this you need to create a shortcut to the viewer and place it in the Photoshop install directory.
[Photoshop folder]\Helpers\Jump To Graphics Editor eg: C:\Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop CS\Helpers\Jump To Graphics Editor\SPi-V engine.lnk or: Macintosh HD:Applications:Adobe Photoshop CS:Helpers:Jump To Graphics Editor:SPi-V engine alias
This will create a menu item in 'File -> Jump to'.
For those on a Mac Pangeasoft has a filter plug-in solution for a small fee.
Note that due to possible image degradation JPEG (.jpg) files are not recommended for working files. Instead Photoshop's own file formats .psd and .psb as well as TIFF should be preferred. They are able to contain layers, masks and support more than 8 bit per channel.
More information is available on on adobe.com. Adobe's knowledge base has an article that covers file size limitations on Mac OS X and more or less also applies for the Windows version: Optimize performance in Photoshop CS3 on Mac OS.
Alternatives to Photoshop
- The Gimp is a Open Source image editor, however it doesn't yet support 16 bit colordepth.
- Paint Shop Pro is a popular Windows shareware application that supports photoshop plugins such as the Panorama Tools Plugins
- VIPS is an Open Source image processing system with a GUI (not a paint program) that can be used to manipulate HDR images.
- GraphicConverter is a shareware image editor for Mac OS, supports 16 bit colordepth and Photoshop Plug-Ins, features RAW import, Batch conversion and ColorManagement.