November 23, 2009

Feedback, please: Graphic & Web design enhancements in Photoshop

I am, at heart, a Web designer, and I came to Adobe to improve the ways software could help design and build Web content. Therefore I’m keenly interested in advancing Photoshop’s graphic & Web design chops.

Below you’ll find some of the ideas that have bubbled up in discussions on this blog and elsewhere. The list isn’t exhaustive (I tried to keep the length reasonable), and it’s not a promise or a hint about what might be in development. Think of it as just a quick straw poll to gauge temperature.

DRAWING

  • Better vector drawing tools
  • Better control over strokes and fills, including dashed lines
  • Better Illustrator integration (e.g. make using Illustrator inside Photoshop as easy as double-clicking to edit a symbol in Flash or Illustrator)

RICHER/SMARTER OBJECTS

  • Buttons with states (editable Up, Down, Over, etc.)
  • Intelligent widgets (e.g. buttons that resize smartly (a la 9-Slice); button bars that automatically scale/add buttons when resized; arrows with variable heads that orient themselves to path direction; etc.)
  • Ability to edit widget skins & to switch among skins (e.g. flip a button from Mac to Windows, or iPhone to Android)
  • Intelligent, skinnable charts (including ones with live data feeds)

FILE ORGANIZATION/MGMT.

  • Linked files (edit one document & have the change reflected in several documents that link to it)
  • Symbols (reusable objects that can be dragged in from a Library panel)
  • Type styles (edit a style definition in order to update multiple type layers at once)

OUTPUT & INTEGRATION

  • High fidelity Web output (e.g. dashed lines that convert to CSS definitions)
  • Pixel-accurate Web rendering (i.e. text and objects that appear exactly as they would in a browser)
  • Better integration with Flash and Web authoring tools (e.g. components that translate with code & behaviors intact)

To help measure your interest, I’ve put these ideas into a quick survey. Please take a minute to let us know which ones are most interesting, and feel free to add comments via this post.

Thanks, and looking forward to hearing your thoughts,

J.

[Update: I've posted some clarifications in response to comments below.]

Posted by John Nack at 8:15 AM on November 23, 2009

Comments

  • Ben Hansen — 8:43 AM on November 23, 2009

    went to fill out the survey but the decision is too difficult so many of those suggestions seem super useful and time saving i give pretty all of them tens.

  • Miloš — 8:54 AM on November 23, 2009

    I tried to fill in the boxes but it seems that there’s some weird limitation meaning that I can fill only one box per column.
    If I click the first box in first row, then the first box in second row, the box from the first row becomes unselected.
    [Ah, sorry--fixed now; please try again. --J.]

  • Richard — 9:01 AM on November 23, 2009

    Form widgets would be very nice, as would being able to have some sort of “flow” (i.e. being able to insert something and have things reposition around it)
    Font rendering that mirrors Windows and/or Mac would be nice too. Often I end up creating separate type layers for headings and body text and applying different smoothing to each to better approximate the final product.

  • Nicolas — 9:09 AM on November 23, 2009

    Hi John,
    All the features look super cool , and I will def take time to vote. But I feel I would add a few ones:
    * Optimized PNG generation (to avoid to “smush PNG” http://developer.yahoo.com/yslow/smushit/ )
    * Better grid tool that helps designing before coding with CSS grid framework
    Nicolas

  • Rainer Pleyer — 9:09 AM on November 23, 2009

    Excuse me, but Adobe already has a very capable web design software: Fireworks. Duplicating so many features that are the core of Fireworks (as your list suggests) ist exactly the kind of bloat that many of us designers find so frustrating. I rather wish Adobe would enhance Firework’s pixel editing capabilities and PSD-compatibility.
    [I hear you, and I think FW is an excellent tool. The fact remains, however, that after FW has been shipping for 11+ years (4 of them as an Adobe app), a very large percentage of people continue to do their Web design work in PS. The existence of FW doesn't give PS license to fail to improve, and many of the features I mention can have broad appeal outside of Web design & production. --J.]

  • anonymous coward — 9:21 AM on November 23, 2009

    FW has been shipping for 11+ years (4 of them as an Adobe app), and of those 4 it has been *unusable* on the mac. I would love to use FW full-time (and so would *many* others) if only it worked as promised.

  • ReneG — 9:30 AM on November 23, 2009

    Here are a couple of suggestions.
    In the “Save for Web” dialog box, add a “Trim” button. Sometimes it could be handy when you create a bunch of buttons for a Web site, that have different width; instead of having to “duplicate” the image, trim it and then SFW.
    Also, quite often, I’m asked to create Web images at different sizes: i.e. x100 pixels for the thumbnails, x250, x400, x600. Sometimes I wished that I could have the ability to create all of these sizes from within the SFW window, instead of returning to Photoshop again and re-sizing in SFW again.
    Thanks for your blog!!

  • joe — 9:44 AM on November 23, 2009

    John
    I have to agree with others who’ve found this a little confusing, given the web tools out there now.
    At the same time, we are seeing convergence of tools in specific applications – LR/ACR is getting more features that formerly were only in PS, for example.
    On the other hand, as a photographer, I NEVER need vector based tools to work on a picture, as photography.
    Are we going to have Adobe Photo, Adobe Video, and Adobe Web in 3 years? It seems a function-oriented approach might make more sense in the future than this example we have now of putting similar features in different tools.

  • Arlo — 9:48 AM on November 23, 2009

    Just because your customers are using Photoshop to design web sites doesn’t mean they SHOULD. You already make better tools for the job. I agree with the sentiment that improving Fireworks makes more sense than shoehorning more features into Photoshop. (Plus, isn’t it good business to have your customers buy multiple applications instead of one gigantic Swiss Army knife that no longer fits in your pocket?)
    I also want just about all of the features listed in this post. That’s why I do most of my web design in InDesign now with the rulers set to points. I even wrote an AppleScript to export all of my InDesign layers as separate files to reassemble into a layered Photoshop file.
    Sure, some people would argue not to turn InDesign into a web design app, but what’s is a design for the web if not an exercise in typography? And InDesign is your best typography application. I know you’re not on the InDesign team, but if they give me a way to set the rulers to pixels, ensure pixel-perfect strokes, and export to Photoshop for pixel-level tweaks, and InDesign could become a very capable web design application.
    (Of course, if the design is more of an application than a content-driven site, Fireworks is a better tool than InDesign for the job.)

  • joe — 9:48 AM on November 23, 2009

    Quick Amendment: Never is too strong. I use paths. I don’t use vector based text or shapes, is what I meant.

  • Ilya Birman — 10:05 AM on November 23, 2009

    My wishlist:
    1. Global Swatches (à la Illustrator), so that links are always the same color :-)
    [Man, I've been staring at email too long: I saw "Swatches" and thought at first this was a spam post, trying to sell knockoff wrist watches. I also misread your name as "Birdman." ;-) --J.]
    2. Dashed underline for Ajax links! So tired of painting those underlines :-)
    3. Auto snap underline to pixels (currently it’s too easy to get blurry underlines in Photoshop)
    Bonus track. Please, please, put back Change Layer Content menu item!
    Thanks!

  • jacob — 10:22 AM on November 23, 2009

    1. don’t append ‘copy’ to duplicated layers
    [Done. :-) --J.]
    2. built-in dummy text generator
    [How's this? (Not built in, obviously.) --J.]
    3. baseline grid
    [What do you think of GridMaker? --J.]
    4. get rid of that nesting limit
    5. fix pixel rendering of text underlines
    6. fix the interaction of dragging layers between open tabs. You should be able to drag from the layers panel. Why dragging from the canvas ever was a good idea is beyond me, as you watch your layers actually move out of position until the cursor is off the artboard.
    [Agreed, both should work. It's just a matter of things like Cocoa sucking up resources. We'll keep pushing for it. --J.]
    7. multiple sets of slices so you can slice up the same file different ways. Or at least have “save for web” have an option to ignore slices.
    -8- bring back Maximize view mode. Application frame is *not* the same if you want to fill up the open area not used by panels. When you zoom in and back out to 100% it centers on where you zoomed to. This was not the interaction in Maximize mode in CS3 (correct me if I’m wrong), which zoomed out to where the artboard was last positioned. This is terrible when you’re comping a 1000px-wide browser and you have to keep re-centering the artboard.

  • Cliff — 10:34 AM on November 23, 2009

    How about not do any of these things in Photoshop and instead give Fw some of the Ps developer resources to make Fw do all these things even better than it does now?
    Adobe is seriously perplexing.

  • John Grden — 10:38 AM on November 23, 2009

    I love Fireworks, but I knew as soon as Adobe bought it, the PS guys would be trying to kill it. Good job, mission accomplished.
    [Excuse me, but that's a load of crap. Fireworks development was moribund when Adobe found it. (Remember all those new features & improvements in FW Studio 8? Me neither.) The app was on life support at best. I was one of the people who pushed for Adobe to take FW seriously and to re-invest in it. (Macromedia had given up.) Just thought you should know.
    The fact that FW has had some quality stumbles recently is another matter entirely. I know they've worked hard to update the app to fix those things. None of that has anything to do with Photoshop or the Photoshop team. --J.]
    Now, for those of us who LOVE Fireworks, we’ll have to make sure we convey *what* we liked about FW to you guys. Honestly, if some of Fireworks’ features made it into PS, i’d be glad to finally use one tool. But hands down, FW does a much better job in the departments of workflow and PNG export.
    What I really enjoy about FW is it’s export dialot (shift+command+x) – the ability to not have to alter your working document so that you can just export what you want, how you want it, cropped the way you need it- INVALUABLE. Master doc stays nice and pretty, export as you need.
    Also, PNG export has always been much better quality from FW than PS. PNG8 with alpha, PNG24 and 32 should come out like they do from Fireworks.
    Also, the ability to use PNG as your document type would be a great help. Not everyone supports PSD, but nearly everything supports PNG and since PNG supports layers, you get a nice workflow you may not have realized you had before ;)
    [Lots of apps support PSD, including PSD layers. What besides Fireworks supports editing FW layers? Just calling one's format a standard, then packing a ton of proprietary data into it, doesn't make it a standard. (You can use PS to jam an entire PSD's worth of layers into a PDF or a TIFF, by the way. That doesn't mean that any PDF or TIFF reader can fully understand those layers, however.) --J.]
    That’s my 2 cents on the matter.
    If you guys can pull those things into PS, I’ll be happy as a clam.
    [Thanks for the feedback. --J.]

  • jcool — 10:38 AM on November 23, 2009

    1. Option for Shape Layers to snap to pixels. Right now, Shape Layers can be very frustrating to use.
    2. Yes, don’t append “copy” to anything you don’t have to.
    3. Global Swatches across ALL apps.
    4. The ability to pan the image in window, in case you need to make adjustments in the pasteboard area. (for instance, if you have a vector mask, and a point falls outside the image, you may have to zoom out to edit it, which can be clunky if fine detail is required)
    5. Selection of shape layers. On a complex site, trying to select the vector path of a shape layer can be very frustrating, since PS seems to just select any path that is higher in layer order, regardless of the layer that is selected.
    6. Implement the Win Vista/7 Open/Save dialog boxes. ;)

  • John — 10:39 AM on November 23, 2009

    I took a look at that survey and if I didn’t know better, i would have sworn that was a feature list of Fireworks. Other than linked files, Fireworks does all of that today.
    I’m also very much a realist and see the writing on the wall. Adobe hasn’t shown much love towards Fireworks since they acquired Macromedia. FW is still my favorite tool because hands-down its far more capable for doing Flash/Flex work. I won’t go off on why PS has a crappy workflow for workign with Flash and Flex, but it can be summed up into 3 main areas: vectors (FW has real vectors, not crap paths), slicing (hello Export Area tool), and auto shapes & 9-slice.
    So if Adobe wants to put the final stake in Fireworks, you had better bring your A-Game and get those features that makes Fireworks great into Photoshop. Personally, I think it’s a mistake when you already have a capable tool in Fireworks, but that didn’t stop Adobe from doing Flash Catalyst either.

  • Mordy Golding — 10:56 AM on November 23, 2009

    It isn’t just Fireworks, John. Just about everything you mention on your list is already available in Illustrator as well.
    [It isn't, actually, at least as I conceive of how things should be done. And regardless, if you're holding your breath for people to finally see the light and to start using AI as their principal, final-form Web design/output environment, I think you can exhale now. I love using AI for Web design, but 10 years after Adobe got (mostly) serious about giving AI Web chops, people continue to vote with their feet. That is, they use PS and AI together, with PS being responsible for the pixel-accurate output. --J.]
    Pretty soon Adobe will have to change the name of Photoshop Extended to Photoshop Over-Extended.

  • John Grden — 10:56 AM on November 23, 2009

    I appreciate that *you* may have fought for it, but from my perspective, I often love a tool that gets bought by someone else, then dismantled. It’s not too far fetched of a concept, I’m sure you can understand that.
    And while YOU may have fought for it, I know there’s always some person with a bit more power looking at the numbers up stairs and their plan is to kill it off because of the bottom line – I can’t say I blame them. That’s what it’s about, making money – I get it.
    Just makes me mad. And none of what you’ve said really changed my perception of what happened. All I’ve done is add Macromedia to my list of people to blame when my favorite bitmap editing tool bites the dust.
    and isn’t it inevitable that FW will go away, some featuers will be brought over, but, to get to those features, they *might* end up in the extended or premium edition of PS? arent the licenses for PS much more expensive than FW? Just saying, we have a wonderful app, love it to death, it got bought (dying or not), and eventually is now going to be discontinued and I have ZERO impact on that choice. I have no choice now, but to pay for PS, whether I like it or not. Good times.

  • Ani — 11:26 AM on November 23, 2009

    I can only say that it is pretty obvious what stays behind this – seems to me as a preparation for the funeral of Fw. I don’t believe this would make Ps better, it will become just overweight.
    It could be better if Adobe finally put some more effort in better compatibility and the way their applications talk to each other, but I guess they cannot stop playing the step-mother and killing Cinderella (Fw).
    They didn’t do much to sell it in the last 4 years, did they?
    And if you like Ps (I do, actually), you won’t approve it to become suffocated with features.

  • Pete — 11:29 AM on November 23, 2009

    A little off-topic (a rant, mostly), but what about making some tools behave the same way across the entire suite?! Take vector editing, for example. I find quite annoying that:
    - If you edit an anchor handle of the path being draw by manually chosing the “Convert Anchor Point Tool”, or tweaking the active point of the path manually using the cursor keys, after switch back to the “Pen Tool” creates a new path. Photoshop gets this right.
    - In PS the path can be transformed using any of the transform tools for pixel-based obejcts (you can even “Warp them”) in real time, with “ultra precision”. Doing this in AI is more unintuitive, and almost always a trial-and-error kinda business. Photoshop gets this right, too, a real shame for Illustrator.
    There are problems with editing type, however. In InDesign and Illustrator, if you hit the “Escape” button inside a text box, the box deactivates, but all your edit (typing, deleting, formatting, etc.) remains intact. In PS, if you do the same while editing a text layer, all you did is gone, and there’s no undo for this. Or in AI you can use styles just as in Indesign, but can’t assign them to hot keys.
    So it’s nice to have shiny new features, but making the tools more straightforward and unified across the package should be just as important.
    One last example about lost functionality is the application frame “vision”, introduced in CS4. Before that, in CS3, Indesign was aware the size of the palettes. Hence, on document open, windows scaled horizontally until the edge of those palettes. Now it scales to full screen so there’s a good chance that manual window resizing is necessary just to see the contents of your document. This is how a really aggravating additional step us born in your workflow.
    When you change the UI fundamentally based on your vision (instead of real user demand), a preference setting for the old method would be nice. Some of our art directors went mad because of this appframe thing. They can’t get their job done while trying to figure out what happened to the UI they were using for years. They are good at making art, not “debugging” the software.

  • Chris — 11:35 AM on November 23, 2009

    Keep the keyboard shortcuts the same instead of changing them all the time and look at increasing the overlap of similarity on keys doing the same thing in different packages, m does different things in photoshop, illustrator and flash for example.
    [Shortcuts don't change "all the time." When they do, it's generally to try to accommodate requests for more consistency. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. --J.]
    Slows down my workflow no end.

  • Michel — 11:55 AM on November 23, 2009

    John,
    I have to agree with some of your readers: you just listed the core Fireworks features — features that Adobe Fireworks (before: Macromedia Fireworks) had for years!
    This sounds illogical!
    Will you try to make Photoshop a super-huge super-overbloated beast, that not only will continue to be the great Adobe photo editor, will produce CMYK and RGB graphics for screen and for print, will make 3D, animations, etc., but will also try to copy *all* of Fireworks core features inside it! And why?
    Fireworks is already here! All the features that you listed, Fireworks has them! They work, they are tested, and the fact that Fireworks is the favourite tool of quite a few designers that create designs for Web/screen mostly, proves that this is the right tool in the right hands.
    (A personal note: I am one of those designers! I create graphics for websites, I create graphics for screen, I create logos. I almost never use Ps! Its interface is counter-intuitive to me. It has too many features already — most of them I do not need. Fireworks has an intuitive interface, you think “objects”, not “layers+sublayers”, Fireworks has excellent vector tools and good bitmap tools. I use Fireworks for 90% of my work, the rest 10% are divided between Ai and Flash, sometimes Ps. Fireworks allows me to do my work, every day! You think I need Ps for my screen designs? Well, I don’t. Fireworks helps me every day, to save time, to remain focused, to do my job in the easiest possible way. I never even thought of switching to another graphic design editor, because Fireworks has everything I need! And, mind you, I know a bit of Ai and Ps, too. But they’re not the right tools for screen, sorry.)
    What you can do, instead of trying to make Photoshop the “all-in-one-supertool”, is to increase the development resouces for Fireworks (even if slightly!) and make all Adobe apps “talk” better to each other!
    Do what you need to be done in Fireworks, paste your work in Photoshop, or Illustrator. Bring it back to Fireworks, after that, or move assets to Flash. Make each Adobe application “talk” better with another, instead of trying to make one “super-app” that will do everything, but it will do it not in the optimal possible way!
    You said in a comment:
    “I hear you, and I think FW is an excellent tool. The fact remains, however, that after FW has been shipping for 11+ years (4 of them as an Adobe app), a very large percentage of people continue to do their Web design work in PS. The existence of FW doesn’t give PS license to fail to improve, and many of the features I mention can have broad appeal outside of Web design & production.”
    You are not serious, aren’t you? :-)
    If this is the case, you should educate your users better, then!
    Next time, some of them may ask to be able to edit video directly in Photoshop, or maybe Flash, because they don’t like to leave Photoshop for another Adobe app?
    And then, next year, someone @ Adobe will maybe tell us that “Fireworks has limited development resources”! And why? Because meanwhile, Photoshop will try to copy all Fw features, instead on focusing what it does currently best — print design & photo retouch!
    Well, Fireworks does other things best — Fw is the right tool for screen & Web design, the right tool for protyping, the right tool to create mockups *and* full-featured designs for Web! I use Fireworks when I need to create designs for screen, but I use Ai and Ps when I need to create designs for print. Adobe has a large line of professional apps — each application does something better than another! Should we try to add Ai features to Fw and Fw features to Ps? Wouldn’t it be better to invest resources in each Adobe application and then allow easier copy and paste of artwork between each application, without loss of editability?
    1. Ps is great for design for print & screen (for screen, sort of). It’s magnificent with bitmap editing (photo retouch) and quite clumsy with vectors.
    2. Ai is great for design for print & quite good for screen. It excells with vectors but is not very good with bitmaps…
    3. Fw is great and un-matched in design for screen/Web. It is pixel-perfect, and it is very powerful with both vectors and bitmap editing.
    4. Flash if for Web/screen only — Flash is Flash, no need to comment here.
    Each Adobe app does something very good, and other things not so good.
    You just have to leave each app at what it excells at! Leave each app at what it does best, invest some development resources for Fireworks and its promotion as the right tool for screen design, and make all Adobe apps “talk” better to each other, instead of making Photoshop do everything.
    I don’t like Ps, sorry. Fireworks does the job for me, much better. And even if you add all Fireworks features to Photoshop, this will still be Photoshop — it works in a different way, and it has too many features already!
    * * *
    Why *try* to imitate Fireworks, and add all of its features inside Photoshop?
    See list:
    – Vectors? Fireworks does it in an excellent way! (Not only that, but Fw can also edit bitmaps quite well, which perfectly fits its main purpose — create designs for screen/Web.)
    – Easy editing of strokes and fills — Fw already does it, in the best possible way! All fills/strokes can be easily edited via the Property Inspector panel, with just a couple of clicks. Add to this unique features like more than 10 (!) types of gradients — linear, radial, contour, ellipse, fols, etc.!
    – Buttons with states (up, down, over, etc.) — Fw has this feature for ages. This is a Web feature.
    – 9 slice scaling? Fireworks added this quite a long time ago. Add this to Ps, if you like, but this already works in Fireworks, because this is mainly a Web/screen feature, too!
    – Symbols? (reusable objects that can be dragged in from a Library panel) Well, Fireworks has this, too, and for a long time.
    – Pixel-perfect output? Yes. Fireworks is pixel-based, because it produces graphics for screen (not print).
    – Better integration with Flash and Web authoring tools (e.g. components that translate with code & behaviors intact)? Well, why not add this to Fireworks? Why to Photoshop? Why Fireworks can’t easily move vectors to Ai and Flash?
    Why not invest some resources to make Fireworks better integrate with Ps, Ai and Flash, instead of trying to make Photoshop do all that Fw already does?
    * *
    Next year, maybe Ps will have video editing inside? And why not not add Flash development to it, too? Maybe Ps customers will expect Ps to also edit Flash and edit video, because they don’t want to leave their favourite application and learn Flash or Ai or something else? :-)
    Then why not simply end development of all Adobe apps and leave just Photoshop — it will have a few major menus: Flash, Fireworks, Illustrator, Vectors, 3D, 4D, Video, and inside each menu users will find relevant features of their favourite specialised applications (like vector editing, flash editing, video editing, etc). No need to sell separate apps — Ps will have it all! :-) (Just joking, of course! ;-)
    But I am amazed to see a list of Fireworks core features listed as “new features” for Photoshop, in some future version of it!
    Photoshop already has a lot of features — do you think simply copy-pasting Fw features to it will make it better? O rthis will simply allow you to “kill” Fireworks? “Look, new Ps has all Fw features, so we end the Fireworks development”?
    Do you think your customers will buy this?
    Why not draw the line somewhere? Fireworks excells in designs for Web/screen — well, invest some resources to improve what it already does very well! Imrpove the way that Ps, Ai, Fw and Flash are interacting with each other and don’t try to make Ps a super-app!
    Sounds logical? To me, yes.
    Of course, if you like to continue to make Fireworks better and better…
    …and not end it, by moving features to your Swiss Super-Photoshop Tool… :(
    This will not make the tool better appealing to me, sorry.
    Every day, my job, my lide, depends on Fireworks and its abilities! Make it better for what it already does!
    Leave Photoshop at what it already does very well, too!
    Thanks, and sorry for long comment!
    Sincerely,
    yet another Fireworks guru (who happens to prefer Fw to Ps):
    –Michel

  • Mylenium — 12:03 PM on November 23, 2009

    Well, I find myself massively inclined to say “No” to everything. The only things of relevance would be button states and perhaps a bit of pixel exact rendering (though, in all fairness, nobody can simulate all current browsers’ behavior, so it’s a mostly futile exercise from the start).
    You know, PS has enough serious issues in abundance in other areas and I don’t see why more such problem children need be added. I’d rather, Adobe made their friggin’ minds up about Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash/ Flash Catalyst and put them together in a cohesive package. They all support PSD, they just don’t exploit the features and the implementation is different in each of them. Once they do that 10 times better, you can forget PS ever needing any additions on that end. I’d also remind you, that so far PS has a track record for making web design more awful (instead of more awesome) – can’t even create an animated GIF without jumping hoops ever since ImageReady got killed off.
    Additionally, you can’t even get your HTML for image galleries and such compliant to W3 standards, so how much faith should anyone have that you could make Photoshop generate proper CSS2/ CSS3 output along with neat and slim web pages? It is also very questionable, whether this has any real meaning even if it works. Web pages become more and more based on server-side systems which either use their own styling/ skinning systems or require to adhere to pre-defined style definitions, so what would be the point of designing something fancy in PS that could never be used for any of that?
    I really see it like that: Yes, PS is one of the most used auxiliary tools for web design/ mobile design, but anyone with some sense will never use it beyond generating the graphics. Do that 5 times better and people will be happy. Everything else is a waste of your development time. By the time you have gotten on your feet, the web will have moved on, anyway. Unless you are serious about adhering to web standards and being part of the death race, don’t do it. Half-fangled features will only make you look like morons, one way or the other.
    And just to set the record straight: Of course PS needs symbols, more/ better layer styles and linked files, but for goodness sake, if web design needs to act as an apology for finally doing it, then you are doing it for all the wrong reasons…

  • Michel — 12:08 PM on November 23, 2009

    Every day, my job, my life, depends on Fireworks and its abilities! Make it better for what it already does!
    – My *life* of course, not my “lide”, sorry for typo… I was very moved, so looks like quite a few mistakes creeped into my comment… :(

  • Armand — 12:13 PM on November 23, 2009

    Like someone else above me noted, most of these are already available in Fireworks. Personally I don’t use Fw so much, I actually do a lot of designing in Flash even when the result is a bitmap. I only use Illustrator for cmyk vectors and for better type support (ligatures and such).
    If there’s one thing I really want to see in Ps that would be an interactive gradient tool like the one in Illustrator.
    Oh and one more thing:
    - either add support for exporting 8bit PNGs with alpha transparency in Ps the way Fw has, or add Perceptual palette mode in Fw. Adaptive mode produces poor results in many cases.

  • Mordy Golding — 12:13 PM on November 23, 2009

    It’s easy to look at data and say “xx% of web designers use Photoshop so that’s obviously what they want…”.
    But if you look at how the web has evolved over the years, I think it’s pretty clear as to why that’s the case. Zledman documents it quite well in his books. There was a time when we used pixel-based images to make up for the lack of control and consistency in web design.
    Flash offered a way out of that problem (and opened up a whole new set of problems), and let’s be honest — Adobe always looked at AI as a front end to Flash. The last time AI saw a pixel-based web feature was version 10.
    But most designers who are serious about web design embrace standards-based design. IMHO, that’s the real true power and attraction of Fireworks — not its toolset or drawing capabilities — but its ability to generate meaningful CSS and HTML components that produce functional and interactive comps, and that can be immediately implemented in a standards-based design without having to first slice, skin, and code.
    If Adobe decides that Photoshop is indeed the app that will be the future of web design, what matters isn’t the drawing tools — it’s the structure one can generate with it.
    I only brought up AI because it would seem that it would be a heck of a lot easier to build the necessary structure and fix the antialiasing issues in AI than it would be to add your entire list of features to PS.

  • Mylenium — 12:16 PM on November 23, 2009

    Will you try to make Photoshop a super-huge super-overbloated beast,
    …it already is. Development has long lost focus. PS does a little bit of everything these days, but it does very few things of them really well. As I wrote the other day on my blog: “When was the last time I really thought of Photoshop as a neat little fast app? Must have been with version 7 or something.”
    That’s all I want – I want to enjoy working in PS again and not constantly be thinking “Wouldn’t it be nice, if… Oh well, can’t do because… there’s a bug/it doesn’t adhere to established standards/if effs up my Alpha [insert your personally most hated defunct feature here]”

  • mga — 12:19 PM on November 23, 2009

    I’m with the rather-make-Fireworks-better camp. I rather have PS for pro image-editing.
    Been using FW from version 1 and haven’t looked back.
    I see no need to shoehorn all that functionality into PS, especially since now Adobe owns both.
    I’d rather have you guys REMOVE stuff from PS (vector manipulation in PS is a real PITA).
    Please don’t kill FW.

  • Mylenium — 12:21 PM on November 23, 2009

    But most designers who are serious about web design embrace standards-based design. IMHO, that’s the real true power and attraction of Fireworks — not its toolset or drawing capabilities — but its ability to generate meaningful CSS and HTML components that produce functional and interactive comps, and that can be immediately implemented in a standards-based design without having to first slice, skin, and code.
    Couldn’t agree more with that. That’s what I was trying to say with my other comment about HTML/ CSS compliance, but you found more eloquent wording.

  • Shane Guymon — 12:26 PM on November 23, 2009

    I think instead of trying to make Photoshop as good as Illustrator, you should just let photoshop be photoshop and Illustrator be Illustrator and so forth.
    I don’t think people are looking for ONE program to rule ALL programs. I like the idea of having programs that specialize in things, but work well together.

  • mga — 12:28 PM on November 23, 2009

    “Pretty soon Adobe will have to change the name of Photoshop Extended to Photoshop Over-Extended.”
    LOL. So right.

  • Kevin Kratzke — 12:36 PM on November 23, 2009

    While I respect that there are a lot of FW users out there, being someone who has never owned or used it makes the suggested web design improvements to PS very appealing to me. Maybe I’m a lazy user, but I like the idea of being able to use one program to do as much as possible instead of constantly switching between apps.
    The “Save For Web” feature has been around for a very long time (1998, if I’m not mistaken, which I might be), so the seeds for Photoshop as a web development tool were planted long before Adobe acquired Fireworks. I, for one, am glad that Adobe’s acquisition of FW has not halted the development of new web features in PS.
    I feel like the FW vs PS for web development debate is similar to the age old PC vs Mac debate; if you’ve been using one for years, you’re going to know all of the advantages that it has over the other and be used to the workflow.

  • mga — 12:36 PM on November 23, 2009

    “I don’t think people are looking for ONE program to rule ALL programs. I like the idea of having programs that specialize in things, but work well together.”
    This didn’t work for the Dark Lord Sauron either. Adobe should learn from other people’s mistakes :)

  • Uri — 12:41 PM on November 23, 2009

    One thing about vector, symbols and text tools:
    It would be very cool if you could have multiple objects one layer so you could add effects, masks etc and also have less cluttered docs.
    Better layer management could also help (e.g. search layers by name/contents, shy layers). Layer sets (selection sets). Applying effects/modes/opacity to multiple selected layers.
    stack style effects as in aftereffects would be cool.
    Drag history to create action.
    Color management for computer screen could be much much easier – switching management modes (for designers working with multiple mediums) should also be.
    as for interface elements – a quick route to prototyping would be a blessed addition (yes, i know FW has this to some extent).
    also – lorem ipsum generator in all adobe apps would be a blessed addition.
    another thing – if adding external files:
    the ability to collect a project (external files, fonts etc) to one directory is very important.

  • Gilles — 12:42 PM on November 23, 2009

    As an additional flavour to a theme that’s been well-discussed, I’ll add that
    I used to do image-level photography stuff in Photoshop. With Adobe producing a well-engineered piece of software targeting that specific task, I purchased it, used it for that purpose, and continued to use Photoshop for the pixel-level work I still needed to do.
    Would I have been better served by heaping Lightroom’s functionality into Photoshop? I really don’t think so.
    The same holds here. If FW needs to be re-imagined / rebooted / whatever, then go that route. If if can receive the loving it needs to make it a success, then do that instead. But please don’t heap tons of very narrow stuff (and just because there are lots of web designers out there doesn’t make it any less narrow) into PS when Adobe has already demonstrated with Lightroom that it knows how to tackle this kind of situation correctly.

  • Jim Monaco — 1:15 PM on November 23, 2009

    Ahhhhhh. Look, another post where the Senior PM says “tell me what I can do for you” and the masses spit at him instead. How *do* you do this day in and day out?
    Couple of things. Reading over your list of proposed features, I got excited. Those features, in Photoshop…fantastic. Everything you put on that list is something I’ve wanted. You guys would face a strong challenge in terms of loading time, memory consumption, and interface design to get this all in there smoothly. But everything you’ve mentioned is wonderful.
    To the detractors…
    There’s a “right” tool for most jobs, but in the creativity field, that all goes a bit off track. We need high productivity and *massive* flexibility.
    Certainly, I don’t think that Photoshop should have all of the tools and features of Ai, Fw, and Dw. But it really should have overlap. I use Fireworks, and I like it…but if I’m designing something in Ps, I am *not* going to switch over just to get one little graphical embellishment, or one feature that I feel is better implemented elsewhere. That would require taking my flexible designed work out of its context, and that’s ridiculous for doing design work. Once I’m in the tool that is right for the *majority* of what I need, I want to stay in that tool until the design requires a completely unique set of tools AND workflow.
    Why shouldn’t Photoshop have basic control over vectors? If I need the full vector glory that is Illustrator, I’d start over there. But some basic control over how my shapes render would be nice :) Same is true for web export. There’s a high recurrence of situations when I want to do Photoshop graphics work, and then drop a simple website. It’s no good to say “should’ve used Fw” after the fact. I, for one, *want* to be able to flow through mediums without worrying that fringe cases are going to leave me stuck halfway between two superpower apps.
    And what’s all this about bloat? Bah. If folks don’t want all of the creative flexibility in the world, Adobe has been more than fair. There’s Lightroom, and there’s a standard version of Photoshop. I bought “Extended,” and I really don’t mind having features above and beyond basic image editing. One might even say that’s what I paid for…
    I don’t see Fireworks as being any more likely to vanish than any other Adobe App…When it’s time for Fw to go, it’ll be because there are better workflows to do every single aspect of its functionality set in other tools (the all-encompassing Adobe app in 2050?).
    John:
    Is there any way to keep some of these things modular, though? I don’t know how “sharing-friendly” folks are across Adobe teams (and I’ve heard some odd stories), but it’d be nice to have a bit of cross-pollination, to make sure that the Ps guys aren’t required to be up on all the web stuff, web guys on vector stuff, etc. Not full-blown headless stuff, but…modules.
    Anyways, thanks as always for soliciting feedback; I hope you forge ahead with some of these improvements!
    -Jim

  • Mikko — 1:18 PM on November 23, 2009

    Photoshop is the industry standard. Has been over decades. Back in the days the main function for Photoshop was printwork and some minor webgraphics. The industry has been changed to different fragments and formats. Now days the business is more about designing for different kind of screens also, therefore PS has piled some capabilites to answer for these kind of tasks (since PS is the flagship-product aka swiss knife of Adobe).
    Fireworks has been designed especially for screens. There are several innovations made by FW-department. 960gs, symbols, vector/bitmap-workflow, interactive PDF’s, live-gradients, UI-elements libraries etc. People have now just in the past few years starting to discover the potential of FW on screendesign. Some of the web/vector features in Fw are inherited from Freehand, the previously decapitated excellent product.
    Adobe has not been very active on promoting FW, since FW is not even mentioned the adobe.com frontpage. As a community manager for FW, I’ve seen the growing audience of FW, because now days people have heard tru social channels that there is another way to do web than PS.
    Most of the webdesigners working with PS use only minimum amount of PS features. I really cant see the point adding there more functions. Functions that already exists in another product. Two sells more than one, even if the another one is less known. Just remember to promote the lesser known product too.
    John, maybe you should sit down and have a beer/coffee with Bruce B.

  • Michel — 1:21 PM on November 23, 2009

    Well said!
    Fireworks needs some polishing, some new features, but it already does in an excellent way what it is primarily intended for — Web/screen graphics!
    Photoshop does in an excellent way other things. Leave things as they are, don’t make Super-Photoshop, at the cost of Fireworks! You’ll probably have a lot of unhappy Fw and Ps customers…

  • Jim Monaco — 1:40 PM on November 23, 2009

    Thank you Mordy–while I’m in the somewhat-opposed “more power to PS camp,” it’s nice to read a well-stated opinion based on something other than angst.
    I agree that Fw is a great product for creating web-standards compliant pages from graphical layouts, and it’s the one thing that I regularly use it for. But, I *would* like to see some web and some AI features come over to Photoshop–not as a substitute, but as an extension of a different tool.
    I think that you’re right about how pixel-based design in Ps isn’t an easy convert to web stuff…but wouldn’t it be nice to not be absolutely stuck off of the web as a penalty for using Ps? Or unable to do *any* vector work for not having done the whole thing in Illustrator? I assume that’s why there’s generally been a little bit of that stuff in PS all along…It’s just a bit short of the mark.
    The tools have their places; I think that Photoshop, as the tool in Adobe’s lineup that touches the largest number of media solutions, would do well to have just enough overlap to keep us from having to swap apps all too frequently.
    Of course, in a few years, we’ll all be looking back from our headless versions of each app wondering how we ever got any work done :)
    -Jim

  • Michel — 1:54 PM on November 23, 2009

    Good comments, Jim!
    I am not opposed to the idea Ps to “copy” some Fw features! But I am a bit worried that if Ps copies *all* Fw core features, two things may happen:
    1) Fw cycle can be ended because of reason: “Now Photoshop does everything that Fireworks does, why should we keep Fireworks?”
    Well, maybe yes, but will Ps become easier to use? I doubt that! I will still need Fireworks to get my job done in the most efficient way.
    2) Photoshop (if it really copies all this stuff from Fw) can become overflown with features — some of them probably really not needed by most of its userbase…
    2+2 is not always 4, you know;)
    Maybe John Nack can answer this question:
    If there’s this idea floating in the air: Ps to acquire most of Fw’s core features, then which features will Fireworks improve soon (or maybe copy from Ps)?

  • Ilya Birman — 2:17 PM on November 23, 2009

    Oh, I forgot to mention, that I hate Save for Web window: it’s big and bloated and takes ages both to open and to close (!).
    I want the classic Save as… to be able to save lightweight gifs and jpegs. Maybe add a checkbox “Use my latest Save for Web settings” to Save as… dialog?

  • Nate — 2:27 PM on November 23, 2009

    Please standardize the OpenType font handling. A Glyphs palette would be nice.

  • Fruityth1ng — 2:53 PM on November 23, 2009

    As a game designer, responding here might be considered a minor hijack, my apologies :) In my defence, I’d like to note though that I use(d) a lot of the web features like dynamically palettizing, juggling alpha channels through different file formats (and format plugins) and batch processing heaps of buttons with styles.
    A lot of the improvements you mention would be enabled by an underlying, more modular & object oriented setup. The way Maya’s MEL script was implemented could serve as an inspiration. A lot of repetitive tasks could be greatly reduced by a simple, more user (VS developer) accessible scripting system, providing access to *ALL* interface and image elements in memory (I usually ended up at an unreachable feature…). Essentially, exposing more of the program to the end-user.
    As for the illustrator integration, working on a *single* document, cycling through the PS & Ai interfaces with (for instance) an extra tab press and smartly displaying either depending on the selection at the time, sounds like a start :)
    I second the sentiments stating that more specific tools are not what we need, but rather a more granular, maybe even modular setup from the bottom up. I don’t see what’s wrong with merging a ton of apps into one, if done properly.
    Thanks for opening up the floor :)
    kind regards,
    Herman

  • Martin Doudoroff — 3:53 PM on November 23, 2009

    For what it’s worth, I want to register a vote with the anti-bloat contingent. I would prefer to see Photoshop stripped down and optimized for PHOTO editing and another product dedicated to web graphics. And I’m one of those people who currently uses PS for BOTH photo editing and web graphics. I’ve tried to use Fireworks—which I also own—but it’s a bit of a mess. Lightroom was such a breath of fresh air. How about a fresh start for web graphics?

  • Brian Warren — 4:59 PM on November 23, 2009

    There are tons of good ideas here. As great as Photoshop is it still feels like it’s using it as a hack to design websites. I’m glad to hear you’re looking into ways to make that better.
    Both the FILE ORGANIZATION/MGMT. & the OUTPUT & INTEGRATION sections would be extremely helpful.
    The text styles would be especially nice, in fact, take it a step further and let me write some css to effect the text. Perhaps even link to an external css file to do the styling.
    All of that said, I fully want to vote for just making the thing more lightweight and usable. Photoshop feels extremely bloated and unstable, and despite the speed improvements that came with CS4, I’d love to see something more nimble and simple.

  • Van — 5:05 PM on November 23, 2009

    If Adobe’s users seem to still be using Ps instead of Fw as a web design tool, then Adobe has not done a very good job marketing Fw. May I humbly make a few suggestions? Advertise Fw. Feature Fw on the Adobe home page. Include it in more suites. Feature it in more blogs. Feature it in Layers magazine. You’ve got a great product. Stand behind it. (of course, I’m speaking to TPTB at Adobe.)

  • Jim Babbage — 6:10 PM on November 23, 2009

    Well I will echo many sentiments here: Adobe already has an application specifically designed to create web and screen application graphics, far more efficiently that PS: Fireworks.
    Every time I demo building a web design in FW, people are blown away at how fast and easy it is.
    Many don’t know what it can do, thinking that maybe it’s just a slice and dice app like IR was. It’s not. It’s a design AND production tool.
    Why don’t people know? Marketing. Trying to find Fireworks on the Adobe home page (or even a level or two deep) is impossible or requires digging.
    I’m not bashing PS; just as I wouldn’t bother doing high-end bitmap editing in FW, neither would I wish to open PS to deal with web development.
    I use PS, LR and FW constantly but for web and screen work, I am practically always in FW, from concept/design to completion. Then I’m over to DW for the code side of things.
    I love PS for hi res work. Heck, I TEACH it in community college, along with FW and DW. And I do my best to point out the strengths of each.
    I read the survey and answered “not important” to at least 50% of the questions. The reason? I already have all that within Fireworks. Overlap is one thing, integration is one thing. Feature duplication is something else entirely.
    Rather than add all this to PS, why not:
    a) improve PS import into FW (adjustment layers, grouped layers, smart objects)
    b) CREATE multi page suppport and/or FW PNG support in PS. Heck if the PS dev team has THAT much time on their hands, spending it on proper round trip integration would be a GREAT idea. Both FW and PS may find themselves some new users if the communication between the two apps became more seamless. FW already does a decent (not perfect, but decent) job of bringing in PS files. What does PS do to an FW PNG file? It flattens the entire thing.
    Yes, I know there’s a warning. Somehow I think if FW just “warned” users that their PSD files would be flattened, there would be a substantial outcry.
    Let each application do what it does best. Please!

  • John — 6:37 PM on November 23, 2009

    There is a time and a place for a swiss army knife and having your box of Snap-on tools. Both have their uses. You can get away with casual work using your swiss army knife, but when you need to the get a more complicated and complete job done, you go for the box of dedicated tools.
    Will Photoshop become the jack-of-all-trades yet master of none?

  • Michel — 8:36 PM on November 23, 2009

    Jim, so well said!
    “Heck, if the PS dev team has THAT much time on their hands, spending it on proper round trip integration would be a GREAT idea. Both FW and PS may find themselves some new users if the communication between the two apps became more seamless. Fw already does a decent (not perfect, but decent) job of bringing in Ps files. What does Ps do to an Fw PNG file? It flattens the entire thing.
    [...] Let each application do what it does best. Please!”
    Great suggestion — I am all “for” better integration between Ps and Fw! (And Fw, Ps and Ai, in general.)
    Each tool does something best! I use Fw and Ai, sometimes Ps. I’d love to be able to more easily move work from one to the other, instead of just staying with one “super-app”!

  • Mark Alan Thomas — 8:44 PM on November 23, 2009

    Fireworks needs a better name.

  • uri — 11:03 PM on November 23, 2009

    An additional note:
    Eventually, it would be great to see CS develop into a real product suite. Meaning – one application allowing users to unlock/activate tools/features and outputs based on their needs and habits. Basically – one would expect to find the same vector tools, same bitmap tools anywhere as well as the same time line and text tools.
    So basically when you buy the suite you’d be buying vector tools, bitmap tools, animation tools editing tools, all panels in the same space and you would be buying output format, e.g. swf, mov, ps, etc.
    You would have to learn everything once and you would have a much easier time moving from design to prototyping to development. Also this would make using the same assets and design across platforms and media much easier. It does not have to be bloated, BTW, to achieve this…

  • Luis Garcia — 11:35 PM on November 23, 2009

    Well, I was going to say something similar, that if webdesigners use mor Ps than Fw it is maybe because Fw it is strange to use to someone used to Ps or another Adobe application.
    I would like to see Fw as a killer application for web and screen graphics, like Lightroom is for photography or InDesign for publishing. I love Ps, but I think is better to have Fw for web.
    And thanks for requesting feedback.

  • Martin Doersch — 12:02 AM on November 24, 2009

    Hi
    It would be great to see a links panel in PS.
    And I agree with John — let PS master photos. Its called PHOTOshop not ONEFORALLshop.
    Use another app for web (eg fireworks).
    Best
    Martin

  • Roger Wong — 12:59 AM on November 24, 2009

    Photoshop is definitely the standard when it comes to web design in big ad/design/web agencies. The Fireworks folks are few and far between (often zealots like cultists).
    I think the fact that Fireworks may or may not be better for web design is moot. Everyone I know uses PS. And switching to FW would slow us down waaaaaay too much. It would mean having to learn a completely new app that does the same things in very different ways.
    I’ve used Photoshop for 17 years. I have my own tricks up my sleeve to make me as efficient as possible. I’m not about to switch.

  • Fabrice Delaneau — 1:03 AM on November 24, 2009

    I must say that I hate Fireworks UI as much as I love Photoshop’s one.
    Therefore I design websites exclusively with Ps. Bringing features like resizable button to Ps would be really great for me.
    But like many others I must say it seems a bit odd that two apps overlap each other so much.
    [Well, there's a reason that Adobe didn't build Fireworks on its own: frankly it can be tough to explain to people why they should add a new vector/raster app to their workflows when they already use PS/AI. There are excellent reasons for people to use FW, but it's tough to tell that story. (For Macromedia it was easier: They had no PS, and FreeHand was in decline.)
    I would like Fw to become more an Indesign for the web : you set your layout in Fw (with vector and Ps style effects) and import external files created with Ps or Ai or even Flash for anything that is more complex.
    This way there is less duplicating functions between apps and you always use the best tool for the job depending on the current needs.
    [The Devil's Advocate argument here is that less overlap = more switching/more apps needing to be open at once. --J.]

  • Michel — 1:59 AM on November 24, 2009

    Roger,
    We, the “Fireworks cultists”, are simply professional designers, just like you (a “Photoshop cultist”?;-). We simply use a different tool to achieve a certain design goal!
    The fact that everyone around you uses only Ps, even if for Web graphic design, doesn’t mean Ps is better — I know quite a few professional designers that use Fireworks for Web and screen design and Photoshop/Illustrator for print design…
    If you do design for Web, using Fireworks won’t slow you down — in fact, probably in less than 2 hours of using Fireworks, you’ll realise that a lot the tasks in Ps, when you design for the Web, are much more easy in Fireworks:)

  • jacob — 3:19 AM on November 24, 2009

    I think it’s pretty awesome that a PM at Adobe is actually asking what we think at all. Instead of giving John a hard time about FW vs. PS, let’s answer his question: What can we do to make PS better?
    We all win by offering useful answers. Adobe keeps asking, and we get the changes we want.

  • jacob — 3:22 AM on November 24, 2009

    appended to my original list:
    9. Typeahead search in the typeface select box. I should be able to type “Cas…” and have it find Adobe Caslon.
    10. Consistency in ‘reflect’ transforms between Ps and Ai

  • Michel — 3:57 AM on November 24, 2009

    As a Fireworks user, I don’t mind Ps to receive even more features and options! :)
    What I worry about is that trying to copy all core Fw features to Ps may allow Adobe tomorrow to say that we all have to move to Ps, as Fw is being stopped. Only John can answer that question, though.
    I, personally, don’t need one super-Adobe-app-to-rule-them-all. I need Fireworks for screen/Web graphics development, I need Ps or Ai for print. Ps can’t replace Fw for me, just like Fw can’t replace Ps for you:)

  • Shangara — 4:06 AM on November 24, 2009

    Had put together a feature request only last week for a stroke tool but not got around to posting it. Current implementation is versatile but awkward and not very discoverable (how many people know you can stroke with a tool but need to use the Paths panel menu?). So, on your list, that gets my top vote. ITMT, just adding a pop-up in the Stroke dialog for choosing a tool would help.

  • Sean — 7:46 AM on November 24, 2009

    I’m yet another FW user and an old curmudgeon designer hailing from the days when PS introduced typesetting as a feature (still upset about that one!). :)
    I really don’t need to repeat the opinions expressed by my fellow FW “cultists” above… I agree with most of them. (especially about a renewed effort in marketing benefits of FW, as well as, better integration among apps)
    Having said that, I have to be honest, I’ve always wanted better vector tools in PS. I never really quite understood why they just didn’t work like Illustrator’s tools, especially because PS is made by the same company that helped pioneer vector illustration. I’m not saying you need to bring Illustrator’s feature set over, you already have all that PS needs in this regard… just make all these tools work similarly. I have never learned how to use PS’s vector tools due to this disconnect between the two unique UI’s… in fact, this is what lead me to FW way back when. >>>> Aha!
    Just some food for thought…
    Thanks for the space and keep up the great work.

  • jcool — 9:12 AM on November 24, 2009

    It would be nice to be able to save out a selection using Save for Web. (i.e., marquee out a selection, hit save for web, and it automatically crops to that size)
    Also, it would be nice to solve the Save for Web crashiness/amazingly long pause bug. When I’m using Save for Web repeatedly (say, saving out the same document in 5-6 different resolutions), there’s a strong chance it will either crash Photoshop, or just hang for 2-3mins, then just come back like nothing happened.
    Crazy.

  • Ollie Boermans — 8:18 PM on November 24, 2009

    Please spend some time considering those of us who know HTML and CSS and are looking to Photoshop to design and create images for our sites not build the whole HTML/CSS thing. The noob features are great for those who need them but are in the way of the workflow of those who don’t.

  • Mark — 12:23 AM on November 25, 2009

    Oh dear, this sounds dreadful. I’m afraid you’re looking for new Photoshop features in all the wrong places.
    If you want ideas for new features I recommend looking at what companies in the Photoshop plug-in ecosystem are doing. Outfits like Nik and onOne, to name two examples, are rapidly turning Photoshop into a subroutine – a framework to run their plug-ins.
    [I cannot adequately express how lame I find it when people hear me/us suggest one thing & then extrapolate from that we're not doing anything else.
    Obviously you care about photography features, and obviously I'm not talking about photography features here. Kindly don't wag your finger in my face if I suggest that, oh man, we *might* do *some* features for *somebody else*. --J.]
    If someone develops an inexpensive image editing program with reasonable capabilities and a Photoshop compatible plug-in architecture, Photoshop will be history.
    [Ever hear of Photoshop Elements, not to mention the numerous knock-offs? Yet somehow--somehow--Photoshop has thrived. --J.]

  • Asbjørn Ulsberg — 4:00 AM on November 25, 2009

    How about making the application perform reasonably and not crash every five minutes before you throw more features on top of the already bloated and obviously unmaintainable code base?
    Just try out e.g. Pixelmator (for OS X) for 10 minutes and notice the astronomical difference in speed and stability. Adobe doesn’t even compete in this area anymore.
    Yea, Photoshop has some great and unique features found in no other applications, but having to restart the application several times a day and witnessing every operation you do take minutes makes life as a designer in Adobe’s tools such a life draining experience that it’s just not worth it.

  • Mobius Strip — 3:31 PM on November 25, 2009

    Not to mention that Illustrator appears to be moribund. Year after year, glaring holes in its functionality remain (a decent selection mode, ability to assign scripts to hotkeys, etc.).
    Photoshop desperately needs usable shape-drawing tools. If Illustrator has been abandoned and isn’t a candidate for integrating with PS for better vector shapes, Adobe needs to address the embarrassing state of the shape-drawing tools in Photoshop at long last.

  • Mobius Strip — 3:43 PM on November 25, 2009

    Plus, a lot of this crap doesn’t belong in Photoshop and will be impossible to maintain. Integration with Web-authoring tools? Which ones? Who’s going to maintain that integration as those tools change?
    Same goes for the automated buttons and CSS and whatnot. This doesn’t belong in an image-editing app, especially when these hacks fall out of fashion with every revision of HTML or browser.
    Heaping gimmicky “features” into PS will simply sap resources from far more important work that remains to be done. Completely replace the shape/vector-drawing tools with usable ones. Fix the updaters. Add “paste as new image”. Fix the dialogs so they SAVE THE LAST-USED SETTINGS for heaven’s sake. Fix the mouse-wheel zoom so it snaps to important zoom factors like 50%, 75%, 100% as you roll past them, and not 100.3% or 76.1%. Seriously, some of this stuff is so elementary that there’s no excuse for it.

  • Mark — 4:08 PM on November 25, 2009

    Wow, John. I’m a little surprised by the vitriol in your response. Your blog post was “just a quick straw poll to gauge temperature” and I, among others, gave it a decidedly chilly reception. Did I touch a raw nerve in the process? Perhaps I wasn’t clear so I’ll try again.
    First of all, I don’t hate Photoshop. I may have referred to Adobe as Mudd Brick a time or two, but I don’t hate Photoshop. In fact, I rather like it. I like it so much that I’m disturbed to see how fast and how far it is falling behind the state of the art in image editing. As a Mac user, I’m doubly disturbed by the shabby state of Photoshop on OS X. Earth to Adobe, Earth to Adobe: Mark needs memory. That thorn in my side becomes increasingly painful as the days go by. Yes, yes, I read all the blog posts and comments back when that happened. Speaking of lame…
    Lets turn once again to plug-ins. I’m stunned by the simplicity and power of some of the Photoshop plug-ins available these days. Take Nik Viveza for example. I’m sure you’ve seen it, I certainly didn’t mean to imply otherwise. Viveza is hardly perfect – a limited number of adjustments done as a pixel layer instead of an adjustment layer. The real power and beauty is in the masks it creates for those adjustments. With one single mouse click Viveza creates a wonderful mask. Why can’t I do that in Photoshop?
    Your blog post talks about possible new features for Photoshop. Instead of the simplicity and power other folks are currently providing you offer up things like:
    Buttons with states. Whatever that means.
    Intelligent, skinnable charts. Umm. Yeah. OK. Whatever.
    Better integration with Flash. My second favorite Firefox plug-in is Flashblock.
    You have correctly surmised that I am a photographer, hence, primarily interested in photography features. Then you go on to say “I’m not talking about photography features here.” I have to ask “Why not?” I’ve always assumed that Photoshop’s core functionality was, err, “photoshopping” photos. Am I mistaken? I don’t mind adding features oriented towards other users. They’re easy to ignore (both the users and the features). With Photoshop’s core feature set falling so far behind, is that wise?
    My comment on your blog post was prompted by a couple of recent observations. I’d like to share them with you since I believe they should be of concern to Adobe.
    1. The embarrassment of riches that is the Photoshop plug-in ecosystem is making Photoshop itself increasingly irrelevant. Did I hit that nerve again?
    2. I’ve spent more money on plug-ins than I spent on Photoshop. That should make the bean counters at Adobe sit up and take notice.
    Finally, regarding my comment that “Photoshop will be history”. Let me be brutally clear. I am a customer. I pay Adobe. Adobe needs me. I do not need Adobe.
    These are the thoughts and opinions of a Photoshop user, an Adobe customer. Ignore them at your peril.
    [I'm not ignoring anything, Mark, and I appreciate your feedback. It's late and I'm tired, so I'm not going to try to reply to all points. I'm just sensitive to people coming here day after day and wagging their finger in my face, delighting in "making the monkey jump." I get tired of being a human pincushion, though of course that's the case, I suppose I can always stop blogging, or change my job, or whatever.
    Anyway, I wanted to point out that if all you want is to run various plug-ins, you certainly don't have to buy Photoshop. We've actually encouraged the Nik & onOne guys to make free-standing versions of their apps so that people could integrate them more readily with Lightroom! And as for making Photoshop more relevant for photographers, you're right that there's always more to be done. Despite us having to sacrifice an ungodly amount of effort on the Cocoa altar, I think you'll be very pleased with what we have queued up. --J.]

  • Pissed Mac User — 4:51 PM on November 25, 2009

    The only time I’ve seen Photoshop crash is on Snow Leopard – and that’s because it makes everything crash!
    And comparing toys to professional tools doesn’t help your case one bit.

  • Pissed Mac User — 4:52 PM on November 25, 2009

    The only time I’ve seen Photoshop crash is on Snow Leopard – and that’s because it makes everything crash!
    And comparing toys to professional tools doesn’t help your case one bit.

  • jacob — 3:38 AM on November 27, 2009

    this comment thread is unbearably painful. With that, I’ll try to offer something constructive:
    10. “reopen tabs from last session”

  • Eric — 2:18 PM on November 27, 2009

    Thanks for putting that survey together, there’s definitely some items in there I was happy to see.
    However, there was one item that I’ve long wished for that wasn’t listed, and that’s the addition of “guide sets”.
    As a web designer in Photoshop, I am often using one Photoshop document that includes multiple page designs organized in layer sets. Of course I am always using guides for columns and other elements, but having different pages in one Photoshop file means I really need different sets of guides in one Photoshop file too.
    Think of how Illustrator’s guides are specific to layers, and have their own colors accordingly. This is really similar to something I’d love to see in Photoshop!

  • THE INTERNET DOG — 9:54 AM on November 30, 2009

    “a very large percentage of people continue to do their Web design work in PS”
    Because at first glance FW seems really clunky and they’re too fucking stupid to know whats good for them

  • Jason Emry — 1:13 AM on December 01, 2009

    Sounds like a whole lot of Fireworks users are making trouble because they have assumed that the addition of some very relevant features to Photoshop’s workflow would put an end to web development as they know it. From what I’ve read, no such catastrophes have been scheduled in the near future and Fireworks is still being aggressively developed. I myself assumed, back when, that they would phase it out immediately which they, of course, did not. You have Adobe to thank for even providing you this opportunity to scold them.
    Photoshop was born in the late 80′s, just a hair before mass proliferation of the internet. Since it would be years until Adobe would eventually acquire Macromedia (and Fireworks), it’s only logical that their software would begin to adapt to this new, wonderful, design medium. So Photoshop has been a hulking, swiss-army knife for years. And I wouldn’t have it any other way! I love that beefy giant!
    I’ve got an equally hulking computer system (standard, these days) which makes the program’s size a non-issue, especially if you claim to be a cutting-edge professional. The only time anything moves slow is when I’m working with excessively huge images. Surprise, surprise! (tip: Sometimes, if your save-for-web dialogue freezes, you can locate and delete the temporary target file while Photoshop is frozen to knock it out of its loop.)
    Personally, I started using Photoshop for illustration. “But wait! There’s a program called Illustrator!!!” Big deal. What’s in a name? Get over it. (I also DO ILLUSTRATIONS IN ILLUSTRATOR) This introduced me to the awesome creative potential of the software as it was originally intended: for photo editing. After a while, I wanted a place to start showing off all my drawings and pictures. I already knew so much about Photoshop that it was very natural for me to conceptualize websites within this familiar environment.
    But then I had to figure out how to put them together. This was back in the days of tables, and at the time I was letting Photoshop and whatever WYSIWYG editor d’jour do all the grunt work until I realized how unsatisfactory the results of such an approach are. Out of both necessity and curiosity, I learned how to build my sites by hand – slice by slice, line by line – exactly how I like them. I approach code the same way I approach bitmap editing: WITH ABSOLUTE PRECISION. And I’ll admit, it may not always be the greatest, bestest way, but it’s my way, consarnit! Fie to anyone claiming that Fireworks has anything over Photoshop as far as pixel-precision goes. I am THE KUNG FU GRAND MASTER of the 1px pencil tool!
    Same goes for the oft-mentioned vector tools. They’re exactly how they should be. I use them extensively in 99.9% of my projects, and I accept them in all their zaniness. If I want to get down on some serious vectors, I’ll fire up Illustrator, as many have already suggested. (On this note, I actually like Flash’s gradient tool the best. Illustrator CS4′s solution, while a step in that direction, seems overly-complex.)
    If you want Adobe to respect the way you work, then stop insisting that they disrespect the way I work by suggesting they trim away these “unnecessary extras”. To imply, as some have, that there is only one way to create a website is ludicrous. Indeed, it is absurd to assume such a thing about any creative process! Also realize that Adobe’s loyalty would likely lie with Photoshop users, as we are the majority, and have been since the beginning. I’ve got nothing against Fireworks. But I never realized there was such an aversion from some of you to my dear, dear Photoshop. T_T
    There will always be a market for people who don’t want to get their hands too dirty. Relax. Your world is safe. Now just answer the man’s damn questions!
    *echem*
    DRAWING
    Being able to paste shapes directly from Photoshop to Flash would make sense. As it is, I’ve gotta go from PS to AI to FL. That’s nuts.
    FILE ORGANIZATION
    You’ve got my vote for all these. (I’ve even sometimes wished that I could define simple css rules within Photoshop in order to be able to quickly visualize, for example, what a page with a fancy background would look like stretched all the way across my screen without blowing up my canvas and adjusting layers. Chew on that, Fireworkers!… j/k ;)
    Additionally, (I’m not the first to mention this here) I’d like to see layer styles beefed up. If they could be added similarly to how Flash’s movieclip filters are – with the ability to stack/compound and reorder them – that would be swell. As things are, I often abuse various parameters in order to achieve more advanced effects on a single layer. Keeps me nimble though!
    Slice/guide sets would save me gobs of time.
    I’ve got many other, currently irrelevant suggestions. But I’ll save them for the feedback box… even though I’ve yet to see any of my past suggestions heeded. :(
    Once again, it’s great to see such a hands-on interest in hearing what users want (or vehemently don’t want) to see in future versions. Thanks!

  • Jason Emry — 3:07 AM on December 01, 2009

    Addendum:
    Excuse me. I should say the vector tools aren’t EXACTLY how they should be… As a matter of fact, I do have a gripe I’ve remembered. Perhaps it’s already been mentioned, but it would be nice if I couldn’t accidentally select another vector layer with the direct selection tool when trying to make a rectangular selection of anchors. Furthermore, this mistake cannot be reversed by just clicking on the original shape I was trying to edit. I must first manually place focus away from the canvas. Only then may I reselect the original shape by clicking on it (If I choose not to do so through the layers palette).

  • Kevin Cannon — 5:41 AM on December 10, 2009

    One thing I find really frustrating is controlling the antialiasing of shape ojbjects. It’s very difficult to draw a box with rounded corners to be exact on pixels. Fireworks solves this in two ways, one with a snap to pixel option, and another by allowing multiple anti-aliasing methods on vector objects. I would love that.
    Also, regarding the CSS borders. I don’t think it’s as important for Photoshop to realise it’s CSS dashed lines and export them. Any serious design/front-end dev will do their own CSS coding. But it is important that the dashed border looks the same as on a browser.
    Also, one small nit-pick I’ve always had is the ability to apply a stroke on only one edge of a box. Small things like that are really useful.
    I think you should video some designers working on real projects and see what kind of work arounds they do on web projects. I bet most people aren’t aware of the things they do to get around the limitations of PS.

  • John Simons — 7:12 PM on December 25, 2009

    I only have experience with Fireworks CS4, but I’d agree to “unusable.” I’m a long-time Photoshop user, and thought the time had come to learn FW since I do web stuff. Lots and lots of little interface glitches that add up to super annoying.
    The only thing I know of that FW can do that PS can’t is 8-bit palettized PNGs with alpha. (Useful for IE6, which otherwise will take PNG32′s and composite them onto a fully opaque gray background.) If PS had that I’d say “forget FW for web work.”

  • John Simons — 7:20 PM on December 25, 2009

    Well ok, one other thing FW has that’s cool is “Save selection.” In Photoshop, Shift-Cmd-C, Cmd-N, Cmd-V, Cmd-S is ingrained in muscle memory.

  • Frederik Aalund — 9:40 AM on January 25, 2010

    Remove/Increase the group nesting limit.
    Don’t append ” (copy)” to duplicated layers/groups.

  • Andre Reinegger — 1:56 AM on March 18, 2010

    Yes fine, let’s blow Photoshop up!!!
    Put all the web features of Fireworks in there and after this put all the video editing stuff from premiere pro into Photoshop too.
    I can’t imagine why Photoshop users want to have allmost every feature in there favorite tool. Is it because they don’t want to grow there software knowledge and skills?
    So put a web browser into Photoshop as well and you never have to leave you favorite software again.
    Hey men, it is a different type of media and every media type needs it’s own specialized software!!!
    Do you do print layouts in Photoshop too?
    Or do you use InDesign for his?
    You could to print layouts in PS as well, but do you?
    No you don’t, because you know that InDesign is specielized in this and it will do it much faster and in an efficient way. Else everybody whould laugh at you, right?
    Fireworks is a specielized web/screen layout tool like InDesign is a layout tool specielized for print magazines.
    I promise to you (everybody) if you get used to Fireworks (this is very easy), you will see how much faster and more efficient your work will be.
    One advantage is that Photoshop user get very fast into the use of Fireworks. The same to developer who don’t know Photoshop that well. They could do graphic changes in Fireworks even more easy.
    I use Photoshop now for 14 years and Fireworks for 11 years, so I know the differences very well. I have seen a lot of people and webagencies useing PS for web. Shure it works, but they need more than the double of time to do precise layouts in PS in competition to FW. After showing them how to use FW for the same tasks in half of the time they all switch to FW and are very happy that I show them the big differences.
    The biggest problem is that Adobe newer promoted Fireworks.
    If Adobe whould show people the great advantages useing Fireworks for weblayouts, like more precise layouts in half of the time more and more people will give Fireworks a try.
    If Adobe would promote Fireworks well, people will know and articles like this never will be written!!!
    The competition is on! If any Photoshop professional out there may think he works faster in Photoshop then I (we) do in Fireworks we will proove them wrong even in a more precise way!
    By the way: Adobe should invest some work by implementing a library for wireframes and some smart symbols for flowcharts. This will give Fireworks even more prototyping abilities.

  • Andre Reinegger — 6:08 AM on March 18, 2010

    Start comparing Fireworks with InDesign!!!
    Everybody is comparing Fireworks with Photoshop and that’s the biggest mistake.
    Everybody who compares Fireworks with Photoshop or maybe Illustrator don’t know the true meaning and usage of Fireworks.
    Nobody compares Photoshop or Illustrator with InDesign, because everybody knows the true meaning of the software.
    You could use PS or AI to do layouts for print magazines, but nobody does, because everybody knows how complicated this will be.
    Sure, you could use PS or AI to do layouts for webdesign, but only Fireworks users know how much more complicated this is.
    That’s what Adobe miss to communicate to everybody.
    For print layouts you use Indesign to put it all together, bitmaps from PS and vector art from AI. Then you could use InDesign do a bit of vector work or create some vectors for the layout. For great changes you switch back to PS or AI.
    Same for Fireworks:
    For screen layouts you have to use Fireworks to put it all together. You could use the great vector features in FW and for bigger changes on a bitmap, sure nothing is better than PS for the job.
    That’s needed to be communicated!!!
    I think an other reason why Fireworks is always compared to Photoshop is that you have the same pixel tools (like magic wand, dodge & burn, …) and palettes like the layers palette in Fireworks, so on first view people don’t see the difference and advantages.
    Know the true meaning of the software and you immediately stop comparing Fireworks with Photoshop!!!
    So, please stop adding pixel manipulation features to Fireworks, instead add more layout and prototyping features!
    And, please stop adding web features on Photoshop, instead add more nice pixel retouch and manipulation features!

  • Van Secrist — 12:11 PM on April 21, 2010

    John, you raise some interesting points. But can you honestly say that Adobe has truly promoted Firework? They’ve been treating it like a red-headed step child the minute they acquired it with the rest of Macromedia. How about a marketing campaign? How about the resources to continue to improve the app? Can’t they show some real effort into educating users about all the benefits available in the Fireworks package?

  • Andre Reineggeer — 6:24 AM on June 06, 2010

    I recorded a video-tutorial for all the people who don’t real know the benefit of using Fireworks and for all who think Fireworks could be replaced by Photoshop or Illustrator.
    Here you can see why Fireworks is the no.1 layout tool for layouts for screen- and webdesign: http://vimeo.com/12332496

  • Andre Reinegger — 6:04 AM on December 30, 2010

    In addition to my video I add a comprehensive comparison list about Fireworks over Photoshop http://www.reinegger.net/50_reasons_not_to_use_photoshop_for_webdesign.html

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