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Adobe Photoshop CS4 - Adobe Photoshop CS4

By Cliff Smith



  • Editors choice
Adobe Photoshop CS4


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Photoshop CS3 had a special Extended edition which included the ability to work directly with 3D and video content, and this ability is expanded in CS4 Extended. In this enhanced version of the program it is possible to paint textures directly onto 3D models in Photoshop, and 2D layers can be converted to 3D layer that can be re-sized and rotated in three dimensions. This 3D integration probably won't be much use to the average home user, for whom the standard version of the program will be more than sufficient, but to those working in 3D animation it means that textures and shading can be created and edited without having to constantly export and import files between different programs. The same applies to video content, which can also be imported and manipulated directly in CS4 Extended, with limited timeline editing functions and video rendering.

Photoshop CS4 Extended also has a number of other features useful to professionals working in graphics production, as well as in specialist scientific and forensic fields, such as an enhanced counting tool and the ability to share work over networks.

Any review of Photoshop would be incomplete without also taking a look at Adobe Bridge, the file browser and organiser that is installed along with Photoshop. Bridge too has received a substantial upgrade, and has a number of new and useful features.

Changes to the interface include the addition of Forward and Backward buttons like a web browser, a full file path bar so you always know what it is you're looking at, and a number of pre-set workspace layouts. Search functions have been improved, with the addition of a search bar and improved keyword system. Bridge can now export Web galleries, including some pretty sophisticated Flash-based slideshows, ideal for uploading direct to a gallery website. It can also export PDF contact sheets, and import images direct from a camera. Any image can now be opened in Camera Raw, to take advantage of its advanced exposure and tone controls.

Photoshop CS4 is also closely integrated with Adobe Lightroom 2, the professional Raw file processor, image organiser and photo editor. See our review of that product for more information.


Version CS4 is the most complete upgrade of Adobe Photoshop since the launch of the original CS version in 2003. If you have avoided buying CS3 because it was not enough of an improvement on CS2, then now is definitely the time to upgrade. It goes without saying that it is the most powerful, the most comprehensively complete and the highest quality graphics editor on the market, but CS4 really does add so many new features, and so many improvements to existing tools, that it is an essential purchase for any professional, and an aspiration for most amateurs. It's expensive, and annoyingly significantly more expensive in the UK than in America, but if you want the very best you have to pay the price.



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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