August 31, 2009

Feedback, please: Task-based workspaces in Photoshop

Ever wish that Adobe made a “Photoshop for Photographers?” Or maybe a version with just what you need for Web design, or video?

If so, I’m guessing it’s because Photoshop is so packed with features that the ones you need are needles in a stack of needles. The sheer volume of choices can be paralyzing, and people don’t feel they’re doing things the best way.

Most customers use only a fraction of Photoshop, yet every part of Photoshop is used by a lot of people. Therefore it’s difficult and painful to remove any features. How, then, can we make Photoshop fit your needs precisely without disadvantaging others?

Here’s an idea. We could revise Photoshop’s approach to workspaces with two goals in mind:

  • Present a more streamlined interface (“everything you need, nothing you don’t”), showing only the tools and commands that are relevant to the task at hand
  • Present best-practice guidance on how to accomplish specific tasks (“not just yet another way to do something, but the *right* way”)

We plan to use an upgraded version of Configurator to create custom panels that are associated with each workspace. Please see this PDF walk-through (note the explanatory annotations) and let us know what you think.

Let me be clear up front: This feature needs to be valuable to pros, not just beginners. For some reason people see “help” or “guidance” and think “newbie,” but there’s much more to the story here.

So, what do you think?

[Related philosophical background: Photoshop as seen through Johnny Cash]

Posted by John Nack at 4:42 PM on August 31, 2009


  • Stephan Bollinger — 4:42 PM on August 31, 2009

    I think, most seasoned professionals have created their own set of tools, workspaces, coloured menusets, actions and scripts over the years. Some prefer to work with multiple screens, some work with photos and video and external control screens, some only on laptops, we all have come up with the “best way” to work for our personal needs.
    I personally wouldn’t use any pre-set workspace or limited edition of photoshop, i rather configurate and set it up myself, to fit and work best for my personal workflow.
    cheers from australia
    [A key point here is that you can use exactly the same tools we use to create the content that goes in the box. You can remix that content and/or make your own, then choose to distribute the results. I’m hoping that community leaders will create really kick-ass remixes that become hot add-ons for PS (and ultimately, maybe, for all Suite apps). –J.]

  • MC Rebbe — 4:51 PM on August 31, 2009

    Adobe do make a Photoshop for photographers…it’s called Lightroom! :-)

  • jimhere — 4:57 PM on August 31, 2009

    Masks are used to protect specific areas of your image.and learn how to use masks … so it IS for beginners, too.
    You’ve posted on this before, and I still say a Pro already has the right workspace: their mind. A “pro” would know all the keyboard shortcuts to accomplish their task (or know how to assign one).
    I will agree that it IS a good Help window. Probably the best use of “don’t take me out of Photoshop to explain Photoshop” there can be. It would be less scary for beginners.
    As usual, I’d like another revolutionary Healing Brush or un-predicted “Smart Thing” rather than a help system, even if it is directly tied to the tools (I can already tap L for lasso and know what it does).
    (that PDF was great — thanks for getting back to PS after all those Adobe Corporate posts)

  • John Nack — 4:58 PM on August 31, 2009

    I’m uncharacteristically adding a new comment on my own post, in order to share some additional thoughts.
    I’ll confess to having some trepidation about what we’re proposing. Companies have been introducing (and apparently abandoning) contextual-help architectures for years. Apple introduced Balloon Help in 1991, and the Apple Guide in 1994. Director and other Macromedia apps offered contextual help around the same time. Even Photoshop Elements has for many years offered hyperlinks inside tooltips, letting you jump to more info on a topic.
    Almost inevitably, all these efforts fall by the wayside. Why is that? Are they just too expensive/distracting to maintain? Do they just not make a positive difference in usability? You’d think the world of UI design & interaction research would be full of interesting post-mortems, but if it is, I’ve yet to find the data.
    Therefore I’ve questioned just what, exactly, makes me think we can do better. I’m pinning my hopes largely on ease of authoring. Configurator lets authors leverage their online infrastructure and skills, making it pretty falling-down easy to create & maintain content. (Can you paste a hyperlink onto text? Good, you’re done–if you want to be.)
    I’m also counting on ease of sharing, so we continue to pick away at the barriers there. And if the system isn’t working for you, pop the hood, do a little remixing to it better, and share the results.
    Ultimately, although we’d like greater assurances of success up front, I think we just have to give it a shot.

  • Just Me — 5:20 PM on August 31, 2009

    This sounds like a solution in search of a problem. Why not work on solving the real problems instead? Like giving me the memory I desperately need. Where is my 64 bit Photoshop? Adobe is not getting another dime from me until I get 64 bits.
    [You do know what happened here, right? You can run Photoshop in 64-bit mode on your Mac today via Boot Camp. That wasn’t what we had in mind for CS4, and we’re taking the steps needed to deliver a native solution on the Mac. –J.]

  • ManInBlack — 6:01 PM on August 31, 2009

    So, you’re asking us if we want something that looks like a limited version of the recipies from Photoshop Elements?
    [No. Please take a closer look.
    If there is some overlap with Elements, however–and I’ll grant that there is–is that a bad thing? Do you have to suffer to be a Real Man in Photoshop? Fundamentally I hate building & selling things that people want but never use or underuse. –J.]

  • Andrew Webb — 6:04 PM on August 31, 2009

    I’m a professional. I arrange things the way I like them and save the workspace. Then I’m done. I do lots of different kinds of work, but I use the same tools to do most of those things. I run two monitors, so I really don’t need any space-saving features; I can have all the palettes that I use open all the time and still have room to open the occasional-use ones. There are so many different ways to do the same thing in Photoshop that it would be hard to say “This is the Compositing Workspace”—it might be yours, but it’s unlikely to be mine. If I were a newbie, I might be happy that you told me the best way to arrange things for a certain task, but I might not learn the other, sometimes better ways to do those things, and my flexibility would suffer. If you’re worried about people being bewildered by the depth and breadth of the app, then sell those people Elements. Pros aren’t scared of Photoshop.

  • MikeD — 6:21 PM on August 31, 2009

    What would be the purpose? The only thing I can think of is: to help new users. Here’s why.
    PS is already the go-to tool for professionals, we already know it, and even if there is a different or better way to do something…honestly, as a working pro, I don’t care. I just want to get it done and get out from behind my computer.
    A streamlined/dumbed down/whatever you want to call it interface is not going to help me, or anyone else that already knows the app. Now of course there will always be some segment of the user base that loves to sit and tweak the interface until it is just so…but is that worth diverting development time from things like headless operation or action decision trees?
    Professionals already know how to use it. And if we get stuck, google is there to help.
    I get that you want to create a section of exchange for PS interface packs, but honestly, I want to spend as little time in PS as I can, not more. I already have tools that speed up PS, and none of them revolve around the mouse.
    I don’t want PS to save me from myself, or interrupt me with advice I don’t want, or that is wrong when I do want it. Clippy is dead. Let him rest in peace.
    As for ease of creation, if you want to make things easier, make the interaction of scripts with the GUI of panels easier. As it is…wow, what a nightmare.

  • Per — 6:24 PM on August 31, 2009

    It seems like it would be easy to pre-configure several work spaces (including menus) for different primary interests out of the box. A photography workspace, a web design workspace, a video editor’s workspace, etc.
    I’m one of those that uses a great number of the features of Photoshop occasionally and I even pay extra for features that *might* be useful someday.

  • Rob — 6:29 PM on August 31, 2009

    It’s an interesting idea, but the pdf document certainly makes it look like more of a help to newbies than experienced users. I’m not referring simply to the tooltips and help pages, which one could simply avoid if he wished (and after the first or second time doing a task, I assume most will want to avoid them.)
    But how about the toolboxes themselves? I don’t want to have to click on “Selection” to get a Selection toolbox, then have to click on something else to get a toolbox that allows me to do something with my selection. That makes my life more difficult, not easier.
    I understand, I can use configurator to modify the workspace. (I already use Configurator, but then I programmed a Philips Pronto too, so I’m that guy.) But most people won’t want to do that, and unless the new workspaces include actions that are useful to the task (for example, I have an action that combines Select All and Copy and have a button for that action on my Configurator panel), it doesn’t seem as if they add much value for experienced users.
    Having said all that, I’m certainly open to seeing what your guys come up with, and I applaud your concern for providing a better user experience. I’m just not getting my hopes up.

  • PiP — 6:40 PM on August 31, 2009

    Ableton Live has managed this task very well. The interface of version 8 is no more intimidating than version 4. Plugins and devices can easily be combined and tweaked by power users, but also come with many presets for beginners to quickly experiment with. Multiple panels can be grouped (into “racks”) and then collapsed, exposing a few simplified controls (“Macro Knobs”). Racks are sharable and user-creatable. Racks as well and power-user devices are available at the same tier, so you don’t need to go digging for advanced features or deal with the annoying “click to show full menu”.

  • Stefan — 7:00 PM on August 31, 2009

    I usually don’t bother to set up custom workspaces or special hot keys because there is no simple way to transfer them to other workstation.
    If I could simply grab a single file or folder that stores all my customizations, brushes, presets, etc. I would definitely use the workspaces feature more often. But setting them up anew with every install is a huge pain.

  • alex kent — 7:09 PM on August 31, 2009

    it’ll be hard to make this relevant to pros.
    we want photoshop to be nimble, and powerful. we’re all keyboard shortcuts and muscle memory… you’re presenting us with a palette that with so much noisy stuff in it that it has it’s own scrollbars. i’m not excited.
    also, part of learning a piece of software is figuring out where all the tools are… (you could argue this it a result of bad design, but that doesn’t matter right now) so presenting a help system which selects tools without leaving help will not teach people the app, it’ll teach people to use help to select tools!

  • Marabyte — 7:23 PM on August 31, 2009

    I like the idea of having predefined workspaces for photography, video, design, etc.
    And I also like the idea of having my own custom workarea with the tools I often work.
    Why not both? It would be great to have a built-in Configurator.
    Where we could chose which tool and where inside photoshop.
    Wanna make it really cool? Just throw us an realtime edit mode. Something like selecting the Erase tool and click in any button or tool bar and it would disappear.
    But what i really would like to see in a interface revision is a fullscreen mode in OSX just like in Lightroom or Encore. Floating windows can be very distracting.

  • David — 7:45 PM on August 31, 2009

    I don’t find the amount of features in Photoshop overwhelming. 3D programs, on the other hand, are insane.
    I can already access almost any tool I need with a single keystroke or a single button press. I would rather that the interfaces for existing tools/panels were improved.
    1. Gradient Fill layer options should all be on the same non-modal dialog, instead of three levels deep of modal dialogs.
    2. A Hue/Saturation layer should save the color range I was last on instead of switching to “master” when I come back to it. It should also have an indicator that tells me which color ranges have adjustments applied to them.
    Unless Configurator 2 is much more powerful than I am expecting, it won’t help me with these 2 UI related workflow issues.
    I’ve made some Configurator and Flex SWF panels, but most are too specific to my workflow to be useful to anyone outside my company.
    I don’t need Photoshop to teach me how to use itself. I don’t want Photoshop to be my window manager.. I don’t use the panel dock bars or document tabs. I’d like more reworking of individual dialogs instead of the panel system as a whole.

  • Jason — 8:46 PM on August 31, 2009

    Photoshop for Photographers? That’s how I define Lightroom! For me Photoshop is always the purview of graphic designers and artists – not photographers. People who spend their time behind the lens as a primary occupation do not want to spend time on the computer,and LR lets us do that. I’ve not touched my Cs3 in a while, as LR has been filling 99% of my needs!
    CS3 does have its place though, and when I am doing web work, or need some more intense effects, that is where CS3 comes in. Do I need a custom configurator panel or workspace defined for me to this end? Dunno, but kneejerk reaction is no. Hard to say though as I’ve been holding off and waiting for the migration to CS5, which is likely forthcoming soon.
    When that happens I can probably be in a better position to comment on whether a pre-defined workspace in PS would be useful.

  • mike hale — 9:27 PM on August 31, 2009

    I think it’s a great idea and I think this approach will succeed where other methods have failed because Adobe will allow 3d party content. I see it having several advantages.
    1. While perhaps everyone reading John’s blog is a pro, there are a lot of Photoshop users that need help. Anything Abode to do to lessen the learning curve is bound to make a better product for everyone.
    2. Even a pro might have a task in Photoshop they are not familiar with. I can imagine going to somewhere like Adobe Exchange or NAPP and downloading a panel that not only explains the task but can help walk you through it.
    3. It’s more than a help system. For example I would love to replace the Adjustments panel that ships with Photoshop with one that only had the adjustments and presets I use. I see it as a way to create a truly customized workspace in a way that can not be done now.

  • Andrew Odri — 9:41 PM on August 31, 2009

    Honestly, I think its a great idea, as long as advanced functionality isn’t out of reach, an uncommon tasks are not unnecessarily difficult to find. Everyone is going to have a slightly different way of getting a given “class” of task done, and I would imagine many would use one or two obscure functions.
    I personally love the idea though. Even though my exposure to task based UI’s is pretty limited, (MS Word Ribbons, CS4 Workspaces in some applications, and few web apps I tend to use) I have found them much more enjoyable to use.

  • George — 10:19 PM on August 31, 2009

    John, I think exploring contextual help is always worthwhile. And yes, it’s odd that others have abandoned it. One thing I would suggest exploring as well is going more hardcore on the workspace customization. I’m a Web/UI designer so to me, I’d love to be able to start with a set that hides top-level menus, menu options, as well as tools. This would greatly reduce the amount of noise that the application has to deal with. I know systematically this could be close to impossible but it’s still interesting to explore. I also know it presents another issue: discoverablility. How is someone supposed to discover a new feature they might want to use or know about if it’s already hidden from them? That’s part of the paradox of choice I think.

  • Joe Decker — 12:13 AM on September 01, 2009

    I think a couple years back I would have said no, that I wanted some customizability, but that anything canned would be more likely to get in the way than help.
    While now I still would want that customizability, the usability of LR for my own (professional) tasks has caused me to spend a fair bit of time thinking about why it works well for me.
    The “big five modes” of LR, bane of the Modeless Mafia, are the a type of workspaces that do simplify by task-grouping, most tasks I do stay in one mode most of the time. I’m pretty sure that for me, LR is more usable for those modes.
    One can take breaking-into-tasks that too far. The develop LR module is similar to ACR, but being able to scroll down LR’s full set of controls works a lot more smoothly for me than ACR’s tabs.
    The ordering of controls within some panels in LR and ACR is also something that clearly demonstrates a thoughtful task orientation. I adjust contrast before saturation because the contrast knob affects saturation but not the other way around, my flow works better (in many ways) if I (mostly) just work down the LR develop panel or through the ACR tabs. So it’s not just about grouping, it’s also about proxmity/ordering. There’s never going to be one best ordering, but there are many that are far worse!

  • Nick Kiest — 12:42 AM on September 01, 2009

    I like some of what I see here, but more in what it implies configuator 2 can do. The beginners I teach would make use of what you show, esp the expanded tool tips, as the icons don’t have meaning to new users, nor do the role of the tools. But what I like is what it implies configurator could do. Based on what you showed here a while back, I tried to use version 1, and it was worthless and difficult. If I could just make streamlined, amalgameted versions of toolbars to clean up my workspace, in an easy way, it would make my life so much easier. If I could use those same tools to hide and simplify functionality for other users I teach, so much the better.

  • Anastasiy Safari — 12:54 AM on September 01, 2009

    Adding my two cents.
    The idea is very interesting! But can you make it more compact? Maybe even without the text.
    It’s so hard to “switch” when you’re “thinking images”. For example, if I wanted to create a mask it’s far more easier to click the visual showing the mask. Entering the text, and even finding the “right word” is too slow and very uncomfortable. In task-base workflow you’ll have to find the right word every time you want to do something meaningful.
    I prefer Photoshop not having the keyboard interaction at all :) That would be the real artist’s app, like real brush and canvas.

  • Benny Thaibert — 1:04 AM on September 01, 2009

    I also teach people Photoshop. Pros or beginners; none of them seems to use the help system. Usually they don’t even know the “how to …” section in the help menu. They think best working practice comes from a guy like me, googling tuts or collecting tips from workmates.
    Why else would people visit the shorcut galore from the blog of julianne kost; a blog revealing the content in the help system.
    If you decide to do a “best practice” tool help function,other photoshoppers will come up with “better, more insane and faster tricks or methods, I guess.
    However, I do like the “make your own toolpanel option” and I would be great to customize the toolbar itselves totally.
    And it could be cool with at section where you can store your own notes directly in PS not just as with the note tool – glued to the files. Then I’ll be able to remember all my dirty tricks!
    The workspaces are true dope and updating their abilities will give a better functionality to Pro’s. And the UI issue with hue/sat might need a fix too as stated earlier on.
    The less panel clutter on screen the faster I am. And NO to 2 monitors. A true timewaster. I do not play tennis in PS, I (pretend) to work smart. Whatabbout a new kind named: smartspaces ;-)?

  • john renfrew — 1:14 AM on September 01, 2009

    As ever thanks for the openness about future stuff, which I am sure you do to gauge response.
    So here is part of mine.
    Not all of the time are we on a machine with internet access. Wild I know in this connected age, but true.
    While access to community help and feeds *MAY* provide answers it helps to have the stuff available as offline. However you need to go into a config file and change a path to then point ot the dowenloaded pdf of help, which you then have to go back to and download every now and then to ensure it is up to date, notwithstanding the parts that say rather unhelpfully ‘no help please see the web’
    So how about an update engine that allows me to choose from where I get help and keep sit up-to-date, what about being able to do that across all of the 18 registerd copies of the software that I need even though some of my machines cant be simultaneously used as I can not be in the offic e AND on the road at the same time.
    So the tips from Juliannes blag, for example, can I get an option to download or locally cache so Ican put that in when I am stuck ssomewhere without a connection but wanting to work.
    Love the idea that we get to share our workspace ideas, how much though is going into merge of configurations?? Not too good if I have to sit with a pencil and paper to write done someone elses stuff to then manually feed back into my own setup?

  • Jan — 1:17 AM on September 01, 2009

    Thanks for sharing this. Very interesting to see what Adobe is up to, concerning Photoshop development!
    My opinion is that this totally looks like a newbie feature. But for pro users it would probably be the first panel that they close after first launching photoshop. Too much bloat in my opinion. Tutorials and RSS feeds belong in the browser, where there’s enough space, not into some tiny panel inside photoshop.
    But for new users, it could be helpful to have step by step tutorials inside Photoshop, so it would be easier to follow along. I think someone else already mentioned this but I don’t like the idea of selecting the lasso tool inside the KNOWLEDGE panel. Then, as a beginner, I’ll never know where that tool really is… So, what might be an idea is having that tool highlighted in the Tools panel when you move your mouse over the word “lasso tool”.
    But like I said, I believe that things like RSS feeds and tutorials belong in the browser. I don’t want to open Photoshop to see the latest PS tutorials and news, I follow that stuff in my RSS reader or some RSS feed manager in the browser.

  • Ed in Philly — 1:19 AM on September 01, 2009

    Honestly, if “Photoshop for Photographers” was a plugin for Lightroom which allowed me to not have to leave LR, I would be perfectly satisfied. Maybe the solution set should be LR, LR Pro (with the appropriate PS tools) and then PS (in all of its flavors). LR Pro to me would have to include merge to Panorama and HDR AND support 3rd party PS plugins WITHIN LR. Price it between LR and basic PS and you have a winner!!

  • PECourtejoie — 1:39 AM on September 01, 2009

    Yes, what about Migrator: a new tool that would help when upgrading Photoshop to a new version: it would copy all the settings, brushes, loaded actions, scripts, swatches, palettes, workspaces, keyboard shortcuts to the new machine. No need to reveinvent the wheel, or work hard to feel at home with the new version.
    Likewise, it would help copy all those settings to another machine.
    Plug-ins is another story because some are commercial products.
    Migrator would really be a tool that those that customize Photoshop would love.

    • PECourtejoie — 4:11 PM on January 21, 2011

      Wow! I dreamed it, and the Photoshop team did it!

      My “migrator” idea is now a reality. Hope that it will be useful for others too!
      (And even if it was not suggestion that sparked the idea that might have been brewing in somebody else’s brain, I am happy to see it come alive!)

  • Coerv — 1:39 AM on September 01, 2009

    I don’t think it is a good idea to give Photoshop a lot of different task-based faces. It shows that Photoshop has lost its key-purpose and rather should bethink itself of what it wants to be. Imho it would be better to move some features away from Photoshop to other programmes and give each target group its adequate application.

  • nati H. — 1:49 AM on September 01, 2009

    I can see how organizations with many PS users might like to design a uniform customized workspace for their users. But from what I read and understand, this will just be a cosmetic change in the UI, designed to reduce clutter? As a working photographer I have already designed my own workspace, and it certainly is different from any of my collegues’ workspace. Now if you would propose a UI that would show only the controls I want, AND not load any other parts of PS, thus making PS leaner, and meaner, I would certainly support that. Otherwise, I’m not interested.

  • PECourtejoie — 1:51 AM on September 01, 2009

    Yes to more non-modality!
    Indeed, the convoluted process to create a gradient, while everything could be done on the image itself…
    I think that Illustrator moved on the correct direction. (It could be named live or smart gradient)
    The crop tool is also a two step process, while there is a lot of room on the option bar, to allow us not to re-start from scratch.
    There are many similar roadblocks in Photoshop.
    In my opinion, many power users would benefit from non-modal changes to the interface.

  • PECourtejoie — 2:04 AM on September 01, 2009

    I also feel that this would belong more in Elements.
    A more powerful Configurator, yes, that would allow to create buttons from actions, or scripts, yes.
    Having a configurable toolbar, shipped by default, so that users will be able to hide the standard toolbar, and customize theirs would be a welcome option. (Andswitch it to horizontal if they need it)
    Sometimes, working in Photoshop is very organic, it is a flow, and anything that gets in the way is frustrating.
    That said, there are many good gems on that presentation, and it raises some questions.
    I liked: SLide1: live workspaces that remember the last use, closed/moved panels.
    BUT, ALT+click should restore the workspace to default (a different image asks to start from scratch, for instance)
    SL12: I dig the contextual hyperlinks, but where do they come from, the knowledgebase, or is is yet another help database?
    SL13: I like the idea of a panel driving the interface, but tuts would need to be rewritten for that, with the risk of creating another generation of hyperspoonfed users.
    I did not like: yet another panel that gets in the way, while a Lightroomish interface is so cleaner, and puts the image where it belongs.
    By the way, would it be possible to make this comment box wider? there is room on the right side…

  • scott_m29 — 3:52 AM on September 01, 2009

    I prefer keeping Photoshop as it is. Keep it simple and strong.
    Workspaces, actions, scripting, layer comps – all good tools to modify the work environment to the task at hand. I see Configurator as an emerging player in introducing new people in our group to different processes we deal with – a nice addition to further customization where it’s helpful. In our group we have to tackle many kinds of media jobs all the time and Photoshop is flexible enough to let us plow ahead.
    I don’t want to have to license different versions for different jobs – it’s hard to enough to get one package purchased/upgraded as it is.

  • Al Manson — 5:47 AM on September 01, 2009

    I like the idea of the Feeds for when you need that Excellent tip you read a month ago. But for real Pro use it will need to be a much simpler interface. The assumption should be that you know which tool to use, you just want to get to it faster. Maybe Feeds for the help?

  • DrWatson — 6:41 AM on September 01, 2009

    Not an easy topic ;) It unsettles me and keeps me away from my work *shakes his fist* ;)
    1. I like the idea of putting the help (partially) back into the application itself. Contextual advice helps a lot, even if it’s just a shortcut to the very support entry on the web you actually need. It’s task-sensitive. The search on community help center isn’t – it just looks up the words you entered. However I’m not sure if I like the way, that’s shown in the draft. I don’t think, that – no matter how many tutorials you come up with – there’s a chance to hit exactly what a user really wants to know. If this panel feels like a list of tutorials, no one (especially experienced users) will take a look on it. It would have to be “intelligent”, somehow “see” what I’m about to do and then give me selected “best practices”. I don’t know if that’s possible at all. (And do I want Photoshop to know what I’m doing? Hrm… ;)
    2. This “toolbox” panel is sth, I’d never use. To me, it’s not “streamlined” at all, it duplicates things, that are already on the screen. E.g. the tools – they are on the left in the (regular) tool panel. A button for “Select all”? A button for “Refine edge” when the masks panel is just a few pixels away? Why a panel with buttons, that open more panels, when I click them? Isn’t that what workspaces are there for, to just display the very panels I need? And since there’s the ability to assign keyboard shortcuts to literally every single command, I prefer these (instead of a panel full of buttons).
    3. Where would the workspace switcher be placed, if I use neither the application frame (death to it! ;) nor the application bar (waste of screen estate)?
    Disclaimer: I’m only using one (1) workspace. The panels I use the most are all placed on a secondary screen. So I might not be the kind of user who actually is in need of a streamlined Photoshop.

  • Bruce Watson — 7:25 AM on September 01, 2009

    If by “pro” you mean somebody who uses Photoshop day in day out every day, then I think you’ll find little interest. They already know where everything is and how to use it.
    If by “pro” you mean somebody who uses Photoshop fairly intensively when they need it but they don’t need it every day, I think you’ll find your audience.
    I’m in the second category myself. I often know what I want to do, and I know that it’s possible to do it in Photoshop. But it’s been a couple of weeks (or sometimes months) since I did that operation last. I therefore may have forgotten which tool I used for that, where the tool is in the menus, etc. So a simplified and customizable menu interface would be great for me.
    The reason clippy and his ilk die off like they do is that they require the user to verbalize what they want. And this is often difficult to do, especially if it requires me to guess how *you* verbalized it so that our two verbalizations match and the clippy software can successfully search its database.
    Making it easier to find what I want *visually* will always beat forcing me to switch to verbal for a search. Always. Clippy is an interesting idea but doesn’t actually solve the problem. And that’s the definition of failure, yes?

  • Steven Greenfield — 8:14 AM on September 01, 2009

    The key to great user interfaces is simplicity and consistency. It should work as it is expected to work. Apple has done a great job of this with the initial ipod interface and, once again, with the iphone.
    While I have gotten used to many of the inconsistencies of Photoshop, that does not make me like them. As examples, placement on menus based on technology rather than function (e.g. photomerge on the automation menu). Or, auto align and auto blend layers on the edit menu. Why aren’t they on the layer menu. Or, stroke and fill on the edit menu and not on the selection menu.
    While you can argue about any of these items, designing in simplicity into the interface is very hard. I thought it was great that I could finally hit the DEL key in CS4 and delete a layer.
    I think Adobe has done a great job with Lightroom and that interface. Kudos and, perhaps, other niche products that are targeted at how a specific vertical thinks might be a good target. As to the specific panels, that you are showing, I like them because they accomplish a function but I worry that the professional would like to have the control of exactly how to do things rather than to automatically do things.
    I am not sure that any of this helps but keep it up the good work.

  • Andrew Webb — 8:15 AM on September 01, 2009

    Alex Kent, I heartily agree with you.

  • Jon Schroeder — 9:19 AM on September 01, 2009

    I think it’s a great Idea to be able to see how the engineers and evangelists that actually designed the program think it should be utilized.

  • Jason Allen — 10:09 AM on September 01, 2009

    While task-based workspaces may be a good starting point for someone new to Photoshop, I don’t see a benefit to users who already know what they need to do and how to do it. As others have mentioned, professional users have likely already perfected their workspace, tailored specifically to what they do. These users aren’t likely to change the way they work simply because preset workspaces are available.
    I also don’t see “tutorial panels” being useful to anyone other than beginning users. If I already know how to perform a task, and my preferred method is getting the job done, then I’m unlikely to search for new ways to do that same task. Also, the idea of “best-practice guidance” makes me uncomfortable. The reason there are so many ways to do the same thing in Photoshop is not because there are redundant features but because each of those different ways can be the best depending on the situation. For example, there should not be “one best way” to make a mask; it depends largely on the given image and what the mask will be used for.
    In general, I’d rather see less effort put into allowing Photoshop to more easily direct the user and more effort put into allowing the user to more easily direct Photoshop. Forgive the extreme analogy, but I don’t need a stovetop that tells me how to cook.
    As for streamlining the interface, I don’t see how adding another way to invoke a function (via a “tutorial panel”) helps in that regard. I think one of the reasons new users find the breadth of Photoshop’s functionality overwhelming is because there are so many ways to access the same functions. For example, any adjustment layer can be invoked from the menu, from the layers panel, or from the adjustments panel. Add to this that these adjustments can also be performed without an adjustment layer via a different command, and a new user can be easily confused as to which is the correct way to invoke any given adjustment. Thus, if “streamlining” involves adding new ways to access existing functions, it effectively clutters the interface and makes it more difficult to learn the “real” interface.

  • Mylenium — 10:47 AM on September 01, 2009

    Prefab workspaces are of no interest at all to me. I can’t remember a single program where I’d use this functionality. If the default layout is not good enough, I create my own or solely rely on calling up the respective palettes when I need them. I also can’t imagine a program like Photoshop ever becoming task-centric. for that to work, you’d have to rip out two thirds of tools and functions so the user doesn’t get strange ideas… If you get my meaning: Having a color correction workspace for instance might sound good on paper, but who is to stop a user from using any tool in such a workspace? That being so, the whole concept falls apart and instead of solving a usability issue, you create another.

  • Eric — 1:04 PM on September 01, 2009

    You know John, I live it when “Pros” weigh in and talk about how they already know what they’re doing and they don’t need no stinkin’ help.
    It reminds me of this old post by Kathy Sierra on how to be an expert (in anything):
    I’m biased since I teach in a large work environment where consistency is paramount but I’d LOVE this both for training and for the “graphics floor”. I’d love to see Illustrator and InDesign jump on this bandwagon, too… And if you ever need any outside testers for an update to configurator, I’ll sign any NDA you give me in my own blood (which really shows commitment, right?… or mental instability)

  • Doug Nelson — 1:36 PM on September 01, 2009

    It’s not the ability to customize that people are ambivalent over. It’s the naming conventions. Instead of “customize your own workspace” or “Photoshop for Photographers”, just have skins.
    How many people do you know (well, maybe not YOU John) that have actually designed a skin for any app? Compare that to the number of people you know that USE a skin.
    And of all the pro retouchers and photographers I’ve interviewed for my show so far, all but one preferred the blankest workspace they could arrange. The one exception used Configurator (but she used the heck out of it).

  • Andrew Webb — 2:47 PM on September 01, 2009

    I think it’s interesting that the only people complaining about the professionals’ responses (here and on facebook) are teachers. We pros never said that we weren’t always learning. We just said that we didn’t think this was something we were interested in.

  • nonny — 2:56 PM on September 01, 2009

    Here’s an idea – fix the FUCKING CS4 crashing then work on this!
    [Because your comment lacks any specifics, and because you’re hiding behind a fake name and email address, you’re just wasting both of our time. If you’re really seeing crashes, please take the time to provide even rudimentary info that we could use to fix them. –J.]

  • Steve Laskevitch — 4:48 PM on September 01, 2009

    For god’s sake, don’t make the application easier to use, especially for beginners! I teach this app and want food on my table!
    I am kidding: it’ll be nice to let folks in my classes know they have another resource (beginners and pros both take my classes as I do intro through advanced ones). all would benefit, some more than others.

  • Rob McAninch — 7:20 PM on September 01, 2009

    The contextual help I’m not so sure about, that really does fall in newbie territory I think. Instructional videos, books, Kelby Training, seminars etc. are available to teach Photoshop. But some pre-configured task specific work spaces are a nice idea. It doesn’t stop one from having the full on interface, or from building their own. Standardized, task specific, work spaces could give a jumping off point for the aforementioned instructional aides to build on. For photographer work space it may well make Photoshop into an Advanced develop module from Lightroom. But if those are the tools that the pros are using, in the order they are using them, then it helps all the aspiring pros to get work done faster without the extra learning curve.

  • Michael Critz — 7:56 PM on September 01, 2009

    I hope this doesn’t come off too smug or snarky. I’m genuinely interested in making Photoshop better.
    I think we should take a step back both figuratively and metaphorically.
    Look at the big picture.
    If the goal is to simplify Photoshop then why does it involve adding two pallets, a video player, and a series of menu options that — by design — scroll off the right of the screen?
    I hate to take a pooh on this idea, but it needs a new approach. I have some ideas, but I think I’ve said enough for now.

  • Colin Smith — 9:31 PM on September 01, 2009

    Wow, the comments say it all; “I’m a pro and I don’t need any help, if I did, then I wouldn’t be a pro”.
    I demo to pro’s and hear something different every time; “COOL, I DIDN’T KNOW YOU COULD DO THAT!”
    So therein lies the dilemma; we know very well that most Photoshop users miss powerful tools that are sitting right in front of them THAT WOULD SAVE THEM HOURS OF WORK. But alas, a lot of them refuse to be taught anything new.

  • Dennis Dunbar — 11:18 PM on September 01, 2009

    I gotta say as someone with a long history using Photoshop I really don’t see the advantage to what you’re proposing.
    It’s never been hard to find the tool you need, and it has been the fact that there are multiple ways to do something that gives PS it’s best strength.
    As a Pro User I don’t want the tools hidden, and have arranged the palettes etc. to my own taste since PS added the ability to do so.
    But I am concerned that with this idea beginning and intermediate users will grow too comfortable using the coarser tools beginners usually use (Brightness/Contrast for instance) and will never look around the corner to see the much stronger tools lying there waiting to be discovered.

  • Mylenium — 12:34 AM on September 02, 2009

    Colin Smith:
    So therein lies the dilemma; we know very well that most Photoshop users miss powerful tools that are sitting right in front of them THAT WOULD SAVE THEM HOURS OF WORK. But alas, a lot of them refuse to be taught anything new.
    I think you are missing the point. The issue is not on whether tools are there or not and whether people understand how to use them, it’s how accessible they are. Let’s face it – PS is a “palette monster” and what could more workspaces actually do to solve this dilemma? Nothing at all! It would just be a different way of presenting that monstrosity. Yes, more organized and perhaps wit ha bit of pretty make-up, but not really changing any specific workflows. You know, you could have the nicest layout e.g. for color correction and then *wham*, because ACR is a separate dialog all by itself, you don’t really gain anything by your layout. Similar crookedness exist in too many places in PS and so before going all crazy about configurator stuff, I suggest the dev team really work hard on un-modalizing more panels first, so it actually makes sense to be able to use them in a docked, workflow-oriented layout. Currently that simply isn’t the case. Doesn’t help at all that you literally could re-create the toolbar and menus as your own palettes, when the feature behind the fancy button remains as unaccessible.

  • Eric Hagerty — 9:04 AM on September 02, 2009

    Lightroom Pro is an awsome idea! LR works because it isn’t being everything to everyone as PS is. Configurator technology would be a plus for LR PRO as I only need to do PS stuff a couple times a month and I would appreciate the help.

  • Eric — 9:07 AM on September 02, 2009

    What you’re saying is certainly valid but isn’t this kind of a starting off point? I mean, sure, getting the options that someone top in your field uses every day front and center, a Bert Monry or Katrin Eisman for instance doesn’t fix everything but it seems like a good start to me. I mean, right now we have version one of this, I assume what John is talking about is a possible version 2… and I’d assume that if all goes according to plan, there would also be an update/upgrade to that as the team is able to sift through countless dialogs making tweaks and changes from one version to the next.

  • Eric — 9:23 AM on September 02, 2009

    Good point. In my job I work with both mature users and ones that are fairly new to the application. Since this is is employer training, all are required to attend but the ironic thing is that many of the “old timers” who already consider themselves experts don’t pay attention and end up being the people who are the slowest in our department and consistently output the lowest quality work. Why? Because they decided they knew everything they needed to about Photoshop ten years ago and only reluctantly bother with getting better than they already are when they have to. Maybe I’m coming into this conversation with a little baggage because of that but honestly, I see it outside of work with the people who have been using the application the longest, too. Trainer aside, if I did retouching, having a Photoshop that looked like what Katrin Eisman thought was ideal to at least look at and consider would interest me. Sure I’m a professional (I don’t just teach) but I know I’m not the best in my industry. Being able to grab a workspace with palettes made by people like this who are top-of-their-field would be amazing. I mean, if you did digital matte paintings and had the chance to see and use the setup that the guy who teaches the folks at Pixar and Industrial Light and Magic (Bert) uses as apposed to some minimal setup that he uses for public classes working with beginners, wouldn’t you see a possible benifit there?
    It isn’t so much the lack of individual interest that bothers me as much as it is the people who think they speak for the “pro” segment when they don’t think it would be used.

  • Dan Wells — 11:46 AM on September 02, 2009

    A great idea – what about selling Photoshop in modules, too (or LR Pro) so that people could buy the parts of PS they need. Lightroom is missing a couple of things to replace PS for my photographic use right now, all of which could go in LR Pro.
    1.) Import/export plugins compatible with Photoshop – I use a printer driven by an export plugin (Canon iPF 6100), and many people use scanners that have import plugins.
    2.) Flexibility in local editing – Lightroom excels at overall image editing, but its local tools are low-powered and confusing.
    3.)Ability to do raw conversion in outside application – I (and many other Nikon fans) prefer Capture One to any version of ACR…

  • Steven Mathisen — 11:57 AM on September 02, 2009

    While I appreciate Adobe giving a place to house RSS feeds and other new help features for users, I am uncertain what the delineation of processes is going to add.
    Photoshop’s appeal to me, is that there is more than one way to accomplish any task, and it allows the ‘Pro’ to develop their own methods at approaching a task. Is levels better than curves? What will determinations like this add to a user’s experience? Opinions will vary, and individual experience will be the best determiner in when to use different pieces of the functionality.
    I do both photo restoration/retouching and painting, so I’m not sure why my favorite program needs to be sliced into smaller segments to become more palatable. It seems to me what you’re proposing actually limits the potential of Photoshop by putting more levels of delineation in place between the user and their tools.

  • Ed in Philly — 12:25 PM on September 02, 2009

    Eric: I’ve been thinking more about this and watching how I work. I’m not a professional creative but I do take a lot of pictures. If “LR Pro” allowed me to use my Nik toolset natively, provided the “Save As” (“Export As”?) functionality of PS, had merge to HDR and panorama, and I could crop/resize as in PS – I would rarely need PS. This might be at odds with selling PS licenses though. Oh well, I can dream. :-)

  • Dan Price — 12:36 PM on September 02, 2009

    In reading the description, I expected something like the ribbon interface that MS introduced with Office (which I absolutely love) but am disappointed with what feels like little more than a better integrated help.

  • Mylenium — 12:41 PM on September 02, 2009

    I don’t see it as a “starting point” The problem is, that once you go down that path, you condition people to use such features. Let’s not kid ourselves – even a feature met with the most imaginable skepticism upon initial release will be adapted by users after a while. It will, however, only be adapted by a part of the user base, while the other part still scoffs at it and the developers are caught in the middle. Because they need to retain the original functionality plus the newly added features, the amount of work that has to go into them grows. In addition, instead of actually unifying features and aligning the users, you achieve the opposite. You diversify even further, the app grows bloated and fat like a cheese melting in the sun. Eventually, after a considerable time, certain features may converge and give a workflow as originally envisioned, but personally I’m not all too jazzed to see CS5 and CS6 take different directions before those features meet again in CS7, possibly. And generally PS simply doesn’t lend itself to being workflow-oriented. Its features are way too complex to be formulated in a simple one button + 2 sliders way as would be required. I simply don’t see it function. Even things like the adjustments and mask palettes in CS4 are merely compromises that would require to be re-thought eventually at some point… Well, it’s really more complex than just shuffling around a few panels and buttons IMO.

  • Mylenium — 12:51 PM on September 02, 2009

    I don’t think that this would work. Then the whole point of a “complete” app would be lost. While some features may never be used (e.g. I, being without a RAW enabled camera, never really need ACR for anything I could achieve otherwise as well), others are and if you’d do a strict count the clicks game, I’m sure the result for most users would be that they always use a certain percentage, but never all features, but all those users still having slightly different overall requirements. Then it really becomes a numbers game of whether maintaining a core app and several optional modules is more efficient (development, distribution, customer service) than selling the thing as on single package. And of course I’m also opposed to modular apps because of the cost. Based on my experience with 3D programs, modular systems are always considerably more expensive, in part because of the aforementioned factors, but also because of the confusion they cause on the user’s end. You know, that old gag of “I’m definitely not going to upgrade” and the next day they bring out a module you always have craved (an experience, that regularly torments Cinema 4D users)…

  • Stefan Tell — 2:52 PM on September 02, 2009

    I think panels is a great idea but I haven’t really used them so much, yet.
    Others here talks about Photoshop for Photographer, and some mention Lightroom, but for me one way to make Photoshop more suited to my needs would be to remove the clutter.
    Work spaces are not enough, I think. Why not give me the option to configure how Photoshop starts and loads modules? Like a Photoshop Starter Configurator (without having to delete files or move them) so I can create my own, customized Photoshop (or start the full version).
    Let me build my own Photoshop, for example without text tools, without most of the filters, without most of the import/export options. Then I could strip down Photoshop to the tools I really use and need (and the clutter would go away at the same time).
    Most of the time when working with Photoshop, I don’t even use 90-95% of the tools. So why even include them in “my” Photoshop?

  • Jon Brown — 6:35 PM on September 02, 2009

    First, yes to a workspace tailored to photography.
    It is kinda a no brainer and I’m baffled why there isn’t’ already one there. This is something that drove me crazy with AutoDesk’s AutoCAD for years, they’d turn out customized versions for small specialties but failed to create a customized version for their core users. Further it’s rather ironic because I was pondering the lack of an included Photography workspace just yesterday.
    Second, the idea of “sharable” user created workspaces seems problematic to me.
    Instantly you go from a few manageable workspaces (Note, that I think there are too many already) to having way to many to manage. What happens when the beginner or even intermediate user tries to follow a step by step tutorial only to find that their UI is completely different than that of the tutorial? It seems like way more trouble than it’s worth IMHO.
    Third, contextual help as described in the PDF still seems too cumbersome to be useful. I have nearly instantly turned of every wizard or contextual help system I’ve ever had the displeasure of encountering.
    10+ years ago, I remember built in help being useful. One could think of what they wanted to do and search for a keyword or two and find the command that could do it. The only thing help seems good for these days is if I know the exact command I want to use but can’t find it in the mess of menus. Like most, when I hear “contextual help”, I immediate start to think about that annoying as hell paperclip and that equally useless dog… The system described in the PDF seems marginally useful at best. Frankly it’s hard enough to learn where all the tools one wants to use are and this just seems to duplicate the interface… I don’t want two or three ways to create a layer mask, I want one that I know where everything is and how it works.
    I’d rather PS be smart enough to watch me work for a few weeks and then pop-up something that says “PS has noticed that you switch between X and Y frequently, grouping those tools together might save you time”… or “PS has noticed that you frequently use the X tool and then have to use the Y tool to undo part of the changes, using the Z tool might avoid that extra step, would you like to see a tutorial?”… or “PS noticed you never use the smudge tool would you like to remove it from your workspace?”.
    So, if you’re going to do contextual help however:
    #1 Make is super easy to turn on/off with a toggle button and a keystroke
    #2 Offer links to multiple levels of tutorials (beginner/intermediate/advanced), I find it endlessly frustrating how many basic walk throughs one can find online for the exact same task with five different approaches to the exact same results, but how difficult it can be to find one advanced tutorials or one which comes to a slightly different end point.
    Fourth, a little off topic, but seriously kill Elements and start from scratch.
    Instead of PSE as it current exists create a basic version of PS that is based entirely on real photoshop. The annoying thing about PSE is that tools have differing names and there are grossly different ways of accomplishing things in PSE than in PS. I tried to get my g/f to use PSE a couple years ago and couldn’t begin to help learn it because things so utterly different than I was accustomed to in PS. The interface of PSE should be a striped down version of PS, not a modified version. Remove all the 3D and advanced tools, remove some of the filters, whatever, but don’t rename, move or change an icon for anything. Nor should you add anything to PSE that isn’t also in PS (photo boarders). Ideally someone familiar with Elements could instantly use PS by simply ignoring all the extra buttons and tools.
    Finally, I’m with some of the other commenters that would rather see a 64-bit Mac Cocoa version of PS sooner rather than see new features later. I imagine CS5 being something like Snow Leopard, leaner and meaner… not bigger and better with killer upgrade pricing.
    There really needs to be at least one, perhaps two CS packages that are tailored for photographers and which include Lightroom. I know about the 30% discount on LR for standalone PS purchaser’s (that’s potentially one package), but there should be a package that looks like Design Standard plus Lightroom minus Device Central and Version Cue. Ideally the price point for the Photographer package would be under $1000. Frankly I think all the CS package and individual pricing should be cut in half. Until you come up with a CS Amateur package that has Illustrator Elements, InDesign Elements and Dreamweaver Elements.

  • annette, australia — 6:35 PM on September 02, 2009

    I’m a certified trainer & been using Photoshop since version 4.5 for print, screen & web.
    I agree with comments are follows:
    1. Improve hue/sat so it opens at previous state instead of Master. I advise users to name their layer with the colour/s they have adjusted, eg. Reds, Greens, B’s
    2. Improve Gradient editor into one menu. Users instinctively click on the drop down menu and are amazed when I show them they can access gradient editor by clicking on the gradient image.
    3. The majority of people NEVER read tooltips or messages on screen. They need to be shown by an experienced user. They don’t even know what most of the Tools are until you point out the name on the tooptip (and it’s shortct!)
    4. Help files installed locally should be mandatory. Many organisations block web access and, believe it or not, many people are still on slow internet access. Even with cable, it’s infuriating having to mess around with going on line to access basic help files. What was Adobe thinking!
    5. Consider having a start-up screen like Illustrator used to have which allows you to view videos on new features, changes to menus, changes to shortcuts, etc. It’s infuriating to be demonstrating something only to find it’s moved to another menu or the workflow has changed. You don’t realise something has changed until you go to use it. The most embarrassing instance was in the middle of a university class of 25 with the upgrade to CS. In order to copy & paste from Illustrator to Photoshop you had to ‘know’ to turn on AICB in the copy & past preferences.
    6. Stop emulating Microsoft and resist adding more screen clutter :) Even the new Adjustment Layer & Masks palettes are unnecessary: it was brilliant the way it was – sometimes it feels like change just for the sake of change. New users will find it confusing no matter what you do. Who do you want your market to be? Pro users or amateurs? Amateurs have got Elements & Pro users love what we’ve got.
    7. It’s a great idea as long as you can turn it off. In conclusion, don’t let ‘clippie’ rest in peace, let him burn in hell!

  • David — 6:45 PM on September 02, 2009

    Photoshop starts in 2 to 4 seconds, and its ram usage is negligible. The text tool is loaded upon first use. You can already remove filters (or at least hide them).
    I don’t know what you are getting at. You can already customize a lot. There are plenty of improvements I can think of for the Photoshop UI, but I see no problem with clutter.
    [I think the problem is largely psychological. People can be bewildered by what look like too many choices, and they can feel that “This software is great… for somebody else. It wasn’t made for me.” –J.]

  • David — 8:16 PM on September 02, 2009

    I like the new adjustment layer panel when an adjustment layer is selected, otherwise it is clutter. But I suppose something was needed to fill up the space when no adjustment layer is selected.
    I think the adjustment layer panel should be expanded to support fill layers (solid color, gradient and pattern). I’d still like to be able to open the non-modal windows for them, though.
    Another thing with the Hue/Sat panel: I want the color range numbers to to be scrubby and/or keyboard editable. I use a Cintiq, so precision selection of a slider can be difficult. Lifting the stylus tends to make the cursor move a bit.

  • David — 8:25 PM on September 02, 2009

    If you preview a comment, it is automatically unlinked from any comment it is linked to.
    My previous comment was a reply to the comment directly above it.

  • Rick — 11:29 PM on September 02, 2009

    I like CS4 and the Configurator to create work spaces. I am happy with the incremental changes made with each new release. So, I say keep up the good work and trust that we users are fully capable of setting up a work space based on our needs. Those that don’t posses that capability can use the preset work spaces or suffer in their ignorance and use the gimp or something else.

  • Franp — 7:57 AM on September 03, 2009

    Yes, Portable presets !
    Now that’s a good and usefull idea.
    It’s currently a pain in the … to transfert or upgrade personnal stuff.
    Beside that, the most powerfull way to improve workflow in Photoshop (and Adobe’s softwares) is very simple :
    I do not know of any way to achieve your goal quicker.

  • mmpleines — 12:38 PM on September 03, 2009

    frankly, I prefer the freedom of the current interface very much over some ‘streamlined user experience’. Please let me do things my own way.
    [Not to worry: We have no intentions of restricting your freedom in any way. Freedom is what makes Photoshop so powerful–and sometime scary. –J.]
    I also use PS for stuff other than photography-such as drawing and painting. I certainly would like to be able to continue to do this without having to buy an extra ‘art module’ or something like that…
    If you have to do something like this, please make it optional and keep the current interface style as an ‘advanced’ or ‘expert’ mode.
    I really like PS the way it is now!!!
    Thanks for consulting us!

  • Armin Rosu — 1:12 AM on September 04, 2009

    Yep, totally agree. None of the workspaces match exactly what I need, so I always end up configuring my own (not just in Photoshop).
    What would be nice, some sort of heuristic auto-configurator, similar to actions. Sort of “start learning workspace for portrait retouching” etc, then removes unused components. Maybe even now what workspace to apply according to the opened image (e.g. has slices -> show web workspace)

  • Ed in Philly — 3:04 AM on September 04, 2009

    Migrator would be useful to ensure the same workspace was set up on my laptop and desktop. I use a Mac laptop and Windows desktop so ideally it would be portable across OS boundaries, too!

  • LS3 — 7:21 PM on September 04, 2009

    I use Lightroom and Photoshop Extended and strongly dislike switching between the work spaces (especially between Library and Develop). It really wastes time. I love Lightroom but find the separate workflow areas a bit frustrating and much harder to customize to my own workflow. Since I use it for more ‘routine’ processing, the inability to customize doesn’t bother me as much as it would in Photoshop where my tasks are more complex and varied.
    I also use two monitors and would MUCH rather have all my Lightroom tools on a second monitor rather than in discrete workflow modules.
    Transition between versions can create a time-sink, so I like the idea of the ‘migrator’ for my settings. I liked the transition materials available for CS3 and missed them going to CS4 (I get spoiled quickly). However, I don’t particularly want them cluttering up my workspace.
    I worry that the proposed changes will make PS more like Lightroom where I would love to make the preview panel bigger (two monitors again) so I could really see the previews of presets and where my keywords disappear if I’m not careful about where I click… I can configure Photoshop’s workspaces far better than I can customize Lightroom’s interface. My other worry is the spectre of The Ribbon — a ‘convenience’ from Microsoft that totally buries access to anything beyond basic entry level. Please don’t go there!
    Finally, if you want to take a tip from Lightroom, integrate Bridge (at least one Bridge window) into a panel that I can keep open on my ‘tool’ monitor so I can quickly scan for images that I might want to add elements of or that I might want to refer to. Also, it would be great to use an integrated Bridge panel to preview patterns, textures, even fonts that might not be installed but that might have jpg or other viewable samples.
    You could add the proposed configurator as a panel that would be useful to newcomers as well as during the transition between versions and for exploring new areas — turn it on to try out 3D or something else or to watch a training video or follow a tutorial without printing it out. It could also serve as an integrated conference area for collaboration. But it could be most useful just to have a Bridge window open right inside Photoshop.
    I know this is about the interface, but I would love to see a ‘sticky’ or magnetic option for the ruler that would let me straighten or angle photos faster because it would cling to an edge.
    Thanks for asking and for listening!

  • CHCollins — 7:07 PM on September 05, 2009

    Same comment I’ve had for several years now: Corel Photopaint allowed me to customize my own menu bar… I had a “User” menu selection with my most often used workflow commands, ending with unsharp mask and export to JPG. Photopaint also provided a “selection brush” that no amount of magic wands or lassos have ever duplicated. Is there some patent issue that has prevented Adobe from including these useful and obvious features?

  • joe user — 8:25 PM on September 05, 2009

    You’ve been able to customize the menus in Photoshop for quite a while.
    Photoshop had a command palette a long time ago, replaced by actions in Photoshop 4 (but still has a button mode). Now configurator allows even more customization.
    And there are multiple ways to do selection brushes in Photoshop. QuickSelect is probably the newest and easiest.
    Sounds like you need to catch up on the features in recent versions of Photoshop.

  • Claude Felbert — 10:41 PM on September 09, 2009

    Sounds a great idea but I think it is a recipe to keep people in their comfort zone. Many people don’t like to change the way they work and even if by applying the concept it becomes easier to work with what they are comfortable with you are setting them up with an excuse to never learn more or use features outside of what they see on screen.

  • Wbsite Design kent — 2:46 PM on September 19, 2009

    What respecting web designer would use PS for web design (apart from image optimising) ? Write it in an editor if you know what you are doing, else you get bloated code.

  • Website Design kent — 2:47 PM on September 19, 2009

    What respecting web designer would use PS for web design (apart from image optimising) ? Write it in an editor if you know what you are doing, else you get bloated code.

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