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Adobe Photoshop CS4 - Adobe Photoshop CS4

By Cliff Smith



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Adobe Photoshop CS4


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If you're familiar with earlier versions of Photoshop, the first thing you'll notice is a marked improvement in the appearance of the interface. The basic default layout hasn't changed too much, so you'll still find all the familiar tools in the usual places, but now there is far less wasted space. The various windows and palettes fit together more closely and dock more tidily, and also re-size intelligently, so that information is always visible. If you have to reduce the size of the Photoshop window, the interface elements automatically re-arrange themselves to avoid overlapping, and return to their original positions when the size is restored. If you're using Windows Vista with transparency enabled then some parts of the interface are also semi-transparent, which doesn't add much functionality, but it does look nice.

The main work area now uses tabs to help keep your work organised. If several documents are open at once, a row of tabs across the top of the work area allows quick changing from one to another. As well as this the interface also has a new menu for multi-document view options, arranging open items in a range of different patterns, rather than just the "tile vertically" or "tile horizontally" or previous versions. Images open in the main work area also now have a nice drop-shadow around them, which can be useful for distinguishing grey tones on the edge of an image from the grey background.

One completely new addition to the interface is the Adjustments panel, which in the default workspace configuration is found in the palettes on the right of the screen. This palette provides a quick way to apply one of Photoshop's most under-utilised tools, the adjustment layer, a feature first introduced with Photoshop 4.0 in 1996. Adjustments to a wide range of image parameters and effects can be added as a separate layer, and can be independently altered without affecting either the other adjustment layers or the original image. Non-destructive editing is always better, since it preserves the data in the original image and is therefore completely reversible. The layers are saved as part of the PSD file format, and so can be altered even after the file has been saved, closed, and re-opened.

The Adjustments palette contains options to create adjustment layers for the usual parameters, including Brightness/Contrast, Levels, Curves, Exposure, Hue/Saturation/Lightness and Colour Balance, but also adds new adjustments, such as Vibrance and a very useful Black and White function, in which the lightness of various tones can be adjusted in a monochrome image. This is similar to the traditional way of making monochrome images in Photoshop, but is even more versatile. I may have to re-write that tutorial to accommodate the new function.

Alongside the Adjustments panel is another new feature, the Masks panel. This helps to simplify and streamline another under-used Photoshop filter, its ability to use pixel and vector masks when editing an image. Using this panel, selected areas can be quickly converted into layer masks, and can then be adjusted using simple sliders, or created from a colour range.


January 29, 2009, 5:40 pm

Cliff - The content aware scaling looks very clever, but can you say where something like this would be useful?

The example you show of the man jogging on the beach could be similarly achieved by cropping the image at the top. Admittedly, the new scaling feature has brought in some of the higher cloud detail that would be lost by a crop, but it has also introduced some strange loss of detail around the 'arrow-head' of the warning sign and the horizon. That would need some fixing using the clone brush and if you have to do that you might as well crop and clone in some of the clouds yourself.

I'm sure I'm missing something obvious, but it feels like cleverness for the sake of it.

Brian ONeill

January 29, 2009, 9:49 pm

Well one example is images in banner ads. Ads are awkward sizes eg 468x60 so its good to be able to stretch images.

PS: Yes i know most people hate banner ads, i am just giving the example ;-)


January 29, 2009, 10:34 pm

Content Aware Scaling is probably not the sort of thing I'd use often but is so useful for instance in resizing an image to fit a particular ratio.

Good little video here too http://uk.youtube.com/watch...

I recently used it on a photo of two band members on stage that were slightly too far apart to make a good composition. I was able to move them closer very easily. Finished pic here http://www.underexposed.org... The original had far too much space between them.

Cliff Smith

January 29, 2009, 11:50 pm

I'd love to know what software they used to capture that video clip. I've been trying for weeks to find some a video capture program that will work with OpenGL output in Windows XP Pro, for video reviews and tutorials. Perhaps I should try a Mac instead...

Bob Rebecca

November 26, 2009, 6:48 am

Photoshop CS 4 Extended does so much more. See below.

Adjust images in half the time Use the new Adjustments panel and fluid on-image controls to make changes in less than half the time required using Adjustment layers, menu commands, and dialog boxes in previous versions of Photoshop.

Enjoy smoother rotation, panning, and zooming Simply click and drag to smoothly turn your canvas for distortion-free viewing at any angle. Gracefully navigate to any area of an image with ultra-smooth zooming and panning. Photoshop CS4 leverages newer computer processors for dramatic boosts in performance.

Bypass cropping and retouching with intelligent Content-Aware Scaling Use revolutionary Content-Aware Scaling to automatically recompose an image as you resize it, smartly preserving vital areas as the image adapts to different aspect ratios. Get the perfect image in one step without time-intensive cropping and retouching.

Composite images in seconds for panoramas or extended-focus photos Automatically stitch horizontal or vertical photos to create seamless panoramas using Photomerge® technology. Combine a series of shots with different focal points into a single color-corrected image with automatic correction for vignettes and lens distortion.

Easily apply localized changes to camera raw images Make localized changes—even gradient-based adjustments—to camera raw images with ease. Simply paint the area to be affected, and then using sliders to control the change. Corrections are nondestructive, so your original files are maintained in their pristine state.

OpenGL support lets you zoom through your images Independent research shows that support for newer computer processors in Photoshop CS4 Extended significantly speeds up panning and zooming on large images. Enjoy a smoother, more fluid work experience while saving valuable time.

Find, preview, and manage images with greater efficiency Discover faster performance and enhanced navigation tools in Adobe Bridge CS4. Operations from startup to handing off of images to Photoshop are faster, and convenient new workspace buttons let you instantly jump to the right display for every task.

I picked it up for a great deal where I got Photoshop CS4 Extended and Lightroom 2 for $100.00 and it works great at http://www.directsoftwareco...

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December 18, 2012, 4:20 am

Adobe Adobe photoshop CS4 is one of the most personalized image modifying software available on the marketplace today.

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