September 22, 2008

CS4: Sweating the Details

I’m a perfectionist, and I deeply, viscerally want to smooth & polish every aspect of Photoshop.  Doing it all in any one cycle is impossible, but I’m proud to say we’ve put a ton of effort into sweating the details in CS4. 

You’re going to see tons of flashier features in other write-ups, and of course I’ll cover them here, but for this cycle I want to lead with the little stuff–things you might not read about otherwise, but which can make a big difference while working. Read on for the details.

 

Display & navigation:

  • Smooth pixel rendering at any zoom level (via new OpenGL support)
  • Bird’s-Eye View for fast navigation of high-res documents; detailed explanation to follow
  • Flick panning (aka "Hand-tossed pixels") for quicker navigation of high-res documents
  • Support for multi-touch gestures on MacBook Air/MacBook Pro

 

 

Interface:

  • Support for tabbed document viewing and quick N-up (2-up, 3-up, etc.) window reconfiguration
  • Support for using miniaturized panel groups on secondary monitors. (The term "panel" now replaces "palette" throughout the Suite.)
  • Ability to set the color of each screen mode separately (in a way that’s now actually discoverable by humans)
  • Ability to have no border around an image (useful for soft proofing in conjunction with custom background colors; call it the Stephen Johnson Feature)
  • Flash panels enable a dramatically more configurable working environment, especially when used with the forthcoming Configurator utility app.
  • Return to three "F" screen modes (vs. CS3’s four)
  • Application frame (optional on Mac for those who want more managed document/window handling)
  • Improved automatic scrolling when zoomed in near image edges

 

 

Keyboard shortcuts:

  • Spring-loaded keys: Switch from any tool to any other temporarily by holding down the other tool’s key.  For example, you can hold "R" to invoke the new Rotate View Tool, drag on the canvas to rotate, and release R to jump back to the Brush or whatever other tool you were using.
  • Cmd-~ (tilde) is now assigned to switching among open documents, as is Ctrl-Tab, meaning Photoshop is now consistent with both Mac and Windows conventions
  • Cmd-1 is now assigned to 100% zoom, as it is in Illustrator, Flash, and other apps
  • Single-letter keyboard shortcuts for video, meaning you can navigate through time using just one hand while painting with the other
  • Ability to delete layers via the Delete key when any tool is selected.  In CS2 and CS3 you had to have the Move tool active, leading to the "V-delete" convention.

 

 

Color correction & compositing:

  • Photoshop now emphasizes non-destructive techniques via a new Adjustments panel, making it faster and easier to browse & edit adjustments
  • Curves, Hue/Saturation, and Black & White feature an on-canvas adjustment tool that enables you to click a region of the image, then drag to adjust just the targeted tonal/color range.
  • Support for Vibrance adjustment (introduced previously in Camera Raw/Lightroom) for smarter saturation adjustments
  • Improved Color Range selection tools
  • Improved Dodge, Burn, and Sponge tools: Dodge & Burn do a better job of preserving tones while Sponge uses the Vibrance algorithm
  • Ability to adjust the density (opacity) of a layer mask
  • Ability to add non-destructive feathering to a layer mask
  • CUDO support: Photoshop’s soft proofing features can simulate color blindness, making it easier to create accessible signage and other artwork.  (Illustrator offers the same functionality.)

 

 

Metadata:

  • Better copyright preservation controls through Save for Web
  • Unique IDs generated/stored per document (to enable easier asset tracking downstream)
  • Layer-based metadata: PSD files now include timestamps that indicate when each layer was edited (thanks to the Pixar guys for suggesting this), and scripts/Flash panels can read/write metadata on a per-layer basis; more on what that means soon.
  • Extensible, Flash-based File Info (enabling developers to add network-stored keywords, spellchecking, etc.); a cool in-house demo lets Photoshop and Bridge display Google/Yahoo/Microsoft maps for geotagged images.

 

 

Painting & retouching

  • Smoother painting performance
  • Drag-resizing cursors: Hold down modifier keys to resize a brush and/or change its hardness by clicking and dragging
  • Live under-cursor preview for cloning/healing (a la Vanishing Point)
  • Pixel grid view: At zoom levels greater than 500%, Photoshop will optionally display a faint grid that makes it easier to edit pixels precisely.
  • When working with pressure-sensitive drawing tablets, Photoshop now supports more than 256 levels of pressure input
  • Eyedropper option to sample all layers or just the current layer
  • Flash panels will enable the creation of non-modal (panel-based) color pickers; here’s one you can download.

 

Smart Object enhancements:

  • Layer masks can now stay linked to Smart Objects while moving/transforming the objects.  Sorry that it took a while.
  • Perspective transform: You can now apply non-uniform transforms to pixel-based SOs (non-destructively, of course).

 

 

Filters/Plug-Ins:

  • Adobe Pixel Bender plug-in for fast filters, enabling more modern versions of operations like Radial Blur

 

Miscellaneous:

  • Ability to delete multiple channels at once.  (Not paths this time; sorry.)
  • Stroke color now defaults to black (hey, don’t ask me, but people said they’d like it changed)
  • Kuler panel enables creation of color harmonies, download/upload between Photoshop and kuler.adobe.com.
  • Automatic detection & correction of vignetting & fisheye distortion during panorama creation
  • “Share My Screen” command under file menu enables quick, free screen sharing with up to two other participants (same in other CS4 apps; great for quick reviews with clients, art directors, etc.)
  • The Pen tool now defaults to drawing paths (instead of filled shape layers), while the various shape tools continue to default to drawing filled shapes
  • Support for brushes up to 1500px in Liquify (up from a previous limit of 600px)
  • Support for sampling color from fill layers (solid color, gradient, pattern)

 

 

Printing & color management:

  • 16-bit printing (Mac only; requires OS X 10.5)
  • Support for printing larger documents (>30,000 pixels)
  • More automated print output enabled via increased scripting support
  • Support for Device Link color profiles
  • Support for abstract color profiles
  • Support for N-color/multichannel imaging
  • Support for scene-referred color profiles (useful with After Effects CS4)

 

 

Video:

  • Thanks to OpenGL, PS offers much smoother display of non-square pixels
  • Export and preview audio
  • Export comments
  • As noted above, single-key shortcuts enable more efficient navigation among frames

 

 

Posted by John Nack at 11:54 PM on September 22, 2008

Comments

  • Kent C. — 12:43 AM on September 23, 2008

    John,
    Thanks for the preview. Anything new on extraction?
    [Long term we're trying to kill off the Extract plug-in and replace it with technology that's more organically part of the Photoshop environment. For this cycle, instead of pumping resources into making Extract 64-bit-native, etc., we've made it an optional plug-in (i.e. it isn't installed by default, but you can grab it from Adobe.com or pull it over from CS3). We continue to do research around extraction technology that can be incorporated into PS. --J.]

  • HD Schellnack — 1:21 AM on September 23, 2008

    Sounds good to me – much better, actually than the «big» features on most CS4-Releases, which frankly, don’t wow me that much. Improved Interface, Speed and the little things could be the dealmaker here :-D. Especially as it sounds as if you’re carefully introducing what nik has named the u-point-technology here, which would be great.
    Still, a shame that something just as simple and productive as LensDoc still is missing. Plus, I’d really have liked a Lightroom/Photoshop-Fusion.

  • Cecelia — 2:04 AM on September 23, 2008

    Ooo. Some cool stuff! Pixel Grid View sounds awesome. I may just update one of these days. Perhaps after I move to Intel.
    I see that 16-bit printing is Mac-only. Does that kinda offset lack of a 64-bit version? ;-)
    [Well, I hope it shows that we're not out to play favorites or somehow to screw Mac users. We try to be evenhanded across platforms without holding things back (x64 on Win, 16bpc printing on Mac) just because the other platform isn't ready. --J.]

  • Daydream — 3:17 AM on September 23, 2008

    This is set to be a really exciting release, and great to see the OpenGL and MultiTouch technologies being put to use.

  • Lenen — 3:18 AM on September 23, 2008

    Nice list of new features!
    Specially this feature will resolve a lot of irritations:
    Ability to delete layers via the Delete key
    [Just FYI, you can do this today. The difference is that now you don't have to have the Move tool selected first. To me this change makes the implementation feel a good deal more natural. --J.]
    Looking forward to CS4!

  • Andrew Megosu — 3:34 AM on September 23, 2008

    I’m blind or there’s no “64bit” info anywhere? Tell me that I’ve missed something…
    [That's too big a feature to make this list. On this page I chose to list only the "small" things that wouldn't get mentioned elsewhere. --J.]

  • dd — 4:17 AM on September 23, 2008

    sadly you’re still horrible greedy with european prices.. stop acting so stupid- what’s the difference if i buy and _download_? you force me to choose adobe-eu store and pay DOUBLE AMOUNT??? you will not get any :(

  • Jim Monaco — 4:45 AM on September 23, 2008

    Oh, wow. I’m actually a little bit speechless reading over that list–it’s inspiring. This had to have been a fun post to write!
    What continues to amaze me about Adobe is all of the little things you guys do that don’t end up on the “big new features” list, like those spring-loaded keys and on-canvas adjustments. You always find ways to increase the usability and productivity for us all, even when *we* don’t realize there could be a better way. And, of course, you manage to do it while staying ahead of the curve on the flashy things, too.
    Thanks for the great feature overview; I’ll be watching the announcement @ 9 EST!
    -Jim

  • Jim Pogozelski — 5:03 AM on September 23, 2008

    Sounds pretty good. No border, multiple delete channels, eyedropper per/layer, comand~, command 1 — all the “app fix” things we’ve wanted focus on. As well as the new stuff for John N himself. Rotate view sounds good. I’ll have to see the Adjustment Palette, (hopefully it’s not too Lightroom), but it sounds interesting. Since I’m one of the few who’s apparently not a developer, I don’t care about the Flash extensibility stuff, but overall it sounds like a great Photoshop.
    [Thanks. I predict that you *will* care about the Flash extensibility stuff, but as a user. It'll enable a great many things, and the fact that Flash is involved is kind of incidental. --J.]

  • Phil Brown — 5:55 AM on September 23, 2008

    Amazing how “little stuff” can take up so much space to list!
    Maybe you’ll get a chance to sleep before Christmas, John :-)

  • Peter — 6:04 AM on September 23, 2008

    Stroke color now defaults to black
    Why to black? The current foreground or background color would have been a more useful choice IMO.
    Congratulations by the way, you all did obviously a great job on the new release, this post was a pleasure to read :)
    By the way, what happened to the functions/tools you had previously assigned stuff like R, Cmd+~, Cmd+1 etc.? Are there replacements by default?
    [I'll soon share probably more details than you'd ever want to know, listing what I believe to be every single shortcut change in this release. Believe me, they're never something we do lightly. --J.]
    And does that non-destructive feathering work for vector masks as well? If it does, are the controls for pixel and vector masks independent?
    [Yes and yes. :-) --J.]

  • Dan — 6:08 AM on September 23, 2008

    That’s quite the impressive list, John!
    I actually screamed out loud upon hearing the SPRING-LOADED KEYS feature! I can only hope it’s implemented in Illustrator!
    [No, but I'll pass along the request. --J.]
    It’s just one of those features you couldn’t quite think of, yourself, but when hearing about it makes you go “yeah, that sounds great”.
    I appreciate the massive detail in this blog post, compared to the webcast showing the same-old pictures & features. Where can one find the same thing, only for Illustrator?
    [Mordy Golding (former Illustrator PM) has supplied a pretty thorough write-up. --J.]
    The official page at adobe.com lists only the more WOW things… Even though I appreciate the new Gradient Tool, I would love the spring-loaded keys!

  • Andy Baker — 6:32 AM on September 23, 2008

    Is it me or is the adjustment panel verging on ‘mystery meat’ territory? Surely text is better than a dozen not-nearly-distinct-enough icons?
    [Well, you get the text when you mouse over the icons, and you can also apply adjustments by browsing the text-based list of presets below the icons. --J.]

  • Jerry — 7:07 AM on September 23, 2008

    Wow, you’ve listed a lot of things that I’ve been wishing for since I started using Photoshop at version 5.5 (among others the “no border” feature, I completely gave up hoping for that), a few that I’ve now grown so used to in other apps that I yearn for them in Photoshop (like multitouch), and a few that I’ve scratched my head about wondering why they weren’t there (like connected masks and perspective transformations on Smart Objects). These little workflow details are the ones that we encounter a LOT more during our daily work than the big features, and I am really glad you put a lot of work into them with this release. It’s really, really appreciated and much more valuable to me personally than the “flashier” stuff Adobe’s marketing folks are going to be touting (though GPU acceleration is looking very promising!). Thank you! I can’t wait to upgrade.

  • Hobble — 7:36 AM on September 23, 2008

    Off Topic
    Why the fuck is the Adobe Store in ALL FLASH?
    I can’t use my mousewheel to scroll.
    I can’t open multiple product pages in new tabs
    Flash is cool for cool shit but not fore the entire fucking store.

  • Mark Beckelman — 7:44 AM on September 23, 2008

    I may have missed it, but when will CS4 actually be available?

  • thinsoldier — 8:07 AM on September 23, 2008

    What about selecting multiple layers & change their layer modes simultaneously
    (similar to selecting multiple text layers and changing font and size)
    To go even further with colorblind support….
    There’s an application for windows called WhatColor that lets me mouse over any pixel on my screen and it tries to tell me the “word” that best describes that color. I’m completely lost without it when doing work for other people. I actually work on a mac so it’s a bit annoying waiting until I go home to do more work on the colors of a design.
    It would be great if photoshop had such a feature. Or even better if you guys or somebody, anybody made a similar app for OS X. The best thing about WhatColor is you can write your own color name database in xml for it to use. I’ve converted the paint pallete color names of a number of paint producing companies into databases. Comes in really handy when working with a lady with a huge color vocabulary.
    “Smoother painting performance” – Need more info!
    “Live under-cursor preview” – ABOUT EFFING TIME!
    Will we ever be able to just ‘Place’ a file in photoshop and have it remain ‘Linked’ to the original file on disk instead of it being embedded in the psd as a smart object?
    What about rearranging the stacking order in which layer styles are applied (like layers). There are some photoshop knock-offs that managed to do this very well.
    What about multiple instances of the same effect like in illustrator? (ie: multiple strokes)
    What about a damned path-finder panel like Illustrators. Seems Fireworks got one!!!! WTF?
    [I just said that we can't do everything in one release. Having said that, additional feedback is always welcome. --J.]

  • Cal — 8:14 AM on September 23, 2008

    Meta comment: please don’t use underlines for non-linked text.
    [Are you saying that underlines are never acceptable on the Web? I disagree. --J.]
    Bold or italics would be just peachy. It kind of undermines your claim to be detail-oriented. Thanks.
    [No, it doesn't. --J.]

  • dogfestiv — 8:18 AM on September 23, 2008

    Flash panels + Tabbed Documents?
    *VOMITS*
    [Why specifically, fake-email-address-guy? Incidentally, you don't have to use either one. --J.]

  • mike — 8:20 AM on September 23, 2008

    Hobble,
    Can you use any more unprofessional language when you post? I would bet not.
    CS4 will be a great package for educators and artists alike.
    BRAVO!!!

  • Grover — 8:21 AM on September 23, 2008

    Stroke color now defaults to black (hey, don’t ask me, but people said they’d like it changed)

    I am among them. I have a joke in my Photoshop workshop about how it defaults to that horrifying red solely so that people would scramble to change it and not just always use the default. So I consider this a huge improvement and it’s well worth loosing the joke. Though I also agree with Peter that foreground color would be even better (though I imagine there are greatly differing opinions over whether it should be foreground or background).
    But seriously, these little things are what will make a real difference in your working day and the things I’m always most interested in for any upgrade. So thanks for this post. I’m suddenly interested in looking into CS4 now.

  • thinsoldier — 8:23 AM on September 23, 2008

    “What continues to amaze me about Adobe is all of the little things you guys do that don’t end up on the “big new features””
    You seriously need to call the marketing department.
    (almost)Nothing on the store page is going to make the majority of PS6,7,8,9 users want to buy the new version as much as this page does.

  • turbotorben — 8:26 AM on September 23, 2008

    very nice! i have been missing interactive brush adjustments and rotation for almost 10 years now. don’t forget to include those nice interface enhancements in lightroom! they will make photoediting more intuitive and fun – and possibly less crap will appear on photoshopdisasters.com :)

  • n — 8:27 AM on September 23, 2008

    Still, why the heck can’t we just define our very own default settings for each layer style option (Shadow, Inner Glow, etc)?
    Black stroke instead of red one is an improvement. (…or rather a small reduction of pain, actually)
    Adobe, what your products need are options to make your products adapt our common workflows along frquently used settings, etc.

  • Brian Powell — 8:32 AM on September 23, 2008

    Will there be a reduced upgrade price from CS3.3 (less than the upgrade from CS3)? If so, when will this option be available at the Adobe web store?
    [Yes, there is a reduced price. If you've upgraded to CS3.3 from CS3, you get credit for that $159 you've already spent. The reduced upgrade price is available right away, though you may want to wait until CS4 ships. The only trick is that you have to call Adobe Customer Service in your area to get sorted out. The number in the US is 800-585-0774. --J.]

  • Bill Miller — 8:34 AM on September 23, 2008

    Is stacking restricted to the extended edition or will it be enabled in CC4?
    [Stacking, as implemented in CS3, remains an Extended-only feature, but the new depth-of-field extension feature is in both flavors. --J.]

  • Alex — 8:42 AM on September 23, 2008

    “Smooth pixel rendering” sounds nice – but what if I want to see the pixels in zoom mode to work at a pixel detail (yes, I use that for video game artwork) – can I turn that feature off?
    [Yes, but I don't think you'll have reason to complain. I also think you'll like the pixel grid overlay when doing precision work. --J.]

  • Jesse Wiggins — 8:58 AM on September 23, 2008

    Nice list. “Stroke color now defaults to black” and “Drag-resizing cursors” are my initial favorites.Also, someone wondered why the stroke defaults to black and not the foreground or background colors. I’m pretty sure they chose black based on the frequency of using a black stroke. I don’t have any data to back this up, but I’m fairly sure a high percentage of strokes end up being black over any other color.
    [Seems like a reasonable guess, which is why we made it. :-) --J.]

  • Rob Marquardt — 9:06 AM on September 23, 2008

    “I actually screamed out loud upon hearing the SPRING-LOADED KEYS feature! I can only hope it’s implemented in Illustrator!”

    I’d be happy with context menus that are actually contextually-sensitive in Illustrator. Or any contextual menu support at all in the Layers palette, er, panel.

  • Jonathan Barrett — 9:08 AM on September 23, 2008

    I’m pretty disappointed that one of the minor ticket features isn’t:
    * no longer screws UK/EU customers by doubling the price and hoping nobody notices
    I mean, seriously, what gives? I’m a Fireworks guy, but every release I keep thinking “maybe I’ll upgrade to a suite this year… oh, hang on, you want HOW MUCH?”
    I know this blog is more about the (very cool) tech than the finances, but you’ve shown yourself to be not above tackling the odd off-topic point where it adversely affects your users.
    I can’t see a single reason for the price disparity, other than *sheer greed*. I know you don’t set the prices. I just want to know if you’re aware of the situation, and if we have your sympathy and/or sword?
    Keep sweating the details. Just remember that wallet burn is always the first feature your users encounter.

  • Michael Wendell — 9:13 AM on September 23, 2008

    What happened to the ability to Place an EPS outline, and fill it with a different color without rasterizing it? Is that still there? In 7.0/Win I could place a simple vector logo and Alt-Delete to fill it with a different color. Now I have to deal with it as an S.O. and rasterize it if i want to change the color.
    [I don't think anything has changed in this regard. You can copy paths from Illustrator, then paste them as paths or as a shape layer (filled with color). --J.]
    And adding “Save to FTP” and “Open from FTP” would be such a killer feature. I know I’ve mentioned that before and you said A) you’d get complaints about adding an irrelevant feature, and B) then you’d have to support so many new FTP formats. Seriously though, I think a lot of web people would die for that feature. As for A above? Well… complaining about feature creep should have been done many versions ago, you’re long past time for that. And B? You’re kidding, right? Has FTP changed? I use a text editor that hasn’t been updated since 2002, the built-in FTP works fine. The only other format that seems to be in widespread use is SFTP which is more secure.

    C’mon, how hard could it be? You already have the code working in Flash.
    [As we like to say, "It's all just code." :-) This kind of thing *is* on our radar, and I'm giving it some thought. I'm not sure that adding, testing, and maintaining upload/download support in every dialog is going to be scalable. We'll think about options. --J.]

  • Levi Figueira — 9:20 AM on September 23, 2008

    Agree that these features are all nice and all, but I still can’t believe that after shelling out $2500 around 6 months ago, I already had to 2 PAID *upgrades* and little to none really useful (and free) *updates*…
    Is this the new policy for Adobe?? Because if it is, I’ll work hard to move my workflow out of Adobe products! I just made the case for Adobe here at the office and moved our video workflow from FCP to Premiere, to integrate with our current Adobe design products (Indesign, Illustrator, etc…) but after soooo many bugs in CS3, seeing a paid update (CS3.3) and having to shell $900 to get bugs fixed (and I don’t even care much for the new app interface btw) is outrageous!!
    This is not a rant.. This is just a comment of someone really frustrating and starting to understand why so many people I know don’t even buy Adobe products anymore… They own an old license and pirate everything newer that comes until after 3-4 release upgrades they buy an upgrade…
    … I’m starting to consider that… Save my $900 and wait for CS6 and by then I’ll have to shell out little more, like $1300 or something…
    Really *really* frustrating… (and don’t get me started on the individual app pricing… PS CS4 @ $1000?? Kidding right??)

  • Stephen Gilkes — 9:21 AM on September 23, 2008

    To be honest, I think I’ll be missing this one out. I guess you Photoshoppers have plenty of good new stuff but the new feature cupboard for Dreamweaver and Indesign seems pretty bare. Also, yet again, UK customers are paying a fortune more than the Yanks (For the upgrade: US – $599; for the UK $1122 (conversion from £605) . Also, why is the download version more expensive (£623.15) than the boxed version (£605.12). Surely it should be the other way round!! Or are you trying to wring the very last drop of profit from what you know will be the more popular purchase option.

  • John — 9:25 AM on September 23, 2008

    Bold or italics would be just peachy. It kind of undermines your claim to be detail-oriented. Thanks.
    [No, it doesn't. --J.]

    Yes it does. I keep trying to click the underlined text thinking it will take me to a more detailed description. You can disagree with me all you want but that doesn’t change the fact that I still think underlined text is a link, and that’s a detail you clearly overlooked.

  • Zandr — 9:42 AM on September 23, 2008

    I’ll agree with Hobble’s comments about gratuitous use of Flash on the website.
    But I *really* would like to find a comprehensive list of features between Standard and Extended. I didn’t buy Extended when I upgraded to CS3, and only later found that the stacking stuff I wanted to use was Extended-only. Your comments about stacking to Bill Miller above suggest that I should get Extended now, even though the feature chart here suggests that “enhanced alignment” is available in standard.
    And Adobe’s upgrade pricing meant once I bought CS3, I was too annoyed to upgrade to Extended. Adobe makes the standard/extended decision potentially expensive. If you are going to upgrade to extended, you should do it on a version upgrade, since it costs the same whether you’re coming from a previous version or not (CS/CS2/CS3/CS3e/CS4 all cost $349 to go to CS4e). But, if you do upgrade, you’re locked into the higher Extended upgrade price forever. (You can’t upgrade from CS3e to CS4, only to CS4e).

  • Welles — 9:44 AM on September 23, 2008

    Well I had convinced myself to skip this upgrade for Mac but this list will at least make me look closely at the new version. Just the 16bit printing is a huge deal for me. Thanks for the post, John.

  • Zandr — 9:46 AM on September 23, 2008

    Gotta agree with Cal, btw. I kept trying to click on the underlined non-links for more detail.
    Underlined text on the web *is* a bad UI decision.

  • Fred — 9:50 AM on September 23, 2008

    I *really* like the idea of spring-loaded keys. For people who use keyboard shortcuts extensively, this is a time saver.
    And thank you for giving up cmd-tab, for switching to other apps. ;-)
    And, not to pile on, but I was clicking on the underlined words, thinking they were links (and yes, I see the actual links are red, but clicking on *any* underlined text is a learned, automatic response). In this case, they’re not useful.

  • Marshall — 9:51 AM on September 23, 2008

    I agree with Cal. Underlining is an interaction cue, and is unacceptable on the Web for anything other than links. And it does undermine your claim. I’ve already seen various comments elsewhere on this.
    [Fine; I'll change it. --J.]

  • Dustin Wilson — 10:01 AM on September 23, 2008

    Thanks, John, for the exhaustive testing. If you wouldn’t mind answering it for me, but is it possible to turn off the pixel grid overlay if you don’t want it?
    [Sure, absolutely: you can toggle it off via the View menu (just like grids/guides). There's no shortcut key assigned by default, but you can quickly add one if this is a setting you change frequently. --J.]
    After testing it a few months ago the pixel grid was awesome for pixel work, but if I needed to zoom in and paint something (without the necessity to have precise pixel work) with a bit of detail the pixel grid got in the way. Well many announced features were missing from it, so I didn’t know if it was planned or not.

  • Chris Palmieri — 10:07 AM on September 23, 2008

    Any improvements to the swatches palette.
    I love how global swatches save me time in Illustrator, is that not practical in Photoshop?
    Also, I’d love to see Character and Paragraph styles, found in InDesign and Illustrator, even Apple’s Pages, but not Photoshop.
    I know type isn’t PS’s main deal, but it’s still a web design tool for many of us, and a lot of web is about type.

  • alanvalek.com — 10:08 AM on September 23, 2008

    Looks great, can’t wait to get it. I’m a designer and I’m being nitpicky, but—what is up with that weird CS4 logo they used for the webcast? Doesn’t look like it pertains to anything else? Kinda random. I do like the whole periodic table of elements vibe of the icons, I heard a lot of people didn’t like that change last time. God, thank God for the “no more 33.33% zoom issues” Fantastic.

  • George Johnson — 10:15 AM on September 23, 2008

    Dude, you’ve got a lot of inactive links. Maybe forgot to point them to something?
    [Sigh... Apparently basic typographic conventions are now off limits on the Web, even if they've been supported since the Mozilla days. --J.]

  • Damien Jemison — 10:15 AM on September 23, 2008

    Amen on the smart objects enhancements!! Those two missing features alone drove me nuts.
    [I hear you. Sorry it took a while. --J.]

  • Brian Peat — 10:21 AM on September 23, 2008

    Please oh please tell me the scroll wheel now works in long panels in Fireworks (like the layers panel). I can’t tell you how frustrating THAT is currently.
    [It should. I've been told that the scroll wheel doesn't work in browsers (at least on the Mac) because the API wasn't available to browser plug-ins. I see that it works now in QuickTime in Safari, so maybe the plumbing has changed. In any case, the wheel works in the version of the Flash Player that's embedded in Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. I don't know whether Fireworks and the other former Macromedia apps use that exact same version & whether they've added the same support. --J.]

  • Justin Belcher — 10:22 AM on September 23, 2008

    Thanks for the post John, this looks like a fantastic upgrade. Two questions:
    1.) I think Flash panels will be a lot more useful than some people let on, but how is their performance compared to native UI widgets? I know a lot of Flash UIs can be sluggish, and it might be a bummer to configure a more streamlined interface with Flash panels and have it run slower than the complete interface.
    2.) Are there any planned enhancements to make Dodge and Burn more non-destructive? I know there are plenty of methods available to achieve a similar purpose (masked curves, D/B on an overlay 50% gray layer), but in the same way I can heal/stamp sampling all layers I’d love to dodge/burn the same way to keep that separate–especially now that the D/B enhancements do a nicer job of preserving tonality.

  • Todd Lambert — 10:27 AM on September 23, 2008

    Looks/sounds good, however I’m a bit concerned about the lack of details on new/revised web-related items, such as slices, or exporting options.
    The entire slices mechanism was horribly underwhelming in CS 2 and even worse in CS3. You cannot group slices still. Is this something that you can do in CS4?
    I know the “party line” is to use Fireworks, but I am a die-hard PS user and loathe Fireworks – especially for something as trivial as slicing and output for web.
    Please tell me that they paid some attention to the web export features in CS4?!?

  • Movie Comics — 10:36 AM on September 23, 2008

    Will the rotate view tool also be available in Illustrator? Please say yes!

  • Nate Roche — 11:05 AM on September 23, 2008

    Hey I was wondering…. since you are sweating the details…
    Does exposé now work in any of the F screen modes?
    [I don't think it's any better than it was in CS3. I know that our guys have talked to Apple many times about improving interaction between the systems, but Exposé has certain limitations (e.g. it can't show you the contents of tabs in Safari). I don't know whether there's more that can be done from the Adobe side. --J.]
    That was one thing that drove me absolutely nuts about CS3, and if I wasn’t on an intel machine I would have downgraded back to CS2. I would upgrade to CS4 for this feature alone!

  • AJ Maiorano — 11:20 AM on September 23, 2008

    I am really excited for all the small fixes that have been implemented, but mostly for the improvements to smart objects! Question, you mentioned that layer masks now link properly to SOs, what about vector masks? Same thing?
    [Yep. --J.][I haven't seen anything like that, and of course the most elegant crash is no crash at all! Maybe I can ask someone from QE to follow up with you as it sounds like something is seriously amiss on your system. --J.]
    Thanks again, really excited for this release!

  • KA — 11:47 AM on September 23, 2008

    Does the tool selection palette now touch the edge of the screen?
    [No. Did it in CS2 or earlier? --J.]
    So when you have the palette in one column mode, each button is right at the edge of the screen, meaning you can slam your mouse into the left edge of the screen and hit the button you want.

  • Jim Stewart — 11:50 AM on September 23, 2008

    Excellent. Good to see you’re not getting complacent on the UI.
    Any word on whether we’re getting a new version of Acrobat Pro? V9 is buggy, buggy, buggy.

  • Levi Figueira — 12:17 PM on September 23, 2008

    BTW, I forgot to add this to my previous comment, but does Adobe provide a cheaper/special upgrade pricing for those who bought CS3 Master Collection recently?? :/

  • MikeW — 12:28 PM on September 23, 2008

    Great post John.
    I attended the webcast this morning and I have to say it was absolutely horrible. Half the time was taken up with the two big boss men either a) saying nothing or b) trying (and failing) to be funny.
    There was so little time to demo actual new features it was ridiculous. Having the real firms come up came across as staged and contrived.
    Adobe used to do such a brilliant job of demoing apps and their new features. That was mostly because it was done by passionate people like you who really get it.
    I signed up for the webcast for the promise of a sneak peak at new features. What I got was a completely staged, investor-focused propaganda show. It was a total waste of my time – and the 6 people from our studio that watched it with me.
    I know this has nothing to do with you – but I was hoping maybe you could pass it along to those responsible.
    After this morning, I was not too excited about CS4 – now your post has shown me there is some “meat” there and it gets me excited again.

  • thinsoldier — 12:36 PM on September 23, 2008

    Michael Wendell — 09:13 AM on September 23, 2008
    What happened to the ability to Place an EPS outline, and fill it with a different color without rasterizing it? Is that still there? In 7.0/Win I could place a simple vector logo and Alt-Delete to fill it with a different color. Now I have to deal with it as an S.O. and rasterize it if i want to change the color.
    [I don't think anything has changed in this regard. You can copy paths from Illustrator, then paste them as paths or as a shape layer (filled with color). --J.]
    [What if you don't have illustrator to OPEN-copy-paste them. Place is your only option. --thin]
    Michael Wendell —
    And adding “Save to FTP” and “Open from FTP” would be such a killer feature…. Seriously though, I think a lot of web people would die for that feature.
    [Just use a decent ftp client. With Transmit I can right click ANY FILE and open it with ANY APP. Transmit downloads a temporary copy of the file and every time that temp file is saved it gets uploaded to the server immediately. There's really little reason for any app to have internal ftp support anymore. It makes sense for project based apps like flash,dreamweaver,eclipse etc but even in dreamweaver I think there's the option to right-click a remote file and open it with anything.'--thin]

  • thinsoldier — 12:38 PM on September 23, 2008

    John — 09:25 AM on September 23, 2008
    Bold or italics would be just peachy. It kind of undermines your claim to be detail-oriented. Thanks.
    [No, it doesn't. --J.]
    Yes it does. I keep trying to click the underlined text thinking it will take me to a more detailed description. You can disagree with me all you want but that doesn’t change the fact that I still think underlined text is a link, and that’s a detail you clearly overlooked.
    [All I'm going to say is the topic of discussion really makes one wish they were clickable. The fact that they're not is very annoying especially considering that nothing I've so far on the main Adobe site is nearly as interesting as your post and I hope those headings eventually do lead to more interesing posts like this one. --thin]
    [I intend to post a lot more detail on numerous subjects in the days and weeks ahead. I was hoping not to overwhelm people (and to have some semblance of a life) and therefore I haven't gotten everything ready to post just yet. --J.]
    [dammit! the next generation of blogs better have nested comments!]
    [Yeah, don't get me started. --J.]

  • Andrew Fox — 12:40 PM on September 23, 2008

    I think Cal is saying underlines should only be used for links. I think these rules are made to be broken… but I think he’s right in this case. I kept on trying to click on those underlined bits of text too.
    Otherwise – good stuff.
    Still not sure about non-standard windows for the UI, but many of these features I love. Especially: Cmd-~ and Cmd-1 changes! YAY!!!! At last!!!
    As for the Flash panels – I know the fact they are Flash shouldn’t matter – but they nearly always look a little strange. Well, they do in CS3. Text is rendered differently, buttons don’t act quite the same way as in the rest of the app, etc. This is the ongoing oddness of Flash in my opinion (that it doesn’t use OS widgets), but hey…
    [It's mostly a matter of how the panels have been written in the past that's been a problem, rather than limitation of Flash itself. "Easy to create" (which SWFs are) is no excuse for slop, and we've worked hard to make these bits of the UI feel native in PS. --J.]
    Finally – I absolutely agree on European prices. I was hoping this release would usher in more equal pricing – but nope.

  • thinsoldier — 12:41 PM on September 23, 2008

    Another thought for your marketing department. Make a list of 10 features, even if they’re mostly “small” things and promise that 3 months after launch those 10 things will be available as a free update.
    Ok.. just watched an Illustrator CS4 video. I’m pissed. The appearance panel needs to come to photoshop. ASAP. Your people need to realize there is a big difference between Features and Usability. I know you want to avoid feature cross-over but that shouldn’t stop you from keeping the level of usability and convenience consistent across apps. Especially ones that get used together a lot. There are probably a good many people out there who always launch Photoshop & Illustrator simultaneously and use them almost like they were a single application.
    Why don’t all the products have a blog like yours?
    I’ve been told a million times that Fireworks exports “better” Jpegs than photoshop. Has that changed?
    You should keep a database of all the better questions you’ve answered and all the better ideas you’ve been given. Then let your “paying” customers vote on them.

  • thinsoldier — 12:44 PM on September 23, 2008

    If fireworks now uses the adobe type engine, and illustrator uses it, and inDesign uses it… and photoshop uses it? Then they should all have type styles. There should be a Type Style Server application where all the programs store their type styles so that they are all available in all apps at all times.
    [Using the same text engine has little to do with offering character/paragraph styles. The features are independent, each requiring its own allocation of resources. --J.]

  • Charles Badland — 12:55 PM on September 23, 2008

    Looks like some great features.
    The F key returning to just 3 screen modes will be worth the upgrade price.
    Did the Crop+Rotate+DownSample bug get fixed this time around? I can’t believe that bug has existed for so many versions without being addressed.

  • marlwin — 12:56 PM on September 23, 2008

    “What about selecting multiple layers & change their layer modes simultaneously
    (similar to selecting multiple text layers and changing font and size)”
    I’ll second that.
    So I’ll wait for CS5 or 6.

  • Eric J — 1:37 PM on September 23, 2008

    I actually screamed out loud upon hearing the SPRING-LOADED KEYS feature! I can only hope it’s implemented in Illustrator!
    [No, but I'll pass along the request. --J.]

    I was really hoping that by now you guys had standardized on a single set of objects for your panels and toolbars, instead of just “chroming” the various apps to look the same.
    [We're not "just chroming." Much more UI code is shared in CS4 than in CS3, and in CS3 than in CS2. That doesn't mean that one just starts getting everything for free. --J.]
    Really, if this feature is available in Photoshop, and you’re selling it as a silly “suite,” it should be available across all the apps from day 1.
    [It's all so silly. Silly, silly. --J.]

  • Zandr — 1:51 PM on September 23, 2008

    [Sigh... Apparently basic typographic conventions are now off limits on the Web, even if they've been supported since the Mozilla days. --J.]
    Mozilla supported , too. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. :)
    [Underlines are a legitimate typographic convention. --J.]

  • OliverN — 2:44 PM on September 23, 2008

    Are there any improvements in support for multiprocessing? I am trying to figure out if I should go for a quad core or dual core system. If I go with a dual core, I can get more memory per core but if the software is able to make use of more cores for more features, it might make sense to get that quad core machine…

  • disgruntled — 2:49 PM on September 23, 2008

    Wow, you must have a glorious sense of self satisfaction.
    I mean, at what point will these MINOR patches just become a free upgrade to the existing suite? Maybe when we get to Adobe CS10 and all the new unwanted features we never asked for have been implemented, then you might get down to incremental FREE updates which do about as much as your full version updates add, value-wise.
    I want to put this out there:
    the only reason the vast majority of us professionals update is due to enforced (and tactical) lack of backward compatability of file formats.
    [We work hard to make it possible to open PSDs successfully in just about any version of Photoshop or other PSD readers. Of course you're not going to be able to edit features that didn't exist when those versions were written, but you can still see/composite the pixels. I don't expect any of this to convince you otherwise, but it is the way it is. --J.]
    Don’t kid yourself that any of this shit you are boasting is worth a paid upgrade.
    [Okay. --J.]
    I welcome the day that Apple throws their hat in the ring (like what Aperture is to lightroom), and gives you bloatware peddlers a reason to value your customers.
    [Incidentally, Lightroom is crushing Aperture among pro photographers. I'll post more info on that soon. --J.]

  • Simon — 3:45 PM on September 23, 2008

    nice to see you COMPLETELY IGNORED all that feedback we all gave you about rolling your own rubbish window bars on OS X.
    [What are you talking about? Floating windows (which are the default) use the standard OS X close/maximize/minimize buttons, the draggable document proxy icon, the contextual menu for showing the location of the file on disk--the works. --J.]
    Photoshop Users : 0
    Adobe Marketing Department Suits : 1
    [How so? Do you have any knowledge at all about how this affects users, in concrete terms? Any knowledge at all? --J.]
    jerk!
    [Right; I'm the jerk... It's ignorant crap like this that makes people loathe knee-jerk bigots of all stripes (in this case, computer operating system bigots). --J.]

  • Ian Davies — 4:17 PM on September 23, 2008

    I originally kept this to the “Dear Adobe” post, in the interests of correctness, but all discussion and response seems to have moved on to here.
    How about the hinted-at (no, I know you didn’t promise any such thing) justification from a random marketing drone, regarding the frankly obscene chasm between US and Euro pricing? That would be a feature worth paying for. My money still says that no-one will step up to the plate and give an answer that is even remotely fair and logical.
    Because we all know that no such fair and logical answer exists.
    OK, let me phrase a question that tries to speak to the context of this blog a bit more:
    How do you personally feel, John, about the fruits of your time, effort and no-doubt damned hard work being tainted by the company you work for with their insistence on price-raping non-US markets? Oh, and then lying about the reasons (localisation and other BS) when Adobe’s own list prices show the lie up for what it is?
    Seriously. I’m as curious as hell to know what you think when you see so much negativity directed at your work, for reasons that actually have nothing to do with you and what you do.

  • Erik K Veland — 4:24 PM on September 23, 2008

    “[Sigh... Apparently basic typographic conventions are now off limits on the Web, even if they've been supported since the Mozilla days. --J.]”
    As a typographer and a web designer I’ve known since the early days (my first website launched in early 1996) that underlines are off limits on the web. It is simply basic usability overriding typographic rules.
    Besides that I am impressed with all the small changes – those are the ones that really matter in my everyday workflow!
    [Cool. --J.]
    Thank you for taking the time to write them down and explain. You do get a lot of crap from posters (myself included), but I hope you still think it’s worth doing.
    We whine because we care :)
    [I know; I do, too! --J.]

  • Troy — 5:23 PM on September 23, 2008

    Thank you for this post. The one thing I don’t see is a feature I’ve requested, and perhaps there is just not enough demand: support for Dvorak-Qwerty in PS and throughout the CS apps. As a Dvorak user and user of QWERTY shortcuts, this is a pretty big inconvenience. Maybe someday D-Q keyboard support will be added.

  • nnn — 5:41 PM on September 23, 2008

    Still, why the heck can’t we just define our very own default settings for each layer style option (Shadow, Inner Glow, etc)?
    Black stroke instead of red one is an improvement. (…or rather a small reduction of pain, actually)
    Adobe, what your products need are options to make your products adapt our common workflows along frquently used settings, etc.

  • Jeff — 6:01 PM on September 23, 2008

    Nice improvements!
    Is the Highlight/Shadows feature available as an adjustment layer?
    [No, because (for performance reasons) adjustment layers are limited to running operations that work on individual pixels in isolation, as opposed to regions of pixels at once. You can, however, run S/H non-destructively as a Smart Filter (as you can in CS3). --J.]

  • Scott Graham — 6:05 PM on September 23, 2008

    As I read some of these posts, the question that someone asked about why no public beta this time comes to mind.
    And my answer would be, look at all of the crap from Simon, and disgruntled, etc.
    While admittedly a small percentage of posters, can anyone seriously think that a public beta would be “fun” for Adobe? A small percentage of 100,000 would drive anyone crazy.
    [A public beta certainly entails a large commitment of resources from the product team. CS3 occurred under extraordinary circumstances, with Mac users in desperate need of an Intel-native version of PS. Bringing the public beta to life remains my single proudest achievement at Adobe. --J.]
    And the small changes that John listed: two of them alone are a major productivity boost for me, let alone the new features.
    Scott

  • andrew — 7:00 PM on September 23, 2008

    will brush cursors finally interactively reflect dynamic attributes (eg: angle, tilt, rotation, direction) when painting with wacom tablets?
    [Sorry, no, though it's a good suggestion. i can tell you that we've been working closely with Wacom, making sure to take their feedback about future product directions into account as we build this rev. That's as much as I can say without discussing as-yet unannounced products. --J.]

  • Scott Graham — 7:23 PM on September 23, 2008

    Hi John,
    I understand the reason, and need, for the first PBeta, and as a Mac user appreciate it.
    But another one :)
    Scott

  • David — 7:32 PM on September 23, 2008

    What is the better Wacom/Tablet support?
    Does it mean I can draw with a one pixel brush at 100% and the strokes won’t stick to individual pixels? (Tablet resolution is much higher than screen resolution). Maybe a higher input data rate?(it is currently locked to the frame rate)
    Is the brush tool still off by a half pixel vertically and horizontally? {Make a SW to NE path, then stroke it with a one pixel brush, it will not be aligned. )

  • Andrew Meit — 7:53 PM on September 23, 2008

    John, from what I can tell from the info about CS4 suite, improved direct interactivity both for mouse/pen has occurred, thank you! Adobe has begun to fulfill a dream of mine started during my testing of Fontographer 3.5 -4.0 / FreeHand 3.1, go for it! Let one pen rule them all!! I still want to beta test Illustrator CS4. ;-)

  • rovis — 8:41 PM on September 23, 2008

    Hi,
    With CS4, are the any changes to transform controls aside from the fix to smart layer transforming, better warping, or angled transform control handles?
    Jussi
    [Sorry, not this time. --J.]

  • Stephen — 9:06 PM on September 23, 2008

    The single most important type feature missing from Photoshop CS3 and important to anyone who uses Adobe’s OpenType format: a glyph palette. Any hope?
    [It's always possible, but it's not part of this release. In the meantime, although it's not the answer you probably want, note that you can pick alternate glyphs in Illustrator, copy them to the clipboard, place a text insertion point in Photoshop, and then paste the glyphs. --J.]

  • benish — 10:29 PM on September 23, 2008

    I suspect you’re getting tired of the “is my most desired feature/bug added/fixed yet”, but I can’t resist…
    Does Layer Comps to Files use the name of the current document as the default for the File Name Prefix input?
    I use that all the time and having to manually type the name of the file that I’m running it on is so infuriating.

  • Fabrice Delaneau — 1:08 AM on September 24, 2008

    Hi,
    I love the little features and improvements much more than big ones. Now I really crave for the new Ps.
    The EU pricing is just a big joke, even without tax and localisation fee it is still far above the US price (~950 $ vs 599 $).
    The US store offers me the French version for no additionnal fee, that’s an additionnal 175 $ in Europe. (I must admit that this seems like a bug to me).
    Based on a CS4 premium upgrade, prices converted from euros to dollars via google.

  • Fabrice Delaneau — 1:09 AM on September 24, 2008

    Hi,
    I love the little features and improvements much more than big ones. Now I really crave for the new Ps and love to hear more about these features.
    The EU pricing is just a big joke, even without tax and localisation fee it is still far above the US price (~950 $ vs 599 $).
    The US store offers me the French version for no additionnal fee, that’s an additionnal 175 $ in Europe. (I must admit that this seems like a bug to me).
    Based on a CS4 premium upgrade, prices converted from euros to dollars via google.

  • Ashu — 1:38 AM on September 24, 2008

    I am a regular visitor of your blog but this is the first time I am posting a comment. I would like to congratulate you for not only posting great blog entries but also replying to the visitor comments promptly and logically, even in the face of significant provocation!
    Frankly, I feel that people have started taking advantage of your good-nature and ‘we-swear-coz-we-care’ excuse to write unjustifiable language and comments. I hope one day they do realize ‘Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.’
    Please keep doing the great work you are doing!
    [Thanks, Ashu; I really appreciate the encouragement. --J.]

  • Alessandro — 1:47 AM on September 24, 2008

    hi john
    thanks for the details – i cant’t wait to upgrade.
    but let me join all the other european users here who feel screwed by adobe’s pricing.
    you sound like a very sensible person, so maybe if you have any connection at all with the price makers?
    also: if upgrading from CS2 costs exactly the same as upgrading from CS3 .. and i upgraded from CS2 to CS3 6 weeks ago, don’t you feel i should get this update for free, or at least at a huge discount?
    thanks for listening to the voices from europe and keep up the great work :-)
    alessandro

  • Iain Anderson — 2:30 AM on September 24, 2008

    Really looking forward to the new features. Finally, an update which fixes many of the little things that I’ve had to tell my students to work around (everything looks bad at unusual zoom ratios; you can’t link a layer mask to a smart object, so put it in a group then add the layer mask to the group; Flash finally has a decent animation interface; etc.).
    At present, the Australian store is still HTML and therefore vastly more useful than the US store which has been redone in Flash. Three big problems this causes:
    1. No way to find text on the page.
    2. Popups that work in HTML pages are silently blocked by the built-in popup blocker, at least in Safari.
    3. Scroll wheels don’t work.
    There’s more, but just to echo a previous poster here: there’s a time and a place for Flash, and this is not it.

  • Simon — 3:33 AM on September 24, 2008

    John, I’m not sure this is the right place to address this, but here it goes anyway. I’m a little confused about the upgrade pricing for Photoshop CS4 Extended ($349).
    1) The price is the same whether you upgrade from CS3 regular or CS3 Extended. A little uncommon for upgrades to software coming in multiple editions, but at least it’s a similar policy as that used for the Suites [upgrade pricing between different suites is uniform - both up and down the ladder].
    2) However, contrary to the Suites, it doesn’t appear to be possible to ‘upgrade’ from CS3 Extended to CS4 regular – for those people who found they don’t use all the features. (like myself)
    To me, it seems like Adobe is trying to have it both ways with Photoshop Extended (only regular->Extended and at maximum cost). Am I missing something?
    Thanks!
    Simon

  • Tuanese — 4:36 AM on September 24, 2008

    Adobe CS3 was so bloat, big and slow! I hope that Adobe CS4 don’t! This may be too late, products have shipped!! Please improve installer compression (by 7z is recommended), remove obsolete things, optimize code!
    Hope for CS5!

  • Rich — 4:45 AM on September 24, 2008

    Layer metadata? Can’t wait to hear more. I’ve been using vector masks and layer names as layer metadata to achieve nondestructive perspective transforms that follows a layer with moves within and between documents. This would, if I understand correctly, be much more elegant.
    Fantastic work. The little detail features are always what make an upgrade worthwhile and CS4 has more of these than any version upgrade I can remember.

  • Pål Elnan — 6:07 AM on September 24, 2008

    OH, how I would love to add a guide or a grid which was straight compared to my screen, even if the view is rotated.

  • Chad — 6:22 AM on September 24, 2008

    After browsing through that list, there are a couple of minor surprises, such as CUDO support and screen sharing — nice, but not necessarily Gotta Haves. However, I couldn’t but help get the feeling that I was looking at a list of a .5 upgrade. Some nice additions (and hopefully speed improvements), but there isn’t anything new that will force me to upgrade.
    [Well, remember that I'm deliberately *not* mentioning any of the *big* features in this release. This post focuses exclusively on the details that tend to get obscured in higher-level lists. --J.]
    But such is the way of a mature product, and Photoshop met most of my needs several versions ago, which is why Photoshop 7 works just fine for me.
    Oh, and apparently, underlining text in an unexpected way is a sign of the coming apocalypse, so prepare for the riots at the gates of Adobe, John.
    [Yeah--lesson learned! Apparently the fact that link text is colored and other underlined text isn't was too subtle a cue. --J.]

  • Hobble — 6:49 AM on September 24, 2008

    :( same complaint as before but this time about Adobe TV.
    I want to open 6 videos at once, go make a sandwich, come back and watch all 6 videos with no annoying breaks in between. I can’t do that because the site is all flash!
    At least the back button still works and there are urls that link to specific videos.
    So with those 2 “features” and a lot of back-button usage and copying and pasting of urls and more copying and pasting of urls I was able to load multiple movies in multiple tabs then, finally, go make my sandwich.

  • JonPad — 7:00 AM on September 24, 2008

    Wow. All these new features. I may have to actually take a class, this time.
    I look forward to playing with it (demo… maybe…? hint, hint) I remember hating PS4, when it first came out (“…consarn it, what the hoople are the newfangled LAYER thingies…?!?”)
    Change is good. Can’t wait. (wipes drool)

  • Dave — 7:30 AM on September 24, 2008

    Thanks for the great overview of new features! Sounds very exciting.
    Any chance guides and bigger brush than 600 pixels available in the Liquify filter made it in CS4?
    [Oh yes, forgot to mention that one! I'll add it to the list. You can make your brush up to 1500px now in Liquify. --J.]
    Dave

  • CHC — 9:18 AM on September 24, 2008

    I’m not sure what to make of a “Configurator”. What I would like however is the ability to customize menu commands more than simply coloring or hiding them. Long long ago Corel Photopaint allowed you to create high-level menu titles (I created one called “User”) and then add any number of commands/separators etc underneath that menu. That is where I put all my most frequently used commands that fit my workflow. Really miss the ability to group commands the way I want in my CS3 menu. CS4 or CS5 to the rescue?

  • thinsoldier — 10:43 AM on September 24, 2008

    Will I finally be able to drag/drop files from finder directly into the photoshop window or an existing psd (OS X) like I always could in windows?
    [You can’t drag files from disk into PSDs on either Mac or Windows in order to place them (though that’s something we’ve wanted to enable for a long time). Historically you could on Windows drag a file into the app frame (as opposed to into an open document) to open it, and now you can do the same on Mac. –J.
    Will I be able to double click photoshops background to open a new file like I always could in windows?
    [Yes. --J.]
    In Windows I think photosop had the option of an Adobe-made alternative to the standard Windows Open/Save dialog windows. Will we have that in OS X now as well?
    [That alternative was there on both platforms, but it's been retired in favor of something called Adobe Drive. Hopefully the team responsible for that code is posting more info about their new approach. --J.]

  • thinsoldier — 10:55 AM on September 24, 2008

    CHC: Configurator is what you just said you wanted, but as a panel of icons instead of an actual menu. But since it’s build in flash I guess they could make it look like a menu with nesting and everything. Then you can dock it at the top of your screen probably.

  • thinsoldier — 10:56 AM on September 24, 2008

    [I intend to post a lot more detail on numerous subjects in the days and weeks ahead. I was hoping not to overwhelm people (and to have some semblance of a life) and therefore I haven't gotten everything ready to post just yet. --J.]
    Tell the marketing department to pay you triple overtime because your blog is going to convince (at least) a couple hundred people who were turned off by that waste of time they called a webcast to actually buy the product.
    Even though I _almost never_ use illustrator I saw a video about its improvements yesterday that impresses me much more than photoshops improvements do. The illustrator people need to start a blog like yours. They need to get the word out that the annoyingly disorganised Illustrator is a lot better now. But it seems it’s still slow as hell. When do they plan on introducing hardware acceleration to illustrator? Have they tried Xara-X to experience just how effing slow Illustrator is in comparison. Would they consider adding control point (CV in 3d apps) based path manipulation to Illustrator. Invariably, whenever I do use Illustrator I also wind up exporting rough paths to Maya just because in many cases it’s easier to get a shape ‘just right’ by tweaking cv’s instead of struggling with the pen tool and handles. It’s also 5 billion times easier to snap 2 end points together and merge them to close the shape (yes I am taking smart-guides into consideration!).

  • thinsoldier — 10:57 AM on September 24, 2008

    “nice to see you COMPLETELY IGNORED all that feedback we all gave you about rolling your own rubbish window bars on OS X.” – Simon.
    You do know an Apple Design Award was recently given to Modo right? That app is every bit as custom and even more unconventional than the new CS4 look. Even if they wanted to use the OS X widgets they couldn’t do that while still implementing the features and interfaces required to make the app as easy to use as user-customizable as possible. The same can be said for zbrush3.1 and 3dsMax and quite a few others. Even Mudbox which is very “conventional” compared to zbrush still has lots of unique looking things in it that just don’t exist in it’s host OS.
    [Careful, your heretical "different thinking" will get you crucified...! --J.]

  • pj — 1:46 PM on September 24, 2008

    Still waiting for the return of the palette well. No other layout functionality is as convenient and economical of space.
    [Ah! Glad you mentioned it. The new ability to move panels in little "flotillas" makes it possible to re-create the palette/panel well, albeit in a much more flexible way. --J.]

  • Eric — 3:28 PM on September 24, 2008

    CS4 is going to be a most worthwhile upgrade. I do wish that there was a bit more flexibility in getting a suite of applications that we need and leaving off the ones we don’t. With pricing to make it equal for everyone based on their choices. Each of us have our own needs.
    I hope some day there’s a way to download just the apps we want, and whatever we have works together seamlessly.
    It could happen! Probably the year I retire. (2025) :)

  • Greg Barnett — 4:01 PM on September 24, 2008

    John,
    If our paths cross at PPE in NYC next month, I’ll buy you a round! You’re in line for sainthood for being so tolerant with all the anonymous crap that flows in off the web…
    Great release and thanks for putting in so much effort. There any many who truly appreciate it.
    Greg

  • David — 6:20 PM on September 24, 2008

    Is (control/alt/command + space + click) zoom any faster? Right now, it is a lot slower than (control + -/+)
    BTW, this looks like the most significant of the CS upgrades so far. Scripting in CS and Smart Objects in CS2 are the only improvements since PS7 that I frequently use.

  • Thorf — 12:26 AM on September 25, 2008

    Thanks for giving us such a detailed list! The little things are often the ones users appreciate most in the end.
    Personally I’m really excited about the spring-loaded keys (although I wish they were in Illustrator CS4 too) and the other interface efficiency changes. Enhanced display of images sounds very nice too, but I’ll have to wait and see it with my own eyes before I can see just how good it is.
    Apologies for repeating what numerous others have already said, but I really hope something is done about the price inequality. I live in Japan, and we don’t have it much better here than back home in the UK for prices.

  • Paul B — 1:46 AM on September 25, 2008

    [Yeah--lesson learned! Apparently the fact that link text is colored and other underlined text isn't was too subtle a cue. --J.]
    Not at all, John. It was clear to me. I’ve got no problems with you underlining text that isn’t linked!
    A web convention is exactly that – a convention NOT a law! If there is no link behind an underlined piece of text then guess what? It’s just underlined.
    Underlining is just one of the few ways used to show that there is a link anchored to a piece of text – however it remains essentially just text-decoration…
    Very human, though, to want to be free in your own ideas and wish everyone else to be free in theirs (as long as it actually conforms to your ideas).
    And, John, just for a little more salt in thre wound – please do use tags! ;-)
    And, by the way He was crucified because He wasn’t heretical!

  • Paul — 2:20 AM on September 25, 2008

    My OCD is showing, but i’m wondering about some of the minor points of these minor points.
    Is smooth pixel rendering used on zoom levels over 100% (or, more accurately, larger than actual pixels)? I hope not. And also, I remember reading (I think it may have been on this blog, actually) that the reason for the current rather awful rendering of [Yes. --J.]
    Is flick panning like scrolling on an iPhone?
    [Yes. --J.]
    That’s what it sounds like, and if so, I’m not sure it sounds like a good idea
    [I was skeptical as well, but now I quite like it. If you don't, you can just uncheck the preference that enables it. --J.]
    — though I’m impressed that its possible for PS to render the image quick enough. Is that the result of GPU acceleration?
    [Yes. --J.]
    Cmd-~ (tilde) is now assigned to switching among open documents — Hurrah! Thematically related: have you changed command+H to Hide (application)?.
    [No, but you can change it yourself. --J.]
    I know it’s taken by show/hide extras right now, but I hope it is considered (if not already then for CS5); it’s always the first thing I change when I install photoshop.
    [I hope that in the future we can pop a dialog the first time you use the command, asking which assignment you'd prefer. --J.]
    I’m not a fan of the App frame and image tabs myself (at least on OS X; it might be an improvement for windows), but its just an option, so that’s ok. Is the App frame the default option on both platforms?
    [No, on the Mac it's off by default. --J.]
    Is it disablable on windows too?
    [No; it's always been there and remains so now. Use of tabbed documents is optional on both platforms. --J.]
    Is disableable a word?
    Support for sampling colour from fill layers is the feature I always forget doesn’t already exist. A feature that I always try to use; notice it doesn’t work, try five more times; and then remember that it’s only there in my imagination. Not anymore. No questions, but I’m just glad its finally there.
    Flash panels will enable the creation of non-modal (panel-based) color pickers Does this also mean that the Apple colour picker is no longer a modal popup, too?
    [No. --J.]
    Is there any chance that You could make Apple’s colour picker respect image gamma; or is this out your reach?
    [That's beyond our reach. --J.]
    Oh, and please say you forgot to mention that the default global light has been changed to 90°. Please?
    [Not this time. I'm sure that in doing so we'd immediately draw flak from people who like the current behavior. --J.]

  • Dr. CM Wong — 3:21 AM on September 25, 2008

    I’m upset UK users are again fleeced (TOTALLY) in both the upgrade or non upgrade paths vs US currency.
    In fact, its even more annoying that having an EXISTING CS3 extended or normal CS3, does not give you ANY discount on upgrading.
    You are charged both £323.12 whether you have CS3 or CS3 extended to teh new extended version.
    In addition, the upgrade is more expensive for downloads for normal photoshop.
    I love all the update features, but the marketing guys are just making users year after year more irate with its pricing structure.
    Here is a link highlighting the discrepancies between two currencies.
    http://community.imaginefx.com/forums/storage/47/136268/CS4Discrepancy.jpg

  • Chris — 5:45 AM on September 25, 2008

    A small feature that hasn’t been covered (here at least) is… the installer. Please tell us that Adobe have sorted it out.

  • Michael Wendell — 1:11 PM on September 25, 2008

    thinsoldier –
    I hadn’t heard of Transmit, but looked it it. I think it’s Mac-only, I work in Windows. Sounds great though. Maybe something similar exists for the PC, I’ll look around.

    I’m probably a little old school. I don’t use Dreamweaver or Fireworks (although I own them), cut up my own graphics, and still write every bit of my code by hand.

  • joseph — 2:41 PM on September 25, 2008

    Has anything been done with the Boolean search functions in Bridge?
    Last I tried I couldn’t do a search for say ‘Ken’ AND only ‘KEN’
    [I don't believe Bridge searching itself has changed, but we've tied it into Spotlight & Windows Desktop Search. Frankly I'd like to get Bridge out of the search game entirely & just tap into what the OSes are doing (fast and complete). For that to happen we need them to offer better (more complete) XMP searching. We continue to talk to Apple & MSFT about it. --J.]

  • T. Schmidt — 5:15 PM on September 25, 2008

    Wow, those are great. Really, wow. I’m very impressed. Didn’t hope for smooth zooms and no border until CS5. Well, I haven’t actually seen it, but if it’s true, then CS4 is worth buying.
    Do I get this right, Cmd+Tilde does the same thing as Cmd+Tab and doesn’t replace it?
    [The terminology is tricky here because of platform issues. Both Mac and Windows have a Ctrl key, but on the Mac the Cmd key is the equivalent of Ctrl on Windows. On both Mac and Win you've been able to use Ctrl-Tab (which is the Windows standard) to switch among open documents for years. Apple made Cmd-~ the Mac standard with OS X, but that wasn't until 10 or 12 years after Photoshop started shipping, and of course Photoshop had been using that key for another function (showing the composite channel). Anyway, we continue to support Ctrl-Tab for document switching on both platforms, and on the Mac we've added the OS-standard Cmd-~. For switching among open *apps*, nothing has changed: we use Cmd-Tab on Mac and Alt-Tab on Windows (same as other apps do).
    Here's the key thing to remember: Cmd-~ on Mac now works it does in other Mac apps, and if you use a shortcut to activate the composite channel, you'll need to use Cmd-/Ctrl-2. As noted above, I have a huge post about keyboard shortcuts ready to post. --J.]
    Cmd+1=100% view, fine with me. I like consistency.
    Can you explain the single letter video shortcuts? Do they replace others (temporarily)? Thanks!
    [You can enable/disable this preference via a menu item on the Animation panel flyout. (It’s also toggled on when you go into the Video workspace.) When the pref is on, PS uses arrow keys & modified arrow keys to navigate among frames, instead of to move the selected layer. (You can still use Cmd-/Ctrl-arrow to nudge the layer.) Again, we’ll go into a bunch of detail on this separately.
    That CUDO feature sounds useful. Good idea.
    Click-dragging the brush size, sounds great. Again I have to actually see it but you got me hyped.
    Under cursor preview, Layer Masks linked to SO, Perspective Tr. and more Channels than 1 deletable awesome!!!
    Is it also possible to move more than one Channel from document to document?
    [Hmm--it would appear not. --J.]
    Very good decision with the standard stroke color. Even better would be to let us set up the default layer styles ourselves. Also thanks for the path tool not drawing shapes by default.

  • T. Schmidt — 6:17 PM on September 25, 2008

    RE:[…but now I quite like it. If you don't, you can just uncheck the preference that enables it. --J.]
    This is so great to hear. If you don’t like it, you can just turn it off. People will shout “make it work like Photoshop” even more than before.
    RE: “Does the tool selection palette now touch the edge of the screen?”
    I liked that question. My guess is that the transparent thin areas around the panels aren’t gone (yet). I find them useless and a waste of space.
    Is it possible to turn off any UI effects such as the slight blending in when switching apps and the brief moment of a completely white screen when switching between documents? On a fast machine it’s just useless but on a slower one it’s annoying.
    RE: Global Light
    [Not this time. I'm sure that in doing so we'd immediately draw flak from people who like the current behavior. --J.]
    Just let us set the defaults and nobody can complain.
    Oh and please please please make it possible to get to the fore/background color dialog via shortcut. For example by adding it as a menu item. Foregronud is enough, we can then X and do the background.
    Again, thanks for all the good news, especially the pallette well, you should add that to the main post! “I was hoping not to overwhelm people” Too late.
    One more question, will the ACE test for CS4 make any sence? The CS2 tests had some questions that didn’t make any sence and I only heard very bad reports about CS3 so I’m not sure if I should spend the money. People who never use the software shouldn’t create the tests. Instead, get some of the industry greats, they’ll be glad to do it for free, some have already offered it.
    I agree with thinsoldier, your blog will convince more people that all those half assed articles in magazines that only show the new 3d stuff. All Adobe apps should have such blogs.
    EU pricing is terrible, just tell those responsible if you see them.
    And as you said, screw them bigots.

  • Kyle W. — 6:45 PM on September 25, 2008

    I always thought the red stroke was some type of Garth Brooks reference.

  • Nils — 4:36 AM on September 26, 2008

    There is a lot of small, but wonderfyl enhancements in this release. The only thing that is a bit of a letdown is that Refine Mask hasn’t been done non-destructive to a layer mask (like the feathering).
    [The fundamental problem is that some operations (e.g. Radius) are very time-consuming to compute, and therefore we don't want to set you up for disappointment by trying to let you paint on something that has that effect applied. (It's for those same reasons that Smart Objects/Filters work the way they do. --J.]
    Man, if only I could have the Contract/Expand done non-destructive – that would be a killer feature when masking hair etc! I’m buying CS4 nonetheless, of course. :-)
    [Groovy. :-) --J.]

  • Oliver — 4:55 AM on September 26, 2008

    I just wanted to chime in and say how happy I am about the “small” changes. I was one of those who were highly sceptical of the app-frame thingy and Mac UI inconsistencies in general.
    I think it is really great that PS behaves like a Mac OS X app right out of the box, with the option of having the app-frame. And looking at the screenshots: is the close-gadgets on palettes on the left side again? If so: THANK YOU! I know it’s not a big thing for people using both platforms, but I was constantly clicking on the wrong side :-)
    So I really just wanted to say “good job” after all the shouting!
    PS: now please fix EU pricing (just saying…)

  • T. Schmidt — 5:59 AM on September 26, 2008

    Thanks for your replies Jack! I’m not a big fan of the tilde key shortcuts because you were never able to change them. This is a huge problem, as the tilde key doesn’t exist on some keyboards including the German one. It is therefore impossible to use tilde shortcuts. Will we be able to change them (ie change document in Ai or show all channels in Ps)?
    [Our keyboard shortcut editor has some limitations, particular around "special" keys (those that don't exist in all languages, or that get used in unique ways, like the number keys). We'd like to address these, but as with all work it's a question of time, resources, and priorities.
    In the short term we've come up with a simple plug-in/registry entry pair. Using these tools you can switch the otherwise non-customizable shortcuts en masse. It's all or nothing when choosing between the CS3 and CS4 behavior. --J.]
    I really hope every shortcut will be costumizable, would save you a lot of work, as we can take care of all problems ourselves. This should be the general rule.
    If we had been able to set up the F shortcuts, we could have gotten rid of the bad screen mode ourselves. If we could set up the layer style defaults, nobody could complain about red or black or what you choose.

  • Jim Goshorn — 6:49 AM on September 26, 2008

    When you mentioned metadata on a per layer basis, will that also include the ability to add comments/notes to a layer? There are many times I would like to add a reminder note to a layer as to why the layer was required etc.
    [Yep, you can do exactly this. There's no in-the-box feature that uses layer-based metadata, but as part of our SDK we ship a very simple Flash panel that shows off what's possible. You can use it to read/write a comment for each layer, and it should be simple for a developer to polish/extend the panel further. --J.]

  • Klaus Nordby — 9:24 AM on September 26, 2008

    John, I must second everything T. Schmidt writes. The unconfigurable tilde has been a PITA for me for 15 years, since my Norwegian keyboards do not have that key/character. Ditto goes for the infernal square bracket key/character for enlarging/reducing brushes, as we don’t have those either (although they are, unlike the tilde mess, reconfigurable, granted). So the new way of showing channels and enlarging/reducing brushes in CS4 is a very welcome change for us damn foreigners (whom you American software makers slight in a thousand ways — even aside from the pricing).

  • joseph — 11:20 AM on September 26, 2008

    Ref the Search
    Ooooh….I’d hate to lose the search function…the os search just wouldn’t do it for me. Although slightly limited its still a great organization tool and I’d scream yell and stomp if it left :)
    Right now the keywords are in the exif part of the jpg…I’m not too conversant with xml but wouldn’t each image then need another file to support that search. Back to PS Elements w/ its own database :)

  • joseph — 1:08 PM on September 26, 2008

    Is there a link to a list showing which graphic cards do accelerate? I’ve got a Matrox P650.
    [We're working on a list and will post it soon. --J.]

  • Rane — 1:34 PM on September 26, 2008

    Yea!!
    This is the best list yet!
    Layer mask opacity :) and smooth pixel rendering, to name a few, have been at the top of my wish list for years. Smart object masks, copyright preservation, Hue/Sat eyedropper selection, color selection improvement, ..on and on.. probably half of your list touches on things I regularly wish for. I can’t wait to see how these play out!
    I agree with Jerry about “the little workflow details are the ones that we encounter a LOT during our daily work”. So kudos: huge impact:)
    You may have just motivated me to forward my short list of feature requests for future versions.
    Of course graphics acceleration (is this true??) That’s colossal.
    Thanks Again!
    Not your department, and I do love Flash, but since it was mentioned, it is a drawback not being able to open links in new tabs. At best I open a new window/tab, copy the first URL, past it into the 2nd window. Wait for it to load, then find and click on the link I want to explore. Perhaps one day we can have “Open link in new tab/window” option available for Flash sites.

  • Stephen — 12:11 AM on September 27, 2008

    I am colorblindness. Its Great!
    CUDO support: Photoshop’s soft proofing features can simulate color blindness, making it easier to create accessible signage and other artwork. (Illustrator offers the same functionality.)

  • Michael Madsen — 12:51 AM on September 27, 2008

    Sounds great ! Can’t wait to get the new suite!
    Though, I do find it odd to use ressources on shuffling around with adj layers – they worked perfectly well the way they were – I can see no benefit to this at all.
    [When you're in a modal dialog box, you're locked into using just what it offers until you dismiss the dialog. Customers kept asking us to cram more things into the dialogs (e.g. the ability to change opacity and blending mode), and it was never going to be possible to let them do things like edit masks while seeing/adjusting the contents of a dialog. Therefore we've deprecated the dialogs.
    In reality, the dialog code is still in there, and via the Configurator/Flash panels work I've whipped up a panel with buttons that'll pull up the dialogs if you still want them. --J.]
    And I MUCH PREFER to work in a pop up dialoge box instead of in the palettes.
    I’m also curious / worried about the new MASK palette – how will these “non – destructive” feathering / opacity settings work when making direct changes on the mask ?
    [You see the net results of the mask pixels + the parameters (opacity, feathering) that are being applied to the mask. It's like painting on a layer that has layer effects enabled. --J.]
    In regards to keyboard shortcut: When using Photoshop in english with a different language keyboard – it has always been driving me NUTS – that there are some keyboard shortcuts I CAN’T modify – why oh why? Why can’t I modify say – shortcuts for changing channels?
    The addition of the ability to delete several layers at one time is nice but redundant – this is trivial to do via scripting -much more needed is the ability to LOCK THE DAMN things! Like you can with layers – we should have the same options to lock channels, as we have with layers!
    [I've never heard that request before, but okay. (Are people really inadvertently deleting channels? Seems like the people savvy enough to be working with channels would also be more careful in how they interact. --J.]
    And improved dodge / burn – it seems to me your just promoting destructive editing here – I mean – come on – theres no single adjustment that can’t be done better and more flexible with adj layers in combine with blending options and 50% grey layer dodge-burn.
    [Ultimately I'd like these tools to apply their edits as non-destructive effects (basically generating an adjustment layer that's displayed as a layer effect & auto-clipped to the target layer). That wasn't in the cards for this time, so we improved the tools' behavior for those who like to use them as they are. --J.]
    /rant
    That said – I’m really looking forward to the new suite :-) The rotate canvas feature is a real killer!
    As are springloaded keys.
    Can’t wait to test what effiency gains this will bring …
    – Regards
    Michael
    [Cool, thanks. --J.]

  • Joel Miller — 6:47 AM on September 27, 2008

    In a test of CS3 by Tom’s Hardware, an Intel Core 2 Duo E8600 significantly outperforms a Core 2 Quad Q9450 (88 sec. vs. 110 sec.) (see Q3 2008 CPU Charts – http://tinyurl.com/4bp5ee ). (The two CPUs are approximately equal in cost.) One apparent factor is the difference in clock speed — 3.33 GHz vs. 2.66 GHz, the same ratio. Will this change for CS4, i.e., will a quad core provide a greater advantage over two cores? Or, will CS4 perform best on the CPU with the highest clock speed, irrespective of the number of cores? (I am aware of the nVidia project with the GPU and CS4.)

  • geira — 7:54 AM on September 27, 2008

    Cmd-~ (tilde) is now assigned to switching among open documents

    Sigh. When will developers learn that there is no tilde key on international keyboards? Under “Keyboard Shortcuts” in System Preferences there is a system-wide setting for “move focus to next window in active application” and CS3 already supports this. Why the need for change when it already works as it should?
    [We haven't broken anything that worked previously. Rather, we've added an *additional* shortcut key--one that matches the out-of-the-box standard on the Mac, at least on US keyboards. --J.]

  • Alex Lins — 8:11 AM on September 27, 2008

    Regarding type. I just wish all Adobe apps could use Mac type rendering scheme. So much nicer to eye proof layouts :)
    All in all this release looks promising.

  • T. Schmidt — 9:57 AM on September 27, 2008

    J, when you do the keyboard post you announced, could you maybe, if you have time, tell us more about how to get around the tilde key with that script you mentioned, or where to find a detailed explanation? I think it will affect a lot of people.
    I will never work with a non-US version unless forced to. The translations aren’t good and it’s hard to remember the shortcuts, plus the best tutorials are in English and English forums have people from the whole globe.
    And in case you want to give us tipps on what Mac Pro buildup would be the best for CS4, I’d be glad to read it, as I’m not sure what makes the most sence.
    Thanks!

  • Rick Gordon — 1:37 AM on September 29, 2008

    Is it yet possible to change metadata (particularly Bridge labels and ratings) without having to update the file modification date? I have long believed that the user should have the option to NOT update the mod date when changing labels, ratings or keywords. It would make my life as a InDesign/Quark user much easier, since these programs insist on updating the files after such maneuvers. I understand the logic of why you might want to update the mod date (backup), but I’d like to have a choice.
    [Hmm--I hear you, but effectively "lying" to work around other apps' behavior strikes me as a dangerous approach. --J.]

  • Rob — 7:45 AM on September 29, 2008

    Like the blog, and appreciate that you’re prepared to update the post to non-underline.
    Now, as with other UK parties, I just need to wait ’til Adobe starts to become sensible with its UK pricing policy before I’ll consider a move back to Adobe software. Yeah, using freeware is a pain, but I’ve persuaded some friends to make a stand, and they’re going to try to convince some of their friends, until we get a better exchange rate.
    I really shouldn’t be able to buy a return flight to the States and the software for less than the cost of the software here (this is, of course, dependant on the suite bought)…

  • Michael Elmkjær Madsen — 10:54 AM on September 29, 2008

    Hi again – thx for your replies – its really quite something to be able to interact directly with a high ranking employee at a Company like Adobe …
    What I meant with the locking of channels : I’m burning, painting and filling my alphas with my Stylus and its sooo aesy when you do the modifier dance simultanious on the keyboard to accidentialy push the channel out of place. This is actually a daily PITA for me – you learn to be careful – but I REALLY miss a lock feature for channels.
    And I’m still mystified about the new mask feature – but ah well – I’ll work it out eventually :-) As long as I can work the way Im use too…
    Im glad to hear PS becoming more and more “open” – looking forward to the day when we can change anything in an xml file…
    Regards
    Michael

  • Matt Gardner — 2:20 PM on September 29, 2008

    First, Jack, thank you for being so passionate and visible with what you do. Having someone with your attention-to-detail managing Photoshop is more than we could ever ask for. You opening up your decisions to criticism goes doubly beyond that and I can’t thank you enough.
    While I know this has gotten plenty of coverage, you may find the history of the underline interesting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underline I won’t go as far as to say what you should do, but will say that knowing its origins considerably affected my usage of them in user experience design.
    A quick off-the-wall CS5 feature shoutout : Blending Options, ability to reorder and create multiple instances of the same type, ex: 3 strokes, 2 gradients, one radial, one linear with different blend modes both over a center-based inner glow. (I’ve had a number of cases where I use them not as intended, inner glow used as a second stroke, etc). If you then increase the scalability of gradients and allow for unique positioning you’d end up with one hell of a Layer Style. ;)
    Back to reality, all the updates in CS4 are badass, you’re amazing at what you do. Thanks, again, for providing a forum for us and caring enough to reply.

  • Lucas Lemonnier — 10:00 AM on October 01, 2008

    I am a regular reader of your blog, though this is also my first time posting.
    Thank-you for taking the time to write up this list. I too tuned into the Adobe broadcast and found myself disappointed at the PS feature presentation. While they repeatedly talked about productivity being the number one concern for graphics professionals, the feature set presented offered nothing to accelerate my workflow. Your list of small features is actually huge for pros and will surely convince more than a few to upgrade.
    One feature request that has been on my wish-list since CS would be for Photoshop to save a temp file in memory upon crashes (a la InDesign). I have disciplined myself to save regularly, but invariably I lose some work with each crash. I know nothing about programming and so perhaps PS files are not realistically suited to this end, but there it is.
    Finally, I am sorry to hear such unprofessional language and attitudes being directed your way. Entitlement is a big problem today (and made worse online) and I hope it doesn’t discourage you from bringing us valuable (and generous) information.
    Thank-you,
    Lucas

  • Peter Headland — 12:22 PM on October 05, 2008

    Very nice! I skipped CS2 & CS3 – not enough of value to me – but this stuff actually makes me happy to cough up for the forced* upgrade.
    PS: I like underlining for emphasis. :-)
    * “Forced” because of the 3-version rule for upgrades.

  • Bob Zurek — 1:43 PM on October 08, 2008

    There are great features…but I have one request. We do alot or re scanning of printed material. and use the de-screening in our scanner set up, sometimes that works, it just depends on the piece. The problem I have is on printed potraits. We can use the dust and scratch plugin or the gaussian blur to smooth out dots in flesh tones..but I would like something that does a little pixel smoothing but retains the skins texture somehow. The patch tool works pretty good but still falls short.
    what is in the futer for this if anything?
    Kudos!
    Bob Zurek
    [I'm afraid I don't have any good suggestions, but maybe another reader will have an idea. --J.]

  • Sheri — 7:51 AM on October 09, 2008

    There is a behavior from ImageReady that is missing in Photoshop CS3. In ImageReady, you could drop a guide, at any resolution, and it would only drop between pixels. So that when you use those guides to draw a marquee, the marquee is in the correct place. Is there an option like this in CS4? If so, it’s worth any amount of $$ for the upgrade, since this drives me NUTS in CS3. In ImageReady, I used to be able to cut images for web use at 100%, and now i have to zoom way in to be precise.

  • blunden — 3:46 PM on October 18, 2008

    Just noticed that the “Open Documents As Tabs”-option in Preferences affects the way images open when you just drag-and-drop them into the main window in Windows. They still open as tabs. Is there any way to fix this?
    Also, please don’t force all this unecessary software on us. And if you really feel liek you must, don’t have them install shell extensions (Adobe Drive)!
    [I believe there's an option not to install Adobe Drive, but I'm not sure (will check). --J.]
    In CS3 you could at least edit an xml-file to remove the required-section and have the installer show checkboxes for all the components and allow you to deselect them. This allowed for a very nice and clean install of Photoshop with only the needed components.
    Other than that it seems like a nice update. I really like the sound of some of the new features. Resizing document-windows is a bit laggy though. Over all the OpenGL mode is a bit slower than the non-accelerated mode when it comes to drawing with the brush for me. I’m sure this will improve though and I’m happy the feature is there. I also love that there is a 64bit version. Runs great.

  • blunden — 11:20 AM on October 20, 2008

    John: Thanks for your response. Yeah, there is an option for Adobe Drive but for me at least it was grayed out and marked as required. The problem for me is that far too many components are marked as required. It’s more like “we think you might possibly like these” unfortunately. I understand if you don’t want to leave every part up to the user but things such as Bridge, a totally different application. Most people probably like Bridge and find it very useful (I agree it looks very nice) but it doesn’t fit my usage pattern. I can live with that though since at least it doesn’t install shell extensions. Maybe you should consider making it an option though as Photoshop CS3 worked spectacular without it.
    I’m really thankful for you taking the time to address my concerns. Overall I still think it’s a great product.

  • Andy Baker — 3:14 AM on October 22, 2008

    Just to revive and respond to an old comment… I’ve had a chance to play with CS4 and I still think the adjustment panel is silly. Obscure tiny icons that only reveal their function on mouseover? Have we learnt nothing about UI design in the last ten years? It wouldn’t matter if I could turn them off and use the text presets list on its own.And they are very wasteful of space. You could fit text labels for each one in that space and solve the problem entirely.
    Did this panel get any user testing?

  • Mark Thomas — 8:59 PM on October 22, 2008

    Does exposé now work in any of the F screen modes?
    [I don't think it's any better than it was in CS3.]
    This is a prime example of why it’s a poor idea for software to use non-standard GUIs.
    [As an alternative, perhaps Apple could do a better job implementing Exposé. --J.]
    Another example: Lightroom’s custom scroll bars inexplicably have no scroll arrows! Drives me nuts since I don’t have a scroll wheel on my trackball.
    But I digress. . . .

  • mogh — 3:57 AM on October 28, 2008

    Hi all,
    I searched for a way to remove drive also … but only managed to get rid of the context menu
    to remove adobe drive from the windows context menu, make a new textfile, rename its extension to “.bat” and type this line in it (vista 64, change your filepath acording to your system)
    regsvr32 /u “C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Adobe Drive CS4\ADFSMenu.dll”

    i think Adobe Drive still works this way but the “not loved” contextmenu is cleared.
    the same thing can be donw with the Adobe Acrobat contextmenu …
    regsvr32 /u “C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Acrobat 8.0\Acrobat Elements\ContextMenu.dll”
    regards mogh

  • Allen — 3:11 PM on November 02, 2008

    OK- a dumb question, but I can’t seem to figure this out.
    With CS4 on a mac in tabbed view, can I drag an adjustment layer from one tabbed document to another? It doesn’t seem to work as simply as just dropping it on the tab for the target image. Maybe I’m doing it wrong?
    [It's actually a very good question. What you describe (dragging from the Layers panel to a tab) *should* work, but it doesn't due to an architectural limitation we didn't have time to address for this cycle. You can instead drag *from the document canvas* to the tab, let the target doc come forward, and then let go. In the future we'll work to make both methods of dragging (from the panel & from the canvas) do what you'd expect. --J.]

  • Dmitry-Sh — 9:59 AM on November 04, 2008

    I like tabbed windows in CS4. I can’t imagine how did I worked before without them. :-)
    2mogh: Thank you so much! I was looking for it using Regedit (HKCS\Folder\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers), but there was nothing.

  • da bishop — 12:12 AM on November 05, 2008

    Photoshop I’d actually say was finished as an app quite a number of years ago, how lovely of them to avoid feature-creeping it and just tweak it here or there.
    Adobe’s pricing? Horrid. There’s so many people who won’t go license ‘cos they can’t. I do wonder if they lowered the prices that it mightn’t make more money?
    And you mean Dreamweaver isn’t reallly fixed?

  • Avery — 10:31 AM on November 05, 2008

    At the risk of being quixotic—I am one of the longest-lived Mac users on the planet. I owned the third Mac ever sold in Canada, and have had most models up to the current 8-core Mac Pro. I don’t understand the knee-jerk reaction in some quarters against the new application frame and application bar (aka controls in the title bar). First of all, just because something existed first on the Windows OS doesn’t make it wrong—even a broken clock is right twice a day. Second of all, have you tried using it? I have, and I’ve tried it two other ways, and the single app frame is hugely convenient. The automatic UI compensation when resizing the entire application frame is fabulous, the N-up views make dealing with multiple windows at once much simpler—in general I find the entire arrangement to be vastly more efficient than the “old way.”
    Last note—ranting against a feature that is neither compulsory nor even default behavior seems to be a complete waste of energy. If you don’t like it, don’t use it. As for me, thank you John for including it, along with all of the other small yet wonderful improvements.

  • Stephen Best — 12:15 AM on November 07, 2008

    Avery:
    “Last note—ranting against a feature that is neither compulsory nor even default behavior seems to be a complete waste of energy. If you don’t like it, don’t use it.”
    Since CS4 broke monitor allegiance for newly opened files, in a dual monitor setup you have no choice but to use it … unless you want to drag your files each and every time to the second monitor. It’s an OK feature (if you don’t mind accidentally closing files and Match Zoom & Location working or not) but something I could live without … and will be since I’ve gone back to CS3. There’s a limit to the number of bugs and poorly implemented features (even headline ones) that a person can take. CS4’s Gamut Warning quietly changing overall image rendering was the last straw for me.
    Maybe the title of this thread was a little misguided … sorry John.

  • blunden — 12:32 PM on November 11, 2008

    Am I the only one that have noticed that double-clicking in the empty grey area to open an image opens it as a tab, even if you have turned that behavior off in the settings? Opening an image using the standard CTRL+O or the menu follows the settings though. Shouldn’t this be considered a bug or did I misunderstand the setting somehow?

  • Sean — 4:19 AM on November 14, 2008

    The fact that John hasn’t commented on a single post mentioning the price difference between the US and the rest of the world speaks volumes.
    [Well, that's not my intention. The issue *is* more nuanced than most people expect, and there are some decent explanations for some of what goes on. My lack of responses has sprung from a desire not to misrepresent the details of what is a very complex topic.
    By the way, I suppose it's human nature, but where to you see people talking about the fact that A) Adobe cut its pricing in Euros for CS4 relative to CS3, and that simultaneously B) the Euro has fallen dramatically relative to the dollar, thereby neutralizing much of the previous difference? Nowhere. --J.]
    I always think of you as one of the good guys at Adobe John, so I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. I assume that you just can’t do anything about it and not that you’ve been told from above to act like this isn’t happening.
    I’m not saying this is the case but it comes across that Adobe is institutionally biased against it’s non-American customers. Unfortunately for us, both we as customers and Adobe, knows that we’ve got no where else to go…. :(

  • Chris — 8:50 AM on November 20, 2008

    When will we ever see a Linux edition? I use this program every day at work and would love to purchase a copy for myself at home but for the price it is not worth it for me to run it on another computer then my main or to dual boot, I want something native. Please :-) :-)

  • David — 9:23 PM on November 20, 2008

    “Pixel grid view: At zoom levels greater than 500%, Photoshop will optionally display a faint grid that makes it easier to edit pixels precisely.”
    It would be even easier to edit pixels precisely if the brush tool worked precisely. Select a one pixel brush and paint at a four pixel intersection, and only the bottom right pixel of the group gets any color.
    If you paint in the middle of a single pixel, four pixels get color.
    And speaking of pixel precision, there is a bug when using the rotate view tool at 100% zoom with shift held down. The tool has separate snaps for 0 and 360 degree rotation. If you shift drag the image slightly counterclockwise(not enough to actually rotate the image), the canvas moves half a pixel to the right, and half a pixel up, blurring the image.

  • Grover — 1:02 PM on November 23, 2008

    I’ve rather not have “unique IDs” in my documents.. it defeats the point of maintaining multiple online personas! :(
    [There's nothing that associates a GUID with you personally. (I think people would go nuts if we started doing something like that without telling them and getting their permission.) --J.]
    google RLZ anyone? Is there an adobe unChrome?

  • Jain — 3:08 AM on December 02, 2008

    Hey John,
    How do i prevent the transparency grid in the background from scaling up, this is new in cs4, but annoying when working on very high zoom levels. (pixel art for games) Can it be overcome?
    [You can toggle the overlay on/off via View->Show->Pixel Grid. That way you can turn it on/off quickly, and you can assign a keyboard shortcut if that's something you do frequently. --J.]
    I tried switching off the pixelgrid, and there is no setting in the preferences. Bad feature, shoo!
    Please tell me i’m missing something.
    As for the rest of the features, they’re awesome!
    Cheers

  • David Cole — 2:22 PM on December 02, 2008

    As per Jain’s comment above, turning off the pixel grid doesn’t change the fact that the transparency grid zooms along with the document. I’m having the same issue, it’s really bad for pixel by pixel work. Otherwise, FANTASTIC UPDATE.

  • Not happy with installation — 10:04 PM on December 08, 2008

    I just installed the trial versions of Photoshop CS4 and Illustrator CS4 and I regret not having done research first. It’s just too difficult to determine when confronted with all of those options what should be installed, but one thing I knew I didn’t want was Adobe Drive so I unchecked that box. But lo and behold, it’s cluttering up my menus, and there is no way I could find to could rid of it. Not very considerate!

  • Atish — 8:57 PM on December 11, 2008

    I am working on a catalogue and would like some help with exporting data and images from the database to Indesign CS4, a live link would be great if i can create it.
    HELP PLEASE!!!!

  • Ian Cameron — 7:59 PM on December 15, 2008

    I’ve had every photoshop since Version 3. CS4 is a disaster – I have endless crashes caused by VersionCue 4.0.0 on BOth my 64 & 32 bit Vista systems. I cannot update anything, I cannot delete VC4.0.0 and despite carrying out the advice from Support ie run Clen Script CS4
    Close all Start ups, Reinstall CS4 (7 times to date). Nothing seems to work. It’s a lot of money for a program I cannot run PLUS I cannot even go back to CS3 it will not install either! Help

  • miranon — 10:03 AM on February 05, 2009

    Nice list of new features!
    Specially this feature will resolve a lot of irritations:
    Ability to delete layers via the Delete key
    [Just FYI, you can do this today. The difference is that now you don’t have to have the Move tool selected first. To me this change makes the implementation feel a good deal more natural.

  • keyboard — 11:12 AM on March 07, 2009

    I would be happy if they could just get the keyboard shortcuts for BOLD and ITALIC to work again.
    I’m still using dreamweaver 2004 and it crashes daily under OSX 10.5 but thats still better than CS3 where you have to use a mouse for absolutely everything.
    Come on Adobe, even Microsoft notepad has keyboard shortcuts for bold and italic – am I asking too much?
    [I hear you, but people are sticklers about typography. Should hitting Cmd-B apply "faux bold," or should it switch to a bold version of the current typeface? If the latter, should it go bold or semibold (if both are available), and what if no other typeface version is available? These questions are answerable, to be sure, but I suspect they're the reason Photoshop doesn't just do the seemingly "right thing" here. --J.]

  • Niko — 11:38 AM on April 22, 2009

    Regarding the levels of pressure sensitivity, could you confirm what the maximum amount is that Photoshop CS4 supports?
    This is the first time I’m hearing about this, and it makes me wonder why Wacom even boasts with their 1000+ and now, with the Intuos 4, 2000+ levels of pressure sensitivity.

  • andrew — 12:34 AM on May 27, 2009

    Ditto to Nicko’s question above… and does that mean that prior to CS4, Photoshop supported no more than 256 levels of pressure?
    [Yes, that's correct. --J.]

  • smarvis — 5:07 PM on June 25, 2009

    I just upgraded to CS4. I wish there was a way to roll back all of the interface ‘improvements’. The panels slow me down, everytime I drag a doc into PS, it opens in a tab behind everything… ARG! EVEN AFTER I TURN ALL THE TABBED CRAP OFF! CS4 is a major disappointment.

  • DebbieK — 7:55 PM on September 01, 2009

    This comment was posted (not by me) a long time ago in reference to CS3 “The single most important type feature missing from Photoshop CS3 and important to anyone who uses Adobe’s OpenType format: a glyph palette. Any hope?” This is still a much needed, and missing from CS4 feature. Any chance it will be added? Thank you!

  • Jed Komo — 11:56 PM on April 11, 2011

    Now i am accessing this page via our Iphone4 and I can’t get the complete image to be able to load. I Basically assumed you should know.

  • katehudson — 9:49 PM on July 25, 2012

    can anyone tell me how the hell you disable this functionality? It’s absolutely STUPID and a waste of time. I shouldnt have to CLICK the tool i want to use. I should be able to just hit its hotkey and have that queued up as my active tool. If you’re painting something, and wish to say.. paint a huge area. then switch to the eraser tool to erase area’s at random, you shouldnt be forced to hold a key down to continue using the eraser tool. nor should you have to click on the eraser tool. I JUST WANT THIS STUPID FUNCTIONALITY REMOVED!!!!!!!! GONE!! TURNED OFF. DISABLED. and google proves to be no use as everyone just goes on and on to describe how awesome it is. Yea awesome like macbook pros.. NO 10-key. awesome for some, absolutely STUPID for others.

    Please help im beyond frustrated that I wasted 2 grand on this retarded shit.

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