Photoshop 5.0 designer claims ‘no bad surprises’

Adobe's Photoshop 5.0 came to town and one of its chief architects, senior creative designer Russell Brown - absolutely no relation to Computerworld's own - was on hand to put it through its paces for the local media.

Adobe’s Photoshop 5.0 came to town and one of its chief architects, senior creative designer Russell Brown — absolutely no relation to Computerworld’s own — was on hand to put it through its paces for the local media.

Brown, a jovial and modest type, demonstrated the upgrade’s multiple undo, incorporating a “history” function that notes the exact sequence of image manipulation and can take a user directly back to that point. This was a feature long requested by dedicated Photoshop users, as was a number of the other additions, such as editable text with formatting at the character level, better colour management controls at the prepress stage and support for spot--colour channels.

Other features offered in the update include: a gamma control panel; non-monitor RGB, allowing ideal, device-independent RGB settings; a number of new tool and measurement options; third-party menu “slots” for options such as direct Web page design and newspaper photo contact sheets; plug-ins and colour setting improvements; and “walk-through” help for newbies.

Janine Bickerton, of creative and prepress shop Raydar in Auckland, who saw Brown’s public presentation last week, is enthusiastic. “At last we get spot colours in Photoshop, unlimited undos — depending on how much RAM you have — better text handling capabilities, a pen tool that snaps to the outline of the image and more accurate screen representation of duo and tri tones. The upgrade’s available in six weeks and I’m getting it.” Bickerton says her main issue with version 4.0 was that users couldn’t set up spot colours.

Brown says Adobe’s ImageReady Web image editing tool could have been added to Photoshop but that would have slowed its release — and probably its performance. He says the separation of the products is “not an attempt to gouge the user”, and says the two Adobe design teams have deliberately been kept distinct.

Brown, who sees his role as a designer rather than a marketer, says he gets many of the most useful ideas from users. “I get my best ideas from people I meet — and steal them. Then I give them gifts.” He has no programming control over the direction of the product, but tries to get good ideas incorporated. “I have to go directly to the lead programmer — and bribe them — to convince them of the need for particular features. Digital cameras work.”

He says there are no bad surprises for users.

Brown recommends at least 64Mb of RAM if using the history function.

Distributor Renaissance says the Photoshop upgrade will cost $525 ex GST before the end of August and $625 after August. The retail price is $1799 ex GST.

A “lite” version of Photoshop 5.0, usually called Photoshop LE, is likely later.

ImageReady costs $555 ex GST.

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