Photoshop World Zooms In on Digital Photography

Previously the realm of graphic artists, Photoshop World now attracts throngs of digital photographers anxious to learn about the latest plug-ins, scanners and hardware.

LAS VEGAS—Its hard to imagine Steve Jobs or Bill Gates riding a motorcycle to a faux boxing ring in order to deliver a keynote, but this is Vegas, and thats how National Association of Photoshop Professionals president Scott Kelby came onstage to launch the Photoshop World conference here.

Though overall attendance has grown, event organizers said what has been most notable is the increase in the presence of digital photography at a show that previously had been the province of graphic artists.

Reflecting this increasing reality, Deb Whitman, vice president of product marketing for digital imaging at Adobe Systems Inc., used her keynote appearance to announce news for professional digital photographers.

First, she said, Adobe has updated its RAW image plug-in, adding support for almost a dozen new digital cameras, bringing the total to more than 70. She also announced that Adobes proposed DNG (Digital Negative Specification) will be supported by camera manufacturers Leica Camera AG and Hasselblad USA Inc.

According to Dave Moser, chief operating officer at NAPP (the National Association of Photoshop Professionals), Photoshop Worldused to be attended by "100 percent graphic artists," whereas recent shows have seen a solid mix of designers and photographers interested in the shows three days of seminars. Moser added that this weeks show had more than 3,000 registered attendees, up from about 2,000 at last years Las Vegas edition.

At the shows Tech Expo floor, almost 80 exhibitors showed wares from Adobe, Microsoft Corp., video training companies and others. More than half hawked hardware targeted at photographers, from stock photo collections to photo laminations.

"Theres absolutely more digital photography use of Photoshop,"said John Nock, product manager for Photoshop and ImageReady at Adobe. He noted that the application tends to reflect how people have used it. "In the 90s, it was Web design," he said. "But the last couple of years, the momentum has been around digital photography."

Both Robert Leong, director of business development at Extensis Inc., and Dan Harlacher, the companys product manager, agreed that digital photography is a growth market for Photoshop. Leong said Extensis saw a "record-breaking quarter" for its Photoshop plug-in products.

Leong said the reported increase in Windows-based Photoshop users does not really represent a "shift away from the Mac, but the market growing."

"As digital imaging is going more mainstream," he said, "were seeing more home users picking up Photoshop."

Harlacher agreed, saying, "On the consumer side, there are more Windows users, though often advanced amateurs go from a PC to a Mac."

Nock noted that Photoshop has sold well to "a lot of folks at home, which you wouldnt expect" for a professionally priced application. "But for someone who goes with a $1,000 digital SLR camera, they want the most comprehensive image-editing application," he said.


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