This became available as a download for existing CS2 users yesterday. Highlights: What's new in the Photoshop CS3 beta Here's some of what you'll see that's new in the Photoshop CS3 beta: Speed Application launch time is improved across Windows and Mac platforms, with the time it takes to launch Photoshop for the first time being cut the most dramatically on Intel-based Macs. While Photoshop CS2 already launches fairly quickly on Windows, both XP and Vista users (especially Vista users) will notice that the Photoshop CS3 beta is open for business in less time than it takes to have a sip of coffee. Once the program is launched, however, the real beneficiaries of the speed improvements are Intel Mac owners. Adobe's Nack cited a performance jump of 40% relative to CS2, which is an overall figure derived from testing 250 Photoshop operations on a 3GHz Mac Pro. We'll provide some performance numbers of our own tomorrow, but for now it's safe to say that Adobe's 40% figure grossly understates how much faster the program feels, and how much faster it can plough through intensive operations such as running the Smart Sharpen filter on a 16-bit EOS-1Ds Mark II file. For the Intel Mac crowd, the number one feature of the Photoshop CS3 beta is speed. Camera Raw 4 Photoshop CS3 beta sports a new version of the Camera Raw plug-in. The changes will look familiar to those who have been processing RAW files in the Photoshop Lightroom betas. Quick Selection Tool Think of this as the 2007 version of the Magic Wand tool, and this time it's truly magical in how it knows where to lay down the path of marching ants around an object. Another new feature, called Refine Edge, enables a selection to be fine-tuned and previewed more effectively than before. Better Curves Curves has received a makeover that includes the ability to save presets that are choosable from a popup menu inside the Curves window. Smart Filters This feature is a close cousin to Adjustment Layers. Smart Filters enable one or more filters to be applied to a layer, where the filter settings are stored with the layer and can be re-adjusted later or the filtering can be undone completely. For instance, it's possible to apply Smart Sharpen to a layer via Smart Filters, and subsequently change the amount of sharpening or undo the sharpening altogether. It's also possible to choose a blending mode; to apply Smart Sharpen just to image luminance, for example. Refined interface New palette and toolbar displays options enable better use of available screen real estate, especially when using the program on a single display. Revamped print window The main Print window is the former Print with Preview, and now includes a colour-managed preview of the picture to be printed, with the option to soft-proof the preview as well, plus there are window layout changes and other minor tweaks. There's plenty more that's new, including a dedicated black-and-white conversion filter, enhanced Photomerge function with improved automatic alignment and blending of frames in a panorama, optional automatic layer alignment, improved merging of multiple exposures into a high-dynamic range image plus a new version of Bridge, called Bridge CS3.