A First Fast Look at Photoshop CS4

Good morning subscribers to deke.com,

Today, this very day, Adobe announced Creative Suite 4, the fourth in their line of Creative Suites. Here's some box art:

It's all enormously exciting. So exciting that, were I you, I would want to take a few minutes out of my busy day to check out what's in store. Which is why I created dekePod Episode 006: "Photoshop CS4, Buy or Die."

My promise: To show you the new features of Photoshop CS4, complete with commentary, so that you know whether you want to buy the program or not. You buy or it dies. And you don't have to read a long article or sit through an hour-long demo. In 5 minutes -- just 5 minutes -- you'll know. (Actually, I spend 3:30 on the demo. The rest is preamble, conclusion, goodbye.) Point is, it's short. You're in, you're out, you're entertained, you're educated.

Here are the bullet points:

  • The Adjustments palette: All adjustment layers available from a central location. Of moderate interest. But the target adjustment tool, that thing rocks.
  • The Masks palette: Strangely organized palette that I've come to admire if not love. Doesn't enable so much as aggregate. I'll be spending an entire dekePod on it in October.
  • Dodge and burn: Ancient tools with new behavior. CS3 dodge and burn tools are rinky dink. CS4 tools are amazing. Excellent enhancement.
  • Satanic imaging magic: Provocative title, but accurate. CS4 offers a handful of advanced compositing features, two of which will blow your mind. One blends images with different focal lengths into a single flat-focus composite. The other (look for the dancing Santa) scales backgrounds while keeping foregrounds intact. OK, so maybe it's not satanic magic. Maybe it's Santa-ic. Or a gift from space aliens. But clearly some other-worldly power intervened.
  • OpenGL: Every upgrade delivers one feature that you miss like crazy when you go back to the old version. For Photoshop CS4, it's video card-driven navigation like you've never seen. Continuous zooms, rotate the view, toss the image (like on an iPhone), bird's eye panning. And every zoom level a smoothly rendered image you can trust. As routine as OpenGL may sound, this is the reason to upgrade.

What did I leave out? The tabbed window interface (interesting), Camera Raw (quite nice), the new Bridge (fairly rocking). And Photoshop CS4 Extended folks get real-time 3D controls, including the option to draw 3D primitives, such as a bowler hat.

My intrepid ace blogger Colleen Wheeler attended the actual live launch event on Monday and wrote this brief report.

But stop reading already. Go. Watch. This text stuff, c'mon, it's bad for your eyes.

Thanks, friends.


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