Announcement: Adobe After Effects CS4 & Photoshop CS4 realeased today!
Along with the rest of the Adobe Creative Suite 4 products, both Adobe Photoshop CS4 and Adobe After Effects CS4 were officially announced at 12:01am EDT on Sept. 23. I have had the opportunity to beta test most of the suite’s products over the past few months and there are some great new features I’ll be sharing and showing in the days to come.
First Impressions: Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended
When I first launched Photoshop CS4 Extended, I actually thought something was wrong since it only took a few seconds to load up completely. Adobe has definitely optimized this app and taken some of the “bloat” out of it to perform the way it does!
My first impression of the new Photoshop CS4 Extended UI was that it looked and felt different for some reason – seemed a bit more crowded but yet unfamiliar. Then I did a side by side comparison using the default Workplace settings to see what was moved/removed when you first launch each version. As I suspected, things HAD moved and the new UI seemed to crowd my screen a bit – and there were some new things to discover as well…
I went on to discover what truly WAS new in this release! A few notable mentions are the new Adjustments Panel (make non-destructive corrections to image layers much easier); Re-editable Masks (adjustable feathering and density-control); Refined Dodge/Burn/Sponge Tool (more natural results); Enhanced Auto-Align (stitches panoramas much better); Content Aware Scaling (*COOLEST FEATURE!! Automatically pics out subject in and image and retains their aspect ratio when scaling wide/tall); Extended Depth of Field (simulated natural DOF effect); Fluid Canvas Rotation (lets you rotate your canvas around to make drawing/sketching/retouching much more natural – especially when using a Wacom tablet!); 3D Layer Editing/Compositing (would still like to play with this some more with a simpler model than what Adobe provided – very slow and tough to manage!); Enhanced Timeline (motion graphics power! We’ll get to that more later in this Blog); Volume Rendering (does 3D volumetric imaging from text, shape or pixel layers); and many, many more improvements and refinements all around.
I will be sharing more details in the days to follow, right here in the Blog!
NOW! –> Read a more in-depth review from Colin Smith here: photoshopCAFE.com/cs4
First Impressions: Adobe After Effects CS4
I have been blown away with this latest update of Adobe After Effects CS4! Not only has the performance improved significantly, but the usability and design features that went into the UI enhancements will shave a lot of time off motion graphics producers’ project development! Not to mention the much-needed/much-improved integration with the entire Adobe Creative Suite of software.
First – lets talk about the “non-sexy” stuff like improved performance and UI features that will rock your world (if you’re into AE like I am, that is!) RAM/CPU/OpenGL usage/allocation management (all fully controllable through the Prefs); XMP Metadata integration (allows you to attach and track metadata tags on all your assets – which are retained throughout the project process and stay with the final rendered movie); Keyword-Searchable Project and Timeline Panels (search for filenames, content or attributes right from the UI); Nested Composition Tracking (creates a graphical mini-flowchart of your composition assets); Enhanced Integration with Adobe Flash CS4 Professional (export layer and timeline data that can be edited in Flash!). Not to mention a leaner application that just runs smoother, previews faster and overall workflow-friendly!
After Effects CS4 Navigation/Quicksearch:
Now – the “sexy” stuff! Import 3D Layers from Photoshop CS4 (you can now import/animate volumetric 3D layers and incorporate into your 3D scenes in After Effects CS4!); New Plug-in Effects, like Cartoon Effect (smother and more control than a “watercolor” effect); Bilateral Blur Effect (retains the hard edges in a live video clip – like “Smart Blur” on steroids); Turbulent Noise Effect (fractal-based noise effects – much more natural than just particle effects for making smoke, fire, plasma, etc.); *INCLUDED: Imagineer Systems’ Mocha for After Effects (yes, they are shipping the complete Mocha for After Effects stand-alone application along with After Effects CS4! Google it if you don’t know how incredible this tracker is!!).
Imagineer Systems’ Mocha for After Effects:
There is so much to this update – it’s so very worth the cost for a serious upgrade! *Warning: Just make sure you’re on an Intel-based machine or it won’t even install!
I will also be sharing many of these new features with examples in the weeks to follow right here in my Blog.
NOW! –> Read a more in-depth review from ME (Jeff Foster) here: photoshopCAFE.com/cs4
*Note: I have also written a couple extensive product reviews on After Effects CS4 for different publications, which I will post links to the articles and reviews as they become available online this month.