Tuesday, June 26, 2007
After Adobe's unique public beta introduction, the latest version of Photoshop has arrived. Pros will find a interface and a number of key new features to enhance images and streamline workflows.
Every 18 months or so, Adobe blesses the imaging community with a new update to its 17-year-old flagship product. Looking at a new version of Photoshop for the first time and discovering new features that will positively affect my photographic work is always exciting. Photoshop's audience, as well as the focus of the product, has evolved over the years. As Photoshop CS3 hits store shelves, here's a look at the new features that are targeted to the professional photographer end user.
The overall look of the interface with respect to palettes has been overhauled. The toolbar can now be sized to a single row of icons, and you can dock other palettes to the toolbar when it's docked to one side of your screen. All palettes, excluding the toolbar, can be compressed into an icon or icon with text. With a single click on the double arrows, you can expand or contract the palettes in any of these states. You can have a full-sized palette expand outside its button icon. Naturally, you can just use those old floating palettes. The palettes in CS3 can be manipulated while a dialog box, say, the Unsharp Mask filter, is open over an image. With these new palette options, the interface provides a method to be both tidy on smaller screens (a single, 21-inch display seems to fall into this camp these days), while allowing quick access to all the palette tools and options. After working a while with your own custom workspaces and using these new options, you'll be hard pressed to go back to CS2. A new pop-up menu in the option bar handles switching between workspaces.
1) The new single-column toolbar can be docked to the edge of the screen, and other palettes can now dock to it. 2) Palettes can be fully expanded. In this case, two sets of palettes are docked to each other; the third and fourth sets are docked in icon/text and icon view. Moving icons into a new position vertically within this group is accomplished by clicking and dragging. Control over the vertical size of palettes is found at the bottom of each palette. 3) Palettes compress to icons or icons plus text. Click the icon to expand the palette fully as seen here with the new Clone Source palette. 4) You can still utilize floating palettes as seen here with the Histogram.
The Eyedropper sampling is more robust, with additional options for 11 x 11, 31 x 31, 51 x 51 and 101 x 101 pixel sampling. This is useful for examining high-resolution files. If only we could select more than four fixed sample spots on an image (Camera Raw provides nine). There are now four different Full Screen view options (type the F key four times and see which works for you). In addition, CS3 allows a zoom ratio up to 3200 percent.