Adobe Changes Everything

Adobe is making a bold move. The company has radically reworked its four major applications: GoLive, Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop. The fruit of its labor is the OS X-only Adobe Creative Suite (800/272-3623, www.adobe .com), which includes all four revitalized applications. There are some great new features in these tightly integrated programs (for pricing and package information, see "Suite Spot")--here's what you can look forward to:

Photoshop

Improvements in and additions to Photoshop should please print and Web designers, photographers, and digital-video artists.

View Photos in the Raw: When it first appeared last spring, Photoshop Camera Raw was a $99 plug-in. Now it's built into Photoshop. Not to be confused with Photoshop's .raw file format, Camera Raw gives you access to the digital equivalent of a film negative. You can edit the proprietary image formats that a digital camera produces before the camera's internal algorithms process the information. Camera Raw's color-calibration controls and separate histogram display give you fine control over the image data.

Share Comp Layers: Designers have long used Photoshop layers to experiment with variations on a theme, but presenting those layers as comps to other people is difficult. Now it's easy to output each comp layer as an individual image, or create a multipage PDF or Web site with one comp layer per page.

PDF Presentations: You may prefer to design your comps in separate files, not on separate layers. You can still deliver your ideas in one coherent package--the PDF Presentations feature groups multiple files into one PDF. You can even add notes, page transitions, and security restrictions.

Place Text on a Path: In version 7, Photoshop's type engine took on some of the sophisticated power of Illustrator and InDesign. That trend continues in Photoshop CS--you can now place text on a path and edit it at any time.

Make Videos: Pixel Perfect Like graphic designers and photographers, video artists and filmmakers rely on Photoshop. But digital video and film use nonsquare pixels, which the previous version of Photoshop didn't support. Now you can create nonsquare pixel documents that are ready for import into applications such as Apple's iDVD, DVD Studio Pro, and Final Cut Pro, as well as Adobe After Effects.

Also new is Pixel Aspect Ratio Correction, which lets you view images in the aspect ratio of a video monitor. Without this new feature enabled, computer screens distort nonsquare pixel images.

Filter Gallery: No need to schlep up to the Filter menu any more--you can see and control all filters from the new Filter Gallery palette. A larger, resizable preview pane helps you judge the results of stacked effects. The Filter Gallery palette includes new Photo filters, which mimic the look of traditional photographic lens filters.

It's Alive!: Histograms can give you important information about your images. In Photoshop CS, live histograms reflect edits as you make them. You can also look at before-and-after histograms for quick comparisons of your work.

Match Colors: You've taken a series of shots and edited one of them until it looks just right. With the new Match Colors feature, you can apply those edits to the entire series. You can also use Match Colors to make photos shot in different lighting conditions look more consistent.

Replace Colors: On the flip side, the new Color Replacement tool paints the foreground color so you can quickly change the color of a portion of your image without altering any shading or texture.

Double Exposure Control

Just Browsing

More Support for 16 Bits: In previous versions of Photoshop, some features worked only on images with 8 bits or less. Now you can use layers, painting, text, and shapes on 16-bit images as well.

SWF Support: There are also changes to ImageReady, Photoshop's Webcentric companion. You can now export the layers in a Photoshop file as separate SWF files, the format native to Macromedia Flash. Once you're in Flash, you can assemble the separate files into one file. (Adobe has quietly stopped promoting SVG, a file format it once saw as a competitor to SWF.)

Dynamic Data Sets: You could define dynamic (changeable) images and text in ImageReady files before, but now you can include dynamic text in a SWF file--without having to learn how to program complex variables.

Web Productivity: It's easier to tweak multiple objects on the ImageReady CS canvas, whether you're copying them or executing layer commands over several layers. This has the potential to speed up common Web-design tasks such as creating rollover buttons.

Take the Long View: There are several plug-ins and stand-alone applications designed to allow you to stitch photos together into a panorama, but now that capability is built into Photoshop. The Photomerge tool combines images and blends the seams.

Look at the Big Picture: If you design billboards, bus wraps, and other projects of mammoth dimensions, you'll need to take note of Photoshop CS's new upper limits--your files cannot be larger than 300,000 pixels by 300,000 pixels.--TERRI STONE

Correct Color: The Shadow/Highlight pane (shown here) lets you adjust over- and underexposed areas simultaneously. Match Color lets you take the color statistics of one photo and apply them to another. This could be a time-saver if you have a series of shots taken in similar conditions and you want to apply improvements made to one image to the entire series. You can view Match Color and Shadow/Highlight changes as they happen in a new, real-time Histogram palette. Browse Smarter The File Browser is no longer just a bare-bones way to view a folder full of photos. You can now see not only a grid of thumbnail previews, but also a larger preview of any one of those images. A new toolbar contains buttons for deleting, search-ing, and flagging files. The Flag command marks images temporarily--so you have, for example, an easy way to collect only the zebra images from 100 stock photos you're considering for a zoo brochure. If the stock company has assigned keywords or other metadata to those wildlife photos, you can also search for the word zebra, via the File Browser's new Metadata pane.
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