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Photos: Adobe Photoshop CS3
A walkthrough of the new features in Adobe Photoshop CS3 and Photoshop CS3 Extended versions.
CNET Reviews staff
In this Creative
Suite 3 update, Photoshop's tool panels now collapse and fly out; the interface can take up as much or as little of the screen as you want. It didn't take me long at all to get used to this hide-and-seek style of user interface, and in fact it's far less frustrating than playing hide and seek with the individual panels in the previous version.
Though nothing has changed in Photoshop's printing capabilities--a real disappointment in light of Lightroom's advanced page layout controls--Adobe has at least consolidated all the print options into a single dialog box. It's a little more flexible, since you can now flag it to add the description text from File Info on a print, but you can't add that text or any other on the fly here. You have to quit the dialog, edit the File Info, then relaunch printing.
The new Smart Objects layers are a big improvement, though the implementation could use some refinement. On one hand, they allow you to apply filters nondestructively; Photoshop essentially associates a history stack of commands and parameters with the Smart Object, rendering them for screen display but not changing the underlying bitmap. You can always go back and edit the parameters for the filters. This method works very well for blur, sharpen, render effects and other independent filters. However, filters that are part of the Filter Gallery get lumped together, so that you can't, say, fade individual effects. That made sense for previous versions of Photoshop, but would work better individually with the Smart Objects implementation.
The new Clone Source palette should make life much easier for people who do a lot of retouching and compositing, and it works very nicely in conjunction with the enhanced Vanishing Point filter. The latter now allows you to create connected planes at odd angles (1). You can cache as many as five clone sources from other layers, files (2), or, in the case of Photoshop CS3 Extended, other frames. In addition to being able to rotate, scale, and offset the source (2), Photoshop can display an overlay so that you can see how it aligns to the clone target (3). Then brush it on (4). The overlay is great, but I'd love to be able to drag it into position rather than tweak the offset parameters.
The useful Refine Edge dialog consolidates all of Photoshop's mask-tweaking tools into a single spot, integrating them with several different types of previews. Unfortunately, the selection tools could still use some refinement; fixing selections like this one, which I deal with routinely--blown-out highlights against a white background--still require too much detail work. Since the Refine Edge preview is a great help at spotting selection errors, it would also be great if this dialog worked in Path editing mode, so that you don't have to jump back and forth among paths and selections when you discover you've missed something, as I did here.
Though Adobe is touting its "enhanced" Curves interface, I don't think it will have a big impact on any particular user. The concept and implementation is still a bit too opaque for newbies, though perhaps a few experienced prepress users may benefit from the addition of ink adjustment curves.
Conversion to black and white has a whole new look and feel, and the process works very well. For one thing, the presets give you a better starting point than in the previous version, and the increased channel controls provide better fine-tuning capabilities. Adobe also moved the duotone options into the same control panel. For tritones or quadtones, the original dialog remains.
I combined these two photos (1) into a single (2) with Photoshop's PhotoMerge auto align and blend capabilities. The software masks out the unwanted portions (3) so that you don't lose any of the original. You can also manually align and stitch photos.
When Adobe punted ImageReady with this version of the software, some pieces of that product ended up in Photoshop, some landed on the cutting-room floor, and some went into an Extended version of Photoshop, including the frame-based animation tools. Photoshop Extended also has a basic timeline view, which supports keyframing of opacity, position, and style, as well as changes in global lighting over time.
Adobe's rudimentary 3D implementation enables you to rotate models, position a single camera, choose from some odd light presets, and apply some coarse rendering methods. In order for you to apply or edit textures, they must have been mapped by the modeler.
(3D model Knots.3ds downloaded from http://people.scs.fsu.edu/~burkardt/data/3ds/3ds.html.)
As part of its new Analysis tools, Photoshop can drop counters with automatic numbering and measure the distance and angle between two points. You can record the data on a point-by-point basis, then export the whole to a file.