The second obvious improvement to the interface is the new Adjustments panel, which is docked by default into the palettes on the right of the screen. Adjustment layers have been a part of Photoshop since version 4.0 (1996), but until now they have been hidden away in a menu, which has meant that many users have under-utilised one of Photoshop’s most useful features. Using adjustment layers, changes can be made to an image non-destructively, and adjustment made in layers can be altered or even removed later without affecting subsequent adjustment, or having to undo an entire editing process.
Now the Adjustment Layer panel is right out in the open on the main interface, which is intended to massively speed up workflow and to encourage user to employ non-destructive adjustment layers more often.
The other tab on this new panel gives quick access to the Masks function, another feature that is under-utilised, especially by new users. Having the Masks functions in the main interface makes them much quicker and easier to use. Both pixel and vector masks can be created and edited on the fly, with variable feathering and density, as well as the ability to quickly create new masks based on colour range.
Adobe Photoshop CS4 – Beta Preview