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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 Elements'.
  • For the professional (or who ever wants to pay the higher price) more featured and simply named 'Photoshop'.

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:

  • Full color management.
  • 16 bit layers (32 bit layers since CS3 Extended)
  • large image support up to 300,000 x 300,000 pixels
  • action recorder for simple automated tasks
  • three different script languages for complex scripting: Javascript, VBScript (Windows only), Applescript (Mac only).

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 e.g.: 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'.

There are several free stand alone Panorama_Viewers that can be used. For example SPi-V can be used to view Photoshop, TIFF, and jpeg files. FSPViewer can be used to view Tiff and jpeg files.

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's knowledge base has articles that cover file size limitations and optimizing performance for Photoshop CS3 on Mac OS and Windows XP and Vista.

See Also

Alternatives to Photoshop

  • Krita is another Open Source image editor that can read HDR files.
  • 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.