by Mike McNamee Published 01/08/2002
As soon as the Non-Disclosure Agreement expired on Photoshop 7 the emails started to pile in on the Applied Colour Theory discussion group. Most comments were not complimentary! It was therefore with heightened interest that we waited for the dust to settle and took a more leisurely look at the upgrade and specifically what it had to offer the social photographer.
Putting our cards on the table straight away we liked it a lot. The new Healing Brush on its own will pay for the upgrade in most studios. On the couple of occasions that we have seen it publicly demonstrated it has brought gasps of admiration from the audience! It is the speed with which you can banish skin blemishes, eye wrinkles, scratches and dust marks that make it so impressive. With this and other parts of the upgrade we have tried to look from the perspective of the wedding and portrait photographer, ignoring the colour theorists' concerns.
FEATURE BY FEATURE
When Photoshop was upgraded from 4 to 5 everybody got a shock when they saw the extended start-up time of the program ( it was 4 times slower). This is not perhaps a problem if you only use Photoshop but if you are doing layout and have keep opening and shutting programs you do notice the fire-up.
Since Version 4 we have always kept a weather eye on the speed of upgraded versions. It is nice to report that Version 7 opens at the same speed as Photoshop 6 - that is about 20 seconds from cold and 4 seconds for a restart (when it is still cached in memory). Once the program is there you immediately notice the new livery, it's all very MacOS X and Aqua with its coloured icons which change like chameleons as you mouse over them.
What a boon this is going to be when you stagger back from a wedding shoot with hundreds, if not thousands of reportage digital images in the microdrive. The brand new File Browser resides in the docking well of the top menu bar and jumps out when you click it. It was obviously blistering quick and we tested it against two other options for browsing thumbnails. We used a folder from this issue containing images for the Photographer of the Year competition. It contained 19 full resolution files, totalling 574MB. They were being accessed from a 60GB RAID Array. Windows 2000 Explorer opened the thumbnails in 3m 52s (which seemed like 3h 52min); ACDC opened the thumbnails in 32s; Photoshop 7 opened the thumbnails in under 10 seconds including the time to navigate around the folders!
In addition the actual file may be opened directly in Photoshop by double clicking it. The thumbnails may be rotated and reordered; the cached arrangement may be emailed, as a very small file, to other Photoshop 7 users. The metadata of the file is also on view enabling quick
Healing Tool and Patch Tool
The Healing Tool works like an advanced Clone Stamp Tool. It is deployed in a similar way - you set a source of pixels (by Alt-Clicking) and copy them over a blemish by dragging. The magic occurs on mouse-up when the newly placed pixels seem to dissolve seamlessly into their new surroundings. This is a powerful tool for repairing defects from scans but really shines for subtly removing wrinkles around the eyes, freckles etc. This is going to earn a lot of fans amongst ladies of a certain age and gentlemen with similar concerns!
The Patch Tool performs a similar function except that you are able to make a selection using a lasso tool to confine the pixel selection. Essentially you control the area in which pixels are modified and go and get an area of pixels to provide a source.
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