I am Rod Wynne-Powell, and this is my way to pass on snippets either of a technical nature, or related to what I am currently doing or hope to be doing in the near future.

A third-person description follows:

Professional photographer, Lightroom and Photoshop Workflow trainer, Consultant, digital image retoucher, author, and tech-editor for Martin Evening's many 'Photoshop for Photographers' books.

For over twenty years, Rod has had a client list of large and small companies, which reads like the ‘who’s who’ of the imaging, advertising and software industries. He has a background in Commercial/Industrial Photography, was Sales Manager for a leading London-based colour laboratory and has trained many digital photographers on a one-to-one basis, in the UK and Europe.

Still a pre-release tester for Adobe in the US, for Photoshop, he is also very much involved in the taking of a wide range of photographs, as can be seen in the galleries.

See his broad range of training and creative services, available NOW. Take advantage of them and ensure an unfair advantage over your competitors…

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Adobe Creative Suite CS4 Announcement

On the 23rd September Adobe announced the imminent arrival of CS4, their fourth evolution of the Creative Suite of programs. Now that the information is out in the public domain, I am allowed to talk about it. My main area is Photoshop CS4, and I am now able to talk about what is in this new version and even demonstrate it.

There are a number of quite exciting developments for those using Photoshop to retouch images, and they come about because Adobe are able to put out some of the processing to the graphic cards. This has two effects: it frees up the CPU (Central Processor Unit) for other tasks, and it brings in new ways of handling zooming; giving smooth rendering at more than just 25%, 50% 100% etc. It also allows continuous zooming, flick-panning and most importantly for those of us who need to brush or make paths at inconvenient angles, we can now rotate the canvas in real time.

Other developments are springloaded tools – the ability to swap temporarily to a different tool by holding down the other tools shortcut key. So by way of an example you might be creating a path around a subject zoomed well in, when you notice a blemish, you can swiftly hold down the 'J' key swapping to the Spot healing brush, remove the blemish, let go of the 'J' key and continue with your path.

You can now alter the size of the selected brush on the canvas – by the Ctrl + Opt/Alt key on the Mac and clicking and dragging your cursor to see the brush size change; moving leftwards to go smaller, rightwards to make it larger.

When zoomed in on a fine detail, there are times when it is handy to be able to see how your fine detail work affects the whole, hold down the 'H' key and you get a bird's eye view at 'Fit-to-Screen' size with a rectangle indicating the picture area which you can move to another part of your picture before letting go, at which point you will se that are at the original zoom level.

I mentioned rotating the canvas. To do this simply hold down the 'R' key and a compass rose appears, then drag to select the angle of rotation, and let go when you have reached it and carry on working at the new angle. One click of the 'esc' key and your picture is restored to the normal position within the canvas.

Changes that please me are that when you add a layer mask to a Smart Object it is now linked. The default setting for the Pen tool is now sensibly for a Path not a shape tool!

Designers faced with small changes in the aspect ratio for double-page spread magazine advertisements can be subtly altered simply using the new tool – Content Aware Scaling (CAS) sometimes known as Seam Carving. This new function intelligently assesses the value of different areas in an image and compresses or expands areas of least value before areas of greater value. Faces, figures circles and fine detail all constitute greater values, whereas skies, clouds and generally areas of lesser contrast are of lesser value.

Layer mask opacity can now be adjusted straightforwardly, Adjustment layers are now more accessible, and vector masks can be have feathers applied non-destructively, making life far easier for retouchers.

A new means of altering saturation that lessens the chances of colour clipping is introduced into the Dodge and Burn tools as well as an adjustment; this is Vibrance which is similar to the tool in Lightroom.

Because Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) is the engine behind Lightroom, some of the localised corrections available to Lightroom also can be found in ACR, so simple and non-destructive changes can be made to images before entry to Photoshop proper and raw files can be brought into Photoshop as Smart Objects which allows that interpretation to be altered even after quite a lot of work may have been done in a multi-layered document on that image.

Certain changes to shortcut keys may well cause some confusion, such as Cmd+1 has been brought into line with other Creative Suite programs by making this show the 100% view, and this shuffles the other number effects one along, so accessing the composite RGB channel is now Cmd+2, selecting the Red channel is now Cmd+3.

Photoshop can now run in an Application window, with multiple images within separate tabs, browser-style, and multiple images can be viewed simultaneously for comparison purposes. This can be controlled via the new Application bar.

Bridge has undergone quite a change and been speeded up, some features have been moved around, and some have been dropped. Some of these can still be accessed from the DVD as optional extras.

For those interested in getting advance help to understand how Photoshop CS4 can improve their workflow, I would be happy to demonstrate the program to you – obviously for a fee! I can also give you an insight into the latest Lightroom as well.


  1. Well,it seems I do have a copy of Photoshop CS, so I will upgrade from that, and will study your post on new features with the program open in front of me sometime in mid-October.

  2. I like the sound of being able to temporarily turn the canvas!

    And Content Aware Scaling could become the feature you never knew you needed and then can't live without!

  3. Hi Rod,

    Interesting stuff - thank you