Currently Adobe offers several Photoshop programs that all have a similar theme (to allow the manipulation of computer images), but each of the programs have features based on your needs and they come with different price tags. The primary program is Adobe Photoshop CS4 (Creative Suite 4), but there's also Photoshop CS4 Extended, Photoshop Elements 8 (which you'll get bundled with Adobe Premier Elements 8 and any of these possess a Plus version) and Photoshop Lightroom 2.
Let's move on out if you take a look at the big gun. Adobe Photoshop CS4 allows you to edit pictures, create web pages, make pictures from scratch, manipulate photos, organize photos and merely about anything else associated with image adjustment. Some of the additional features include an Adjustments Panel which provides all of you the various tools required to brighten, sharpen, and enhance color and tone, etc. all in one place. There is also the Mask Panel that permits you to put filters on your picture or simply a percentage from it to create images pop out in the background. The 3rd new feature is Content-Aware Scaling. This is actually cool. You are able to stretch a photograph to create a longer background without stretching the item you have focused on (just like a person) this makes for excellent panoramic shots, without the panorama. Other improvements from the CS3 version include printing enhancements, workflow between programs, customization of the panels and more.
Adobe cs4 photoshop Extended adds the ability to work with video and manipulate 3-D objects. The Adobe cs4 photoshop version enables more technical editing of the image compared to other programs and it is more for the advanced user. Photoshop CS4 costs $700 and also the extended version is $1,000.
Photoshop Elements 8 is a great all around program for the beginning and intermediate user. Great for amateur photographers, or those who would like to tinker with your family photos, you receive all of the features essential to create stunning masterpieces. Organize your pictures with visual tags and smart search options in addition to "People Recognition." Edit your photos for clarity, add funny captions, create slideshows, share with your friends, etc. With the addition of Premier Elements 8, you may create movies that have audio. The majority of the things in Elements 8 and Premier Elements 8 are automated so you can allow the program perform the work for you with only several clicks of the mouse. At $100, Photoshop Elements 8 is a good choice. Coupled with Premier Elements 8, the cost is $ 200 but for the average user, you can do practically anything you like to your images.
Finally, there's Photoshop Lightroom 2. If you want a photo studio in your house, this is for you. At $300 that you can do your personal photo shoots making them look great enough to put in any major magazine. Whether or not the lighting whenever you took the image was crummy, you can make the shot look wonderful. Of course you can also manipulate images as if you would in the other programs, although not necessarily towards the same extent.
With these products, anyone can become a graphic designer. Regardless if you are only a hobbyist looking to make your pictures perfect with Photoshop cs4 Elements 8, or perhaps a wedding photographer who must take blemishes off of their models with Adobe Lightroom 2, or perhaps a movie editor that should turn several pictures into a moving animation with Photoshop CS4 Extended, you cannot do better than a Photoshop program. You can just get one or any combination of programs and know that they will all interact seamlessly so you can create the next blockbuster movie (or at best a blockbuster slide show for your loved ones).