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Adobe Photoshop CS4 - Adobe Photoshop CS4

By Cliff Smith



  • Editors choice
Adobe Photoshop CS4


Our Score:


Many familiar Photoshop features have received a thorough overhaul. The Dodge, Burn and Sponge tools, used to selectively adjust exposure and colour saturation in particular areas of an image, have new algorithms that produce far better results. Previously using the dodge tool would often cause lighter tones to be bleached out while attempting to enhance shadow detail. With the improvement it is far better at preserving those tones.

The ever-useful Clone Stamp tool has also had a bit of a makeover. Now, when the sample point is selected the cursor shows a live preview of the pixels that will be copied, which makes it much easier to match up lines and textures.

There has also been an improvement in the way that brush sizes are changed. When using any brush, holding the Alt key and the right mouse button (Command and Ctrl on a Mac) shows a preview of the brush size and hardness, and this can be altered on the fly by simply moving the mouse. This is one of those features that is so amazingly useful that I'm surprised it wasn't added five years ago.

One of the most impressive enhancements is to the automatic panorama stitching function that has proved to be a popular feature of the last few versions of Photoshop. The new version has much better pattern-matching ability, and also has features to automatically correct vignetting and barrel distortion, so it can produce panoramic scenes from a much wider range of starting images, and produce much better results. This gives users a wider latitude in the shots that can be turned into panoramas, and negates some of the http://www.trustedreviews.com/digital-cameras/review/2007/08/26/Digital-Photography-Tutorial-Panorama-Stitching/p1 careful preparation that was previously required to ensure good results. The program can also stitch photos together vertically, and in another completely new feature it can also create 360-degree panoramas.

This same pattern-matching technology is used in another clever new pair of features, Auto-Align Layers and Auto-Blend Layers. Auto-align is useful if you have a series of very similar images shot hand-held or with other slight movement between frames, but where you need to align the frames so that the background is the same between shots, such as when compiling animation frames. Previously this would have been a tedious process of aligning semi-transparent layers by eye, but using pattern-matching the program now detects similar features between shots and automatically lines them up for you.

Auto-Blend is a similar pattern-matching feature, and can be used along with Auto-Align to produce a new and remarkable Photoshop effect called Extended Depth of Field. If you take a series of images of a scene with limited depth of field, but altering the plane of focus with each shot, Photoshop can merge the resulting images together into one image that looks sharp from front to back. This will be useful for macro photography, where limited depth of field is a real problem. See the sample images at the end of this review for the results.


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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