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Photoshop 7.0 a worthwhile upgrade for DUW


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#1 SharpDiver

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Posted 17 July 2002 - 06:18 AM

Photoshop 7.0 a worthwhile upgrade for DUW
A successful photo adventure like my two weeks in the South Pacific means something else when I get home. Hours and hours spent editing the pictures and preparing them for web publication and slideshow production. Just before I left for the trip, I dropped the 15 SCUBA-bucks ($150.00 to the uninitiated) required to upgrade my version of Photoshop to the latest version. I mention it here, because I know that several photographers, both film and digital, on the board use the program. It has a couple of features that I feel greatly improve its value as an editing tool for underwater photography.

My first Photoshop was version 2. For those who have followed its history, you know what that means. If you're not familiar with the product, it means I have been fooling around with this software for over 9 years. I can hardly say that I am an expert -- I'm not even very good compared to the people who use it on a regular basis, but I am familiar with many of its functions and have spent a lot of hours in its company. I have a shelf full of books on its use, some of which I have even read. One thing that I have always avoided in any version is any correction tool that had the word "Auto" in its name. Unlike some pro and semi-pro PS users, this was not out of snobbishness. I would love to have one-click color correction. Every time I upgraded, I would try the new and improved auto correction tools, only to have my hopes dashed again. Until 7.0. And even with this latest upgrade, I didn't even try the new "Auto Color" adjustment for weeks, because I simply knew it wouldn't work on underwater images. I literally did it by accident. I had a mouse slip that hit the Auto Color Button while following the laborious and often unsuccessful routine I normally use. I was amazed. Brightness, contrast, color depth, highlights, shadow detail and color cast all corrected instantly. It worked flawlessly on 90% of the images I tried it on. The other 10% were probably hopeless to start with. In my slightly warped perspective of dollar value, this key was worth way more than the price of the upgrade.

But that wasn't the only new feature I found valuable. I normally adjust the color, apply a bit of sharpening, spot out the odd speck of backscatter, crop the images where my framing wasn't all it could be, then save the image as a PS file for archival purposes. At this point I resize the image for onscreen viewing and save it as a jpeg file. Then I don't save the re-sized PS file. The last step takes a couple of minutes on each file and you have to make sure your file paths stay consistent, or one of your jpegs can end up in a file where you will never find it. In the new PS, you can completely automate that last step. There is a new script that lets you create a web gallery from a folder of PS format files. It resizes the images to the size you specify, to the jpg compression scheme that you specify, creates thumbnail size copies and even generates an html page in one of 5 cookie cutter formats. I don't like any of their cookie cutter web pages, but I love automatically generating my jpegs!

Another incredible update is the healing brush. Where the familiar clone tool duplicates the sample area to the target area, the new healing brush samples the "texture" of the sample area and draws it color information from the area surrounding the target area. Touching up backscatter with the healing brush is simply amazing.

Finding image files is easier, too, with the much publicized "File Browser" view. I found it frustrating in previous versions that freeware and shareware programs had better visual selection tools and meta data readers than the most expensive image editor on the market. That has finally been remedied.

I don't print very many images, and when I do, it is usually in a larger size, but I will mention that the "Picture Package" option lets you size different images onto one sheet of expensive photo paper. This is a function many of us use in PIE, but now you don't have to switch programs to print.

And finally for the other MAC users out there (and I know there are a couple of us), integration with iPhoto is finally a reality. You can double click on an image in iPhoto, and it opens up in Photoshop. This was promised when iPhoto came out, but I didn't have much luck with it. Now that Photoshop is native in OS-X, it works flawlessly.

If you already have Photoshop, beat a path to their website and upgrade immediately. If you're on the fence about whether to buy Photoshop or not, now is the time to make the move.

#2 MikeO

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Posted 18 July 2002 - 08:48 AM

Thanks for the report, Jeff. After reading the standard reviews out there, I decided against upgrading. However due to your report on these specific capabilities, I think I will. One more thing -- after slogging through several of the programs that generate web albums (including my copy of ACDSee), I'm really jealous of you Mac users now that iPhoto is out. Wish I could find something that would generate nice looking pages in a nice hierarchical format for Windows users . . .

Mike

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#3 SharpDiver

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Posted 18 July 2002 - 09:14 AM

Your new Photoshop ;^) has a really good page generator. It even automatically resizes the images for you. I just have a shareware program that I am already used to for doing this. Otherwise, I would use the Photoshop one.

#4 davephdv

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Posted 18 July 2002 - 06:54 PM

Jeff, did you have to change your preferences to allow you to double click an image in iPhoto and have it open in PS7?

If you down load to iPhoto and open it in PS7 using this technique do you preserve all the image info (f stop, ect) ?

Is it possible to properly calibrate an iBook display to give proper colors? I have the latest iBook, OS10.1 and PS7.

Thanks for any help you can give me.
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#5 SharpDiver

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Posted 18 July 2002 - 08:21 PM

Open the preferences panel for iPhoto and there is a setting for what action to take on a double click. You can specify any program you want.

Download in iPhoto, then you can open in PS 7 from the iPhoto as above, or you can direct the PS 7 file browser to the iPhoto library (user>username>pictures>iPhoto Library>year>month>date). The meta data displays in the PS 7 file browser.

Proper colors? I don't know what proper colors are. OS X has a built in screen calibrator if that is what you are asking. It is as accurate as the operator.