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Monday, November 17, 2008

Photoshop CS4

With improved tools, faster workflow and some new tricks

This Article Features Photo Zoom


photoshop cs4Adobe has concentrated considerable effort on streamlining workflow in Photoshop CS4, from the easy integration of files between other CS4 programs to a simplified user interface and faster processing. Many older features have been vastly improved, as well, from the Dodge and Burn tools to Layers and Masking.

In addition to refinements, Photoshop CS4 also includes new features for both enthusiasts and professionals alike, like the Depth-of-Field Extender and Content Based Scaling.

Photoshop CS4 is included in five of the six Adobe Creative Suite packages or as a standalone application. Another version of Photoshop, CS4 Extended, adds 3D imaging tools and extra compositing features, plus video options and more. Contact: Adobe, (800) 833-6687, www.adobe.com.

A welcome update, the Dodge, Burn and Sponge tools have been improved immensely to provide localized, painted adjustments of exposure and color.

Camera Raw now includes compatibility with JPEG and TIFF files, as well as the ability to make selective local or gradient adjustments to files.

Thanks to CS4’s adoption of OpenGL technology, Zoom has been improved, too. CS4 renders much more smoothly, even all of the way down to individual pixel levels.

  List Prices Full Upgrade
Photoshop CS4 $699 $199
Photoshop CS4 Extended $999 $349
Creative Suite Design Premium* $1,799 $599
*This package includes Acrobat 9 Pro, plus CS4 versions of Dreamweaver, Flash Professional, Fireworks, Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop Extended.

Ideal for Wacom tablet users, Rotate View provides fast and easy canvas rotation for comfortably working at any angle.

The Adjustments/Masks panel simplifies two of the more difficult processes in Photoshop. There’s a drop-down menu of more than 20 selectable Adjustment presets, and the Masks panel provides re-editable, feathered and nondestructive refinement. Mask density also can be altered for better previewing.

The Application Frame interface reduces clutter and streamlines the whole process by including a navigation bar, switchable tabs for viewing multiple images and an Arrange Documents mode for organizing and comparing multiple open images.

Vibrance, a powerful color adjustment previously reserved for images in Camera Raw only, now can be applied as an Adjustment Layer or as a Sponge tool for adding color saturation without changing more subtle tones, such as skin color.

The Depth-of-Field Extender allows you to take several images of the same subject with varying exposure, color and depth of field, and combine them seamlessly into a single composite image with enhanced dynamic range and expanded depth of field.

Content Based Scaling provides intuitive cropping by automatically recomposing parts of an image as it’s resized. A foreground subject, for instance, stays the same size while the background is stretched or squeezed to accommodate the new dimensions of the photo.

Photomerge utilizes the improved automatic alignment and blending technology in CS4 for stitching together panoramas up to 360 degrees, and a Collage option uses Auto-Align to automatically piece together single images into one.

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