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Adobe Photoshop 7

Ahh, Photoshop. Adobe's flagship application fills graphics geeks like yours truly with a warm fuzzy feeling and upgrades are anticipated for months in advance. Adobe, of course, knows this and has been coyly showing off the occasionally ankle of version 7 since late last year. The real deal is finally here, and Photoshop 7 has several cool new features.

Taking a cue from Adobe's consumer version, Photoshop Elements, version 7 incorporates the File Browser feature (Fig 1). This allows you to sort through your massive collection of images visually, by keywords or by attributes like resolution or file size. This is a popular feature in Photoshop Elements and will probably help a lot of users of the pro version.

Fig. 1

Adobe is also trying to help you when cleaning up or retouching images with the new Healing Brush and Patch Tool. These facilitate smoothing out wrinkles or dust spots while preserving the underlying tonality of the image (Fig 2). This is basically a super-cloning tool. It behaves very intelligently, although it does introduce a slight amount of softness into the image.

Fig. 2
Photoshop 7 incorporates a new paint engine that simulates 'natural media' like pastels, charcoal and traditional painting techniques. You can tweak lots of settings like tilt, shape, and texture (Fig 3) and you can even scan in material to create you own custom digital canvases.

Fig. 3
Adobe has really pumped up the web features in this new iteration and the package includes a new version of Adobe's web image tool, Image Ready (Fig 4). Image Ready lets you create Gif animations, rollovers, image maps and sliced images for web sites. Photoshop has long been a standard for creating web graphics, but now Adobe has included more security features allowing users to automatically include copyright information as a watermark in web gallery images. Version 7 also adds support for the WBMP file format used in PDA's and Cell Phones and Acrobat 5 security features like PDF password protection.

Fig. 4

Photoshop 6 boosted the program with a raft of text-handling tools and version 7 continues this trend. The included multi-language spell-checker (Fig 5) with find and replace features will be welcomed by beleaguered graphic artists everywhere.

Fig. 5

If you share your computer with other users, Adobe feels for you. Photoshop 7 will allow you to save your window layout as a custom workspace so Photoshop is set up specifically for you. You can also make workspaces for different activities like retouching and painting.

Adobe Photoshop 7 is available now for Windows 98 through XP, as well as Mac OS 9 and OS X. You will need at least 128MB RAM, although Adobe recommends 192MB. Photoshop 7 lists for $609, with upgrades starting at $149. To learn more about Photoshop and its new features check out Adobe's web site at

Paul Vaughn is a freelance graphic artist, writer and web designer. If you would like to see the Graphics Guy address a specific topic email Paul Vaughn at Spell checking in Photoshop? We have indeed reached a Golden Age. Color examples and previous columns can be seen at


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