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Vivid Light Photography, digital and film photography online
Photoshop 7.0, What's New
by Gary W. Stanley

If you have worked with Photoshop for long you're well aware of the growth its undergone over the last several years. It pretty much stands at the top of the image editing pile of sophisticated do-everything programs. As I've often told people "chances are that if you can think of it, Photoshop can probably do it."

I believe that there is a fine line between having a program that will do more than you'll ever use and a program that gives you all you'll ever want. While that may sound strange, look at it this way; in my case I don't need all that Photoshop has to offer, but as my knowledge and skills improve and I begin to play with various tools in this program, it's nice to know that they're there when I'm ready.

I have had several emails recently that tout the virtues of other more user-friendly programs like Photoshop Elements, PaintShop Pro or Photo Impact for example. They don't have Photoshop's steeper learning curve and these programs seem to have all the essentials that most photographers desire while costing less money. We plan to review some of these programs in the near feature, and share them with you through the pages of Vivid Light. For now, however, I want to give you an overview of just what Photoshop 7.0 is all about - The latest version of PhotoShop from Adobe.

The Healing Brush: If you have heard anything at all about Photoshop 7.0 it's been about a new tool called the Healing Brush. This tool has the ability to take images of people like me and make me look good. This, in and of itself, is a miracle. While it really is quite amazing, as I will demonstrate, it is not all that Photoshop 7.0 is about.

The Browser: Photoshop 7.0 is now a great file management system. It has a new file browser and metadata system that gives you information about your scanned image at a glance. It even gives you all the information that was stored on the memory card or from your digital camera when you download to your computer.

When you open a file on your desktop, you can now view a thumbnail file of those images all at once instead of one at a time as with 6.0 or older Photoshop. You can control the viewing size of the images in that thumbnail, or Rank them A,B,C,D and E etc. for your own evaluation of those images. You can click on the thumbnail and get a larger preview of the image, or double click to open the image to its full size. You have the ability to rename a file or to Batch rename a number of images from that file.

This File Browser can now help me organize and identify images more easily. If you archive your images to a CD as I do, you can use a feature called Export Cache. This will allow you to save the thumbnail icons, so that when you put in the CD and bring up the File Browser, all of these images have already been created, so they will appear instantaneously thus saving you a lot of time. With Photoshop 7.0 on my Mac, I can now keep track of the raw images and those that I use for promotional pieces, or for output to my inkjet printer etc.

More Good News: One major improvement and no doubt a time saver is the Auto Color feature which has received some major attention. It is designed to correct color but not contrast. It more accurately recognizes neutral colors when making the corrections. If you want to customize the Auto Color, you can do so and save these settings to your program.

Spell Check: Yes! There is hope for me! I use the typing tool quite often for my promo pieces and on illustrations for my articles, so being the excellent spellar thet i em, the spell check is a great addition. You can be working one text layer and do spell check for all layers if you wish. Spell Check has the ability to check spelling in other languages as well.

The Painting Program: With greater brush selections, the ability to create special brushes, more realism, and the ability to customize the workspace, the Painting program should be very popular with anyone who enjoys this feature.

There are various other tools that have either been upgraded, or are entirely new. Such tools as Liquify, Pattern Maker (new), Auto Picture Package and others have made Photoshop 7.0 that much better.

Web Design: There have also been some very welcome improvements for those of you into web design. One feature that I found to be very interesting, is the PDF Security option. This option allows you to maintain the integrity of your images by creating a security password that would let the potential buyer, for example, view your images without the ability to use or change that image until you give them that password. You can of course create encryptions such as copyright symbols and text across the image as well.

With Photoshop 7.0's Web Photo Gallery there are several automated templates and styles used to help you create a website. You can choose everything from banners to borders, to custom colors and background colors. Once you have entered your information, your web photo source and destination, it will automate the images, resizing them for both the thumbnail and the gallery photos as well as creating the HTML pages and the links for these pages.

Well, I'm sure that I've probably missed a few details along the way. When I was a kid I would get excited about something and then try and tell my parents, I usually left something out then as well. The bottom line is that Photoshop continues to be on the leading edge of technology, making it easier to navigate, simpler to understand, and yet as powerful as anyone could ask of a program like this. As I gain more experience with this program, I will re-introduce it to this column so that you too can share in the fun.

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