First, thanks Scott for having me back; my postings here have afforded me an opportunity to reach thousands of passionate Photoshop users and in the case of JDI, I even had a mechanism to communicate with all of you and help turn some of your ideas into features. I’ve spent the better part of the last year showing early glimpses of Photoshop CS5 to people under NDA…I cannot tell you how nice it feels to discuss the release openly! There’s a whole lot to talk about…
The vast Photoshop ecosystem and Adobe.com have seen to it that our major feature set has been explained extremely thoroughly. You won’t have to look far to figure out what CS5 means for photographers, retouchers, illustrators, creatives, designers, 3D artists and much more – we have strong stories for all of them. What I’d like to do here is tell you about some of the tricks, polish and little known tweaks that went into making these features so magical – the inside scoop from the perspective of a product manager. Fear not…I’ll give you some great links to the big stuff too ;-)
Camera Raw 6.0
For any of you playing around with Lightroom Beta 3, you know all about the major changes to raw processing (better color, sharpening, noise, vignetting and effects – as before Camera Raw retains feature parity with Lightroom’s Develop module)…but one of my favorite ways to use noise reduction is in REVERSE. In the image below, you can see that heavy noise reduction and little (to no) detail can soften the image to the point where it almost looks like an illustration. Reversing Clarity is a popular way to soften skin, I think this will be too.
Another new feature in version 6.0 is Additive Grain; yes, it can be used to mimic TMAX 3200, etc. – but I think the real strength is establishing a bit of grain consistency prior to compositing images. Have you ever noticed how synthetic a 100 ISO image married to a 3200 ISO looks? With a sprinkle of additive grain (and it really doesn’t take much), the unbelievable is suddenly very realistic.
Last note on raw, while we have support for ~300 proprietary formats, all of the above (and more) could just as easily be done to a camera phone image (JPEG) or a scanned file (TIFF).
For those of you who liked the File Browser, you’ll love Mini Bridge (I know I do). From full-screen previews (spacebar) of any file (including your DSLR video) to multi-file operations like Panos, the new HDR Pro, batch, etc. – “MB” has you covered. Mini Bridge runs in a panel, so it’s right there in Photoshop…fast, convenient, scalable (MB can be an icon, stretched panel…even a photo tray – great for multi-monitors). I drive everything from Mini Bridge.
There is SO much to say about HDR; re-imagined from start to finish…but I want to focus on the most minor part of the UI and one of the most major parts of what makes the new Merge to HDR Pro so unique – “remove ghosts.” I believe that much of the abuse of HDR imagery (we’ve all seen it ;-) ) stems from a want to camouflage artifacts (namely moving leaves, branches, water, clouds, etc.)…”remove ghosts” solves that problem in a single click. I think this feature combined with a host of other major changes will allow people to shoot HDR; shooters that haven’t until now because of the compromise in quality (I count myself amongst them). In the case of ghost removal, the problem was so unique that we went beyond Adobe’s walls to an expert who focused solely on this one problem – thank you Greg Ward!
What about all of the people who like the dramatic aesthetic of HDR imagery, but either have older, single images or don’t want to bother with bracketing? You can thank Scott himself for insisting that we