Adobe Photoshop is one of the most powerful image modification programs on the market today. It is widely used throughout the world, and has shown its handiwork to the public through altered photos of famous people. It is so dominant that when we notice that an image has been altered, we say it has been “Photoshopped.
It is the current and primary market leader for commercial bitmap and image manipulation, and is the flagship product of Adobe Systems. It has been described as "an industry standard for graphics professionals" and was one of the early "killer applications" on the PC.
Thanks to Adobe's continued refinement of Photoshop, the program retains it's position as the essential image-editing tool for graphics professionals as a part of the Adobe Creative Suite family. While Photoshop CS 8.0 offers only a handful of new capabilities, they are important: increased support for 16-bit images, better color-correction and image-adjustment tools, nested layer sets, the ability to edit text on a path, nonsquare-pixel preview, SWF export (in ImageReady) and variables for dynamic Web content (in ImageReady). Most serious users will find at least one feature that justifies the upgrade despite its steep price. But using these tools correctly still takes some finesse; if you're in imaging for the fun rather than the high-quality output or money, you're probably better off with one of the $99 alternatives, such as Jasc PaintShop Pro, Ulead PhotoImpact, or Photoshop Elements.
Routine best describes the Photoshop install process, and wary upgraders will be reassured to know that Photoshop 8.0 happily coexisted with version 7.0 as well as previous versions of other Adobe apps during my tests. Other supporting files, such as custom Actions, also migrated with no problem. Adobe now requires that you activate Photoshop within a month of installation, a relatively painless procedure. Of course, you never know the real hassle quotient of a product's activation scheme until you've upgraded hard disks a few times.
Adobe Studio provides both free and fee-based content, such as tips and tutorials, videos, downloads and forums.
However, there's a ton of free on-line help available for Photoshop users. In addition to the Adobe Studio site, which delivers tips, tutorials and tools, Adobe's user-to-user forums are monitored by competent support staff and offer a good track record.