The Active Network

Product: Adobe Photoshop 5.5
Company: Adobe
Estimated Street Price: Full Version $609 (Reviewed) - Upgrade $129 (after rebate) to owners of both Photoshop 5.0 and ImageReady 1.0, and $199 (after rebate) to owners of 4.0 and previous versions of Photoshop
Review By: Clifford Palmer, Jr

Image Editing

Table Of Contents
1: Introduction
2: Installation
3: Image Editing
4: Web Design
5: Photoshop: For Serious Designs Only
6: Conclusion

Photoshop has always been great for editing.  In Photoshop 5.5, Adobe has tried to make this an even easier experience by adding many new tools to its already comprehensive collection.

The background eraser works wonders in allowing you to delete the background of an image, by deleting all the areas of an image with a similar color, and keeping the areas with contrasting colors.  It actually works fairly well, but the tolerance and brush sizes need to be set just right to get decent results.  Following the same idea as the background eraser is a color eraser that can delete all areas of the image that have the same color, without need of a selection tool to erase it all manually.

The vector text editor, introduced in Photoshop 5.5, has been improved with more features.  A “faux italic” and “faux bold” option has been added, so that you can italicize and bold fonts that do not have these options.  You can even use these options to enhance an existing italic or bold font, multiplying the effect.  Also added are precise controls to control Anti-Aliasing.  For those who do not know, anti-aliasing is a method which is used to smooth out fonts so they do not appear jagged on-screen.  If you have the “Font Smoothing” option turned on in Windows, then you’ve already experienced the benefits of anti-aliasing.  These controls in the Text Editor allow you to change the way the smoothing is applied to the text, or disable it completely.

Layers are one of the key features to Photoshop.  They allow you to edit an image on many different levels, and enables you to change how an image looks depending on the order of layers.  You can also change the settings, coloration, effects, and many more variables for each layer.  For an example, the ActiveWindows logo displayed on our front page is about five different layers, all independent of each other.

Photoshop 5.0 introduced the ability to add effects to layers, alleviating what was once a time consuming process to manually create such effects as a neon glow or a bevel to an image.  The effects in Photoshop 5.5 have been improved somewhat with a few new options and making the process of effect making a bit easier.


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