Scott Kelby agrees with me (or, Why upgrade to Photoshop CS4?)

I’ve been using Photoshop CS4 Extended since it was released. I like it. Adobe made significant changes to the user interface. As someone who uses Photoshop on a daily basis, CS4 is faster, feels smoother to use and more efficient. Which translates to greater productivity and better results. And Scott Kelby, one of the “Photoshop Guys” agrees with me.

One of my favourite improvements in the user interface is the On-Image Control for Curves (and Hue/Saturation and a few other adjustment types). You drag this control over a specific colour area of the image you want to adjust and the curve anchor points are set automatically. It is a much more intuitive way to work with the Curves adjustment and it makes colour corrections much easier and more precise.

But don’t just take my word for it. Scott Kelby, Matt Kloskowski and Dave Cross (of Photoshop User TV fame) have put together a 4-part video crash course on the best new features of Photoshop CS4. Their general conclusion is CS4 is overall a much more useable Photoshop based on many improvements throughout, as well as some strikingly powerful new capabilities (such as the Content-Aware Scaling). And while you’re watching that, you can read along with the quickie list I compiled from their videos…

1. Faster – CS4 exploits hardware acceleration
2. Jaggies are gone at all zoom percentages
3. Birds-eye View
4. Interface less intrusive, less time wasted moving panels around.
5. Workspace management is easier and more powerful
6. Adjustment Panel – less menu digging
7. Adjustment layers don’t lock up the rest of the interface
8. New built-in presets for Adjustment Layers
9. Duo-tone panel shows presets (not buried)
10. Vibrance Adjustment – super-smart saturation adjustment
11. On-image Control for many adjustment layers
12. Mask Panel – for easier mask refinements, such as non-destructive on-the-fly feather slider
13. Updated Camera RAW for newer cameras
14. Camera RAW Adjustment Brush for dodging, burnning, adding colour, paint with clarity & saturation
15. Camera RAW camera profiles to emulate the vendor’s camera JPEG processing
16. Camera RAW Targeted Adjustments
17. Depth of Field extension for blending multiple shots at different focuses
18. Improved Photomerge, higher quality in the blending
19. Tighter integration with LightRoom 2
20. Dodge and Burn tools finally work properly
21. Color Range enhancements
22. Localized Color Clusters in Color Range
23. Content-Aware Scaling so you can scale images for odd print sizes and shapes
24. 30,000 pixel size limit removed
25. Rulers in the Print window
26. 16-bit printing on Mac OS X Leopard with 16-bit printers
27. More scripting options for printing
28. Bridge Carousel view for quick culling
29. Bridge “space bar” full screen view
30. Bridge “bread crumb”-style path navigation
31. Live output feature (e.g. for print layours and contact sheets)
32. Substantial 3D features in CS4 Extended
33. Canvas View Rotation
34. Spring-loaded Keys
35. Smart Object Layer Masks
36. Clone Previewing
37. Eye Dropper can sample from one or all layers
38. Tabbed document interface
39. Can drag to resize the brush while painting
40. Application Frame
41. Configurator feature (under Automation) to create own panels
42. Smoother painting
43. Continuous (smooth) Zooming
44. Can drag and drop from a window onto the Tab of another window
45. Default Stroke colour is Black (at LAST!)
46. Automatic pixel grid over 600% Zoom (but can turn this off)

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