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Advanced Compositing, Bridge and Camera Raw

The PhotoshopR CS4 upgrade has better across-application support than ever before, making it much easier to work on a project within several of the Creative SuiteR programs from Camera RawR 5 and LightroomR 2 to Adobe BridgeR CS4. Any changes that you make to an image are recognized in all the programs without loss of information, saving you time and work.

Camera Raw 5 has some nice improvements, especially localized adjustments that work much more intuitively. First, you paint with the brush and then use the slider controls to make the adjustments to the brushed area. You can even work on several areas at the same time. Multiple brush strokes can be edited.

Adobe Bridge CS4 has had some improvements, especially in the time it takes to open the program and render changes. One of my favorite new features is the Carousel View, which is a great way to view larger images. I also like the new path-bar navigation, which is much easier to navigate than the old folder tree. Some tasks that we previously did in other programs have been moved to Bridge's new Output panel. You can easily create a PDF contact sheet or web gallery from the Output panel which has all the controls needed for setting PDF document properties such as page size, layout, watermarks and more. The options for the web gallery range from color palette and appearance to uploading to the web. With one click of the Preview in Browser button, Bridge will build the entire web gallery for you and the Refresh Preview button will update any changes automatically.

Photoshop's automatic alignment and blending has been greatly improved resulting in better photo merging. The color problem called vignetting and the geometric distortions have been greatly improved in PhotomergeR and in the new Collage option. Another enhancement is improved depth of field in the Auto-Blend Layers feature. Photoshop automatically recognizes the depth of field for each layer, makes color corrections and adds masks in order to merge all layers into one image combining the depth of fields from all layers into one larger depth of field. Content-Aware Scaling is something that can be very helpful to the photographer and digital artists. When resizing images, sometimes the point of interest becomes too small. Content-Aware Scaling will recognize the point of interest in the photograph or artwork and preserve the area while resizing the background. This is especially helpful in photographs as this feature can recognize skin tones and preserve the people in the scene.


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