Tagged: Photoshop

Is Apple working on a Photoshop competitor?

Apple graphics patent

Patently Apple reports on recent Apple patent filings that indicate Apple is working on a graphics application with a new fancy-pants GUI. Now I don’t doubt that Apple is (or was) working on a graphics package. But I HIGHLY doubt that this graphics app was meant to compete with Photoshop – unless you feel like iWork actually competes with MS Office. That being said, a fourth app added to iWork would be nice, no?

Very interesting patent filing, nonetheless.

Getting the most out of your Photoshop History panel

Photoshop iconAdobe Photoshop‘s History panel is probably one of the most useful tools in Photoshop, allowing you to undo and redo things you’ve already done to your image with the click of a button. Many users, however, don’t take advantage of the flexibility that the History panel offers.

You may have noticed that the History panel doesn’t save a history state when you hide or show a layer. If you’re not paying attention, this can throw you off a bit when you’re working on a complex layered document. You can adjust Photoshop to save that layer visibility state by visiting the History options via the fly-out menu in the History panel and turning on Make Layer Visibility Changes Undoable. Below are a few more useful features of the History Panel worth looking at. (more…)

Observe Photoshop’s scratch disk use with the Efficiency Monitor

If you’re experiencing a slow-down while using Adobe Photoshop, you may be thinking you need more RAM (always a good idea!), but there’s a chance that isn’t the problem. Thankfully, Adobe offers an easy way to help you decide if more RAM is necessary for a better user experience.

At the bottom left of Photoshop CS5 and CS6’s window is an indicator that can display all sorts of information. Among file size, color profile and save progress, is one called Efficiency. You can click the flyout window arrow and choose Efficiency to get the indicator just to the left (see the image below).

Photoshop Efficiency Indicator

If you’re lucky, it will always say 100%. Anything below 100% indicates that Photoshop has used all its allocated RAM and is using your hard drive as a scratch disk, thus slowing it down. You can allocate more RAM to Photoshop in the preferences, but if memory serves me, Photoshop allocates around 60-70% of your RAM by default. Any more than that and you’re likely to start having problems with the rest of the system. If the Efficiency Indicator displays anything below about 85-90%, I would highly recommend investing in more RAM.

Photoshop CS6 interface color keyboard shortcut

Photoshop CS6 introduced a new interface option which allows you to choose from four shades of brightness while working in the app. It was jarring at first, but once I got used to it I loved it. Still, there are times when I want to leave the new dark interface and use something a bit lighter. Adobe made it easy with a handy keyboard shortcut.

Photoshop CS6 interface

Photoshop CS6 offers interface brightness flexibility

Simply hit Shift + Function + F1 to lighten the interface, or Shift + Function + F2 to darken it.

iStockPhoto plugin for Adobe Creative Suite apps makes image searching easy

iStockPhoto pluginI spend a lot of time searching for stock photography. One of the sites I spend the most time on is iStockPhoto due to its large selection of images and relatively low cost. Switching between my InDesign layout and Safari to compare the images on the website to the layout to see if the image is appropriate can be tedious – especially when you consider the time to download and place the comp images.

It would be so great if you could do it right inside InDesign, Photoshop or Illustrator without using a browser. Thankfully, you can with this nifty plugin.

iStockPhoto has released the iStockPhoto Plugin for InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator that adds a Panel to all three apps which allows you to search for images, view the images, create and view light boxes, and place a comp image directly into your file, and purchase the image – all without ever leaving the Adobe application.

Installation is simple, as the plugin is installed for all three apps via the Adobe Extension Manager. The plugin is free. You can search for images and add comp images to your layout, but you must have an iStockPhoto account to use lightboxes and purchase images.

Adobe Creative Suite 6 Design Premium: First look at speed

Adobe CS6With every release of the Adobe Creative Suite apps, one of the first questions always seems to be “is it faster?” Whether you use Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator or Flash, you probably crave improved speed almost as much as new features.

With all the major Adobe Creative Suite apps being fairly mature in their lifecycle, new marquee features have taken a back seat to minor tweaks, small feature additions, bug fixes, and speed improvements. Creative Suite 6 follows that trend for the most part, and that makes it a bit easier to compare the speed of the apps between CS5 and CS6.

I’ve been using Creative Suite Design Premium for a few weeks now, and have collected my thoughts and observations about CS6 regarding speed. It should be noted that, with the exception of the launch-time chart below, these are my opinions based on very unscientific testing. I’ve not run any benchmarks or other timed processes, just real-world “eye-ball” tests.

Test Macs

All my observations are based off the results of running Adobe CS6 (and CS5) on two Macs, both running OS X Lion 10.7.4:
Mac Pro 2006 (MP): 2.66 GHz Dual-Core Xeon, 11GB RAM, 7200 RPM internal HD
MacBook Air 2011 (MBA): 1.7 GHz Core i5, 4GB RAM, SSD

Installation

I chose the download option for CS6, rather than the boxed DVD collection. So I installed CS6 from the mounted disc image on my hard drive. This is important to remember, and you’ll see why below. (more…)

Adobe’s complicated CS6 pricing – and a few discounts

Adobe Creative Suite 6

Adobe is offering some nice Creative Suite CS6 upgrade and Creative Cloud subscription discounts. If you’re debating about upgrading, perhaps one of these discounts will make the decision for you. That is, if you can figure out which upgrades you’re eligible for, and for how long.

Creative Cloud

Creative Suite 3 and higher owners can purchase a Creative Cloud subscription by August 31, 2012 and receive your first year for only $30 per month (regularly $50 per month). Creative Cloud subscriptions include the entire Adobe Master Collection set of apps, all Adobe’s Touch apps, and a host of cloud services.

Free upgrade to CS6

If you’re still running Creative Suite 3, 4 or 5, you can order CS 5.5 now and get CS6 for free when it ships.

Lightroom 4

Purchase Adobe Lightroom 4 for $99 when you buy it with Photoshop CS 6 or any CS 6 Suite Edition.

It’s complicated

Maybe I’m just not remembering things as well, but I don’t ever recall Adobe’s upgrade options being so complicated. I was looking to upgrade my CS Design Premium Suite to CS6, when I clicked the upgrade option drop-down menu, it damn near scrolled off my screen. There are three different prices for the 23 possible upgrade paths.

The important thing to note, that has not been widely publicized or obvious on the upgrade pages, is the fact that upgrade pricing to CS6 from ANY VERSION lower than CS 5.5 ends on December 31, 2012. So basically, if you want to maintain upgrade pricing in the future, you WILL be upgrading this year.

What is somewhat unclear is what qualifies as an upgrade. Unless I’m mistaken, in the past you couldn’t cross-path upgrade. In other words, you couldn’t upgrade a Standard Edition Suite to a Master Collection Suite, or a Premium Edition Suite to a Standard Edition Suite. With CS6, it appears you can cross-upgrade Suites in any way. Again, I’m not clear, but it would be nice if that is indeed correct.

And finally, starting with the release of Creative Suite 6, individual upgrades — both CS suite editions and point products like Adobe Photoshop CS6 and Illustrator CS6 — are available for purchase only through Adobe.com.

What version should you upgrade to? Should you go the Creative Cloud route? Hell, I don’t know. The simple answer is if you currently use the Master Collection (all of Adobe’s apps), and like to stay current, you should definitely get Creative Cloud. Beyond that, it’s more complicated. If you’ve remained current (you’re running CS 5.5), your upgrade options are clear and fairly affordable. If you’re running a Suite or individual app older than CS 5.5, the options aren’t as clear, and are nowhere near as affordable. As for me, I think I’ll be sticking with the boxed version of the Design Premium Suite.