I’ve finally had a chance to play around with Photoshop CS3. In fact, I’ve now made it my default image editor so I’ve been doing actual work with the software. Although there’s some new functionality, it’s really the changes in look and layout that grabs your attention. Here are just three of the changes that I’ve noticed, as a first taste of what’s new.
The software “phases” in. When you make Photoshop active, the software uses some sort of alpha-transparency mode to overlay the rest of your desktop. This creates an odd feel to the program that sets it apart from the rest of my software. I’m not sure if this is going to be a standard presentation for other applications in upcoming OS updates, but it certainly stands out.
The default toolbox layout has changed. Instead of the standard 2-by-whatever layout that we know and love, the default toolbox is 1-by-much-longer. It looks better. And it takes up way less horizontal space. I was completely lost, however, in terms of finding the actual tools and quickly changed back to the standard 2-by presentation. To move between the two layouts, just click the double-arrow over the stand-in Photoshop icon.
You get task-sensitive cheat sheets (as well as a way to save your workspace layouts). I’m not sure whether this feature is going to stay in the production CS3 or not, but the Window -> Workspace menu lets you locate tagged menu items that affect particular tasks. Tasks include “Image Analysis”, “Web Design”, “Color and Tonal Correction” and more. From a reviewer point of view, I particularly liked Window -> Workspace -> What’s New in CS3. Select this and then click Yes to apply the workspace. Open your menus and you’ll find various items highlighted in pastel colors. (Here they’re blue, but for other tasks they are violet, or pink, etc.) To return to the normal menus, choose Window -> Workspace -> Default Workspace.