Adobe CS4 — now is the time
If you have some spare money, buy Adobe CS5. If not, read on…
In my experience there are rarely features worth the upgrade in new software versions — take a look at MS Office. The flip side of adding new features is usually a bloated code, overcrowded interface and poor performance.
New Photoshop tools are mostly useful for repetitive tasks, such as removing stains on 100+ batches or image stretching. But seriously, how often do you need that? Will you all of the sudden start working with crappy images, just because your new software allows you to fix them? How about firing a photographer and tell clients to send over their mobile camera shots? I mean, you have the software, right?
Does an actor comes to a set with filthy hands and after the shooting they make some unfortunate Photoshop guy to turn it into an award winning shot?
Large companies upgrade their software regularly, because of large multi-seat license discounts and perhaps to stay up to date with their partners who already upgraded. Sometimes, it’s the matter of the company’s public image.
However, for a small or tiny creative agency with experienced designers (at least with regard to the tools of trade), those new amazing “where have you been all my life” features are not really essential. It is much more useful to teach people basics about using computers, than to arm them with a silver bullet.
With tough economy why not wait and skip at least one major release. Your business is not going to suffer because of it, because the latest technology doesn’t make a master. Skills and experience do.
For occasional photo retouching and interface design you’re okay with CS4 or even CS3. So save your money and buy it on Amazon. They also sell CS4 Student edition for under $400, which is a bargain if you are still in college.