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Product Review


by,
Kathy Aanestad

Adobe's Photoshop 6.0

Photoshop 6 is a powerful image editing program. The first thing I noticed when opening Photoshop 6, underneath the Menu Bar, is an "Options Bar" which lists the current tool selection and its features. For example, if you have the paint bucket selected, a paint bucket icon appears in the upper left side of the Options bar. Just to the right lists Fill, Pattern, Mode, Opacity, Tolerance, a check box for 'anti-aliased, contiguous, and all layers options. (See Illustration 1).

The Options bar snaps into place directly under the Menu bar or at the bottom of the screen or you can drag it around anywhere on your screen.

A feature that I really went crazy for is the Brush options. Click on the Brush icon in the Tool Bar. Above in the Options bar appears a variety of options.

An icon of the brush appears as well as the name of the tool, the size of the tool's brush, Mode, Opacity, and Wet Edges as shown in Illustration 1. Brush sizes are more controllable. A drop down menu opens up when you click on the down arrow next to the brush size to reveal a variety of brush sizes and textures. A right arrow appears just to the right of the brush sizes palette which, when clicked, opens another drop down menu. Whew! There, you can choose New Brush, Reset Brushes, Load Brushes, Save Brushes, Replace Brushes, Drop Shadow Brushes, Calligraphic Brushes, Faux Brushes, Natural Brushes, Square Brushes, Assorted Brushes, and so on. After making a brush type selection, a dialog box gives you the options of OK, Append, or Cancel. If you choose Append, the new brushes will be added to your original brush palette. How cool is this!
Photoshop 6.0 Menu Bar, Options Bar, Brushes

Illustration 1
I use the crop tool quite a bit and this new feature of outlining the cropped portion of the image is very handy. See Illustration 2

Illustration 2
Another new feature of Photoshop 6 in the tool bar is a button for 'Notes' or annotations tool which make notes and voice annotations that can be attached to an image. A really cool feature especially if you are working with a team, you need to share files; this is an easy way to make comments.

The Layers palette has added a few more buttons to its repertoire. You will find:
  • add a layer style
  • add a mask
  • create a new set
  • create a new fill or adjustment layer
  • create a new layer
  • and delete layer
(see Illustration 3)

On the Layers palette, there are buttons to lock transparent pixels, lock image pixels, lock position and lock all. Layers show special effects and you can turn layers on and off.
Photoshop 6.0 Layers

Illustration 3
I absolutely love the new Type features. It's vector based, editable, prints out well even at 72 dpi, you can apply many effects within one text box and view the changes on the fly. When you click on the type tool, a nifty array of features pops up in the Options bar which include (see Illustration 4):
  • create a text layer
  • create a mask or selection
  • Horizontally or vertically orient text
  • Set the Font Family selection
  • Set the Style
  • Set the Size
  • Set the anti-aliasing method
  • Set alignment
  • Set text color
  • Create a warped text
  • Show the Character and Paragraph Palettes
Type features

Illustration 4
My gosh, you'd think you were working in QuarkXpress 4 rather than PS 6!

America, are you ready for this! You can even warp the text. Adobe states "Warping allows you to distort type to conform to a variety of shapes (see Illustration 5); for example, you can warp type in the shape of an arc or a wave. The warp style you select is an attribute of the type layer—you can change a layer's warp style at any time to change the overall shape of the warp. Warping options give you precise control over the orientation and perspective of the warp effects". (See Illustration 6). You cannot warp selected characters, however, it has to be all or none within a type layer.

Illustration 5
In addition to being able to warp text, Photoshop 6 now allows you to apply leading. Leading is the amount of space between lines of type. Adobe states, "For Roman type, leading is measured from the baseline of one line of type to the baseline of the next line. The baseline is the invisible line on which most type lies. You can apply more than one leading amount within the same paragraph; however, the largest leading value in a line of type determines the leading value for that line."

Text is vector until you rasterize it. While it is in the vector state, it is always editable. Once you have rasterized your text, you can no longer edit it.

Illustration 6
Photoshop 6 has added a Styles palette (see Illustration 7).

Click on any of the Styles buttons to add dimension, texture, color, shadow, etc., to text and/or graphic selections. See Illustration 7

Illustration 7
There is a wonderful Help Contents guide that opens up in Internet Explorer which includes a vast amount of information on both Photoshop 6, Image Ready and the newest features such as:
  • Looking at the Work Area
  • Getting Images into Photoshop and ImageReady
  • Working with Color
  • Producing Consistent Color (Photoshop)
  • Making Color and Tonal Adjustments
  • Selecting
  • Transforming and Retouching
  • Drawing and Editing
  • Painting
  • Using Channels and Masks
  • Using Layers



  • Applying Filters for Special Effects
  • Using Type
  • Designing Web Pages
  • Creating Animations (ImageReady)
  • Optimizing Images for the Web
  • Saving and Exporting Images
  • Printing (Photoshop)
  • Automating Tasks
  • Macintosh Shortcuts
  • Windows Shortcuts
A really neat feature of Photoshop 6 is 'Jump to Image Ready" button at the bottom of the tool bar (Illustration 8). Click on the button and it automatically opens up the Image Ready program, ready for you to optimize your graphic for the web. How cool is that!

Photoshop 6 includes ImageReady, a program that gets your images web-ready. ImageReady allows you to slice your images, create roll-overs, and among other things, allows you to mock-up your pages by moving images and text around. ImageReady 3.0 takes Photoshop files and converts them to ImageReady files. ImageReady will open Photoshop files and resize them.

Illustration 8
Last but not least, Photoshop 6 offers more print options. You can scale to fit paper, print at 100%, move a scaled selection around on the page where you want it to print out, and so on.

I've had a blast playing around with Photoshop 6, checking out some of the new features and exploring various options. I have just touched upon the tip of the iceberg so to speak. My best advice is to take a class through Santa Rosa Junior College and get to know the power of Adobe Photoshop 6.
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