Mixed-media professionals such as photographers, Web designers, and graphic designers will not be disappointed in Adobe's latest incarnation of Photoshop. In this release, Adobe aims hard at addressing the issues of file management, easy photo retouching, and smarter output for the Web. While Adobe manages to successfully address these issues, it also remains true to its photo editing roots. New and improved features and tools such as a painting option and an enhanced brush palette allow Photoshop to build on its reputation as the leading tool for image manipulators. New-school designers of wireless applications will smile when they discover that Photoshop 7.0 offers support for WBMP-formatted graphics.
Photoshop 7.0's new file management system comes in the form of a Windows Explorer-like file browser that allows users to easily sort and locate their images within various projects. Users can now organize projects by name, date, resolution, and a number of additional parameters.
The enhanced brush palette allows users to create custom brushes and save them as presets that can be accessed from the Tools options bar. Users can easily vary different aspects of the brush by changing the hue, opacity, or flow of the brushes for pastels, oils, and charcoal. Photoshop 7.0 also introduces a new Healing Brush and Patch Tool. With these tools, users can easily "heal" their images by removing scratches, blemishes, and other imperfections while preserving shading, lighting, and texture attributes.
Adobe has taken great strides in revamping Photoshop 7.0 to be more Web-ready than ever before. With the help of its companion software Image Ready, users can now easily create rollovers and complex navigation bars by using the new Rollovers palette. Additional Web-ready features include enhanced Web export functions that allow designers to preview images designed for PDAs and mobile phones in the WBMP format. Users can easily create a slide show of their images and post online using the new Web Gallery. People concerned about posting their images online can secure their images with the new password protection feature before sharing them.
Adobe has finally introduced a long overdue spell checker with wicked multilingual spell-checking capabilities. A new search and replace feature allows users to search and replace across different layers in the same document.
While Photoshop 7.0 introduces an impressive array of features that allow photographers, Web designers, and graphic designers to work more effectively with Web and wireless devices, it also remains the leading tool for anyone serious about digital imaging. No other software package provides users with the ability to create such high-quality images.
With each new version of Photoshop, Adobe never fails to come up with an awe-inspiring mix of great new features, productivity enhancements, and tweaks and treats. Version 7 is no exception. Major points of interest include a new healing brush that removes facial wrinkles and other surface blemishes with incredible ease, a long-awaited file browser that allows you to view image thumbnails and metadata, enhanced Web features, automatic color correction, and even a spell checker.
Image Ready, Photoshop's Web-authoring and export module, remains a separate, linked application. Creation of rollovers is simpler and a new "selected" rollover state takes some of the repetitive strain out of nav-bar production.
New output options include Picture Package, which allows you to print multiple images on a single page, and new templates and security watermarking for Web galleries.
All in all, this is an upgrade guaranteed to keep Photoshop at the cutting edge of professional image editing.
One of Photoshop's many strengths is the versatility of its tools, and this has been stretched to new limits. Filter previews are bigger, the Liquify tool has been enhanced, brush parameters have been extended, and commonly used tool settings can be saved as presets. This means you can virtually do away with the toolbox, instead selecting tools with exactly the settings you need from the presets palette.