Tuesday, October 07, 2008

New PhotoShop

If you're in the digital photo world, you know that Adobe has announced PhotoShop CS4. This just after I upgraded to CS3, of course.

There are some interesting new features in it, but not enough to make me run out and plunk down my money anytime soon. I got a glossy bonus issue of Photoshop User magazine (if you're not a NAPP member, you should be) that described all the new goodies in CS4. Most of them are 'way too high end for me -- doing videos and animations and 3D and small stuff like making the dodging and burning tools easier to use, a new adjustment panel and better layers and vector masking. All beyond my needs.

There were a couple of neat things in it, though -- especially that "content aware scaling function". Now here's a picture that could have used that new function perfectly:

What's wrong with this image is the position of the firefighter (it's not as if I could have told him to move...). If he had been much closer to the burning car it would have been a killer image. The new function in CS4 would have allowed me to seamlessly move him closer by cutting out the dead space in between. Of course journalistic ethics would not allow that anyway, but it would have been a much better photo.

The Toronto Star photo editor liked the following picture, by the way, but they didn't buy it because they said the smoke would not have rendered well on newsprint and besides, there was a plane crash that day and they didn't have space. I named the picture, "FireBug". It won an "Honourable Mention" in the annual Greater Toronto Council of Camera Clubs (GTCCC) competition that year.

There are some improvements in Camera Raw (version 5 ships with CS4), most notably some tools that work on selective parts of the image unlike the current RAW programs that will only work on the whole file. So you could darken a sky, for instance, without touching the foreground. Now you have to do it in PhotoShop instead of in Camera Raw. OK, useful to improve workflow, but not that essential unless you're processing lots of images.

Anyway, that's my take on it. It's not worth it to me to upgrade at this time. Perhaps if I learn about some other functions and get much better at using PS, it might be.