Adobe CS4 – First Look!

I realize this sounds terribly geeky of me, but I’ve been squirming in anticipation of receiving the latest upgrade of Creative Suite (CS4) for some time now. Adobe’s raison d’etre has now finally arrived, so naturally I wasted no time installing it on my aging MacBook Pro. One of the primary reasons for wanting Adobe’s latest is the fact that though Creative Suite 3 would run on the Intel Mac, the applications had never been completely optimized for the Intel processor. This translated into unpredictable and sluggish performance, especially when working in Photoshop CS3.


Photoshops new and improved interface, not to mention a very cool code name!

Photoshop's new and improved interface, not to mention a very cool code name!

Photoshop 11.0 (CS4)

The new Photoshop CS4 launches quickly and displays a streamlined and snappy interface. Adobe has been paying a great deal of attention in recent releases to interface design and appear to be taking up Quark’s mantra of improving productivity through intelligent layout of tools. Minor display tweaks show promise for improving the editing environment. For example, if you view an image at the pixel level, Photoshop CS4 displays a thin, neutrally colored key line between the pixels, making it much easier to see the boundaries between like colors.

More significant (and mysterious) is the Content-Aware scaling tool for resizing images. Somehow Photoshop is able to identify key elements in an image and protect them from distortion when the image is scaled non-proportionally (as shown in the examples). Naturally this works quite well with images provided by Adobe, but any user is able to create masks to “protect” any elements in an image from distortion when scaling… Sorcery! Witchcraft, I say!


    Adobe sorcery enables users to squash images without distorting key elements!

Adobe sorcery enables users to squash images without distorting key elements.

My first impressions of Photoshop are positive, the application seems much speedier than its predecessor. Of course, the first thing I checked was whether Adobe had included the developers code-name for the build… and they did – just hold down the modifier key (Mac – Command, Win – Ctrl) and select “About Photoshop” and see for yourself.

Next post: A quick peek at InDesign CS4

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4 Responses

  1. ivy says:

    It’s fantastic!
    How can it do that?

  2. ellis says:

    I can guess how the content-aware scaling works. It actually doesn’t seem that difficult to implement. With the already existing magic wand tool Adobe showed that they already have code that can do decent edge detection. Using that you could detect all the edges in the image. Any edges that formed a closed loop would be selected. If the area within a loop is less that half the area of the image, you can assume with high probability that it’s encircling a foreground feature in the image. Take these loops and create individual masks for each element.

    Now that you’ve got a mask, copy the image data under each mask and save it away, then scale the image horizontally or vertically. If the image is squeezed, just take the copied elements and paste them over the centers of their previous locations in the now transformed image. If the image is stretched, take the copied elements and scale them both horizontally and vertically the same percentage as the image was scaled in only one direction to completely cover the scaled mask.

    There you have it

  3. zac says:

    thanks for the insight… it’s very slick how adobe’s managed to automate this. however, though it only works on images with substantial areas of “repeated space” like the supplied ocean scene.

  4. Kathy says:

    This content aware scale is amazing, I played on it for a little while, and made out one, not bad:) if I can post picture here, I’d like to share with you, anyway, one thing confused me is, I want to scale the background more in left than right, but seems that I can’t control it. I mean, my photo is me on the beach, I’m in the middle position, I want to scale the beach twice and place myself in the right instead of middle, Now I can scale the beach twice but I can’t place me to the very right side of the picture, do you have any idea how to make it happen?

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