their own language, Adobe claims that Creative Suite is the "powerhouse
design environment that revolutionized print and web workflows for creative
professionals worldwide." The words that define how Adobe relates their
Creative Suite to users is "creative professionals." We can safely
assume Adobe is primarily referring to all those who work producing much of
modern media's content for print and Internet reproduction and distribution.
Photoshop, however, has been and still remains the dominant application for
editing and processing digital photographic images. It is a fact, just as certain
makes and models of cameras are the overwhelming choice of professional photographers.
What I am trying to suggest is that there are potential advantages in using
top-rated products made with professionals in mind, although some enthusiasts
may or may not be favored by how these products are conceived and designed by
With the first Creative Suite there was a move by Adobe toward integrating their
many graphic applications into one cross-functional, consistent package. Now CS2 takes that functional integration
much further on several fronts, such as making the applications in the Suite
capable of being synchronized in a single color management scheme. That results
in a consistency of color quality across applications like Photoshop, Acrobat,
InDesign, and Illustrator. In addition, an added module that is part of the
Suite (and an included part of Photoshop CS2, sold separately) is Bridge, a
file browser that supports all kinds of graphic format files with extensive
useful and independent capabilities of its own. With enthusiasts and professionals
now creating documents for print, digital photo collections for presentation
and distribution, and websites, Photoshop CS2's value is sometimes further
enhanced by using it with other applications like InDesign and GoLive, all part
of the full Creative Suite.
Adobe Bridge is much more than a thumbnail browser, but as such
does that job exceedingly well. It also provides access to metadata
information embedded in files, including the pertinent data describing
the image characteristics of the file. It allows adding data significant
to the individual photographer and to enhance search and management
functions. For digital camera users making raw files the Bridge
capability of generating thumbnails from raw formats directly
without processing and opening the files provides a convenient
and efficient way to post-shoot edit for content and then process
a selection of new files as a batch.
All Photos © 2005, David B. Brooks, All Rights Reserved
What's New In Adobe Photoshop CS2?
Photoshop is, as computer applications go, a quite mature product. It is in
Version 9.0, each version a major version upgrade. It is a comprehensive program
that is fully capable of carrying out its purpose. It fulfills a wide range
of image creation and editing tasks and delivers more than satisfying results
to a host of different users, from basic image processing to expert powerhouse
demands. So, should one really expect a very different Photoshop in this upgrade?
Personally, I would prefer that Adobe didn't change much of the core application
functions, at least in how I use it everyday. I can't imagine how their
doing so would be to anyone's benefit. In the same breath, however, there
do remain some features which have continued to need improvement for as long
as I have used the product, which began with Version 3.0, or thereabouts.
addition to improved functionality and added camera support, Camera
Raw in Photoshop CS2 provides support for adjusting the parameters
for a particular image and then applying those same adjustment
settings to a selected batch of raw files for background processing.
It also saves the Camera Raw configuration so it may be applied
to additional individual images or batches of raw files.
In this latest version there have been considerable improvements of many functions
and a surprising number of entirely new features. Some of the new advantages
I find most valuable came to my attention not because Adobe brought them to
my attention in the reams of PR support documents, but by just setting up and
using the application. The first one I noticed, because it is a preference I
always set before using Photoshop after installation, involves the on-screen
cursor preference choices, which now include a couple more levels of accuracy.
You can now establish the center of the brush action with a small cross, and
a more precise perimeter of the brush effect. This makes using a brush like
the Rubber Stamp to clone image data far easier and more accurate.
The other is at the other end of the image process workflow--the Print
With Preview dialog in the Color Management section. Near the bottom of the
window there is another choice provided--Color Handling--that allows
switching between "Let Photoshop Determine Colors" and allowing
the printer driver to assume that task. And next to that drop-down menu is an
exclamation mark, which, with the mouse cursor over it, places a reminder message
at the bottom. This advises users to turn off the printer's color control
by selecting "No Color Adjustment" in the driver's Print dialog
when the "Let Photoshop" workflow is chosen. Although this does
not really change workflow functioning, it does assist users to set their choices
correctly when they want Photoshop to produce color managed printing. And, in
that regard, using Epson's new R2400 printer, the color matching and print
quality was noticeably superior to past experiences.
Correction is a new added filter in Photoshop CS2 that opens an
image in a new dialog window with an adjustable reference grid
and slider controls to easily adjust for several types of distortion,
including Chromatic Aberration and Vignetting as well as Transform
functions to correct for both vertical and horizontal perspective.
Adobe Bridge is much more than a graphic file browser made into a stand-alone
application. Besides having a direct functional link to all of the Creative
Suite applications, it supports a number of capabilities and processes that
can be applied to both individual files and batches of files directly from Bridge.
First of all, beyond the browser function, Bridge has much of the functionality
of what is often called an asset management application. It is capable of recording,
organizing, and searching text and numerical information (metadata) associated
with stored files, even that located on external drives and media like CDs and
DVDs (read only). Besides providing the ability to attach new data to files
and manage them, Bridge also provides a highly accessible viewer for initial
editing functions based on content. At the bottom right are buttons so the user
can toggle through several presentation modes, including a page of thumbnails
adjustable to size, a filmstrip mode, and an enlarged view of a single image,
sufficient for a photographer to see the facial expressions in a series of portraits
without opening the image in Photoshop. This latter capability is particularly
significant to digital camera users reviewing files saved in raw format. With
Bridge a photographer can edit the images from a shoot, make critical selections
on the basis of content, and then highlight the selection to be batch processed
by Camera Raw, outputting the results of the processing as a set of .TIF or
.PSD files ready to use, without ever opening Photoshop.
new Smart Sharpen filter provides more effective and easier user
control, while reducing the potential for creating artifacts associated
with Unsharp Masking. In addition, the dialog's advanced
features support limiting sharpening with slider adjustments to
protect highlights/shadows from sharpening and enhancing noise
like film grain.
Camera Raw processing is not the only edit/process function which can be initiated
directly from Bridge. You can also batch
re-name files, batch process using Photoshop functions and processes, produce
Contact Sheets from selected files, merge a selected set of bracketed exposures
to HDR, create a PDF Presentation from a selection of files, PhotoMerge, print
Picture Packages from selected files, or create a Web Photo Gallery, all from
Bridge without opening Photoshop.
Although digital camera users will probably find that the most valuable feature
is the new Bridge, there is a serious flaw. When Bridge makes thumbnails of
raw camera files it applies auto-correction to the thumbnail image generation,
including exposure correction. So, if you did a set of takes bracketed at different
exposure levels, the thumbnails may all look identical or close to it so there
is no perceptual way to choose which of the bracketed shots is the best one.
So I ask, Adobe, does your team of programmers ever talk to real photographers?
Photoshop takes digital imaging beyond the capabilities of photography
with 32-bit HDR. This new facility allows using bracketed exposures
of the same still subject (using a tripod) to expand the dynamic
range in a blend of the bracketed frames into a 32-bit file. Detail
can now be reproduced across a brightness range neither film nor
digital sensors could encompass without burning out highlights
or losing detail in shadows.
As I delved deeper into this I found that although not in Bridge itself, there
is a switch to turn off the auto-adjustment processing. A user has to select
a raw file and launch Camera Raw. Then at the top of the dialog on the right
there is a Camera Setting window which, in default mode, reads: [Camera Raw
Defaults]. To the right of that is an arrow, which when clicked opens a dialog
menu. About halfway down the menu is: Use Auto Adjustments. If you uncheck this
option and then go down and click on "Reset Camera Raw Defaults,"
the next time Camera Raw is launched the four Auto Adjust functions will be
off with no check mark in the associated boxes. In addition, thumbnails of Camera
Raw files in Bridge will be generated without any exposure or other auto-adjustment,
so a bracketed series of exposures will actually reflect the different exposures
of each shot. Why Adobe chose to put the auto-adjust on/off switch in "Camera
Settings" in Camera Raw makes my head itch. I wonder why it is so hidden
rather than being in General Preferences.
Point is like a small application that is a satellite to Photoshop.
But unlike the standard work space in Photoshop, Vanishing Point
establishes a surface structure that follows the perspective suggested
by the underlying image and defined by the user. Then all of the
edit actions applied to the image within those perspective planes
assumes the same perspective as the established plane. Thus, an
image object pasted into a defined plane will be shaped and sized
to conform to the defined perspective of the plane and will be
consistent with the perspective of the underlying image.
Some of the new and improved features are maybe less sensational, but they
may also be the most useful and valuable. One is that Adobe has extended 16-bit
support to more of its filters. Another is the addition of Smart Sharpen to
the Filters menu. Smart Sharpen produces better sharpening of image detail while
not exaggerating apparent graininess, as well as providing a selection between
motion, lens, and Gaussian blur, which in the end produces a more effective
sharpening. In addition, Smart Sharpen now provides a selectivity of effects
relative to highlights and shadows. This helps avoid adjustments that exaggerate
shadow noise, for example. A related factor, with digital camera files, is that
noise can also be greater if high ISO settings are used. Photoshop now deals
with these problems with a new Noise Reduction filter.