Adobe unveils Photoshop 7.0 for Mac OS X

Adobe Systems Inc. today will unveil one of the most important applications for Apple's newest operating system. The business world was able to hop on board the OS X bandwagon last November when Microsoft released Office v. X, but now the creative community can soon join the converts with the announcement of Photoshop 7.0.

Photoshop 7.0 adds new features and, of course, a new Aqua interface, but it's still the same familiar application that the creative professionals know and rely on to make a living.

Of all the new features in Photoshop 7.0, perhaps the best is the new Healing Brush. The Healing Brush is designed to clean-up images by removing dust, scratches, blemishes and wrinkles often found in images. What's different about the Healing Brush is that it will automatically preserve shading, lighting, texture and other attributes when cloning within one image or from one image to another.

The Patch Tool lets you be even more precise by working with selections. You can use any of the basic selection tools, including channel operations, to first define your selection. Photoshop will then automatically heal the area defined by that selection while matching the lighting and shading of the sampled pixels to the source pixels.

MacCentral had the opportunity to meet with Gwyn Weisberg, Photoshop Product Manager, recently at Adobe's headquarters in San Jose to get a hands-on demonstration of these and other new features in Photoshop 7.0. The Patch Tool and Healing Brush worked so seamlessly, I actually had to ask her to do the demo again. Wrinkles and age lines in a photograph of a man's face simply disappeared using these tools while maintaining all realistic shading and lighting of the original picture. I even picked out different spots on the picture for her to "heal"; all were done with a click of the mouse.

I found similar results using a turn of the century looking picture -- scratches and tears in the middle of the photograph would normally render it useless or in need of a lot of work. The Healing Brush and Patch Tool fixed up the different areas of the photograph almost instantly.

While currently a part of Photoshop Elements, the File Browser is also new in Photoshop 7.0. "The File Browser is a way to visually work with, organize, sort and manage the digital images and files you have on your system," Weisberg told MacCentral.

The File Browser also includes metadata such as date created, date modified and EXIF (Exchangeable Image File) information from digital cameras. With the File Browser you can rotate, batch rename, rank, sort and change your files as well as manage image folders.

The File Browser consists on four panes: the tree view, for navigating folders and disks containing your images; the thumbnail pane, which displays thumbnails of the image files within a selected folder or disk; the preview pane, which displays a selected image larger than the thumbnail pane view; the metadata pane, which provides information about a selected image beyond what's displayed in the thumbnail pane.

In addition to organizing your photos, the File Browser also allows you to add a ranking to your images. Within the File Browser, you can invent your own ranking system for easily identifying and grouping images. For example, you can create a ranking for each file, such as "Proof" or "Final," then sort by those rankings to differentiate which images have been approved and which ones have not.

ImageReady 7.0 is included with Photoshop 7.0. With an enhanced Web output Photoshop and ImageReady now let you make Web page elements transparent by clicking on the color you want to knock out. You can remap more than one color at a time and restore colors to their original settings. When optimizing images for the Web, you can reduce overall file size by giving the areas you want to emphasize -- vector art or text -- a higher quality than other image areas. You can also preview and save for Web in WBMP -- a format used for displaying images on PDAs and wireless devices.

There are other new features in ImageReady 7.0 including the ability to manage rollovers. With ImageReady, you can see all the slices, rollovers, image maps and animations of a document in one place, the new Rollovers palette. ImageReady also includes a new Selected state that allows you to create Web pages that include simultaneous rollover effects without having to hand code JavaScript.

With Photoshop you can customize commonly used tools and save your preferred settings as a new tool for easy recall. You can also customize and save your workspace for the different types of projects you are doing in Photoshop. "With the increased customization, you can setup your workspace so it is more efficient for the work you are doing," Weisberg said.

Although Photoshop has included color correction tools in the past, the new version enhances this feature with a new tool called Auto Color Command, which provides even more reliable color correction than before, according to Adobe.

Photoshop 7.0 also includes a completely redone painting engine. The new painting engine "lets you create exceptional imagery that you couldn't achieve before in Photoshop," according to Adobe. It also allows for more precise control over your work, like taking advantage of a Wacom tablet's pressure sensitivity, including tilt and airbrush thumbwheel features.

You can adjust dozens of settings for brushes including shape, tilt, spacing, scatter, jitter, diameter, texture, shading and other attributes and save those settings as custom brush presets, using the Brushes Palette.

A new Pattern Maker plug-in allows you to make patterns by selecting a section of an image. From your selection, the plug-in randomly simulates a new pattern -- the generated pattern also avoids repetition.

An enhanced Liquify plug-in provides improved image warping control with zoom, pan and multiple undo. Liquify now has the ability to save meshes, so you can work on a low-res image and then apply the saved mesh to a hi-res image later, saving a lot time in the process.

Other enhancements in Photoshop 7.0 include:

Secure images before sharing them -- Photoshop now offers complete support for Acrobat 5.0 security settings, allowing you to add passwords and other protections to Photoshop PDF files before sharing them with others online or adding them to Adobe PDF workflows.

Check spelling -- The new, built-in spell checker allows you to search and replace text, check spelling in multiple languages within the same file and correct spelling on one text layer or across all text layers in the same document.

Save time and money when printing -- Picture Package is designed to help you print multiple images on one page, saving time and printer consumables. You print to different page sizes such as 8 x 10, 10 x 16, and 11 x 17; add labels or text to each image for printing, such as copyright notices and captions; print more than one image per page; and output images as one flattened document or to separate layers.

Integrated with other applications -- Photoshop 7.0 is tightly integrated with other Adobe professional graphics programs for print, Web, ePaper and dynamic media, including Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe AlterCast, Adobe GoLive, Adobe LiveMotion, Adobe Premiere, Adobe After Effects, Adobe Acrobat and others.

Compatible with Mac OS 9.1 and Mac OS X, Photoshop 7.0 will ship in the second quarter of 2002 in the United States and Canada, with an estimated street price is US$609. Registered users of earlier versions of Photoshop can upgrade to version 7.0 for $149. Upgrades from Adobe Photoshop Elements and Photoshop LE are available directly from Adobe for $499. For information about other language versions, as well as pricing, upgrade and support policies for other countries, Adobe recommends visiting their Web site.

Macworld.com also has in-depth coverage of Photoshop 7.0 -- for more information visit Macworld's Adobe Photoshop 7.0 story. Macworld Magazine will also have a special feature in its April issue dedicated to Photoshop 7.0.

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