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Photoshop 6: all the news

Photoshop 6.0 is considered the most innovative and important update: the improvements are so many, that more than one commentator has observed that such a large number of innovative features were not seen from the 3.0 release.

Adobe has had the courage to change so many elements (even many of the well-known and appreciated graphic interface) but it is not, mind you, unnecessary changes: the programmers have been great and have done everything to simplify and improve the features for some time known and appreciated of the package.

New interfaceThe Options palette, cross and delight of the previous versions, has been completely removed: in its place we now find a bar called "Tool option" which is placed directly under the Photoshop menu bar. By clicking on any tool, the options bar immediately shows the possible settings based on the selected tool. For example, by clicking on the "Brush" tool, the selected brush appears, the menu with the possible blending modes, the box that allows you to set the opacity, and the box that offers the possibility to activate or deactivate the " Wet Edges ”. It is possible, as always, to select the various operating modes of the brush and modify the various shapes of the brush on the fly (with a single click of the mouse).

The same goes for all the other palettes: the various options are all immediately accessible and it is not necessary to jump between the various panels to find the desired option.

New text toolFor years, improvements had been expected regarding the text entry tool. Adobe has improved this possibility over the years but has always done so with the dropper. This time, however, the programmers have decided to do things in a big way: first of all, – finally – it is possible to write directly on the window that contains the image we are processing, without having to write in a separate window; then, many possibilities have been foreseen, so much so that now it seems to use Illustrator rather than Photoshop. It is possible to change the color of every single letter typed, you can make very precise settings relating to kerning, to moving the baseline, to spacing, you can add spaces at the beginning and at the end of the paragraphs, you can activate indentation in based on the loaded dictionaries; in a few moments it is possible to modify entire selections and transform all the letters into lowercase letters, all in capital letters, small capitals, etc. In short, all the text options are provided and many of the possibilities offered recall similar possible features in InDesign (the powerful Adobe layout package).

This new version of Photoshop now supports ligatures and "Old Style" fonts, thus allowing typographic checks that go far beyond what the package was intended for.

Graphic designers, logo creators and web designers will be pleased to know that Photoshop 6 now allows you to distort text in dozens of different ways: each word can be curved, flattened, flipped, arched, stretched, transformed into a fish shape and so on, always maintaining the possibility of being able to re-edit the text at any time.

More power to the LayersSince version 5, the introduction of "Layer Effects" has allowed the possibility of making numerous adjustments and corrections to one or more levels simultaneously. With the version 6.0 of Photoshop, the "Layer Styles" are now possible, real styles applicable in series to the levels and with which it is possible to create incredibly captivating effects in no time. It is possible to mix together different styles and combine them in a palette of styles that can be recalled when necessary. The version 6 of Photoshop arrives with 100 styles already preset and with which it is possible to create beautiful effects with the text, to instantly realize buttons for the Web and to obtain in a few seconds detailed and complex textures.

VettoriThe possibility of combining vector figures in bit-mapped images, therefore, takes a further giant step towards Photoshop. A completely new feature, in fact, is the "Shapes" tool, a tool with which it is possible to draw vector figures: rectangles, lines, ellipses and polygons. Selecting the "Custom Shape" option you can access a vast collection of figures preset directly from the options bar: stars, hearts, arrows, fish, moons, triangles, etc. Obviously you can draw and add your own figures.

By printing directly from Photoshop or saving as a PDF for printing, it is possible to make the lines of the vector figures always printed or saved at the highest possible resolution.

Web, Web, Web …A tool that will be greatly appreciated by those who design Web pages the "Slice" tool: a knife-shaped icon that allows you to break up an image and divide it into many optimized images that can be saved individually (without using ImageReady). As if not enough, Photoshop can create HTML files complete with tables starting from the various layers that make up an image.

About ImageReady: the version included with this new release of Photoshop 3.0 and offers new rollovers, new tools for animation (text warping), a better tool for creating maps, the possibility of saving an image in more sections.

The programmers of Photoshop 6 then thought of a new method, called "weighted optimization" and that allows to further compress the JPEG images used in the web: using an alpha channel it is possible to eliminate details that are not very visible and leave others, effectively reducing the size of any image.

Levels management It is possible to combine the levels in a folder ("Layer Sets") that can be managed directly from the appropriate palette. In the level management window, it is now possible to assign a different color to the thumbnail that represents each individual layer, so that each level is immediately recognizable.

From the layers window it is possible to access the styles (Layers Effects) directly from a pop-up menu and to block every single layer so that it cannot inadvertently be moved or modified. Another new feature called "Content Layer": it is possible to activate levels that activate particular nuances, fill colors and patterns directly from this window.

Textures and brushes

Characteristics expected the possibility of storing and managing hundreds of brushes, patterns, textures, shades and preset figures. Now it is possible to instantly load a new set of brushes without having to navigate along the hard disk in search of files with brushes and the patterns we needed …

PowerGoo in PhotoshopThe funniest of the new features without doubt the "Liquify" command that allows you to make an image liquid (remember Kai’s PowerGoo?). Certainly not a command that serves every day, but fun to know what we can potentially do with the faces of so many of our friends …

Improved automatic systems Many of the tools to automate various procedures have been revised and many new things have been planned. The "Web Gallery" command, for example, allows you to automate the long and tedious procedure for inserting image catalogs on the web: select the layout and the color of the desired background, and in a few minutes Photoshop will create our HTML page complete with arrows, miniatures, etc. It is possible to choose between various preset templates (with and without frames).

New color management

All the windows relating to the color management controls have been grouped together in a single window called "Color Setting". In this window you can select several options already preset by Adobe directly selectable from convenient pop-up menus. Of course it is possible to change the settings according to your preferences and add them with a menu item that can be recalled at any time …

Print Preview The print window has also been improved. A new "Print Preview" command allows you to preview if the figure is within the margins of the page on which we are going to print, as well as offering the possibility to modify numerous settings directly from this window.

Various newsVarious commands and functions can now be included in storable actions. Droplets of actions can be created that can be left on the desktop and interact with individual files or entire file folders. A great time saver for those who, every day, struggling with hundreds of files to manage.

For the first time in many years the "cutter" tool has also been revised: now it is possible to immediately see a preview of what will be cut and to apply a "perspective" cut.

In the style of Acrobat, it is possible to add a window containing notes: a very useful option for anyone who uses the application in mixed environments or in which the same image is subjected to the work of several people at the same time.

costsThe complete package will cost US $ 609. Those already in possession of the previous version, will be able to switch to the new version 6.0 with $ 199 US. Those with Photoshop LE can upgrade for $ 499 US.

(Edited by Mauro Notarianni)