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In Photoshop CS4 New Features, leading industry expert Deke McClelland covers the latest developments in Adobe's powerhouse image editor, Photoshop CS4. Deke explores the new tabbed window interface and the Adjustments and Masks palettes, the enhanced toning tools, content-aware scaling and the latest versions of Camera Raw and Bridge, which prove nearly indispensable to the digital photographer's workflow. From the interface to integration, Deke leaves no stone unturned.
All right, so you know how there is always one new feature in the newest version of Photoshop that is that feature that there is no going back on. So like you start using Photoshop CS4 for a few months and then you are stuck using Photoshop CS3 one day and you go, ah, I'm missing that one thing! This is it. And it is not going to sound like it, but this is the feature. If this was the only new feature in the software I would recommend Photoshop CS4, and this is what it is. Enhance Navigation, thanks to support for OpenGL. Now that doesn't sound like the most boring feature ever, I don't know what does, but it happens to be smack-down awesome. And you just think about how much time we spent in Photoshop navigating, zooming and panning around inside the image, that's all handled so much better than it was before. It's really going to change your image editing experience.
Now OpenGL is technology that's built into most modern graphic cards and it allows Photoshop to turn over some of the day-to-day imaging chores to the video card. So that you are going to get much better -- as I say -- much better navigation functions. To take advantage of OpenGL you need a video card that supports OpenGL. You also need modern operating systems, like Windows Vista or Macintosh OS X 10.4.11 or later. So assuming you got all that, then you are ready to do what I'm about to show you.
So I'm going to zoom in and notice I'm pressing Ctrl+Plus or Command+Plus on the Mac, and notice every single one of them is executed smoothly and that didn't used to be the case. For example, I will zoom out to 66.7%. That used to be notoriously bad zoom level because you'd get choppy interactions between pixels and you couldn't gauge sharpness, you couldn't gauge edges in general. Now you can. Now every single zoom level is beautiful. Also check this out, we have smooth continuous zooms. If you press and hold the Z key, that will get you the Zoom tool on the fly and then you can click and hold and watch as you just sit there and zoom in, and then if you press the Alt key or the Option key on the fly you will zoom out. That's Alt on the PC or Option on the Mac and then if I release Alt or Option I will zoom back in continuously, and if I zoom in far enough notice I get this thing called the Pixel Grid, which indicates the difference. It's a little border between independent pixels so that you can gauge where one pixel starts and another stops.
I'm going to go ahead and zoom back out a little by pressing and holding the Z key, and then pressing Alt here on the PC or Option on the Mac and clicking and holding in order to zoom out just a little bit, and then I'll release my mouse button, I'll release the Alt or Option key, and then I will release Z and I'm back to the previously selected tool. Now I'm pretty far zoomed in at this point and let's say I want to go to the other eye. So I'm looking at what would this be? Her left eye, I want to move over to the right eye, well it takes me a few Spacebar-drags to get over there or you could take advantage of what was called for a while the bird's eye view, and here's what you do. You press and hold the H key and that's H for Hand, right? And it temporarily gets you the hand cursor. If I click and hold, notice that I zoom out from the image and I have this little box that indicates my image window. Then I can drag it to a different location, release and there I go.
So I have the H key down. It's all about pressing the H key, and I will click again and then just drag to a different location and I go directly to that location. No more need for the Navigator palette. It's amazing that you can pull this off. Then if you want to do your standard dragging with the Hand tool of course, you press the Spacebar and drag, but something that works with the Spacebar-drag is that you can toss the image, like so. I'm just dragging and releasing in order to toss the image to a different location. And even though this just seems like a gimmicky feature like, 'Oh! Yeah, that looks so great,' it's really, really useful because it means you can get around really quickly and you can change the trajectory of the move really fast. And I find myself moving around much faster than I did in the past.
All right, I'm just going to zoom out by pressing Ctrl+Minus or Command+Minus on the Mac, and the last thing that I want to show you is your new ability to rotate the canvas. So notice up here in the Applications bar, we've got the Hand tool. I'm just showing you that. We've got the Zoom tool. I showed you that too. We also have this new Rotate View tool. But I'm going to show you how to get to it from the keyboard just so that you can work as flexibly as possible. You press and hold the R key and that gets you the Rotate View tool on the fly and then you drag the image as desired. Which allows you two things.
First of all, it means you can brush in certain areas like with Dodge and Burn at an angle so you can get right to the area that you want to work in, and also it allows you to gauge the proper angle for a crooked image. I use it for that too when you are cropping an image. And notice when you rotated the view like so, you are not rotating the image incidentally. It's going to print up and down of course. Everything is rotated, so like if I draw a rectangular marquee, it's going to be at the angle of rotation as well. If you want to make the image up right again, all you do is press the Escape key and that gets you an upright image. So you escape out of the rotated view.
That, my friends, is the no-going-back feature. Enhance Navigation, thanks to support for OpenGL here inside Photoshop CS4.
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