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Adobe Photoshop CS4 - Upgrade Edition (PC)
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- Masks panel - Quickly create and edit masks from the new Masks panel. This panel offers all the tools you need to create editable pixel- and vector-based masks, adjust mask density and feathering, easily select noncontiguous objects, and more
- Content-Aware Scaling - Use the new and revolutionary Content-Aware Scaling feature to automatically recompose an image as you resize it, smartly preserving vital areas as the image adapts to the new dimensions. Get the perfect image in one step without t
- Extended depth of field - Easily create a single image from a series of shots that have different focal points with the enhanced Auto-Blend Layers command, which smoothly blends colour and shading and now extends your depth of field, automatically correct
- Auto-alignment of layers - Create accurate composites with the enhanced Auto-Align Layers command. Move, rotate, or warp layers to align them more accurately than ever before. Or use spherical alignment to create breathtaking panoramas
- Efficient file management with Adobe Bridge CS4 - Get instant access to Adobe Bridge CS4 with faster start-up, use new workspaces to jump to the right display for every task, easily create web galleries and PDF contact sheets, and more
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- Platform: Windows XP / Vista
- Media: DVD-ROM
- Item Quantity: 1
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Create powerful, professional quality images with Adobe Photoshop CS4--the essential digital imaging solution for professional photographers. Adobe Photoshop CS4 boasts a wide range of significant enhancements, delivering greater editing freedom, a more intuitive user experience and increased productivity for creative professionals.
Photoshop CS4 and Photoshop CS4 Extended feature a newly refined, tab-based interface in a single, integrated window, with self-adjusting panels arranged in docked groups. Automatically keeping tools well organized and away from your work area means you get greater efficiency, less clutter, and better results, faster than before. Click to enlarge.
Live, non-destructive corrections with the Adjustments panel--Simplify image adjustment with easy access to non-destructive adjustment tools for Curves, Levels, Hue/Saturation and more with the user-friendly dynamic Adjustments panel. Gain greater control over colour saturation while preserving delicate tones such as skin colours with the new Vibrance adjustment feature. For even greater convenience, you can access a wide variety of modifiable presets for each type of change, including more than 20 new preconfigured, customisable starting points.
Fast mask creation and editing with new Masks panel--The new Masks panel smoothes and speeds the creation and adjustment of pixel and vector masks, making it easier than ever to apply effects to precisely defined areas of an image. Adjust the density and feathering of a mask with simple sliders, easily select non-contiguous objects, and experience simple yet fine-grained control over the mask size and edges with the Refine Mask feature. Automatically create powerful and detailed masks based on single or multiple colours with the upgraded Colour Range feature, with easy to use controls for the spatial tolerance and "fuzziness" of the colour sampling.
Spot colour and exposure adjustments are more natural with the improved Dodge, Burn, and Sponge tools.
A range of shots, each with different exposure, colour, and focal points (left) automatically becomes a single, colour-corrected, expanded depth-of-field image with Auto-Blend Layers. Click to enlarge.
Enhanced Auto-Blend technology automatically masks and blends frame edges for better results on panoramas. Click to enlarge.
Industry-leading colour correction--Make precise adjustments with Brightness/Contrast and Curves controls, the histogram, channel lines and a clipping preview.
Richer painting and drawing toolset--Create or modify images with a wide assortment of professional, fully customisable drawing tools, paint settings and artistic brushes. Simply drag to resize brushes and adjust for hardness as you paint and preview brush strokes.
Traditional darkroom tools recreated digitally--The newly refined Dodge, Burn and Sponge tools in Photoshop CS4 take the pain and practice out of preserving tonal quality while you spot-correct exposure and colour saturation. Simply paint the area you want to adjust for advanced results in a fraction of the time.
Improved raw image processing--The industry-leading Adobe Photoshop Camera Raw 5 plug-in offers non-destructive localised corrections, post-crop vignetting and TIFF and JPEG processing, with support for more than 190 camera models.
Tighter integration with Photoshop Lightroom 2--Photoshop CS4 offers improved cross-application support for automated functions, such as opening multiple photographs from Lightroom 2 directly into a layered Photoshop document, high dynamic range (HDR) image, panorama or Smart Object. Lightroom 2 and Adobe Camera Raw also share the same underlying technology, which means the changes you make with Camera Raw 5 in Photoshop CS4 are recognised in Lightroom 2, and vice versa.
Enhanced Photomerge functions--The improved automatic alignment and blending technology in Photoshop CS4, combined with new vignetting and geometric distortion corrections, helps you create image panoramas with more natural colour blending, with the ability to create 360-degree panoramas too. Other improvements include automatic detection of fish eye lenses to compensate for their inherent distortion, and the new Collage option, which rotates and scales individual images as they are combined using Auto-Align and Photomerge.
Enhanced auto-blending of images for extended depth of field--Combine a range of images, each with a different exposure, colour and focal point--with options to preserve tones and colours--into a single colour-corrected image with the enhanced Auto-Blend Layers feature. Auto-Blend smoothly blends colour and shading and automatically corrects vignettes and lens distortion.
Ultra-smooth, extra-precise pan, zoom, preview and painting tools--Photoshop CS4 fully utilises the power of your computer’s graphics processor (GPU) with OpenGL technology. Zoom down to the level of individual pixels with perfect clarity, and easily edit images at the highest magnification with the new Pixel Grid. Smoothly navigate around the largest images with no stutter or preview lag.
New Rotate View tool for fluid canvas rotation--New to Photoshop CS4, the revolutionary Rotate View tool enables you to non-destructively spin your canvas to any orientation, with automatic adjustment of your selections, grids, rulers and other tools and features to match. Now painting and drawing in Photoshop is as easy and natural as sitting down at an easel.
Quick Selection tool--Loosely draw on an image area and the Quick Selection tool automatically completes the selection for you; then use simple sliders to preview and refine your selection.
Smarter Smart Objects--Smart Object layers allow for non-destructive scaling and transformation of Photoshop layers. Apply perspective transformations to Smart Objects, work with linked layer masks, and use the new Eyedropper tool option to sample either the current layer or all of the layers in the Smart Object at once.
The new Pixel Grid appears at magnifications of 600% or higher, facilitating the finest detail editing. Click to enlarge.
The Adobe Kuler panel makes it simple to browse, create, and share colour themes online. Click to enlarge.
Broad file format support--Import and export hundreds of file formats, including PSD, AI, PDF, NEF, CRW, TIFF, BMP, Cineon, JPEG, JPEG2000, FXG, OpenEXR, PNG and Targa.
Next generation Adobe Bridge CS4--Find, preview and manage all of your image assets easily and conveniently with Adobe Bridge CS4. New path-bar navigation and workspace selection buttons let you instantly jump to the right display, including new Camera Import controls, visual folder navigation and a new Carousel View for larger image-group selections. In the Output workspace, Bridge now features PDF-based contact-sheet creation and web-gallery creation and uploading. Preview 3D images and panoramas created in Photoshop CS4. The new Search feature is integrated with both the Spotlight feature in Mac OS X and the Desktop Search feature in Windows Vista. You can also switch to the new, intuitive List View, with its familiar data display and sorting controls.
Creative Pro Online Services--Find fast answers to key questions with Adobe Community Help. Store and share files, create PDFs and brainstorm with up to two other users for no extra service charge at Acrobat.com. Stay up to date with what's new from Adobe with tips to make the most of Photoshop CS4 with Adobe Bridge Home. Explore, create and share colour themes with Adobe Kuler. (Internet connection required for all services.)
Other refinements in Photoshop CS4 include:
- Higher performance on very large images when using Windows Vista 64-bit
- Clone Stamp and Healing Brush live preview cursor for easier, more precise cloning and healing results
- Layer-based metadata enabling reading and writing strings to layer properties, such as recording time-stamp information for video
- Developers of specialised applications can create custom SWF-format panels that smoothly integrate with Photoshop CS4
- Extensible SWF-based File Info panel, enabling developers to add network-stored keywords and perform functions such as spell-checking
- Unique IDs per document for easier downstream tracking of assets
- CUDO technology, providing the ability to design with sensitivity for colour blind individuals via soft-proofing
- Spring-loaded keys to temporarily shift between tools by holding down a tool shortcut key
- FXG export
- Device Link colour profile support
- Notes panel to keep annotations from cluttering the canvas
Top customer reviews
If you are running Photoshop CS2 or earlier, it is a 'must have' upgrade but if you are on CS3, I can't see a hurry to upgrade. In fact the only reason I did was to get the native x64 bit version as opposed to the normal x32 bit (both versions are included on the DVD anyway) and the installer is intelligent and will install to what your PC is, so don't let that put you off.
So the bottom line is, if you are running CS3 and don't intend doing huge images, you can wait until the next upgrade. If you are on an earlier version, then do upgrade. My reservation is not about the product, any version of Photoshop is great, it is about value for money.
Of course these whinges aside, the new tool locations roughly in the same menu place as before, and it might save a second or so's time using them in their new location. Images are now fixed tabbed [as Docker Panels] and indexed from above [the active image then being the only one on view], and this works really well [plus the photos can be dragged down and left as randomly floating about panels, Mac style - and then slid back & docked again]. Also the loss of the blue windows bar gives you a tad more workspace. Plus the new features of Photoshop CS4 make this a very worthwhile upgrade indeed.
The application bar gives access to the stand-alone Adobe Bridge, where you can manage your image files, and it has its own set of tools to automatically modify images if required [not something I use much as I tend to spend a lot of time on a few images rather than a small amount of time on a lot, but great if you need to get photos off the camera and out to customers quickly, Adobe Lightroom style]. There's been a complete overhaul of Photoshop's image-adjustment tools, which now concentrate on non-destructive editing. The Adjustment Panel has been changed for the better and includes the new Vibrance tool. This new adjustment panel is great, giving you an efficient centralised control panel for live fine-tuning every aspect of your image. Plus the non-destructive changes mean that you can simply re-adjust your changes back or near to any previous setting. It's all simply superb. Likewise Masks has been re-invented and made easier to use, so that editing regions of the image is now simpler than before. In fact the whole way Photoshop edits pixels has been streamlined, and the program can now tap directly into your graphics card hardware acceleration to make this all far smoother. Plus all the tools seemed to have had a bit of a makeover to help you work more productively. And now you can resize your image in real time using Content Aware Image Scaling, where you just drag your image to resize [and the image magically loses all the uninteresting areas as you do it] - well that's the theory, on my fast 2.4MHz quad core gaming PC it all freezes up instead [probably a bug with the present NVidia drivers]. So get the latest Adobe Patches ASAP [as usual], and now the latest graphics card drivers as well.
In fact overall the entire Photoshop editing experience has changed very much for the better, making this a great buy [particularly when the workplace is footing the bill]. With Photoshop CS4 'extended' you get everything in standard Photoshop CS4, plus tools for editing 3D and motion-based content and for performing image analysis [both of which probably aren't essential for many users]. To be honest CS4 Extended doesn't offer much more than the features present on CS3 extended, although it is all graphic hardware accelerated now. That said I use the features on CS3 extended, so I do need CS4 extended [as I really want the new interface and tools offered in this `basic' CS4 Photoshop]. And the more I use it, the more I appreciate the new dull but worthy grey interface.
I get Photoshop CS4 Extended `free' via work, and we get massive educational discounts (for departmental use at university). However you can get a pretty hefty discount on Photoshop yourself if you have a student/schoolchild in the house (from Primary School to degree level), so definitely check out adobe.com's Education Store and Amazon for this version instead if you qualify. The educational licenced version is identical to this retail version, just with licence restrictions prohibiting commercial use. For the cheapest student version you have to be on a 2 year full-time course [or part-time equivelant] or at school.
Photoshop still has a steep learning curve though for new users, largely due to the rather poor Photoshop help, e.g. you can still ask any question and often get quite good detailed help on the correct command/palette to use - but it typically never tells you where to actually find that command in the menu system ! That said Adobe's on-line video help is good and you can buy selfteach books/videos. Intermediate photo editing users, and people using their own money, should probably stick to the cheaper and simplified Photoshop Elements 7 - which you can buy with its sister Premiere Elements 7 (video editing) as a double pack (again an cheaper educational licence is available). Plus there's the powerful `quick image processing' Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.0 that comes in between Photoshop and Elements, pricewise. In addition home users or offices on a tight budget should check out Serifs PhotoPlus [excellent], MoviePlus [good] and PagePlus DTP [superb] offerings, and there's also Corel's excellent Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 to consider.
So, Photoshop CS4 is still the industry standard photo/image editing software with no real competitors [although Corel might quibble that] - simply the best around, but sadly also at a very high price unless you qualify for that educational discount.
A known problem, which if I'd checked would have stopped me from buying this version.
A patch has been releases that has improved things, but it is not publicised at all well.
A bit of a rushed release. Don't think I'll be upgrading again!
The industry standard photo editing software. I upgraded from CS2 to CS4 and the difference is substantial, the new and much easier use of layers and presets makes photo editing much more flexible and gives many more capabilities.
I think the upgrade was money well spent.