Review of CS4: Photoshop

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Some of the greatest differences between CS3 and CS4 can be seen in Photoshop. Adobe has rethought its interface to handle the way we work: small input areas moving enormous images. Imagine you’re dealing with a two-by-three-foot image file, but working on a laptop with a touchpad. Scrolling or dragging that file in earlier versions was painful and slow. The new Photoshop allows much easier manipulation of views and choice of tool details.

Scrolling is almost completely replaced with a new method of hand tool usage: place the hand on the image, “throw” in the direction you want your image to scroll, and let go. The image will continue moving with a weighted scrolling motion and slow to a stop. Brushes can now be dynamically resized on the canvas with a preview of brush size—no use of menus or sliders required. The clone brush shows a preview of the effect of the clone stamp in the area you’re cloning to. And the working canvas can be rotated without rotating the document’s actual orientation. These are all tiny, brilliant touches that help designers work more quickly and intuitively.

Photoshop now recognizes the 3D market much more openly. In CS4, 3D models can be imported, textured in Adobe’s familiar interface, saved as Photoshop documents—but retaining their 3D data—then placed in Illustrator, Dreamweaver, or InDesign compositions and updated on the fly, like every other Photoshop document. PATRIC KING

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