Dec 23, 2005

Top Xmas Gifts for a Photoshop Junky

If you or somebody you know is a Photoshop junky and are wanting to get/give a really good Xmas gift, my I suggest the following?

Big Ticket Items:

A New Computer
Photoshop CS2 is a hog when it comes to processor speed, memory usage and hard drive space. Why not give the very best and plunk down a few grand on a new top end Apple Dual Core G5 or an AMD Dual Core machine? The more processors the better and big fat hard drives are a must…

More Ram
Actually, with the relatively cheap prices of ram these days, anybody spending considerable time working in Photoshop should just pack their computer chock full of ram. On Mac, the G5′s can take up to 8 gigs and Photoshop can directly use 3.5 gigs or so. On PC you need to be running one of the new motherboards and Win XP 64 to take full advantage of up to 3 gigs. But Photoshop CS2 will take advantage of even more ram than the direct accessed ram by using smart caching for scratch. If time is money, you’ll save time (and thus save money) by adding ram. See this story about ram from PSN: Photoshop CS2-How much RAM? – Fact

A New Display
Remember, CRT display’s useful life is really only about 3 years before they get too long in the tooth to be really color accurate with good luminance output. Any Photoshop user could use a new Apple 30″ Cinema display…and if you have a lot of money burning a hole in your pocket, pop for one of the new NEC SpectraView Reference 21 (SpectraView LCD2180 WideGamut LED). Currently hard to find and really expensive (about $6K) it’s the top end of the top of the line color reference display.

Medium Ticket Items:

More Hard Drive Space
I don’t know ANYBODY who would say no to a new hard drive-whether it be a new fast SATA multi-hundred gig drive or a fast FireWire 800 drive. Just as you can never be too thin or have too much ram, nobody ever has enough hard drive space. And multi-hundred gig drives can be had for a little over $100…in fact, buy two-one for you and one for a friend!

Adobe Photoshop CS2
If you have a friend still stuck on Photoshop 5, 6, 7 or CS, do them a favor and get them an upgrade to Photoshop CS2. It’s only $149 (cheaper at some places) and has a ton of new features that make it well worth the price-but when you do, make sure you update Adobe Bridge to version 1.03 (lots of bug and performance fixes Click here for Mac and here for Windows) and Camera Raw 3.2 or the 3.3 public beta. In point of fact, any registered version of Photoshop, even Photoshop 1.0 can be upgraded to CS2. Check with Adobe Customer Service for upgrade directions for versions older than 5.0.

A Good Photoshop CS2 Book
Nobody EVER has enough good Photoshop books (well, ok, maybe I do since all my author friends send them to me). If you don’t have one each of the following, you are lacking…

By Katrin Eismann:
Photoshop Masking & Compositing and Photoshop Restoration & Retouching are both required reading for anybody serious about Photoshop.

By Martin Evening:
Adobe Photoshop CS2 for Photographers is a must have/must read for anybody dealing with photography in Photoshop.

By Bruce Fraser:
Real World Camera Raw with Adobe Photoshop CS2. If you don’t have this book and you shoot digital and use Camera Raw, you are a fool.

Real World Adobe Photoshop CS2 Bruce, along with David Blatner give real world understanding of an increasingly complicated subject–Photoshop.

Real World Color Management Bruce teamed with Chris Murphy and Fred Bunting to deliver the must have color management tome.

By Andrew Rodney
Color Management for Photographers helps de-mystify a mystifying subject.

A Good Photoshop Intensive Workshop
The Santa Fe Workshops (I teach there) and Anderson Ranch are top places to go to learn in a classroom/school type environment.

If you are in the midwest in June of 2006, check out the Great Lakes Digital seminars and workshops. News about 2006 should be coming soon.

If you want your Photoshop Junky/digital photographer to “get a life” try sending him to one of Seth Resnick’s D-65 workshops.

Two of the best digital photography/digital printing teachers are; on the Eastcoast, John Paul Caponigro and on the Westcoast, Stephen Johnson.

If you are a real Photoshop Junky and want to try what could be the hardest 3 days of your life, stay tuned for info on my workshops to be called Photoshop Extreme. They are going to be held in my Chicago studio and will start at 8:30AM on a Thursday and go straight through till Saturday night at midnight. I’ll have cots for naps (for the wimps) and we’re only about 2/3 of a mile from a 24hrs. Starbucks.

If you want to take a high-end photography and digital imaging workshop look at Greg Gorman’s Mendocino Workshops or check out where Michael Reichmann is heading out to next. You probably missed his 2005 Antarctic Expedition but will be able to sign up for the February 2007 Antarctic Quest soon.

Stocking Stuffers:

A New Mouse
I can’t tell you how much better Photoshop can be driven with an accurate dual-optical mouse with multi-buttons. The Apple Pro mice and even the Mighty Mouse and all PC mice included with computers really suck for Photoshop work. My current mouse is a Logitech dual-optical mouse (no longer sold) but my replacement mouse would be a Logitech® MX™518 Gaming-Grade™ Optical Mouse (hint, hint–if Santa is reading). The accuracy of the optical mice and the programmable buttons (useful for Photoshop functions as well as gaming) make this a pro-level choice. Forget wireless mice…there just isn’t a good one with the required sensitivity out there.

Anything from PixelGenius.
Note: I am perhaps biased because I am a member of PixelGenius, but I’m not alone in my opinion–we’ve had some pretty darn good reviews of our products from all over the globe.

A membership to NAPP
You’ll get a copy of Photoshop User Magazine and can even go to a Photoshop World at a discount.

What am I gonna get for Xmas? Well, I can tell you it won’t have anything to do with Photoshop–seems my wife kinda has an “issue” with all things Photoshop. See: Photoshop Widows Club – Rebecca Schewe

10 Responses to “Top Xmas Gifts for a Photoshop Junky”

  1. Brian McDonnell Says:

    What would make a really cool gift is the new Photokit Color 2.0…what are the chances of that?

  2. Andreas Thaler Says:

    The most precious gift for a photoshopper is time and *good coffee*! ;o)

  3. Craig Lewis Says:

    When you say that we should “forget wireless mice…” I think that you haven’t tried the Logitech MX1000 wireless laser mouse. I wish that Wacom would make a mouse for their Intuos tablet line that is as comfortable and accurate as the MX1000. Then I’d be comfortable and happy all of the time.

  4. Jeff Schewe Says:

    With the untimely passing of Mike Skurski, the release date for PhotoKit Color 2.0 has had to slip.

    However, PixelGenius will still honor the free update to 2.0 for anybody who purchased PhotoKit Color after the October 20th announce date.

    As for the mice, I’ll admit that I haven’t even bother to try any wireless/laser mice in the last year or so. The latency (delay) that I found in previous wireless mice drove me nutz when trying to work in Photoshop. I have no problem dealing with cables…but the mouce action must be super accurate and immediate.

  5. Jann Lipka Says:

    Jeff ,
    As Santa came with Quad and 8 Gig RAM ,

    I’m considering a new mouse .

    So 518 seems to be a good suggestion .
    I was curious about new Logitech G5 laser with cord ( 2000 DPi ) but
    518 wins with more buttons to program !

    What about mouse mat ?
    Everglide or Razer exactmat ?

  6. Andrew Rodney Says:

    I wish Santa would bring me a copy of Aperture that wasn’t so screwed up . It was so exciting to see demo but in real life, different beast.

  7. Jeff Schewe Says:


    Before ya go out and grab a Logitech 518, there’s a little thing you should know…the 518 is _NOT_ Mac compatible :~(

    I found out the hard way, cause Santa brought me one. Seems the Logitech 510 is the closest Mac compatable…

  8. Jon Roemer Says:

    Jeff & Jann,

    The 518 is Mac Compatible with third-party software.

    Steer Mouse


    (I’m told) USB Overdrive

    I tried the 518 but was not completely happy with it so I am returning it. I think I’m just too used to my Microsoft mouse so I’ll replace with another MS Mouse, a newer higher sensitivity model.

  9. Jann Lipka Says:

    Jon ,
    I share the same thoughts about my trusty MS explorer 4 .
    I like it a lot, so instead of jumping on 518 I was wondering if there was some
    MS replacement with better DPI sensitivity ..
    I’ve read some mixed reviews of the new laser model so I was waiting …

    Let us now your findings .

  10. Craig Lewis Says:

    So, Jeff–WHEN will you be offering your “Photoshop Extreme” workshop? I need to plan my workshops for this year. As soon as I sign up for one from Katrin or John Paul, you’ll post yours in conflict, I’m sure.

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