Adobe Photoshop CS 2 (Windows/Mac)
Adobe Photoshop CS 2 (Windows/Mac)
Adobe offers the full version of Photoshop CS2 as a free download, a version, which was originally sold ten to thirteen years ago. After Adobe discontinued its support, the once-1,000-euro image editing software Adobe Photoshop CS2, launched 2005, is now available as a free download. Is it worth while to install software that is now 13 years old, even if it is offered free of charge? Our answer: yes, it is (in this special case). Because the software offers even its age-old CS2 version exciting professional tools such as an instant repair brush to remove glare distortions, glitches or blurring, which users of most freeware for image editing can only dream of. In the graphic arts industry, Adobe Photoshop is used by more than 90% of designers, and it’s used by more than 10 million people worldwide. The software supports 21 further languages besides the original language English. Surprise: Not only the Windows versions can be downloaded for free, but also the versions for Mac OS X. The only restriction: Under MacOS X Lion and Mountain Lion the old Photoshop version does not work. The free download of Photoshop can be obtained from an official website of Adobe. For this to work, you also need an Adobe ID, which you can also create there for free or here.
Interested users will find the serial numbers needed for the activation on the official Adobe website (via archive.org) We recommend that you copy the Photoshop key with the mouse to be able to insert it into the setup window during installation. Very important: Adobe announces on its website, that the serial numbers received during the download may only be used by customers who have legitimately purchased the software and wish to continue using it. Downloading the Software and using the serial numbers if you did not purchase CS2 or Acrobat 7 from Adobe, or from an authorized reseller, in the past, is not permitted and is a violation of Adobe’s copyright.
The current Adobe Photoshop is available as a free download only as an official 30-day trial version or via illegal sources, which are ideally given a wide berth. The current version is Photoshop CC 2018, but even the free CS2 runs on Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10 without problems. In addition to Photoshop, older versions of Acrobat, Premiere or Illustrator are available for free download. For example, Acrobat 7 and InDesign CS2 (released in 2005) are available for free download. If you do not want to install the individual components, you can also download the entire Adobe Creative Suite 2 for free. Included are Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. The reason why Adobe is starting to give away its software is because the activation servers for the CS2 product line were shut down in mid-December 2012. Customers who bought the product and wanted to reinstall it can no longer use their software. However, what was intended as a workaround for existing customers, was not implemented particularly professional by Adobe. Adobe seems to be well aware that anyone with a free Adobe ID can easily get Photoshop, InDesign, Premiere and additional tools. In the support forum, an Adobe employee announced that they are well aware that the software is now available to all users which have an Adobe ID: “Yea […] we are aware that the software is available for all users with an Adobe ID. You will want to have a valid license for a software title affected by the activation server outage. Please also keep in mind that due to the age of these software titles it is likely that they will not function properly on modern operating systems.”
But the software works fine in our test. On a modern machine, you should still have no problems using Photoshop CS2. Adobe does not support it anymore and of course, you will not get updates or security patches for it. Updates to the current Creative Cloud are not possible from the free versions, neither. If you are new to Adobe Photoshop CS2, you find a basic workshop how to start using it in a productive and efficient way here.
Which features have been new to Photoshop CS2 in April 2005? As you will see, some of these still seem rather “new” for a free software:
- Camera RAW 3.x support
- Smart Objects, which allows users to scale and transform images and vector illustrations without losing image quality
- Editable graphical user interface
- Adobe Bridge Support
- HDRI support (16- and 32-bit)
- Warp makes it easy to digitally distort an image into a shape by choosing on-demand presets or by dragging control points
- Vanishing point tool
- Lens correction
- Selective sharpening
- DNG Converter
- Better memory management on 64-bit systems (PowerPC G5)
- Altered layer handling, first version in which multiple layers can be selected at the same time
HDR, Camera RAW and DNG support, red-eye correction and stain brush
Photoshop CS2 offers features designed for professional photographers: These include support for 32-bit High Dynamic Range (HDR) images, which allows you to compress multiple shots of the same subject into a single shot. In addition it supports Camera Raw 3.0, which allows editing and processing multiple raw data images at the same time, and support for Adobes Digital Negative (DNG) standard – an archive format for digital camera-generated raw data files. Professionals may also appreciate other tools, such as Reduce Noise, which improves the use of photos made with high sensitivity settings, and Optical Lens Correction, a useful tool to correct some common optical distortions. There are also a few features that are designed for amateurs, including one to correct the so-called red-eye effect and a stain brush, that removes unwanted people or items from a photo, even across all levels. The ability to easily edit multiple layers has been a useful improvement in Photoshop CS2. New Smart Guides allow objects to be aligned across different levels, and help you avoid to constantly access the Layers palette. With Smart Objects you can edit works created in Illustrator without making them incompagtible to Illustrator. Finally, this version includes a font menu in WYSIWYG mode.
It’s features make Photoshop CS2 superior to most photo editing freeware of today. Some of it’s features still seem rather “modern”, even if they are far behind todays Photoshop CC 2018. For ambitious amateurs, downloading Photoshop CS2 for free is definitely still worth the while.
Free alternatives to Photoshop CS 2
The free GIMP software may not replace a full-featured Photoshop, but I do not know a better equipped freeware image editor. You may want to choose the portable GIMP version which you may install on a USB stick and use whereever you like. Paint.NET is a free image editing software, too, with many handy features. The program is being developed at Washington State University with the help of Microsoft and was initially intended as a free replacement for MS Paint. Among other things, users can use Paint.NET to work with multiple layers, use professional graphics tools or apply effects to images. Thanks to numerous plug-ins, the free software can be greatly enhanced. For example, with the Paint.NET PSD Plug-in, you may open multi-layer Photoshop files. You can also use 8BF-based filter plug-ins, which are often used in Photoshop, with the Paint.NET’s 8BF plug-in.