Adobe Photoshop is one of the most popular professional graphic editing software packages. Together with Adobe's Dreamweaver and Flash, it is one of the main programs used for website creation by the web designers and developers.
What is Photoshop?
Adobe Photoshop is an industry standard for raster graphic manipulation, creation and editing. As a professional image editing software package, it comes with a number of tools for retouching photos. It offers a large number of filters and plugins which enable you to add cool effects to your images. Also, it has a premium set of image transformation tools. Among other things, the latest Photoshop version comes with enhanced vector graphics and 3D editing capabilities. You can easily create vector-based 2D images, for example website logos, and then apply them to a 3D object with excellent results. These extended features won't make Photoshop an artist's primary vector graphics or 3D animation application, but it is useful for some people to have it at hand and can be used instead of Adobe Illustrator or 3DMax for some basic operations.
Photoshop as a web design tool
Photoshop was released as a commercial graphic editing program in 1990. Since its first release, it has become more and more complex. Every new version comes with new powerful features. The current version of Photoshop - CS4, is much more than an editing program for your digital images. It supports a huge number of tools for creating graphics for your website. With Photoshop, web designers can easily create a website's layout using a set of vector based tools - different shapes, styles, gradients and masks are available. Once the website design is finished, Photoshop allows you to “slice” up your image for use in your website. Also, you can 'Save for web' all your .PSD projects in various web optimized formats including the popular .JPG and .GIF.
As an industry standard for graphic manipulation, Adobe Photoshop is targeted at all professional designers, photographers and digital artists. Even as a part of the popular Adobe Creative Suite, this complex product comes at an expensive price which makes it unaffordable for the common users. In order to provide an alternative for the amateur photographers and home users, Adobe has released Photoshop Elements - a lite version of Photoshop, which lacks some of its professional tools but provides a simpler interface with all the basic tools, effects and plugins.
Another successful alternative of Photoshop is GIMP. GIMP is a freeware, open-source image manipulation program which provides almost all the features of Photoshop to the open source community. Available for Windows, OSX and Linux, this cross-platform suite has a highly customizable interface, provides many photo enhancement tools and allows you to use various advanced photo retouching techniques.