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195 of 203 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most powerful photo editor available
Since this review is specifically for the full version of Photoshop CS4, I will not be comparing it to prior versions. I'll save that information for a separate review of the upgrade version. If you're looking at the full version of Photoshop, I assume that you're wondering whether it's worth your hard earned dollars to take the plunge for the first time into the world...
Published on November 14, 2008 by Joseph Boone

versus
82 of 91 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible service from Adobe
I had a nightmare experience with Adobe Tech support. This review describes this experience and says nothing about the product itself, so be advised.

I tried installing this one Sunday night, and it finished with a message "Done, but with errors." It would not run. I called Adobe and learned they are only open during weekdays, during the hours I am at work...
Published on August 17, 2009 by Michael McKeel


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195 of 203 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most powerful photo editor available, November 14, 2008
By 
Joseph Boone (Irvine, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (2008 HOLIDAY TEAM)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Adobe Photoshop CS4 - Old Version (DVD-ROM)
Since this review is specifically for the full version of Photoshop CS4, I will not be comparing it to prior versions. I'll save that information for a separate review of the upgrade version. If you're looking at the full version of Photoshop, I assume that you're wondering whether it's worth your hard earned dollars to take the plunge for the first time into the world of major league photo editing programs. Make no mistake, Photoshop is indeed the top gun in the field, there is no finer product. Over the next several paragraphs, I'll try to cover it's key advantages and let you decide for yourself whether it's worth the rather hefty price Adobe demands to buy into the franchise or if it makes more sense to buy a competing product.

Adobe is in the enviable position of not only publishing Photoshop, but also it's biggest competitor, Adobe Photoshop Elements 7. While Elements cannot stand up to Photoshop feature for feature, it is nonetheless a powerful photo editor and one capable of producing excellent prints. For the majority of photos, I doubt anyone could tell the difference which program produced the results assuming a competent user was at the controls. Moreover, Elements sells for a just over 10% of Photoshop's price, a significant discount to say the least.

Which product is best for you depends on a number of factors. First, have you done any editing at all or is this your first attempt at image manipulation? Do you want to primarily adjust simple things like contrast, color saturation, and maybe get rid of red eye? These are things that Elements can handle just as well as Photoshop for a fraction of the price (it can do a lot more, but these are reasonable examples). Another question is how frequently you'll work with a program like this. The price tag for Photoshop is a big pill to swallow if you're going to edit family snapshots a couple of times a year.

The two main drawbacks to Elements are that it lacks some of the more powerful tools unique to CS4 and that some methods of achieving the same results will take more time. That's an important point, so I'll repeat it. For most of your photos, you can achieve virtually identical results in Elements... but it will take more time to do it. Determining how highly you value your own time, and how often you edit photos, could be a key factor in whether CS4 is worth buying.

Beyond the cost of your time, let's consider the problem photos that you may not be able to edit properly in Elements. Most often, if a shot doesn't turn out well I just ignore it and move on. I'm not a big fan of spending hours on every photo and a well-shot image requires very little editing. But some of those duds represent something that I particularly wanted or needed a print of. Perhaps a key landmark from my last vacation, or a visiting relative who I photographed and promised I'd send a print to. Whatever it is, when these shots come out poorly, you have to do whatever is possible to salvage it and this is where Photoshop CS4 most earns its keep.

I won't go through all the features available in CS4, you can scan the product description in this product listing for that, or go to Adobe's web site. But they've included tools to deal with just about any situation imaginable, allowing you to do anything from reclaiming blown highlights in RAW files to stitching panoramic shots together from multiple images, to merging several shots into one to increase depth of field. About the only photo that can't be enhanced/saved is one where you failed to get a remotely correct exposure or one that suffers from motion blur. Neither Elements nor any other competing product can do anything like the heavy lifting available in CS4.

In summary, if you are serious about editing and printing top-notch photos, then you need to use Photoshop CS4. If you don't, you're spending more time than you should and leaving unfulfilled potential in your images. If you are a casual or occasional shooter, than you'll do well to stick with the less extensive products like Elements. It's cheaper, at least somewhat easier to use, and capable of generating quality work. If you end up frustrated with Elements and wishing you could do more, then you'll know it's time to reconsider moving up to CS4.

Finally, for those who can't get past the hefty price, here is a little tip. If you buy an older version of Photoshop, it can often be had for a fraction of the current version. In turn, this will allow you to buy the upgrade version of Photoshop for less than one-third the price of the full version. This is legal and does not violate the Adobe license agreement in any way. All you need is a valid license for a full version of Photoshop CS, CS2, or CS3 and you can purchase the upgrade with a combined cost well under the full version of CS4. If you attempt this, I strongly recommend buying from a reputable dealer to make sure you get a valid license. For example, if you buy at a certain well-known auction site, make sure the seller has a high feedback rating.
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Having a blast!!, April 9, 2009
This review is from: Adobe Photoshop CS4 - Old Version (DVD-ROM)
CS4 is my first purchase of the full version of Photoshop. I have used Paint Shop Pro since version 5, and I have used Photoshop Elements 6 for about 15 months. I have long avoided purchasing the full version of Photoshop, not because I didn't want it, but for two reasons: the price, and the proliferation of negative reviews, especially the reviews that describe installation nightmares. Two things convinced me to finally buy it: a generous coupon from Amazon, and some reviews that describe preliminary steps to avoid problems before and after installation, such as going to the website of the video card and downloading the latest drivers. My installation succeeded without a hitch. It is not my intention to indicate that those reviews about installation problems are invalid, only that my own experience was the opposite.

I was already very familiar with using selections, layers and masks, so all I have seen and heard about a 'steep learning curve' has seemed exaggerated to me. I'm having an absolute blast discovering all the convenience designed into Photoshop CS4: the non-destructive adjustment layers; Camera Raw plug-in; the quick and accurate zooming tools; the amazing preview options; Bridge and its organization capabilities. On and on I could go. I remember one review that indicated that distinguishing a Photoshop edited photo from the same photo edited by less expensive software might prove difficult or impossible. I have worked with those less expensive softwares long enough to know better than to deny the truth of that assertion. But, I believe there is much to be said about how you get there, and how much time consumption and frustration can be eliminated by learning Photoshop and availing yourself of the editing convenience designed into it. Editing that is tedious in less expensive software is downright fun in Photoshop! The reviewer also mentioned that the most difficult to edit photos, the ones where detail has to be brought out from too much shadow or too much brightness, are the ones where Photoshop has no peer. He is spot on with that assertion.

Those who assert that Photoshop is best left to the pros are consummately wrong. Serious hobbyists will find just as much satisfaction, and perhaps even more, since hobbies don't involve meeting professional deadlines and such. There is much to learn in Photoshop, but the learning is easy and fun. Resources are everywhere, many of them free.

I do very much disagree with those who trash the interface of CS4. I believe it is deliberately designed to not compete with the photo being edited. I find it to be a paragon of economy and utility: invisible when I'm concentrating on my work, yet available to quickly provide accurate tools and a convenient editing and/or reviewing environment once I decide what I'm going to do next. If editing in an interface replete with gaudy eye candy is your wont, Photoshop is not for you.

I will close with my own little disclaimer: I'm not paid by Amazon, Adobe or anyone else for my thoughts. I'm retired from all employment, and digital photography is my favorite hobby and pastime. I do it for myself, my family and my friends. I've wondered about Photoshop and wanted to try it for a long time. Thanks to the generosity of Amazon, I now own Photoshop CS4! Thanks to Adobe, I am now a true believer! I repeat, I'm having an absolute blast!
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82 of 91 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible service from Adobe, August 17, 2009
By 
Michael McKeel (Los Angeles, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Adobe Photoshop CS4 - Old Version (DVD-ROM)
I had a nightmare experience with Adobe Tech support. This review describes this experience and says nothing about the product itself, so be advised.

I tried installing this one Sunday night, and it finished with a message "Done, but with errors." It would not run. I called Adobe and learned they are only open during weekdays, during the hours I am at work (unlike many of their competitors, who offer 24 hour tech support). So, the next day I left work early and went home and called Adobe. The tech support guy was very rude, was not interested in hearing what error I got, and instead had me delete all of my Adobe products and many other files from various directories. Then he told me he was leaving for the day and that Adobe Tech Support was now closed and hung up. I kid you not. I tried installing Photoshop again and got exactly the same error as the first time. My system would now no longer run properly, since the tech guy had me delete several things and hung up without helping me reinstall them.

So, the next day I took off from work and called Adobe again. This time a different tech support guy had me go through a different set of procedures, but once more when I tried installing it I got the same error as before. He told me he didn't know what was going on and would escalate the problem. He said that someone would call me within two hours. Well, no one from Adobe has EVER called me.

I used the internet to research the problem myself and was able to eventually install Photoshop successfully after many hours of work on my own and after taking off a day and a half from work. Adobe Tech Support was more than useless, they were actually destructive.

It is amazing to me that a company like Adobe can behave like this and stay in business.
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65 of 74 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disapointed in what Adobe doesn't tell you, February 27, 2009
This review is from: Adobe Photoshop CS4 - Old Version (DVD-ROM)
I am very disappointed that you CANNOT upgrade from Adobe Photoshop CS4 to Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended version; EVER. After speaking with Adobe customer service (farmed in from some country that does not speak English) I was told I would have to pay an additional $999.00 for the Extended version. Or downgrade to CS3. Why on earth would anyone ever do that. I have always loved Adobe products but; Not any more. This left me with nothing but feeling angry with Adobe. They didn't even tell me I could return my product as it has only been a week since I bought it. What a lousy company and what a terrible way to do business. I used Paint Shop Pro for literally years and for the money it runs circles around Adobe in many many ways. As Photoshop is the industry standard I have no choice but to use it. In the end it is way over priced and the customer service is non existent. Before you buy Adobe make sure you absolutely need it.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Overpriced for what it does., July 9, 2009
This review is from: Adobe Photoshop CS4 - Old Version (DVD-ROM)
I wont be buying Adobe anymore. The software is obsolete after a few years. You can't upgrade to CS4 extended, I also had CS2 and found plug- ins wouldn't work with it anymore. However if you buy Photoshop elements 7 for about 100 bucks, then you can use new plug-ins and it uses the same engine as the full blown photoshop versions. So buy elements and newer plug-ins to do the job. Amazing, photoshop is such a good program that you have to buy alot of aftermarket plugins that are better software. The old artistic filters are still being used. Probably why their sales are taking a hit in the stock market too.
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42 of 50 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Buyer Beware, March 6, 2009
By 
This review is from: Adobe Photoshop CS4 - Old Version (DVD-ROM)
Buyer beware, Photoshop CS4 may not install on your computer. Every attempt to install has resulted in an error that will not complete the installation process. I have downloaded an error analyzer from Adobe and followed all procedures for correcting the installation issue to no avail. I have been on the phone with no less than 4 tech support personnel who walk me thru a limited number of procedures and then hang-up stating they will call me back within ˝ hour, and do not. I am sitting here with a $650 box of software that I cannot use. The issue is not my computer. My machine has core a 2 quad processor with 2 gigs memory, a 500 gig hard drive and high end graphics video card. The issue has to do with color profiles in the computer registry keys that prevent installation. Oh, did I mention that tech support is terrible beyond belief. I will be attempting to install again over the weekend, instead shooting and processing photographs. Good luck if you buy this program.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Photoshop WAS the best image editing software ever., January 19, 2010
By 
J. Martin (Whitefish, MT) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Adobe Photoshop CS4 - Old Version (DVD-ROM)
I have been using Photoshop for the last 10 years and this version is impossible. I am running a powerful PC system. Sometimes the marquee tool takes seconds to appear and usually selects the wrong pixels. I just used the slice tool to create a gif that was 50px high on the screen and in the dialog window. the actual exported image was 49px. WTF? For a web graphics professional this is unacceptable and a severe disruption to my workflow. Photoshop CS3 is the best. If you have a copy I would stick with it. The major upgrades to CS4 seem to be some eye candy that slows down your system and plain old doesn't work.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No Customer Service, November 12, 2009
This review is from: Adobe Photoshop CS4 - Old Version (DVD-ROM)
Just know this... they'll answer the phone immediately if you're placing an order. Call them about anything else and be prepared to wait a half an hour or more. Their customer service by phone is awful.
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great program upgrades; ugly user interface, November 9, 2008
This review is from: Adobe Photoshop CS4 - Old Version (DVD-ROM)
** UPDATE VIDEO CARD DRIVER:
Right off the bat I had a problem with my brush cursor only showing 1/4, 1/2, and even sometimes only a 1/5 of the cursor when I zoomed in. Found out from Adobe that I needed to install the latest video card driver. I had done this only a few weeks before the program was installed, but went to the EVGA site and re-downloaded the driver and re-installed it. It fixed the cursor problem upon restart. No mater what, go to your video card's website and download the latest driver, even if you think yours is updated.

** GPU and OpenGL Features and Limitations in Photoshop CS4:
Upon start-up, PS asks if you want to go to this website to review the tasks CS4 asks of the video card. I HIGHLY recommend you review it:

[...]

Very smart in how they are now tasking the video card to offload some of the processing from the CPU. If you turn off the GPU processing support (edit > preferences > performance) you will notice a small drop in performance. Read the list on the website above and you will see why you need a good fast Video card.

** 3D FEATURE NOW ADDED TO PS!:
We now have a powerful 3D rendering feature, just like Illustrator does. (But, not so powerful if you video card is lagging behind.) Turn off GPU processing, and use a weak CPU and you will find yourself making coffee during 3D rendering.

** WORKS WITH CS3:
I have both CS3 and CS4 installed at the same time. No problems using both, only you can't use them at the same time.

** NEW USER INTERFACE... UGLY:
I don't know who picked the font for the UI in CS4, but they should never be in charge of that part again. Horrible chunky font used throughout the interface. Why change from CS3? And the pallets are squared off. CS3's pallets were so nice; why change?

** Tabs and Arrange Documents:
Kind of like Dreamweaver, PS now has a tabs layout where you can see all of your open projects. So, no more hidden windows behind your project, for they are all lined up along the top of the workspace.

Arrange Documents feature: You can now quickly arrange your open projects with the click of a button at the top menu. It even has "Match Zoom", "Match Location" and "Match Zoom and Location". Cool.

** SMOOTHER:
Zooming in and out (Ctrl-/+), moving the workspace (Spacebar+click) and menus opening and closing are all smooth. Almost like a Flash-menu in the way it works.

** NO FILTER UPDATES / ADDITIONS:
As another user mentioned, we see no real additions in the bundled filter category.

** SMALL DETAILS:
Some of the small things I noticed so far:
1) PS now allows you to select "Zoom Clicked Point to Center" much the same way InDesign does automatically. Nice!
2) you can 'flick' the workspace around (called "Flick Panning"). In CS3, the workspace moved, but it certainly didn't slide to a stop as if it were floating on an air hockey table. (just a cool thing, but not a program improvement.)
3) you can assign colors to the menu options. So, now your "Save as" menu item can be green or red, and so on, if you want. You can assign a color to any and every menu item, even remove some from the list.
4) the Tools pallet stacks more items under one button (i.e. Crop and Slice tools are under the same button.) This is to accommodate the new 3D buttons on the Tools pallet.
5) I notice more changes in the "image" drop-menu than others. The 'auto' controls have moved, and some are now in the pop-up window (i.e. "auto levels" is now in the "levels" pop-up window. We now have "auto tone", "auto contrast" and "auto color" one level up from where they were before.
6) They moved the one button I used the most, Screen Mode (F), from the Tools pallet to the top. Oh well, "F, F" it is, until I get used to the new button placement.

I don't notice it taking up any more memory at idle that the CS3 edition did. It also doesn't seem to have the dreaded memory leak that plagued CS3's Photoshop. If it does, I don't notice it.

I'll keep updating this as things arise. Overall, the program works well, and has yet to crash on me.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Adobe Printshop CS4 not worth the money, September 26, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Adobe Photoshop CS4 - Old Version (DVD-ROM)
Perhaps I'll like CS4 better when I can get it to run long enough to edit a picture, but right now all it does is take too much time to begin running and then crash abruptly just after opening a jpeg.

Of course, I need to contact Adobe customer support on the above issue. However, I am having major problems getting in touch with them. I need to use the program on the job where calling support on the phone is not as desirable as getting help online, and Adobe customer support online SUCKS!

Thankfully, so far I have been able to do everything the boss needs me to do with my old Microsoft Anniversary Edition photo program, which cost approximately 1/5 as much as this Adobe albatross. I find it hard to believe so many offices recommend CS4. What am I missing?
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Adobe Photoshop CS4 - Old Version
Adobe Photoshop CS4 - Old Version by Adobe (Windows, Windows 7 / Vista / XP)
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