Adobe Photoshop CS4 

This is a powerful product and also needs a beefy machine to run it. However for those who need the ability to manipulate to the nenth degree there is not really a serious alternative. Apart from maybe the more expensive Extended edition.

adobe photoshop cs4

On a fast modern Vista notebook this took a total of 44 minutes to install. It required 1320MB of hard disc space. As the requirements are high I will add them here so you will know if your system can cope.

1.8GHz processor, Windows XP service pack 2 or 3 or Vista SP1. 512MB RAM. IGB hard disc space. 1024x768 display and a DVD drive. All the figures I have given are minimum and the recommendation is often more.

Once you enter the DVD in the drive and you give your permission for the install to take place nothing happens apart from drive activity for four minutes before you start getting messages on the screen, rather offputting.

Anyone knowing the Photoshop interface will immediately see a difference, more space for your image, making best use of the available screen size and this includes losing Windows Title bar. Meaning that certain functions are available even earlier so work can start almost instantly.

The Photoshop Application Bar allows access to the Bridge application essential for Asset Management. This application is vastly improved, perhaps most noticeable with Photo Merge and Multiple Panoramic shots. It also allows RAW images to be opened in the Camera RAW utility (this is also now recognised in Lightroom 2).

Non destructive editing is now – comparatively- easy to use with the new Adjustments panel. The best icon probably being Vibrance offering better control over colour saturation. Now there is immediate recognition of adjustments (no redefining necessary). Setting automatically appear in the Adjustment panel and with the stacked Histogram, Adjustments and Layers panel this gives a control panel in one area, great.

This is taken even further with Curves and Hue/Saturation allowing almost instant changes to show on screen these features were fist found In Lightroom. The new Masks layer allows you to limit the area that an adjustment applies to, something you could do before but now it’s a lot easier to control.

The Dodge, Sponge and Burn are all reworked so that the tonal quality is preserved so the results more natural. The cursor preview available with the Healing Brush (and Clone Stamp) allow you to see things and thus save a lot of undoing.

The whole approach to direct pixel editing is improved and easier to use, brush resizing for instance is much quicker and indeed so is resetting its hardness, both of these make you far more productive.

Perhaps the biggest change is something that I have used a lot since the demo of it last summer this is Image Scaling. Lets imaging you have a scene with bits of interest at various parts but also bits you do not want. Previously if you removed the unwanted bits then it was hard work to get the composition together again. With this tool it is not, I was sceptical in the demo but now I’ve tried (and retried it) it works well.

So perhaps my only gripe is the cost while this is never going to be cheap, I mean the fact that US and UK pricing just do not compare. I know the pound is very low compared to the 2 for 1 dollar price of last summer but it’s still almost as cheap to go and buy in the states once you’ve got the airfare booked.

Doing my Internet searches found Adobe Photoshop CS4 at a best price of £539.35 with free delivery from the first link below.

Or a slightly more reasonable £158.70 with free delivery for the upgrade version the second link below.

The full release of Adobe Photoshop CS4 is available from Amazon for $629.99 with free delivery from the first link below.

Or a slightly more reasonable $179.99 with free delivery for the upgrade version the second link below.

The full release of Adobe Photoshop CS4 is available from Amazon for €1.015,00 with free delivery from the first link below.

Or a slightly more reasonable €386,60 including delivery for the upgrade version the second link below.

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