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Adobe Photoshop CS Review

Bicubic Smoother and Bicubic Sharper Interpolation

Unlike some lower end software which use bilinear interpolation engines, Adobe Photoshop is built around a bicubic interpolation engine. If you choose Image -> Image Size, there are now two additional options with self-explanatory labels: Bicubic Smoother and Bicubic Sharper. Bicubic tends to create sharpening halos. Bicubic Sharper obviously enhances that (undesirable) effect, while Bicubic Smoother reduces it, bringing it closer to other bicubic interpolation variants such as Mitchell. These additional options are also selectable as the default interpolation engine in the Photoshop CS Preferences. For photographic images, either Bicubic Smoother or Bicubic are in my opinion the better options.

New Bicubic Smoother and Bicubic Sharper interpolation options

 

Crop and Straighten

Scanning multiple photographs with a flatbed scanner typically leads to a big image consisting of the photographs with white space in between. The File -> Automate -> Crop and Straighten command automatically detects each photograph, rotates it, crops away any white borders, and opens each image in a separate window. This command is also useful to remove any areas created by rotating the canvas to straighten the horizon of an image.

Things from Photoshop Elements 2

Photoshop CS has also integrated some new features from Photoshop Elements 2, which was released after Photoshop 7. For instance, the Color Blending Tool (an advanced variant of the Photoshop Elements 2 Red Eye Brush which has the same tool icon) and File -> Automate -> Photomerge to create panoramas. Unfortunately the Photomerge command has nearly the same limitations as in Photoshop Elements 2 and is still no match to manual stitching or higher end software specifically designed for panorama stitching.

Other Changes

The File Browser introduced with Photoshop Elements 2 and Photoshop 7 is now no longer a dockable palette but is accessible via a permanent icon to the left of the palette well. The File Browser is now much faster, has its own menu structure and palettes, has additional search and sort functions, ability to edit metadata, etc. An interesting feature is that it displays thumbnails of RAW images with the changes you applied to them.

New File Browser

ImageReady CS

Just like earlier Photoshop versions, Photoshop CS comes with ImageReady CS and one can easily switch between the two programs via the toolbar icon. ImageReady CS is targeted towards web designers and is beyond the scope of this review. Besides interface improvements, noteworthy changes are the capability to export to Macromedia® Flash™ (SWF) and support for DHTML and XHTML.

Conclusion

With the introduction of Photoshop CS, Adobe has taken a great step in the digital photography direction. Just like the Healing Brush Tool introduced with Photoshop 7 made retouching an order of magnitude easier and better, Adobe has done the equivalent to digital photography with Photoshop CS for prosumers and professionals alike. I've always maintained that the gap between digital compacts and digital SLRs is smaller than the gap between their conventional equivalents because of the amazing possibilities of the "pixelroom". With the introduction of Photoshop CS, Adobe has made that gap smaller, especially for prosumer cameras with RAW capabilities. There is no doubt that for digital photographers, there are many more reasons to upgrade to Photoshop CS than there were to upgrade to Photoshop 7. That being said, Adobe has certainly left enough room for a future Photoshop version, to name just a few:

  • more advanced RAW support;
  • a lens barrel and pincushion distortion correction feature;
  • JPEG artifact and sharpening halo removal;
  • having chromatic aberration and noise removal available for JPEGs as well;
  • perhaps, a new Adobe RGB (2004) color space?

Vincent Bockaert
Author of "The 123 of digital imaging Interactive e-book" featuring Photoshop 7 & CS

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