Adobe Photoshop CS3: Top 5 New Prominent Features
After first digging into Adobe Photoshop CS3, several features really appeared to me as very useful. I want to offer a quick review of some new ways to attack your creative challenges using the latest version of Adobe’s flagship application. PsCS3 will run you around $ 649 to buy it right away if you don’t have the previous version. If you have Photoshop 7, CS, or CS2, you are entitled to an increase in price – it looks like $ 199 for an upgrade. Check the Adobe store on their website for more info. For more information about what comes in various CS3 versions, and what your suite configuration options are, see my previous post.
My five favorite new PsCS3 features are:
1. Smart Filter Not Damaged
2. Quick & Edge Editing Selection Tool
3. Photomerge with advanced alignment and blending
4. Automatic coating alignment and blending
5. Vanishing Point with adjustable angle
* Smart Filter Not broken
Adobe finally gave us a non-linear, undamaged filter. Can I say “HOORAY!” In the past, you applied filters and effects in a linear order: one filter will change your image, and the second filter will change your current image, and the third filter will change the modified image. The problem with that workflow is that if you decide to slightly change the second filter, you have to cancel back to that point (losing the next edit), or use the history palette to step directly “back in time” to the point before you add the second filter, add your second “revised” filter and then add the third filter manually. Too often, you don’t really remember exactly what parameters you have set for the third – or worse, your real-world project involves applying 20 filters instead of 3 in my example and changing the second filter means repeating the 18 that follows it. So drag. Because of this problem, people develop a lot of work around (often involving saving several “partially finished” versions of files throughout your hard drive with repetitive file names, hoping that if you need to go back to a certain point in time you can find out. where you need to be), and while this solution is smart and well understood in many cases, there is a perfect, real solution, waiting to happen.
The real solution to all this is what we have provided in CS3: Smart Filter Not broken. In this new version, every filter and effect that you apply to a layer, remains alive and can be re-edited continuously, in real time, and the parameters you adjust will all flow down through the filter or any subsequent effects that might have been You add to the layer. These are savable, moveable, copy and pastable, and most importantly scalable.
* Quick & Edge Editing Selection Tool
A design mentor of mine once told me “Photoshop is all about choosing. You choose something, and then you do something by selection. Nothing more, nothing less. Remember that, and you will never go wrong using this application.” Nearly 10 years later, I must say he was absolutely right. Using Photoshop is all about “choosing.” There are more tools in Photoshop to choose than for other single tasks.
As in almost every version of Photoshop that has ever been released, CS3 has made a bigger step in the “making your choice” field than it has come to memory in recent years. The new Quick Selection Tool used in combination with the Refine Edge palette is about the most helpful and clean way of selecting the edges of an object in your image that I have ever seen. The new revised Quick Selection Tool is so smooth. You basically set the parameters of your Quick Selection tool – as if it were a brush – and paint the general area of the edge of your image (like trying to pick just kids and their soccer balls from big game photos) and Photoshop watching what you do, and interpreting what which you think of as a general edge of what you want to choose and find out what is the child and the ball and what is the grass and the goalpost and the sky and the crowd and choose only what you want for. It is VERY fast and clean. Then, you can use the Refine Edge palette, and you have seemingly unlimited control over how the edge selection behaves. Check the palette on the right to get an idea of what you can do to “fix” that edge. With radius, feathering, smoothing, and various display settings, I believe this new combo will reduce my masking and choose a time that can be measured.
* Photomerge with advanced alignment and blending
Ever tried to sew a series of pictures that you took, you meant to “put together” into a panorama? Even with some stand-alone tools that have been available throughout the year, the tools for doing VR fast time are clunky and difficult to use – with mixed results at certain times. I always wanted something built into Photoshop to allow me to do this “photo merging” – I never expected that Photoshop really could automatically do it for me. This feature makes me confused. The technology involved in my choice number four “Automatic layer alignment and blending” is at work here in this feature too, and the new automatic layer alignment feature in CS3 is far-reaching and appears again and again in various fields of application. This is truly one of the revolutionary things about this new version.
Everything that made the panorama of a difficult task in the past all done automatically. The main ones are 1. the times when you really distort, rotate, tilt, or change one of your elements because of the crazy perspective, 2. the times when the sun or lighting or window make a white balance, the color space or in over all the strokes of brightness and contrast differ from one image to another (especially when doing 360s) and of course 3. actually find and align overlapping areas of sequential elements. Photoshop CS3 does everything for you and the results are surprisingly amazing. This isn’t just about the typical “panorama” either … I saw a demo of someone standing “too close” to a building, and taking enlarged pictures along the way, from the front door, window and window box, brick front walking way, tilting up and taking pictures of balconies and roof lines of the second floor – in other words, many elements that do not fit the perspective of lighting, lighting and color space, and 4 or 5 of these images are distorted, tweaked, rotated, matched, mixed, lighting and color density match. … and I’m amazed in 5 seconds, there is a “wide angle” almost “fisheye” photomerge from the front of the building, from the brick footpath to the roof-line, and it looks amazing.
* Automatic layer alignment and blending
Another powerful application of this new alignment and mixing technology is the series or stack of images from the same subject. Say you want to take a picture of a statue in a park somewhere, or a large fountain, or the front of a monument or building. There are always people walking through the frame – if you can’t cover the area and still need a picture of the statue, in the garden, in a beautiful setting, but without people or birds or random elements – what do you want to do? In the past, it was a painstaking process of taking pictures, choosing the “closest” to your vision of a good, clean, no-tourist framework, and starting hours of painting, cloning, healing, brushing etc., for delete all your “ransom”. There are artists who are very clever in this process, but I’m pretty sure they will agree that if there is a way to not have to spend all that time, they will accept it. Yes, here it is. Photoshop CS3 can take stacks of your images and by analyzing them all, find out which ones are permanent (things that appear in all images such as buildings in the distance, large trees, sidewalks, and which parts of them) are blurred in one frame but not all of them, are cured automatically by borrowing pixels from other images in a stack and building a sophisticated composite of all images and doing 90% or more of the work for you. You say “get rid of things that are in X% of the images in the stack or less.” This is very impressive to be seen in action. You should try it on some of your own pictures. Believe that it’s easy to do this kind of thing. the process now, this is one new area that I’m sure we will see artists find very creative ways to take advantage of this feature. Again, this impressed me when I first saw it.
* Vanishing Point with adjustable angle
One of the most powerful new features of Adobe CS2 is the missing point feature. One limitation says that you only have a set of right angles to work with the missing point interface. Adobe took this exponential step further by adding several, angle perspective plans adjusted to this missing point feature. What allows you to do is copy, paste, and clone in areas of the picture that are far more complex than just the work of “cloning parts of the building in perspective” that the first iteration will offer (impressive and powerful, but not too flexible). One great example of Adobe pushing with this feature is to simulate 3D packaging and work on many packages at various angles in the same image. Like open boxes for new products, or even to experiment with the art of your final package by seeing it in a real-world context. Once again I think this feature has so many broad implications for inventors, prototypes, 3D modelers, visual effects artists … and can give Photoshop artists the ability to create mock-ups full of product packaging art for clients in a completely new way – getting us to sign-off, go green and go to the next project that is much faster. I like it very much.
There are many new features in this application, especially when you dig deeper into the Photoshop Extended edition (sounds like a Peter Jackson DVD …) and as the week goes on here, I want to see some of what PSCS3 Extended has to offer. The available PsCS3 versions are Film & Video, Medicine & Science, AEC (Architecture, Engineering & Construction), and the Manufacturing edition.