A few months back I wrote "Photoshop CS5: A Simple Desultory Philippic." Since then I've made some small progress at wrestling some of the alligators back into the swamp.
On the plug-in front, Topaz and Akvis have released sharpening and noise-reduction plug-ins that run under 64-bit Photoshop. I don't know how they compare to the ones I've been using with Photoshop CS4, but I intend to find out over the next several weeks. I'm keeping my fingers crossed; these folks write some interesting software, not your run-of-the-mill stuff.
I still have lots of work-critical plug-ins that are never likely to be updated or replaced, so I've figured out a workaround. It's got its problems, definitely far from ideal, but it gets me there well enough.
When I hit the point in working with a photograph in 64-bit Photoshop CS5 where I want to apply some plug-in that doesn't run there, I launch my copy of Photoshop CS4. In CS5 I select-all and copy the layer that I want to run the plug-in on. If it's a plug-in that I want to be running on a layer-modified photograph, I use the magic keystroke combination command-option-shift-E to create a single layer that's a merged version of the layers in my file and copy that.
I create a new, empty file in CS4 and paste the copied layer from CS5 into it. Then I run my plug-in on the copy. Select all, copy the modified layer, switch back to CS5 and paste it into a new layer in my original file.
Advantages? I don't have to shut down CS5 or lose my history states or workflow. It's a nondestructive edit, so I can take it or leave it or modify it further as need be, but I'm not making any irrevocable changes.
Disadvantages? Well, obviously, it's a bit slower and less convenient than just being able to apply the plug-ins directly from within CS5. You also need to have enough RAM in your system to happily support two copies of Photoshop running. This trick barely works at all on my 6 GB MacBook Pro, but it's fine on my 12 GB iMac.
Files get even bulkier, as you add new layers for each plug-in that you run. Which further increases the memory footprint.
The biggest problem I've run into is that it appears that CS4 is not entirely happy sharing memory space with CS5, even though there's an ample amount of RAM in my iMac to be supporting both. I discovered that I can make CS4 crash quite reliably if I try to run more than one plug-in (or one plug-in more than once) on a large image file. I'm not sure what the critical file size is; I routinely work on files between 30 and 100 megapixels in 16-bit color. Everything is fine the first time I run a plug-in on the copied-over layer. But, if I decide I don't like the results and undo them and then apply that plug-in again, or if I try to apply a second plug-in as a follow-up, Photoshop CS4 folds up its tent.
So, this is a trick that works exactly once. If I need to make more than one change under CS4, I need to save the first-plug-in-modified file, shut down CS4, relaunch it, and reopen that file. Then I can apply a second plug-in, or re-apply the first plug-in.
It's a kludge. No doubt about it. But it works. Well, it works better than sticking with CS4 or foregoing all my CS4 plug-ins to be able to work under CS5.
Still not jumping for joy, but I'm dealin'.
Ctein's regular weekly column appears on TOP on Wednesdays.
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Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.