Georgiou, January 2004, send
to the web site
2000 SP3, Windows XP, Mac OS X 10.2.4
UK £ 605.13 incl VAT (full version); US$169.00, UK £ 146.88
I recently attended the Adobe Creative Suite roll-out
in London, England and I was treated to a full day
of feature showcases for the entire Adobe Creative
Suite product line. My main interest in the event
was a look at Photoshop CS and was I in for a treat.
Unlike recent releases which have really been relatively
minor upgrades, Photoshop CS contains major improvements
and additions to the feature set alongside broad
integration with its digital siblings.
Before I jump into the application itself, I'll
mention a feature which Adobe has used to tie together
all of its CS tagged products: Version Cue. It is
in essence the glue which holds together the entire
suite, allowing the users to find, track and control
assets to a fine degree. This tool is very powerful
and on its own gives anyone who is interested in
project and workflow management a great tool for
handling assets in graphical projects. Version Cue
is currently only available as part of the Creative
Suite. The other nice feature common to all applications
in the suite is a common interface which makes jumping
from application to application very easy and helps
to ease the learning curve.
Photoshop CS is impressive. There are many enhancements
to this new version which make the decision to upgrade
a no-brainer. The package contains 2 CDs and a printed
manual, the second CD being a video-based Training
Workshop. The Photoshop CS program has many new features
so that graphic designers, photographers and web
designers alike have plenty to aid and entertain
them. The addition of features such as non-square
pixel handling and aspect ratio correction are clearly
aimed at film and video folks and are also very welcome.
This is a substantially improved tool which allows you
to quickly preview, tag and sort your images. You can also
search for files using metadata and keywords and also add
and edit the information and metadata. The Browser also
allows you to apply various batch commands and functions
to images with greater ease than was previously available.
This only covers a small part of its extended capabilities
but I'm certainly impressed.
This Browser is also the interface through which the acquisition
of Camera RAW files is facilitated. The Camera RAW interface
which was previously a separate plug-in purchase has now
been integrated and again improved with features to correct
for problems like chromatic aberration and vignetting as
well as allowing for digital noise reduction. One of the
nicest features is that you can now fine tune your parameters
for how RAW files are handled with the Browser.
Comprehensive 16-bit Implementation
The enhancement of 16-bit support in CS should give users
greater confidence in Photoshop's future as an imaging
application. It allows you to edit and retouch with more
control in an enhanced color space. There is still room
for improvement as not all the functions in Photoshop yet
address 16-bit mode but again this indicates future directions.
Larger File Sizes
Photoshop CS has also been enabled to handle files that
are an incredibly massive 300,000 pixels in each dimension
- the only issue here is memory. We need more RAM addressing;
about 1 Terabyte to really use this feature.
Crop & Straighten
This is an automated function for adjusting photos that
have been batch scanned. It will automatically separate
the scanned photos and straighten them for further editing.
CS PDF Presentation
This feature is nice. Create a slide show or presentation
of any images you select in PDF format. The presentation
can be defined using a number of selectable transitioning
effects. This feature provides a very nice and easy way
for making portfolios of your work.
Intelligent Dialog Handling
Much of Photoshop's dialog handling has been enhanced
with some intelligence applied to the units of measure,
numerical entry fields and the facilitation of custom document
presets. One of the nicest new features is the 'scrubbing'
method for changing units, which has been ported over from
Adobe's video products.
Editable Keyboard Shortcuts
Using this option you can personalize Photoshop to your
own preferences and then save and print a summary of your
The Filter Gallery
This new tool is quite lovely as it allows you to test
several filters at the same time before you apply them.
Not all filters work through the gallery, but it is a first
step toward a feature lots of Photoshop users have been
crying out for: Filter Layers. Let's hope this is the next
step, but until then Filter Gallery does the job quite
This Image Adjustment filter emulates traditional photographic
filters. As with all filters, this one also allows you
a great deal of control through the use of adjustment layers.
This is a new filter that generates fiber-like textures.
It is very well suited to creating organic looking backgrounds.
A powerful new feature aimed at the digital photographer,
which quite nicely emulates a shallow depth of field.
This new feature is specifically designed for stitching
together photos for the creation of panoramic images. It
works very nicely. The stitching logic is well defined
and the results with properly shot photos is excellent.
allows the user to apply adjustments to over or underexposed
images. A great tool for restoring
lost or blown-out details in these images while also doing
a good job of maintaining midtones. I still feel that there
is some room for improvement as the images quite often
lack a certain punch, but it’s a good start in this
Match Color Command
facilitates consistent looks when creating images for
fashion spreads and projects which require a
unity in look & feel. It works by allowing the user
to select a reference image and then applies its values
through a control interface to the target image.
Healing Brush & Patch
Both these features have been vastly improved with new
capabilities. The Patch Tool facilitates a preview of the
sample areas before application for more effective selection
of sources. The Healing Brush can now paint onto separate
layers allowing for preservation of the original image.
Color Replacement Tool
This tool facilitates the replacement of colors while
retaining the original tonal values. I played with this
tool for hours and enjoyed how much control I had. It does
its job rather well.
It's been enhanced, allowing you to interactively view
changes to an image's histogram while applying commands
like curves or levels.
The Text capabilities of CS have been enhanced with support
for text on a path and text inside or outside of shapes.
This feature is quite simple to use and provides a good
deal of flexibility and control for editing the resulting
type. There are other enhancements for text in the addressing
of Opentype fonts and some of their features.
This is one of the most impressive new features and one
which has been on the wants list for many production artists
and designers. You can create and save design variations
for clients and recall them for presentations, all within
a single Photoshop file. It's a very useful tool which
has been a long time coming.
More layers are allowed and nested layers are now supported
(layers within layers).
You can create custom layouts for Picture Packages; there
are more templates for the Web Gallery. Contact Sheet has
been enhanced to allow for more detailed file information
and greater control over output. There are new routines
for Texture Extraction, a Color Fill type for your canvas,
many more document presets and a savable History Log for
tracking changes and modifications. A match zoom feature
which allows you to set all loaded images to the same zoom
level. Bicubic interpolation has also been improved with
the addition of 2 new modes: one designed for enlarging
and the other for reduction.
This already powerful web tool has not been left untouched.
Adobe have added some very powerful features which aid
in the integration with Golive and even supports export
of animations to Flash SWF files. Import of video files
is another great boon to web graphic animation. The ability
to preview rollover animations inside ImageReady is another
joy to see. All in all, there are many improvements and
additions to these already powerful tools. No wonder that
they provide a video tutorial disk. It's really needed,
as there is so much you will miss if you just start playing
(as I did initially).
Cons: Some filters and plug-ins need updating to support
16-bit. Curves need enhancement. Online product activation
(I can understand the reasoning behind this but I don't
have to like it). Not compatible with older operating systems.
My biggest gripe with this and many other programs is that
despite quantum leaps in processing power, all seem to
be getting slower or not showing relative improvements.
This should not be the case. Developers should make more
of an effort to optimize performance. To give Adobe their
due, some performance enhancements were made, but not enough.
Some of these slowdowns can and should be placed largely
in the camp of the OS makers, but it is ridiculous that
we are still left to sit staring at our monitors watching
effects and filters take as long as they do.
Pros: New features abound: Intelligent dialog handling,
excellent educational support through video tutorial CD
and extensive manual, added benefits to productivity due
to major application improvements, extended file browser
and improvements to ImageReady.
There is still room for improvement and new features,
especially in the area of addressing 16-bit with existing
filters and plug-ins. There really is no facility yet for
the correction of lens barrel or pincushion distortion,
which, if Adobe is trying to court digital photographers,
it really should address. The Curves feature could also
do with some enhancement as it's still quite primitive
at the moment and hasn't really improved in quite a long
time. What I would like to see is the ability to save libraries
of curves, the addition of new types of curve definition,
and a curve clipboard with a built in preview.
It would also be nice to be able to expand or compress
existing values in an image so that you could remap luminosity
values numerically. The Levels Adjustment goes some way
towards addressing this, but not far enough. With this
in mind I would like the levels dialog to be much more
powerful with the ability to be able to expand an image's
tonal mapping beyond what is currently displayed. It would
be very much like combining the functionality of the Shadow
and Highlight tool with the Levels Dialog. This expanded
functionality could also allow the use of more control
points for finer adjustments. I'm very happy with most
of what has been achieved thus far, and I look forward
to the next version with enthusiasm.
Photoshop has for years been the tool of choice for imaging
and design professionals. With this new version, many powerful,
useful tools and features have been added which make the
choice of upgrading from earlier versions easy. The high
retail price point of this version will no doubt deter
all but the most committed and serious of artists, designers
and photographers. We hope Adobe starts offering competitive
upgrade incentives to users of rival software. However,
the bottom line is that Photoshop CS is indeed worth every
penny and a must buy.
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