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A couple of weeks back, I ran an article called “How to get exactly what we want in the next versions of Photoshop and Lightroom” (here’s the link), and in it I floated this fairly “out there” concept: Imagine if Adobe agreed to contact it’s registered Photoshop users to find out exactly which features they wanted to see in the next version of Photoshop, and then Adobe’s engineers committed to including ALL of the “top 10″ most popular features in the next version of Photoshop, no ifs, ands or butts. That’d be pretty wild, eh?

Now, I want to make it clear that Adobe could add absolutely as many “other” features as they wanted, so they’re could be 50 or 100 new features, but those “top 10″ would have to be included no matter what. That way, we’d get exactly what we want, plus whatever Adobe’s engineers can dream up (which is usually some incredibly amazing stuff).

I went on to list the features that I’d love to see in the next version, and then I invited you (my readers) to post your ideas for what you’d like to see in the next Photoshop. After a few days, I’d compile the top 25 or so most frequent feature requests (from your comments), and then put up an online survey where you could vote for your top 10 from that list. Then, whatever that final top 10 wound up being, I’d deliver that list to the Photoshop product managers at Adobe.

Now, it’s important to note that Adobe hasn’t agreed to do any of this—it’s just an experiment—kind of a “wouldn’t it be cool if….” kind of thing, and because it’s not a poll of Adobe’s registered users, but instead a poll of people who read my blog, it’s totally unscientific. That being said: Tomorrow I’m running that online survey here on the blog, where I’ll list the top 25 or so most requested features (according to your comments), and then you’ll be able to vote for the 10 features you’d like to see most in Photoshop, and I’ll post the results from that survey on Monday.

Now, what I did find interesting where what some of your most-requested features were. For example:

  • Have the Crop Tool include a “rule of thirds” grid (Like Lightroom) was a common request
  • Requests for better built-in HDR process was the #1 most frequent comment
  • Adding the ability to customize the toolbar was very popular
  • Making Shadow/Highlight a real Adjustment Layer (not just having a workaround as we do currently) was a very popular request
  • Better built-in Noise Reduction was one of the most popular requests
  • The ability to change the default settings for Layer Styles was big, with numerous references to the dreaded “Red Stroke” default (in fact, if Adobe just changed the default stroke color to black, they’d probably win a lot of love)
  • A lot of overall requests to make Photoshop work, look, and act more like Lightroom

There were a lot of other really great ideas, in fact some of them were brilliant; it’s just that many were features needed to address an individual’s particular problem for the particular type of Photoshop work they’re doing. In those instances, only that one person requested that feature, and in this type of “majority rules” decision-making process, those very nichey types of feature requests wouldn’t make the list, but that doesn’t lessen the quality or legitimacy of the request.

For example, if you use Photoshop in your work as a dental surgeon, there are probably a few things Adobe could change, or add, that would make your job SO much easier, but unfortunately there’s just not a big enough number of dental surgeons to have that feature show up in a “top 10″ list. Also, the feature one dental surgeon might be clamoring for, another dental surgeon might not find all that useful, so you can quickly see how these niche areas are going to be underserved when it comes to a feature popularity contest. If you go back and read some of the comments from that post, you’ll see some people in a similarly frustrating situation.

Anyway, tomorrow you’ll get to vote on the full list, and choose your favorite wish-list features from the list, and then Monday we’ll see the final results. See you here tomorrow for the voting!