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Adobe Photoshop 7.0

Image editing and paint application By Dave Nagel
Without a doubt, Adobe Photoshop 7 is the most important Mac OS X release to date. As the single unifying application between all creative disciplines, its absence from the OS X application roster had prevented untold numbers of creative professionals from making the permanent switch from OS 9 to the new operating system. Now, with the release of version 7.0, all of this has changed.

For many, it was a long wait. But it was also worth it. Photoshop 7.0 is more than just an OS port, and it's more than an average version upgrade. It's one of the most significant upgrades in Photoshop's long history, with significant new creative tools, workflow options and editing functions.

Creative tools
Among Photoshop's new repertoire of features, the most awe-inspiring come in the form of creative tools. And among these, the most significant is the completely new paint engine.

Photoshop has always been a great tool for compositing, effects and image editing, but it's also always lacked robust painting tools. (If you think Photoshop's old Airbrush and Paint Brush tools were robust, you clearly haven't used dedicated painting applications like Synthetik Studio Artist or Corel Painter.) While the new paint tools can't be called the best in the world by any stretch, they do offer Photoshop users a vastly improved set of tools to work with and some pretty impressive tools in their own right, given that Photoshop is primarily an image editing and compositing application.

Key to this new set of painting tools is the new Brush palette, seen below.

By default, the Brush palette is lodged in the Palette Wall at the top of the Photoshop interface. Clicking on its tab reveals all of the options for the current brush. Included in these options are Shape Dynamics, Scattering, Texture, Dual Brush, Color Dynamics, Other Dynamics, Noise, Wet Edges, Airbrush, Smoothing and Protect Texture.

These dynamics in some ways resemble Propeller Paint Engine from Nowhouse. However, Adobe did not acquire this technology from Nowhouse, but rather from another developer that had not yet brought its paint engine to market.

By selecting one of the available dynamics categories, a new set of parameters appears in the palette, allowing you to select from a range of options. In the example above, "Shape Dynamics" reveals controls for size jitter, diameter, angle jitter, roundness jitter and minimum roundness. Each one of these options can be used as a static value or fade value or can be controlled via a Wacom tablet. In Photoshop 7, support for the Wacom tablet moves beyond mere pressure to include tilt (in the Intuos and Intuos2 series tablets) and airbrush wheel (for those who have a Wacom airbrush pen).

I've covered Photoshop's new paint engine to the point of exhaustion, so, rather than rehashing all the details, I'll point you to two separate articles that cover this: and

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