About every 18 months Adobe releases a new version of Photoshop—now it’s Photoshop CS4’s turn. This article covers what I find most interesting for photographers in this new version.
In mid-2007, I gave a talk at Google called “Non-Destructive, Selective, and Non-modal Editing of Photographs.” At that time Photoshop supported a way to edit photos non-destructively (meaning the settings can be changed later) and selectively by using masks in combination with adjustment layers. Unfortunately, all the adjustment-layer dialogs were modal, meaning that you had to close the current dialog to access different adjustment-layer tools (or anything else). I found that interfered with using multiple tools quickly.
Photoshop CS4 removes this restriction with new adjustments. You can now switch between different adjustment layers (now called simply “adjustments”) at any time. The current settings are always shown in the new Adjustments palette, available for change without clicking out of a dialog box.
New adjustments can be created the old way or by clicking on one of the icons in the Adjustments pallet (Figure 1).
I docked the Layers and Adjustments pallets together (Figure 2). The non-modal nature of the workf low allows switching between layers and adjustments at any time without being blocked by a modal dialog.
If you’ve been using Photoshop for some time, you will, at first, keep looking for the (nonexistent) Close button. Once you’re used to its absence, you’ll enjoy a much smoother workflow than ever before.