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Photoshop 7.0

photoshop7-thumb.jpg
  • Editors' rating
    8.2 Excellent
  • $609.00

Pros

  • Revved-up paint engine
  • now saves custom tool settings
  • much-improved GIF transparency handling.

Cons

  • Offers no major new tools
  • some processes are more complex than they need to be.

Every new version of Photoshop has delivered significant, noteworthy improvements. Photoshop 4.0 unveiled Effects Layers and Actions; Photoshop 5.0 brought us the History Palette and Layer Styles; Photoshop 6.0 introduced Shapes. So Photoshop 7.0's perfunctory, 'should-have-been-there-earlier' enhancements, such as the new file browser and updated paint engine, are a bit of a letdown. For the first time, we're not convinced that every Photoshop devotee and graphics professional must upgrade. But Photoshop is still the most sophisticated image-editing application available. If you don't own an earlier version and want the best image editor on the market (or you need it to run on OS X), then Photoshop 7.0 is the best of the bunch.

Photoshop 7.0's standard Adobe look and feel, complete with drop-down palettes and menu options, remain relatively unchanged. But Adobe has introduced a few cool improvements, including the handy Tool Presets option, which lets you change and save custom parameters for any tool to a quick-access palette. With Tool Presets you can, for instance, define a 4 by 6-in. 300dpi crop box and save it as a preset.

Along the same lines, you can now save custom tool-palette layouts as Workspaces so that you no longer have to re-customise palettes every time you open a project. A Windows Explorer-like file browser, similar to the Photoshop Elements file-management system, provides a welcome, if somewhat overdue, way to sort and locate your projects: the new browser lets you sort projects by name or date and search them via keyword rather than by fishing through thumbnails in the crowded File > Open dialog.

You'll appreciate the aforementioned Workspaces, especially once you try Photoshop's slightly updated paint engine with its full-on brushes palette. Like Corel's realistic painting implements in Procreate Painter, Photoshop's improved tools now let you vary hue, opacity and flow for standard brushes such as pastels, oils and charcoal. The result is a more real-world painting experience than before. Better still, the Brushes palette now lets you set many more brush parameters, including texture, colour and shape.

With all these improvements, Photoshop's brushes are still no match for Painter's. With Photoshop, your paint doesn't have any viscosity, so the results look fairly flat. And, despite the Brushes palette's new-found flexibility, it could use a few more improvements. For example, although Photoshop supports the Wacom Intuos2 tablet we tested it with, it could use a summary view of which tools and effects you've customized to respond to stylus pressure or tilt. Surprisingly, Photoshop also lacks a velocity control option that would allow brush size and similar parameters to respond to your painting speed.

Even so, Adobe hasn't lost sight of Photoshop's primary purpose: image editing. To that end, version 7.0 adds two interesting tools to its image-editing arsenal. The Healing Brush makes quick and seemingly magical work of erasing wrinkles, minor skin defects, and other small flaws. For instance, though we couldn't quite restore the bloom to an old photo of a rose, we easily took a few days off its age. The Auto Color adjustment tool, for its part, essentially removes colour casts from your photos, such as the green cast caused by fluorescent lights, and fixes the tonal range.

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Thankfully, the new features don't require much more system overhead. In our casual tests on a dual-processor Athlon XP 1900+ system, application load time increased by about only 25 percent -- roughly six-tenths of a second. When we ran Photoshop's Web-page-builder macro (which creates an HTML document from a directory of images and saves it locally) on a directory of 77 files, we saw a 35 percent jump -- a mere 30-second difference.

Adobe's bundled sister program, ImageReady, boasts a few small improvements of its own, including updates to the Rollovers palette. ImageReady 7.0 also introduces some useful image output tools: for instance, you can now create dithered transparencies for GIF files.

Without a doubt, Photoshop remains the premier image-manipulation package in its class. If you rely heavily on some of the package's newly improved functions, such as painting, you'll want to run out and buy the new version as soon as you can. Otherwise, this upgrade is more of a luxury than a necessity.

Specifications

General
Packaged Quantity 1
Localization English
Category creativity application
Subcategory creativity - graphics & image editing
Package Type retail
Distribution Media CD-ROM
Version 7.0
Software
Subcategory creativity - graphics & image editing
Category creativity application
License Type box pack
Min Supported Color Depth 16-bit (64K colors)
Version 7.0
License Category shrinkwrap
System Requirements
OS Required Microsoft Windows 2000 SP2, Microsoft Windows 98, Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition, Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition, Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 SP6a, Microsoft Windows XP
OS Family Windows
Additional Requirements CD-ROM, SVGA monitor, graphics card
Header
Brand Adobe
Product Line Adobe Photoshop
Localization English
Packaged Quantity 1
Compatibility PC
System Requirements Details
Processor Type Pentium III
Min RAM Size 128 MB
Min Hard Drive Space 280 MB

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