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Adobe launches Photoshop CS4
by David Rasnake -  9/23/2008

As expected, there will be a new a version of Adobe's Photoshop image editing software, Adobe Photoshop CS4, on display this morning when visitors hit the show floor at Photokina 2008.

Adobe

Presented preliminarily last month, Photoshop CS4 is both a stand-alone piece of software and an integral part of Adobe's total graphics and web design package, Creative Suite 4.

Not surprisingly, one emphasis of the redesign involved the development of additional "smart" tools. Content-Aware Scaling is the big one, automatically recognizing disparate scene elements as such and allowing users to resize the background without distorting what's in the foreground of the shot, for instance. It sounds like serious techno-wizardry, and it's one area where we'll want to do some further exploring.

Adobe's press announcement also highlights the software's Auto-Align and Auto-Blend modes, which can be used to "generate composites based on extended depth of field and 360 degree panoramas [...] with seamless tones and colors," according to the manufacturer.

Another talking point for Adobe concerns a reworked Bridge function, with more seamless organization tools and a better interface. Additionally, launch speeds – an ongoing gripe with Bridge – have been addressed in the new release.

An separate version of the software, Photoshop CS4 Extended, also moves Photoshop into the realm of 3D design and graphics manipulation. The ability to merge and manipulate 2D images in 3D spaces should be particularly appealing for those who work primarily in 3D.

Under the hood, Adobe has revamped how CS4 interacts with system GPUs, which should lead to smoother, faster on-screen rendering when working with tools that require complex redrawing (and provide support for advanced 3D work in Photoshop Extended). Likewise, the new software is 64-bit compatible for PCs, if you care about such things.

After initial discussions with Adobe, it seems that the big news here for most users is just how much work has gone into revamping Photoshop's interface and making the Bridge tool a faster, more integrated part of the experience. There's a lot to wrap your head around with the new release not mentioned above; we'll be sampling it all at greater depth today, and will post more analysis of the new release as soon as we've had some time to dig into the software.

Of course, if you're ready to pull the trigger on a Photoshop CS4, Adobe is prepping both Macintosh and PC versions of the software for delivery next month. As of this morning, you can even pre-order via Adobe's website. Though we don't have information on upgrades yet, expect to pay around $699 for Photoshop CS4, or $999 for Photoshop CS4 Extended.