With all the important digital camera releases already announced last month at Photokina, PDN's PhotoPlus Expo passed by fairly uneventfully in New York last week. One of the highlights for me (besides the little camera-laden Olympus three-wheelers cruising around the city) was seeing the new Adobe Photoshop CS4 in action (though admittedly I've always been a sucker for a software demo). My favorite new feature for photographers? The Content-Aware Scaling feature that allows you to resize an image without distorting important areas and subjects (like the surfers and their boards in this example from Adobe--see a Flash demo of the feature in action here by clicking on the photos of the surfers).
Some of you may remember the super-cool video of seam-carving technology from Siggraph 2007 that made the rounds on the Net last year. Well it turns out that one of the developers of the technology now works for Adobe, so it's not a huge surprise to see this implementation in the latest Photoshop iteration.
Some of the hands-on reviewers weren't quite as impressed as I was (I told you I was a sucker for a demo):
CNET's Lori Grunin: "Also nice in theory, but not so much in practice, is Content-Aware scaling...This feature looks and acts like a first stab at an interesting capability; the results are unpredictable and frequently not up to the standards of a typical Photoshop user."
PCWorld: "The feature doesn't always work perfectly--I found that expanding the canvas size caused tiling of the background elements--but it's still an awesome tool to have."
MacWorld: "But does it work perfectly? No. You’ll see artifacts in some images, which means you’ve got to be really picky about when you use it (no tight portraits), and how much scaling you do (very little)." The reviewer does go on to say "Still, this function has many practical uses like fitting an image into a small space without cropping, prepping an image for a certain output size when the original aspect ratio isn’t quite right, and more."