Adobe's latest Photoshop sports a streamlined workspace and powerful new tools that solve old photographic challenges
By Lewis Kemper
Now let’s look at major improvements to existing features.
Adobe Camera Raw gets a major upgrade. The addition of Fill Light, which adds light to the quarter tones (shadows that aren’t black), and the Highlight recovery, which brings back detail in only the brightest highlights without affecting any other tones, really help with exposure adjustments. The Vibrance Slider (I call it the Velvia slider), which adds saturation without oversaturating, is another favorite new tool. I also like the Hue, Saturation and Luminance controls for individual colors—I can now do almost all my color fine-tuning right in Camera Raw! Along with the Black-and-White Conversion, the Split Toning, the new Curves dialog, plus the new ability to apply all these controls to JPEG and TIFF images in addition to RAW, Camera Raw has taken a large leap forward in quality and control offered to photographers.
Bridge has a new interface, which also allows more customization, better filtering and a much needed Loupe/Magnifier mode. Just click on the preview image, and you get a magnifying glass that will enlarge your preview to 100-percent view to check sharpness. This, and the ability to import images right from your camera or flash media card, are some of the major new features.
The Curves dialog box has had a major facelift and has added a Histogram behind the Curve and Levels-like sliders at the bottom of the Curve, making adjustments much easier. You can overlay changes made to color channels and add a baseline to judge how far you have moved your Curve.
In past versions of Photoshop, Brightness/Contrast was a scary tool. You could easily clip your shadows or your highlights when adjusting the sliders, and many beginning Photoshop users inadvertently damaged their images. But not with the new revised version of Brightness/Contrast. While you still don’t have anywhere near the control you have using Curves, at least with the new Brightness/Contrast, you don’t have to worry about destroying the quality of your image. It has now become a tool that's easy and safe for anyone to use.
The new version of PhotoMerge takes advantage of the new Auto Align and Auto Blend features when creating panoramic images. It does a much better job of creating perfect panos that don't need any refinements.
These are just some of the new features of Photoshop CS3. As you can see, there are plenty of new tools to keep even the most advanced Photoshop user happy and many new features that will make image editing easier for beginners, as well.