PetaPixel

Photoshop CS4 is a Worthy Upgrade

I just purchased Adobe Photoshop CS4 last week for my Macbook after being unable to transfer my CS3 student serial for PCs to a Mac version. Adobe’s phone customer support leaves something to be desired. Spent an hour’s worth of cell phone minutes listening to their elevator music, and finally hung up without talking to anyone. It’s pretty absurd that they put you on hold for so long even when you’re calling to make a purchase. They could learn a thing or two from Zappos.

While I was in the student store, I was thinking about also purchasing Lightroom 2. A lot of my buddies use it for their photography, but I always used Photoshop since I needed Photoshop for web development and thought Lightroom’s functionality with be redundant. However, Lightroom definitely had some features that I wish CS3 had, but was pleasantly surprised to find included in CS4.

One such feature is the new adjustment brush in Adobe Camera Raw:

cs4brush

I actually didn’t know they added this to CS4 before I purchased it. Prior to CS4, Adobe Camera Raw only allowed you to make changes to the image as a whole, while Lightroom had tools that allowed you to do local adjustments just like you would be able to in Photoshop. Now you can do local adjustments right in ACR.

cs4brushes

Those of you who got CS4 a while ago have probably been using the adjustment brush for a long time already, but for those of you with a previous version of Photoshop and who shoot Raw, this is a pretty darn good reason to upgrade.

Now, if only Adobe would include better methods for comparing the before and after images in ACR…


 
 
  • http://o--tebem--o.deviantart.com/ Emily Tebbetts

    Adobe customer service is abysmal. I was outright lied to, spent 10 phone calls over a series of weeks and finally, 3 months later, I have my money back. It was the worst customer experience Ive ever had.

    I do love CS4, though!

  • http://www.petapixel.com Michael Zhang

    Yeah, if you do a google search for adobe customer service, you'll see horror stories everywhere :-)

  • http://twitter.com/photovince Vincent Buller

    I do use both Lightroom and PS CS4 and although I used LR before getting to know Bridge properly I guess I agree with you it is hard to argue for using both. Adobe could do with some better product placement…

  • joakim bergquist

    For those who still just use CS3 or older I could highly recommend buying Lightroom (latest version)

    I mainly do all my editing work in lightroom nowdays, it's highly competent. I only use PS for 'tweaking' and 'faking' things… which is a rare thing

  • http://www.petapixel.com Michael Zhang

    Hmmm.

    Photoshop CS3 + Lightroom is probably a better combination than CS4 by itself.

    Does anyone know of anything that CS4 can do that CS3 + Lightroom can't?

  • joakim bergquist

    Well, nothing really important for a plain photographer I think. But cs4 handles true 3d layers with openGL. And it also Renders in OpenGl. The 3d might only come with the extended version.. oh how I wish I could afford cs4 :/

  • http://twitter.com/PeterLiu47 Peter Liu

    The OpenGL integration was reason enough for me to upgrade. I noticed right away the fan in my computer wasn't working as hard. I love the adjustments panel too. My workflow now consists of Lightroom 2.x and Photoshop CS4, and I haven't needed anything else.

  • http://mute.rigent.com/ Miles

    The main changes that I like in PS CS4 are interface changes, such as the new adjustment layer panels. Everything just flows better than it did in CS3, though I admit I wasn't happy at first (I hate change) it quickly proved its usefulness.

    One of the most interesting new tools in CS4 is the Content Aware Scaling, this has proven really useful as a web developer for making adjustments to the composition of (usually stock) images that I need to fit in specific spaces, and I've used it for tweaking my own photographs on occasion. Along with this there are a bunch of little things, like the much smoother movement of the image around the canvas thanks to PS making better use of modern graphics cards. You easily rotate an image as well as push it around smoothly. This also allows for better display at incremental zoom values, no more pixellated images at 33% for example.

    Also you can bring in and manipulate video pretty easily now, I don't remember this feature in CS3 so it may not be new. Being able to manipulate the appearance of a video using Photoshop's controls is a big help for non-video savvy people like myself.

  • http://www.petapixel.com Michael Zhang

    Cool. Thanks for your two cents miles :-)

  • tf5_bassist

    I love CS4… The new ACR is awesome, although even though I shoot in RAW, I rarely use it. Why? Because Lightroom 2 is the hotness!

    I tried to get into LR with the original beta, didn't really enjoy it, etc, and stuck to my oldschool Picasa workflow. Edit in Picasa (cull, pick/reject, minor edits), and then do the bulk in Photoshop because it worked better than Picasa for image editing. Now that I'm using LR2 and CS4, I can do all of my cataloging, tagging, culling, pick/reject/rank, and a vast majority of the editing in LR2, and then go into CS4 when I need something specialized, or major.

    Check out the demo for LR2, give it a good several hours of tweaking, importing, cataloging, etc, and you'll be happy. If you're rocking a dual monitor setup, both CS4 and LR2 are well equipped for this. I just obtained a second monitor, and I'm loving it so far.

  • tf5_bassist

    I love CS4… The new ACR is awesome, although even though I shoot in RAW, I rarely use it. Why? Because Lightroom 2 is the hotness!

    I tried to get into LR with the original beta, didn't really enjoy it, etc, and stuck to my oldschool Picasa workflow. Edit in Picasa (cull, pick/reject, minor edits), and then do the bulk in Photoshop because it worked better than Picasa for image editing. Now that I'm using LR2 and CS4, I can do all of my cataloging, tagging, culling, pick/reject/rank, and a vast majority of the editing in LR2, and then go into CS4 when I need something specialized, or major.

    Check out the demo for LR2, give it a good several hours of tweaking, importing, cataloging, etc, and you'll be happy. If you're rocking a dual monitor setup, both CS4 and LR2 are well equipped for this. I just obtained a second monitor, and I'm loving it so far.