Scoop: Photoshop 5 in beta

Adobe Systems Inc. is reportedly fulfilling wish lists for novices and power users alike with a new version of Photoshop due to ship later this year.

Adobe Systems Inc. is reportedly fulfilling wish lists for novices and power users alike with a new version of Photoshop due to ship later this year.

According to sources, Photoshop 5.0, now in beta testing on Mac OS and Windows systems, will boost the capabilities of the image-editing package with enhanced color support, a History palette that tracks the stages of a project, improved text controls, new tools and extended support for the Actions feature introduced in Version 4.0.

The History palette, which one source described as "a multiple-Undo feature on steroids," will allow users to save unique "states" in a document's creation. Sources said it will replace the more limited Snapshot function in Photoshop 4.x.

By clicking on a step recorded in the History palette, users will be able to backtrack to a previous stage in an image's creation. They will also be able to employ a new History brush to use material from these intermediary reference states for filling or cloning tasks, sources said.

Users will reportedly be able to create nonlinear time lines within the History palette. One source said it "may take a while for users to adapt" to this powerful feature.

Because History data is cached for each state, the new scheme will reportedly increase the demands on users' scratch disks. (Users will now be able to specify up to four scratch disks.) States in the History palette are not saved when a file is closed, sources said.

With the exception of coordinate-driven brush strokes, almost all Photoshop features will now be automated with the Actions scripting feature introduced in Version 4.0. "When Actions came out, there was no hint of what was Action-able and what wasn't," one source said. "It's almost everything now."

Photoshop 5 will reportedly accommodate a new open plug-in type that provides shortcuts to scripting common tasks. Actions plug-ins in Version 5 will include a Batch command, an image-resizing wizard and an automatic contact-sheet creator.

Responding to calls from professional publishers, Photoshop 5 will reportedly gain color management capabilities with extensive support for ICC profiles, including enhanced support for ColorSync. ICC tags will be read when files are opened; users will be able to save tags with images, convert images between ICC profiles or color modes, and work with an RGB color space that is not defined by their monitor, sources said. In addition, San Jose, Calif.-based Adobe (ADBE) will reportedly revamp the Gamma control panel to export ICC profiles for monitors.

Sources said Photoshop 5 will greatly expand support for 16 bits of color information per CMYK channel, and it will allow users to perform a variety of operations in 16 bits per channel of RGB, LAB or CMYK. Unlike Version 4, which had very limited 16-channel editing, users of Version 5 will be able to resize and rotate 16-bit images; adjust their hue, saturation, brightness, contrast and color balance; mix channels; and convert 16-bit images from RGB to CMYK or transform them from one ICC color profile to another.

A new Color Sampler feature will let users base before-and-after color measurements on four discrete points in an image, sources said. Meanwhile, Adobe will reportedly introduce an expanded API that will allow third parties, such as scanner makers, to create 16-bit filters.

The upgrade will feature a greatly enhanced Type tool that features re-editable type layers and allows users to toggle between horizontal and vertical text; users will also be able to rotate vertical type. While users will be able to rasterize text within an image layer, sources said, they will lose the ability to edit text.

Other type controls will include a live text preview; kerning; support for multiple fonts per selection and multiple styles per character; and adjustments for tracking, leading and baseline shift. Version 5's new Magnetic Pen and Magnetic Lasso tools will automatically snap to the edges of a selected object. "This will save a lot of drudge work masking, silhouetting and so on," one source said.

Users will be able to apply transformations to selection masks, paths and partial paths. The software will also let users align images stored in separate layers or distribute them equally across a page, as well as apply one of four persistent effects to the contents of a layer; for example, a drop shadow will "stick to" an object as it is moved, sources said.

Version 5 will add support for new file types. It will let users save separations in DCS 2.0 format with or without spot color, and it will let users import and export files in Live Picture Inc.'s FlashPix format. In addition, the upgrade will import and save multipage Portable Document Format documents and support the capabilities of PostScript 3.

Adobe declined to comment. Adobe Systems Inc. is reportedly fulfilling wish lists for novices and power users alike with a new version of Photoshop due to ship later this year.

According to sources, Photoshop 5.0, now in beta testing on Mac OS and Windows systems, will boost the capabilities of the image-editing package with enhanced color support, a History palette that tracks the stages of a project, improved text controls, new tools and extended support for the Actions feature introduced in Version 4.0.

The History palette, which one source described as "a multiple-Undo feature on steroids," will allow users to save unique "states" in a document's creation. Sources said it will replace the more limited Snapshot function in Photoshop 4.x.

By clicking on a step recorded in the History palette, users will be able to backtrack to a previous stage in an image's creation. They will also be able to employ a new History brush to use material from these intermediary reference states for filling or cloning tasks, sources said.

Users will reportedly be able to create nonlinear time lines within the History palette. One source said it "may take a while for users to adapt" to this powerful feature.

Because History data is cached for each state, the new scheme will reportedly increase the demands on users' scratch disks. (Users will now be able to specify up to four scratch disks.) States in the History palette are not saved when a file is closed, sources said.

With the exception of coordinate-driven brush strokes, almost all Photoshop features will now be automated with the Actions scripting feature introduced in Version 4.0. "When Actions came out, there was no hint of what was Action-able and what wasn't," one source said. "It's almost everything now."

Photoshop 5 will reportedly accommodate a new open plug-in type that provides shortcuts to scripting common tasks. Actions plug-ins in Version 5 will include a Batch command, an image-resizing wizard and an automatic contact-sheet creator.

Responding to calls from professional publishers, Photoshop 5 will reportedly gain color management capabilities with extensive support for ICC profiles, including enhanced support for ColorSync. ICC tags will be read when files are opened; users will be able to save tags with images, convert images between ICC profiles or color modes, and work with an RGB color space that is not defined by their monitor, sources said. In addition, San Jose, Calif.-based Adobe (ADBE) will reportedly revamp the Gamma control panel to export ICC profiles for monitors.

Sources said Photoshop 5 will greatly expand support for 16 bits of color information per CMYK channel, and it will allow users to perform a variety of operations in 16 bits per channel of RGB, LAB or CMYK. Unlike Version 4, which had very limited 16-channel editing, users of Version 5 will be able to resize and rotate 16-bit images; adjust their hue, saturation, brightness, contrast and color balance; mix channels; and convert 16-bit images from RGB to CMYK or transform them from one ICC color profile to another.

A new Color Sampler feature will let users base before-and-after color measurements on four discrete points in an image, sources said. Meanwhile, Adobe will reportedly introduce an expanded API that will allow third parties, such as scanner makers, to create 16-bit filters.

The upgrade will feature a greatly enhanced Type tool that features re-editable type layers and allows users to toggle between horizontal and vertical text; users will also be able to rotate vertical type. While users will be able to rasterize text within an image layer, sources said, they will lose the ability to edit text.

Other type controls will include a live text preview; kerning; support for multiple fonts per selection and multiple styles per character; and adjustments for tracking, leading and baseline shift. Version 5's new Magnetic Pen and Magnetic Lasso tools will automatically snap to the edges of a selected object. "This will save a lot of drudge work masking, silhouetting and so on," one source said.

Users will be able to apply transformations to selection masks, paths and partial paths. The software will also let users align images stored in separate layers or distribute them equally across a page, as well as apply one of four persistent effects to the contents of a layer; for example, a drop shadow will "stick to" an object as it is moved, sources said.

Version 5 will add support for new file types. It will let users save separations in DCS 2.0 format with or without spot color, and it will let users import and export files in Live Picture Inc.'s FlashPix format. In addition, the upgrade will import and save multipage Portable Document Format documents and support the capabilities of PostScript 3.

Adobe declined to comment.