Adobe has announced Photoshop 7.0, the Mac OS X version of its industry-standard image-editing application.
Maintaining its focus on "innovating within the category", Adobe has beefed-up the application with a slew of "easy-to-use" features to support digital cameras, including new editing and file-management tools. The new Auto Color command provides more reliable colour correction than Auto Levels or Auto Contrast did before.
Kevin Connor, Photoshop's director of product marketing, explained: "Our decision to improve the digital camera experience reflects the explosion in digital-camera sales."
Web support The company has enhanced the Web-support features introduced in Photoshop 6.0, and introduced a selection of painting tools. As demonstrated at Macworld Expo, San Francisco, the application includes improved text tools, with a built-in spell checker for the very first time.
Photoshop on OS X utilizes Apple's Aqua interface. Although Connor said: "We continue to standardize the interface across all Adobe products."
Photoshop's new Healing Brush is custom-built for photographers, and removes artefacts such as dust, scratches, wrinkles and blemishes. It preserves all the shading, lighting, texture and other attributes when cloning from one layer to another. Connor said: "This does an incredible job."
Batch selector There's a Batch Tool which can define a selection using channel operations and normal selection tools – it then matches all the characteristics of the sampled pixel to the sourced pixels.
The File Browser offers a thumbnail view of images (and information about images). It also lets users examine files contained on external hard-drives, CDs and networked discs – all from within the application itself.
The application's Brushes have also been enhanced. Connor said: "There's lots of new options, you can now resize sampled brushes (such as scanned and imported images), or change the brush angles."
Natural effects Adobe's new Painting engine simulates traditional painting techniques with dry and wet brush effects, including fine-art media, such as pastels and charcoal. Connor claimed: "It's one of the big things in this release for creatives." He refuted suggestions that this feature could damage sales of Corel's natural-media tool, Painter 7. He said: "It's an 80/20 deal. People who are dedicated Painter users will continue to be Painter users. It's not that we set out specifically to do what Painter does – it's simply a feature we hadn't improved for some time."
Adobe Elements, the company's entry-level image-editing application is built on similar code to Photoshop's. Many observers predict the next version of Elements will offer some features from the new Photoshop. Connor confirmed the application would ship "a few months" after Photoshop 7.0's shipping date.
For the Web, Adobe continues to refine its network publishing vision. Photoshop 7.0 now lets designers make Web-page elements transparent simply by clicking on the colour you want to knock out. The application lets designers define which areas of an image they want to have at a high quality, the full image is then rendered at low resolution, except for the selected area.
Images can also be previewed and saved to Web in WBMP, a format for displaying images on PDAs and wireless devices. Photoshop 7.0 also introduces a Rollover palette.
The new Variables features in ImageReady 7.0 (which ships with Photoshop) automates the preparation of repetitive artwork, with data driven graphical elements, such a company logos on Web-site pages.
The application costs £450 (excluding VAT). Upgrades from Version 6.0 cost £99. The application supports Mac OS X and OS 9.1.