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Adobe Photoshop CS4

Adobe Photoshop CS4: System requirements


* 1.8GHz or faster processor
* Microsoft® Windows® XP with Service Pack 2 (Service Pack 3 recommended) or Windows Adobe Photoshop CS4Vista Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, or Enterprise with Service Pack 1 (certified for 32-bit
* Windows XP and 32-bit and 64-bit Windows Vista)
* 512Mb of RAM (1Gb recommended)
* 1Gb of available hard-disk space for installation; additional free space required during installation (cannot install on flash-based storage devices)
* 1,024x768 display (1,280x800 recommended) with 16-bit video card
* Some GPU-accelerated features require graphics support for Shader Model 3.0 and OpenGL 2.0
* DVD-ROM drive
* QuickTime 7.2 software required for multimedia features
* Broadband Internet connection required for online services

Notable Upgrades from CS3:

* New Adjustments panel
* New Masks panel
* Content aware scaling
* Extended depth of field
* Fluid canvas rotation
* Smoother panning
* Smoother zooming
* Support for colour-blind
* 3D object painting
* 3D object/property editing
* 3D animation
* 2D conversions to 3D
* Volume rendering


* PowerPC G5 or multicore Intel processor
* Mac OS X v10.4.11-10.5.4
* 512Mb of RAM (1Gb recommended)
* 2Gb of available hard-disk space for installation; additional free space required during installation (cannot install on a volume that uses a case-sensitive file system or on flash-based storage devices)
* 1,024x768 display (1,280x800 recommended) with 16-bit video card
* Some GPU-accelerated features require graphics support for Shader Model 3.0 and OpenGL 2.0
* DVD-ROM drive
* QuickTime 7.2 software required for multimedia features
* Broadband Internet connection required for online services

Adobe Photoshop CS4: Overview
Adobe Photoshop CS4
The new Adjustments panel allows localised editing such as exposure and contrast using global tools.

It appears as Adobe are evolving they're getting better and better. CS3 showed us new features such as non-destructive smart filters, quick selection, 3D compositing, enhanced RAW image processing and HDR support.

The new Creative Suite is designed to meet different challenges such as effective collaborations between designers and developers, embracing new media, reinventing publishing and embracing the explosion of connected media. In fact Chad Seigel, Group Manager for Creative Suite said: "Adobe are trying to break barriers and integrate all products."

Changes to Photoshop CS4 include an improved interface with the entire application enclosed in the frame which means dual monitor users can have more than one application running. The workspace switcher is for swapping between applications such as Camera RAW 5 and Bridge.

Welcome improvements appear in the form of the zoom ratio which is less likely to show jagged or pixelated lines and also boasts a flicker free zoom. Rotating the canvas can also now be done without jagged lines and the brush size can be previewed on the document. This means that when the tool is placed over the image it can be moved in size and allows you to see it before you use it.

Adobe Photoshop CS4

The dodge/burn tool will adjust the areas you require without affecting the surrounding areas.

The Dodge/Burn tool has been improved so when you're adjusting the shadows, midtones or highlights the tool won't impose on the other two. When adjusting the saturation on the sponge tool it won't move out of acceptable gamma.

Adjustment has a dedicated window with all the tools found in the area such as levels, curves, brightness & contrast and exposure. The preview window is in the tab instead of a new window that overlaps the image. This means your picture can be viewed in its entirety and as an added bonus tools such as curves can be adjusted directly on the image for localised amendments.

The icons are simplified for efficient use meaning you can see what you want to do a lot faster than before.

One part of the existing features that's been improved upon is the clone tool. When your area is selected by stamping on it, a preview of the selected area will show on your brush. Meaning if you're cloning small detail items or subjects such as bricks, this allows you to line them up easier.

The mask panel can allow you to select an area which can be manipulated and even inverted which is good for selective colour images.

One of the more amazing features is a content aware cropping facility. It works by first masking the areas you wish to retain in the picture. The image can then be resized and the parts that are protected won't be cropped into. The program will start to remove areas in between which is an amazing feature to see and use.

An improved blend layer mode has been added and is a useful tool for techniques such as focus stacking. The program will adjust the exposure and colour automatically so there's no need to mess about first.
Adobe Photoshop CS4
The original image has a small focus area just above the wheel on the wing.
Adobe Photoshop CS4
Taking various images with adjusted focus points allows them to be blended.

The images have to be loaded in as layers and highlighted. Once that is done, go Edit>Auto blend layers and the images will be composited together. This can take some time so be patient.

It can also be useful to create HDR images if you prefer the ones without the ethereal effect that most systems produce.

Bryan Hughes, Photoshop Product Manager, is adamant that this isn't a HDR tool though, as it doesn't give a full high dynamic range in all areas so the familiar ethereal look of a HDR image is absent. He did add that if need be, it could be described as a clipped version of HDR.
Adobe Photoshop CS4
The auto blend can be used for HDR style shots although the dark area on the side of the building had to be boosted in curves.
Adobe Photoshop CS4
Extended edition supports 3D images capable of adding decals and graphics to surfaces with any gloss effects of paint. You can also cut out sections and paint inside.

Photoshop CS4 Extended also features 3D support. Two dimensional images can be changed to 3D by giving them x, y and z co-ordinates and these images can also be wrapped around imported 3D images. Photoshop CS4 also works in conjunction with Google 3D warehouse where thousands of 3D images are available to import. Merging a 2D image onto a 3D image is very easy with the only command being the Merge button. The 2D layer will then acquire all the 3D attributes such as decay detail, colour and reflections. The 3D image can be manipulated as well and you can also enjoy features such as creating cut-outs, adding detail or changing colours to the interior of the cut-out.

RAW processing has been extended and improved on yet again. localised adjustments can be made such as exposure compensation, contrast and saturation. It handles all the main brands but when I tried to import a Sigma .x3f file, it couldn't recognise it. Nor could it recognise the newest RAW file from Panasonic that I tried to import from the Lumix DMC-LX3. Updates will no doubt be available for the Panasonic but the Sigma is a relatively old model compared to the program.

As an added bonus, a feature has been added for help with people who are colour blind. Colours in Photoshop CS4 can be adjusted for true colour blindness.

One thing I don't like is the removal of the quick tools from the image window bar. When you've opened an image, right clicking on the header bar will bring up five options of duplicate, image size, canvas size, file info for metadata and page set up. I used these a lot, especially file info and to find it's not there adds time to my workflow.

ePHOTOzine managed to ask Bryan Hughes what features would benefit the typical ePz reader who is the serious enthusiast. He said: "RAW conversion and adjustment has increased performance and Photoshop CS4 has an overall friendlier user interface."

"Because don't deal with hardware the program is compatible with older computers unlike programs such as Aperture which only work with the newest Macbooks" he added. Definite applications are difficult to pinpoint as everyone is different but he summarised that users "will get further with Photoshop CS4."

Of course he's bound to say that, but there's no denying the awesome power, functionality and feature set of the new Photoshop.

On the same day of the announcement, ePHOTOzine acquired news that Microsoft were considering axing Windows to concentrate on Midori, the internet based platform. We asked him how it would affect Adobe if this happened and if they would have to make any major changes from a programming point of view.

After he'd picked his jaw up off the floor at the news, he admitted he couldn't possibly surmise on something speculative and incomplete as the news was at the time. However, he did end saying: "Adobe will be at the forefront of whatever route Microsoft take."

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