In our ongoing coverage of the CS3 Beta we now get to the main show, Photoshop. In this part, we examine the user interface changes.
Photoshop is a big beast of a program, and since there are also a big number of changes and additions, we have chosen to tackle this in pieces. This is Part 1.
The big Missing In Action item is ImageReady. It has ceased to be. Some of its functionality is now in PS, which actually makes a lot of sense. But not all of ImageReady’s functionality is incorporated, at least not in the Beta. Missing, for example, is the ability to create rollovers. This was a great feature of ImageReady and it allowed some very sophisticated web pages to be built without having to resort to Flash.
The user interface has a major work over, all for the better.
The screen when PS has started up, with an image loaded. You’ll notice the Tool Palette on the left can now be displayed as a single column or in the old two-column format. What I would like is to be able to flip this into a horizontal form, as when I am working on some types of images, having the Toll Palette across the top or bottom of the display area would better minimize mouse movements.
The Palettes, here on the right, now sit in a dock, which is a tray to hold your palettes. These docks can be expanded or contracted using the arrow control at the top right of each dock. You can have multiple docks.
When you have a dock collapsed into Icon view, clicking on an icon pops out just that palette from the collapsed dock. Click on the icon again to collapse it back.
Maximized Screen Mode (View > Screen Mode > Maximized Screen Mode) covers the whole screen (even on a Mac).
When in this mode, hitting Tab hides all your palettes and docks. Then hovering at the left or right edge of the screen brings your palettes up on that side to make a selection. They then auto hide as you move away. Hitting Tab again brings them all back.
Changed are also the Quick Mask and Screen Mode controls, now each replaced with a single button that when clicked toggles between the modes. Also the Screen Mode button produces a drop down menu of modes. It is quick and intuitive and saves palette read estate space.
The user interface improvements are a worthwhile step. They improve screen space utilization and make it work more smoothly. It is still a work in progress though. Being able to put the Tools Palette across the top or bottom of the screen would be great. As would, perhaps, being able to create palette docks top and bottom. For certain types of work, such as working on panorama images, getting things above and below could be useful.