MacDirectory Magazine

Fall-Winter 2008 (#39)

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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Page 152 of 179

MacDirectory 151 MacDirectory 151 FIRST LOOK ADOBE CREATIVE SUITE 4 > A TOOLKIT FOR WEB 3.0 In mid-July, Adobe invited a group of journalists to their San Jose headquarters to privately preview something they promised would be spectacular. With Soundbooth and Dreamweaver CS4 already in public beta, we had a fair idea what it would be. Even though they had announced that Mac users will have to wait for native 64-bit support, Adobe privately revealed the progress they had made in offloading tasks to accelerated graphics cards and distributing the workload across multiple processor cores. The resulting performance boost for many functions on the Mac was breathtaking. With CS4, Adobe introduces slick new interface elements that span the entire suite. The first you'll notice is the Application Bar, a thin panel at the top of each window. It provides access to frequently used tools, window layouts and related Suite applications. Many of the programs have also inherited Dreamweaver's ability to access multiple open files via tabs. Taking things a step further, it's become much easier to work with multiple files on a single screen and, in some cases, use a virtual pasteboard where files can share elements, color schemes and styles. CS4 also expands the range of comfor- table working environments. Multiple monitor users will appreciate the expan- ded use of panel groups that can be moved around in what Adobe is calling "flotillas." If screen space is a constraint, Mac's have inherited the popular Appli- cation Frame display from the Windows versions. This locks all your toolbars, panels and open documents into a single, resizable window. Throughout CS4 you'll find numerous little touches that show Adobe's developers have spent a good amount of time outside of Adobe's rather plush towers and in the field with actual users. However, as the programs transform to share a common look and feel, Adobe is walking a fine line, working to make more applications accessible to new users without alienating its existing base. Now, after spending a few weeks with the CS4 Master Collection beta, MacDirectory will take you on a whirlwind tour of the new features. Bridge CS4 One of the most useful interface elements is the application panel's "breadcrumb" display of the path to the library you're viewing. Like many of the CS4 applications, Bridge adds a Spotlight-like search field for sifting through files and metadata. Camera Raw 5 As before, a photo opened in Bridge passes through the Camera Raw application. The main improvement here is the adjustment brush. Just sweep it over a section of the image and the CR5 adjustments will apply only to the nicely feathered region just created. Photoshop The first thing you notice is that the program pans, zooms and rotates images with an incredible speed and fluidity of the motion. This is the result of Photoshop CS4's offloading these tasks to your graphics card. Likewise, many rendering tasks are now farmed out to an Intel Mac's multiple cores. It seems like photographers always hate making commitments and Photoshop now offers a non-destructive Adjustments feature which, in essence, automatically creates adjustment layers for your changes. This works well in conjunction with the dramatically improved masking tools. The program's ability to merge and blend images (for panoramas, high dynamic range, etc.) now has the ability provide infinitely expandable depth of field. Another brilliantly intelligent feature is Content Aware Scaling. You can expand or shrink pictures while maintaining the proportions of key elements. Adobe has completely rewritten Photoshop CS4 Extended's 3D rendering engine. Now based on Open GL, it has greatly enhanced its 3D capabilities and performance. You can now directly paint and edit surfaces mapped to a 3D object in Photoshop. An After Effects-like motion timeline combined with the program's advanced masking features makes it a powerful compositing tool, as well. Illustrator Illustrator CS4 introduces at least one, sought-after feature: multiple art boards. This lets you work with several different files as if they were together on the same page, sharing elements, color schemes and objects. InDesign CS4 can accept files directly from an art board workspace. Another great addition is the Blob Brush, providing freehand painting previously WORDS BY RIC GETTER PHOTOSHOP

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