If you keep up on news in the printing and graphic design industry you probably know by now that Adobe recently released the newest incarnation of their software suite. Many that placed their order with Adobe started receiving orders early yesterday. Some are still on the fence on whether the newest version offers anything substantial over the previous version. Let’s face it, Adobe makes powerful creative software but for the smaller shops, $599 is a lot of money and they need to spend each dollar wisely. For those of you on the fence, let’s see if there are any features you cannot live without. In the first part of this series we will talk about one of the most popular programs in Adobe’s lineup, Photoshop.
The new version of Photoshop definitely packs a few gems. I’ll try to take you through some of my favorites.
Here is video of Content-Aware Scaling in action:
This is by far one of my favorites. Basically you are able to un-proportionally re-size an image and not corrupt the subject. Here is an image from adobe that shows a standard sized photo getting the super-wide treatment. You will notice that the surfers do not get stretched out and the background and waves are scaled very nicely. You can see why this is one of the most amazing advances in Photoshop history.
The history behind this feature started a little over a year ago with a program called CAIR or Content Aware Image Resizer by Shai Avidan and Ariel Shamir. Here is a link to a video of the original from August of 07 Content Aware Scaling . I sure hope the authors of the freeware received a little kickback from Adobe. Besides Photoshop this has also made it into the latest versions of GIMP, the open source photo editing program.
Smoother panning and zooming:
One of the great new features of Photoshop is that it now takes advantage of the enormous amount of power on today’s GPU’s (video cards). Graphic cards are not just for games anymore. I’m surprised it’s taken Adobe this long to figure out that graphic cards are very efficient at handling graphics.
What does all this video card stuff mean to the user? If you have used Photoshop longer than 5 min you know by now that using a zoom percentage that is not a factor of 2 (25%, 50%, 100%, 200%) makes for a very distorted looking image. Now using the power of the video card and OpenGL you can zoom in/out and pan smooth as butter.
3D Painting and Compositing:
It’s no secret that most textures for 3D images are created in Photoshop. One of the challenges has always been how to get what you draw to fit perfectly on the model. Even for 3D artists it’s sometimes difficult to make a 2d texture wrap perfectly around the 3d model with everything positioned correctly. Well now with Photoshop to can paint directly on the model itself. It even has a built-in ray tracing rendering engine to boot. While this will not be a feature used by most, it sounds like a lot of fun.
Bird’s Eye View :
If you have ever worked on a very large image and needed to do some very fine editing you have felt the pain of zooming in, making a change, zooming out panning to the spot you want, zooming back in to resume editing. This is all in the past now. With the bird’s eye view you zoom in, edit, hit birds eye and fin the next spot you want to edit, release the button and you are now back at the same zoom as you were before. This is one of the many new features that you can expect to increase speed and efficiency.
Clone stamp preview:
Using the clone stamp on a diagonal line can take a few tries to get just right. You set the location you want to clone with alt then click on the new location only to realize you clicked a little too high or a little too low. With the new clone stamp preview trial and error is a thing of the past.
There are lots of other new features in Photoshop like their new interface that I didn’t include and a bunch of photographer tools that are included in the extended version that are nice to have. Some of futures in the extended version include auto-blending of images where you can let Photoshop handle the heavy lifting of correcting the focal point and color-correction. Some improved workflow when dealing with Lightroom and also improved RAW processing that allows you to adjust portions of the image using masks. All the photographers out there, and even the amateurs like myself, will really enjoy all the new features in the extended version of Photoshop CS3.
Be sure to check out part 2 where I talk about the other CS4 software and make sure to check out http://blog.sacdigital.com for more graphic design articles.