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Bonus Smack: It's the Big One, Elizabeth

Photoshop 7 arrives for Mac OS X By Dave Nagel
Good gooblety goop! It's finally here--Photoshop 7.0 for Mac OS X ... and, uh, all those other operating systems as well. But who cares about those? With the release of the most ubiquitous creative application on any platform, Adobe has finally made Mac OS X a viable operating system for creative professionals. And that means everything else can kiss my shiny, graphite Mac!

Some of you will argue, "Hey, Photoshop isn't the most important application. Microsoft Office is." Pfft! No, no, no. First of all, Office isn't an application; it's a suite. Get your terms straight. Second, it's a suite of common technologies that are available for free or for cheap from a variety of sources. Any text editor can read Word documents, and Word can read documents created in any text editor. Totally unnecessary. Same with Excel.

Others of you might argue, "Hey, OSX isn't the best computer." Please. First of all, there's a space between the "OS" and the "X," as in "OS X." Second, OS X isn't a computer; it's an operating system for a computer. Third, yes it is the best computer. I mean operating system. Now you have me doing it!

And still yet another group amongst you would protest, "Say, what's so great about Photoshop 7.0? I liked Photoshop 6.0, and I specifically don't like spending money on upgrades. I'm sticking with the Classic operating system." Oh, you people are on a roll. "Classic" is not an operating system. It's an environment within OS X. So, if you're in Classic, then you're already in OS X, and I win this argument by default.

But, just to satisfy any potential curiosity out there, I will go ahead and pretend I didn't win that last argument by default. I, too, liked Photoshop 6.0, and I, too, specifically don't like spending money on upgrades. But, if you use Photoshop a lot, as most of you do, version 7.0 is the most significant upgrade since 5.5, and 5.5 was the most significant upgrade since 2.0. It's also a cheaper upgrade (by $50) than its predecessor.

This isn't going to be any kind of formal review, but I've been putting Photoshop 7.0 through the rigors of my daily routine for some time now, and I've found it difficult to find anything wrong with it. Even in the beta release, it's just as fast as Photoshop 6.0, but it just has so much more.

I mean, in terms of image editing, it has everything 6.0 had, but more. It has new automatic color correction, and it has that crazy Healing Brush as well, which uses some kind of voodoo magic to repair flaws in images. In terms of workflow, it can now be scripted in AppleScript (hooray) and JavaScript (boo) for automation. (I actually haven't used the new AppleScript feature, as it only became available today as a download from Adobe's site. But Adobe says it's basically the same functionality as that found in Illustrator 10, which is basically good.) And it has all of those new creative tools, like the totally revamped paint engine and the "Liquify" improvements.

I've already gone on at length about some of these features, so I'm not going to repeat myself here. If you want to read a detailed general overview of the new features, go to http://www.creativemac.com/2002/02_feb/features/photoshop7firstlook.htm. If you want to read way more information on the new paint engine than you need, take a look at my coverage in part 1 here and part 2 here. And I'll continue to bring you information about the new version as the weeks go on.

In short, Photoshop 7.0 is definitely worth the upgrade. It's not just a Carbon port of Photoshop 6, and it's not one of those updates that makes you wish you were back on the older version. What's more, it leaves you with no excuse not to make the switch to Mac OS X for actual, professional creative production. And this is the most significant news I've heard in a long time.

Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of several World Wide User Groups, including Synthetik Studio Artist, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion, Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; and executive producer of the Digital Media Net family of publications. You can reach him at dnagel@digitalmedianet.com.

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