Photoshop 7 - What the Experts Think
Featured in the September 2002 issue of Shutterbug Magazine
Update 8/24 - Adobe released the 7.01 update to Photoshop 7 which addresses some of the issues that Dan Margulis has addressed in his forum post below.

We sent the following five questions to some of the top experts in the industry

The Questions:
  1. Every new version of Photoshop has new features that help people work more efficiently with images, and sometimes there are some changes that are less welcome. Could you relate to us a few of the new features or capabilities you like and what changes you feel might negatively affect your usage? Please feel free to mention any books or resources of yours that might be helpful to our readers.
  2. More and more people are purchasing digital cameras. Do you have any tips for digital photographers just starting out in Photoshop, or upgrading from a previous version?
  3. Photoshop, coupled with inkjet printing, is replacing the traditional wet darkroom many photographers depended on. Are there aspects of Photoshop 7 which will effect the way these new "light room" photographers will work?
  4. What cool new features does Photoshop 7 or ImageReady 7 offer photographers that previously had to use other programs to do for web graphics?
  5. Please provide one quote that sums up your feeling about Photoshop 7.
The Experts:

Lynda Weinman Lynda Weinman is a well-known author and trainer. Her company, lynda.com, creates education materials for digital artists in the form of books, online movies, cd-roms, and events. Check out www.lynda.com to see the new Photoshop 7 offerings.

Gregory Georges Gregory Georges is a photographer and the best-selling author of 50 Fast Digital Photo Techniques, Digital Camera Solutions, and the soon to be published 50 Fast Photoshop 7 Techniques for photographers. He also writes for eDigitalPhoto and Shutterbug magazines, and shoots for a growing list of commercial clients. His Web page, ReallyUsefulPage offers a wide-variety of photographs, sample Web pages, and image-editing techniques.

Martin Evening Martin Evening is co-listowner ProDIG discussion list and author of Adobe Photoshop 6.0 for Photographers.

Richard Lynch Richard Lynch is currently at work on two new books on Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. He has teamed up with Al Ward on a new project to help users get the most out of Photoshop Elements. He has a free Photoshop email newsletter delivered 15+ times a month, which addresses current and popular topics on Photoshop (sign up at his Photoshop forum). He takes Photoshop questions and posts tutorials on his website.

Katrin Eismann Katrin Eismann is an internationally recognized artist, author, and educator who has been working with digital imaging tools since 1989. Katrin's extensive teaching and speaking engagements address the latest tools and techniques of digital imaging and the impact they are having upon professional photographers, artists, and educators. Katrin's latest book is titled Photoshop Restoration & Retouching.

Scott Kelby Scott Kelby is Editor-in-Chief of Photoshop User magazine and President of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP), the trade association for Adobe Photoshop users worldwide. He is author of Photoshop Photo-retouching Secrets and Photoshop 6 Down & Dirty Tricks. He is also co-author of Photoshop 6 Killer Tips. In addition, Scott is a contributing author to Photoshop 6 Effects Magic. Scott is Training Director for the Adobe Photoshop Seminar Tour, Technical Chair for PhotoshopWorld (the annual convention for the National Association of Photoshop Professionals), and is a frequent speaker at graphics trade shows and events. He¹s also featured in a series of Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Web design training videos and has been training Photoshop users around the world since 1993. His Photoshop 7 Down and Dirty Tricks book is currently being written.

Dan Margulis Color Expert Dan Margulis has won a wide international following with his distinctive way of making complicated concepts accessible. He is a consultant, a teacher of master classes in color correction, and a contributing editor to Electronic Publishing Magazine. His latest Photoshop book is titled "Professional Photoshop 6: The Classic Guide to Color Correction".
Dan's response was to give us his post on Photoshop 7 that he made to his Color Theory Forum so we haven't included it with the individual questions but you can read it in it's entirety.

Jeff Schewe Jeff Schewe is a 20 year + veteran photographer and has 10+ years experience in digital imaging. He's been an alpha & beta tester of Photoshop since version 4.0.
Julieanne Kost With a background in photography and a degree in psychology, Julieanne Kost started with Adobe Systems in 1993 in a technical support role for Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Premiere. In 1994, she expanded her creative roll as Senior Instructional Designer in the Market Education Department working on content development and graphic design for user guides, tutorials and the Classroom in a Book Series. Julieanne now serves as Senior Photoshop Evangelist with responsibilities including customer education, product development and market research. Julieanne remains a passionate photographer, but now combines Photoshop and the background in psychology in her artwork. She’s had several showings of her work and has had many of her images published. She is a contributor to many publications and frequently lectures and teaches courses at design conferences, industry trade shows, and distinguished Fine Art and Photography Schools and Workshops around the world.
Ben Willmore Ben Willmore is a Photoshop Master Training, founder of the training company Digital Mastery and author of the award-winning, best-selling book, Photoshop Studio Techniques. Ben contributes to Photoshop User, Photo-Electronic Imaging, SBS Electronic Design and many other magazines. He is currently touring the US with his three-day Photoshop Mastery seminar. Point your browser to www.digitalmastery.com for details on his book, seminars, videos, tips and other fun stuff. If you want to keep up on future Photoshop tips, then sign up for my free Photoshop Tip of the Week at www.digitalmastery.com/tips.

The Answers:

1 - Every new version of Photoshop has new features that help people work more efficiently with images, and sometimes there are some changes that are less welcome. Could you relate to us a few of the new features or capabilities you like and what changes you feel might negatively affect your usage?
Lynda Weinman -I love the file browser. It's probably my favorite new feature. Since I do a lot of web work and web training, I find the color profiles for web publishing to be useless and turn them off. Since browser software doesn't support color profiles, and even ImageReady doesn't support them, I see no reason for Adobe to impose them in a web publishing context.
Gregory Georges -Dockable palettes, savable workspaces, and brushes are among my favorite new features. While many photographers may not think the brushes will be useful, they can be invaluable for those interested in dodging and burning images, or for creating digital versions of traditional photo transfer techniques or for creating custom edge effects. The new Healing Brush tool is also a welcome new addition. Besides being incredibly useful for removing dust, scratches, and other unwanted artifacts on scanned images--it is also the most effective tool for fixing blemishes on portraits and when doing photo restorations.
Martin Evening -The Healing brush and patch tool are incredibly useful - these tools allow me to retouch people's faces much faster and easier than was the case before. And I would be lost without the File Browser, which enables me to quickly preview, rank and rename images. Plus the File Browser is able to display any of the metadata contained in the image file, which provides me with valuable information. The whole metadata issue has huge implications for the future of image asset management and the way photographers will in future be able to distribute and access their image files. In this respect, Photoshop 7.0 is also significant, because it is the first Adobe program to fully implement the Adobe XMP 'open standard' schema for the handling of metadata. I also like having the ability to save palette layouts as workspaces and save tool presets, plus much more...

I have followed the development of Photoshop 7 for about a year now as a member of the alpha testing team, and for me, this is certainly a comprehensive update that does so much more than provide an OSX interface for Mac users. I have no major negative issues to comment on. Some of the defaults like the always save a composite layered image with a PSD file I don't want to use, but it is easy enough to turn this off. I have read some of the criticisms leveled elsewhere that this really should be a half upgrade, but such comments highlight the fact that, unlike myself, many reviewers are not really serious Photoshop users, or they have just not had the time to explore the program fully to appreciate just how much work has gone into updating version 7.0. Rewriting the Photoshop for Photographers book has been a major hassle, because so much is now different!

Richard Lynch -My favorite new features are the Workspaces, Presets and the new Brush capabilities. Because I work in different modes in Photoshop being able to arrange the palettes to how I work is a clear advantage. With a two monitor system I even found the workspace getting cluttered. In previous versions I had to find a setup that worked for everything ... and it was a compromise. Now I can set everything up how I want for different things that I do and assign keystrokes to my setups and switch back and forth neatly. This really lets me concentrate on what I am doing without the tools getting in the way. Presets are a little more of the same: I have tools that I might use with 2-3 different settings and using presets to make these changes with one click will save me innumerable adjustments. The new brush capabilities just offer a lot more flexibility and control.

I guess the thing I am least enthusiastic about is the Healing Brush. Call me a control freak, but not only do I like to know exactly what's going to happen when I apply a tool (otherwise it really isn't 'applying' it), but there is nothing that tool is doing that I'd really want to do -- or can't do better without. My biggest gripe is that I think you'll actually be seeing a lot more mediocre corrections when people start thinking the tool will just magically fix stuff and they apply it willy-nilly. It's like the way users wanted to accept the extract tool...users were writing me all this mail about how they had to find out how to use the tool because they thought it was the ultimate solution to their problems. Well, it does some things, but it still doesn't read the user's mind. The Healing Brush won't either.

Katrin Eismann -The three big splashy features are the File Browser, the Healing Brush and the Painting Engine. In contrast, I greatly appreciate all the smaller features, which shows the depth of the program and of the engineering team. Adobe understands that there are a wide variety of people using the program. Little features that let me concentrate on my work without worrying about some mundane detail. For example, saving your workspace and tool presets, the new “File New” window where you’re given the choice of custom page sizes to start with. I do work with designers in Europe and I frequently need to know what size A4 is. I used to get out an actual letter from a European person and measure it. Now all I have to do is select A4. The new Contact Sheet, the new Picture Package that lets you put text, like the word “Proof”, on an image, the Web Photo Gallery and Spell Check. Those are examples of features that let photographers concentrate more on their photography, or running their studio.- rather than working in a variety of applications to get their work done.

The Healing Brush is so much more intelligent about the structure of an image than the clone tool is. It really lets you concentrate on the restoration verses concentrating on, “oh my goodness, where am I cloning from, what does this edge look like, is this working, oh I have to start over again”. The thing with the Healing Brush is you can have complete control, but you have to be a smart user. You have to still think in layers, still think in image structure, still think in terms of where you’re going to get the source information from. What I’ve done with really bad images is to concentrate on one specific area to build a really good image texture and I make that restored area into a new texture with the Texture Maker, to use the Texture Maker piece as the source for the Healing Brush. You don’t have to worry about where you’re cloning or sampling from and you can really fine tune the image.

Scott Kelby - Photoshop 7 adds a couple of absolute "Killer" features, including the new Healing brush, and its companion tool, the Patch tool. These two tools will change the face of Photo retouching forever. The fact that 7 is also the first version of Photoshop that is Mac OS X Native, and fully Windows XP compatible, is huge, as is the new File Browser. Not to mention the built-in spell checker, tool presets, and dozens of other features that make it the best version of Photoshop ever!
Jeff Schewe - Overall, Photoshop 7 brings a lot of increased functionality with little downside to upgrading. The Healing Brush and File Browser of course have received a lot of attention. But the ground up re-write of the brush engine hasn't received a lot of attention-and it should. The new 7.0 Brush engine is a major advancement. It's very deep and the full functionality can't be easily grasped with just a quick review of the feature. The thing I really like is saved Tool Presets. . .it allows easy saving of commonly used tool parameters.

One downside. . .not really Photoshop's fault, but an issue is that 7.0 respects the color tags from digital cameras. So, many people will discover that digital captures are now being recognized as sRGB while in fact they aren't. The reason it's not Photoshop's fault is that the EXIF metadata schema has been pushed perhaps before the camera makers have fully understood how photographers are using the cameras. Clearly the EXIF metadata scheme will need updating and the camera makers will need to fix this.

Julieanne Kost - The list of positive changes is pretty healthy. From the file browser, to the healing brush, to the dynamic variables in ImageReady 7, it's tough to get to a single feature. By far, the Healing Brush seems to be the "star" of this version. In short, it lets you do what you've always done with the rubber stamp tool, but you can be much more flexible about where you're cloning from. For advanced users, it means you can repair areas quickly without cloning to a separate layer and then matching the tones. For beginners, it means they can get the results they see pros get with the rubber stamp tool.

As for anything negative, I can't really think of anything that might throw people off. We fixed something in 7.0 that, in retrospect, perhaps should have been done differently - specifically, renaming a layer. In Photoshop 7.0, you simply double-click the name of a layer. Couldn't be simpler, but maybe it seems that much better because you had to hold down a modifier key in 6.0. When necessary, we occasionally change keyboard shortcuts to make room for new features. So if you're accustomed to hitting a particular key and getting a particular tool or feature, and that changes, it might take a bit of use to adjust to it.

In addition, when customers react negatively to changes, we typically go to extremes to not only fix those issues, but also improve similar workflows elsewhere in the application. For example, in Photoshop 7.0, not only can you change the layer name in a more direct way, we realized the value of allowing users the ability to rename anything in any palette that has a name. Ever want to rename your swatches? Now you can! And, if you look at the Presets manager, you'll notice that you can also change the order of any of the presets by simply dragging and dropping them. If you've ever wanted to change the order of your brushes, you're probably whispering "thank you" under your breath.

Ben Willmore - I'd rather talk about how to get the most out of what we've got (I'm an educator after all). I find that the Healing Brush often produces results that are just a little too dark to realistically blend into the surrounding image. I often choose Edit>Fade immediately after using the Healing brush and lower the opacity to blend it into the underlying image. The new tool presets are nice, but I don't like that the new palette clutters up my screen. So, I access them by clicking on the tool icon that appears on the far left of the Options Bar at the top of my screen. I like the Document size presets in the Edit>New dialog box, but which I could change them using Photoshop's Preset Manager. If you'd really like to add your own choices, then try editing the Photoshop>Presets>New Doc Sizes.txt file in a word processor (it includes instructions).
2 - More and more people are purchasing digital cameras. Do you have any tips for digital photographers just starting out in Photoshop, or upgrading from a previous version?
Lynda Weinman -The best investment you can make is to learn to all the various masking techniques. We are about to come out with a new training module in our online learning library called "Harm No Pixels", which teaches how to work non-destructively with masks and image editing. This leaves the original untouched, so you can always get back to it if you make a change that isn't wanted.
Gregory Georges -The feature-rich combo of Photoshop 7 and ImageReady 7 can be daunting to photographers, whether they have used a previous versions or not. I highly recommend becoming an expert on Adjustment Layers, Levels, Curves, a few touch-up tools (Healing brush, Clone Stamp tool), and Unsharp Mask. These powerful tools, when used correctly will enable you to get excellent results from your digital photos. Then, and only after you have become an expert on these tools, begin experimenting and using other features as your experience grows. The success you will enjoy with this approach will help you to enjoy the process of becoming an expert digital photographer and your photos will be vastly improved.
Martin Evening -I would strongly advise such photographers to equip themselves with a new PC or Mac and install Photoshop 7.0. The File Browser makes it so much easier now for photographers to access and open their images within the program. But in addition I would stress that it is important to start as you mean to go on and take care to arrange the archives of you images in such a way that it is easy for you to hunt down and retrieve a specific image at any time.
Richard Lynch -Yes. Learn how to use resolution correctly. Learn how to color correct in RGB, CMYK and LAB. Learn to work with light rather than against it. Don't assume that you can take rotten images and fix them all up in Photoshop later. Much better to take the best shot you can and improve it. Photoshop is really for improving and altering, not recreating.
Katrin Eismann -Get the image right in front of the lens. The big tip is don’t forget that you’re a photographer. Photoshop is fantastic and powerful. But don’t use it like a crutch. The advantage of a photographer with a digital camera is they can understand lighting, composition, contrast and color by using the camera for seeing right away what’s going on. If you have a good image to begin with you’re ahead of the game. Don’t rely on Photoshop to make a bad picture good.
Scott Kelby -My advice would be to learn everything that Photoshop will do, and not just use it to replicate what you could do traditionally in a darkroom. To really unlock the power of Photoshop's creative muscle, you have to think outside the box.
Jeff Schewe - Even with Photoshop it's still critical that digital captures are done in a high quality manner. Basic fundamental photographic skills are still important. One thing that many people fail to realize is that cropping is now more important. You can't just shoot loose and re-crop it later because you waste pixels that way. Things like camera shake loose digital quality as well. And while you can always adjust tone/color in Photoshop, it's still important to capture optimum exposures at the time of shooting to maintain highest quality. As for upgrading advice? Read the Darn Manual!!!!!
Julieanne Kost - I think the main tip would be to not rely entirely on Photoshop to get a good image. No matter how good technology gets, the old adage about "garbage in, garbage out" still applies. Take the best photo you possibly can with the camera, and then alter the image. Go through the trouble to get into the best spot, wait for (or create) the best lighting you can, and then take the shot. There is no substitute for a great photograph.

This is not to downplay the incredible opportunities to create digital illustrations that were never before possible. I'm just saying that if you start with the highest quality images, then you stand a better chance of achieving the results you imagined.

Ben Willmore - Photoshop 7 comes with a new feature that automates color correction (Image>Adjustments>Auto Color) and it works amazing well considering how little work you have to do. But, I find the default settings don't produce the best results. To get the optimal settings, choose Image>Adjustments>Curves, click the Options button and use the following settings: choose Find Dark & Light Colors, choose Snap Neutral Midtones, set the shadow Shadow clip setting to .25%, the Highlight Clip setting to .25%, click the highlight color swatch (to get to a color picker) and set it to 237R, 237G, 237B, finally, turn on the Save as defaults checkbox and then click ok in both auto color and curves. That will set up auto color to produce much better adjustments. You should only have to change those settings once and then they will be used every time you choose Image>Adjustments>Auto Color. But, just to make sure your preferences get set, you might want to quit and restart Photoshop right after settings them.

If Auto Color fails you, then you can learn more advanced methods in my new 90 minute video on the subject. It should be available in about a month and details will soon be available at www.digitalmastery.com/mainsite.

3 - Photoshop, coupled with inkjet printing, is replacing the traditional wet darkroom many photographers depended on. Are there aspects of Photoshop 7 which will effect the way these new "light room" photographers will work?
Lynda Weinman -The Healing brush is going to change the way photographers deal with retouching from past versions of Photoshop. It's a remarkable new retouching tool that makes alterations to the image much easier than any tool that was previously available.
Gregory Georges -For the less discerning photographer, excellent color prints may be easily made with Photoshop 7 and one of the many available inkjet printers. Those that are picky about color or those that want black & white prints are likely to find the process of setting up a color-managed workflow challenging at best. Getting a monitor, image editor, printer, ink set, and media all working properly remains an elusive objective for many in spite of their investment in expensive monitor spiders, color profiles, and color management applications.
Martin Evening -There is nothing specific that I can think of that affects the Photoshop printing other than the way Photoshop now defaults to opening the Print Options dialog (that uses an image preview to show how the photograph will print relative to the paper size). I would say that the developments of paper and inks and printer hardware technology are what are having the greatest impact on the improved print quality you can get these days.
Richard Lynch -I'm not answering this correctly: my initial answer is just 'no.' Anyone moving from a darkroom to inkjet is almost always going to be disappointed. The inkjet revolution was a great thing for those of us who had to work in CMYK for print images where proofing was just too expensive and who look at printing from that standpoint. But if you are already used to color prints made in a darkroom...it is a different world. You'll be able to use an inkjet and get some OK results, but you won't get a photographic print -- or you won't get what you would if you get an LED print (light emitting diode -- a photographic process). It is a great technology because it brings reasonably priced color home...but it won't substitute for the darkroom in the long run. An inkjet is fine for casual prints and works well as a preliminary proofing device. There are other means to getting high-quality prints.
Katrin Eismann -Specifically in terms of the digital darkroom, the combined ability to work with layers and blending modes to see what you’re doing gives you the ability to make better images and better prints than ever could be made in the darkroom.
Scott Kelby -The retouching tools in 7 really make it a whole new ball game, and the new brushes give a level of control they've never had before. Photographer's will LOVE 7.
Jeff Schewe - The new Print Preview command (in 6.0 as Print Options) will allow easier setup from printing. Other than that, the fact that color management has been
relatively unchanged in 7.0 means there won't be a steep learning curve.
Julieanne Kost - I think Photoshop in general can serve several purposes apart from completely replacing the "wet" darkroom. The original image (or images) can still be shot on film, scanned and altered or combined in Photoshop, and then a "digital negative" can be created, and printed onto photographic paper traditionally.

In other words, Photoshop's greatest power is not replacing other mechanisms of creativity, but adding to them. There are certainly things you can do much more quickly in Photoshop, but most of all, the flexibility you have is so amazingly powerful. Some photographers use Photoshop simply to "prototype" what an image will look like, and then perform the actual effects in a darkroom.

Some image makers will try to simulate what has been accomplished before with traditional materials, others will go on to explore what new opportunities the digital realm will present. I believe that as digital imaging becomes more of a tool for photographers, the emphasis will be directed once again to the content of the imagery and the ability to push the limits of technology to successfully translate what the mind sees, to the paper that represents it.

Ben Willmore - There's one feature that I think will be great for "light room" photographers... File>Automate>Picture Package! That's where you can tell Photoshop to deliver four 5x7's and one 8x10 on the same sheet of paper.

You can add your own choices to the ones that appear in the Layout pop-up menu by opening the Photoshop>Presets>Layouts folder and adding your own files (just read the ReadMe.txt file that's in that folder for instructions).

Once you have the 'package' that you need (let's say four 4x5's), then you can click on the rectangles that show up in the preview area on the right side of the dialog box to specify which images you'd like to use, otherwise Photoshop will use the same image for all of them.

To find out all that's new in Photoshop 7.0, check out my free 'Ultimate Guide to Photoshop 7.0 at www.digitalmastery.com/7guide.

4 - What cool new features does Photoshop 7 or ImageReady 7 offer photographers that previously had to use other programs to do for web graphics?
Lynda Weinman - There are lots of great new web gallery settings - this is an easy and automated way to make a web site from a folder of images.
Gregory Georges - When photographers go "digital," they usually find themselves sharing their work digitally and often it is on a Web page. ImageReady 7 offers features that make it easy for anyone to create online galleries, animations, roll-overs, and image maps. While these features were available in a prior version, their use required more Web-page design skills than most photographers would ever have. Now, creating these Web design features is easy for non-HTML-savvy photographers and they can create Web pages that don't look like they were created with a template.
Richard Lynch - Clearly the file browser is a great tool for the digital photographer. There may be other file browsers out that are dedicated that do more, but this one is finally right inside Photoshop, where it couldn't be more useful. There is no better way to work with your images than right where you need them. This is a must-have for the digital photographer.
Scott Kelby - Well, there's a new Pattern Maker, for making tiling backgrounds. It makes things easier, but you could make these type of background in previous versions--it was just harder. ImageReady 7 has greatly improved the process of making rollovers, but again, these are enhancements--they're not reinventing the wheel. But honestly, I can't think of a reason to use another graphics app for creating GIFs or JPEGs other than Photoshop and ImageReady.
Julieanne Kost - ImageReady is truly becoming a powerful application which, in some ways, is a shame because many people don't even realize it's there! We've often done demos of ImageReady only to have people come up afterwards and ask where they can get "that amazing utility!" Most of them already have it, but don't realize it.

There are a few additions that didn't exist at all in any other application. In particular, both Photoshop and ImageReady can generate a GIF or JPEG and "steer" where the compression should be higher or lower. For example, type in a GIF file might need to remain sharp, but the background can be compressed more heavily. Using a saved channel or a type layer, the number of colors in a GIF can be shifted toward the type, or toward the background. Likewise, part of a JPEG can be compressed differently than other parts.

Another huge feature is the interaction between Photoshop and Adobe GoLive. GoLive is unique in that it can read a native, layered Photoshop document. It has the same Save for Web engine. But, it can go one step beyond that. The contents of a text layer inside of a Photoshop document can be customized inside of GoLive. In other words, you can drag the same native Photoshop document into 10 different GoLive pages, and customize each of them. If you change the appearance of the source Photoshop document, GoLive will update each and every one of the "instances" of that document in each of the pages. Likewise, GoLive can do this with Illustrator and LiveMotion files. Combined, it is an amazing degree of integration.

Ben Willmore - When you create a complex document that includes both rollovers and animations (maybe your logo is animated and your buttons glow when you move over them), the main animation stops when a rollover is triggered. In previous versions, you had to paste the animation frames into each rollover and then hope things looked seamless when the animation restarted itself with each rollover, but in 7.0, there is an alternative. I consider this an advanced technique, so beginners beware.

Start by creating a slice in any area of the image. It can even be a single pixel in size, since it won't really be used for anything other than setting up an unusual feature. With that slice active, create a new rollover in the Rollovers palette and then double-click on it in that palette to set its state. Set the State to Selected and then turn on the Use as Default Selected State checkbox. Finally, with that rollover active, create you animation. That will cause your animation to play the entire time your document it loaded in a web browser, regardless if another rollover is triggered or not.

If you want some hands-on guidance with all the "light room" techniques needed to become a true Photoshop pro, then check out my Photoshop for photographers class at www.digitalmastery.com/mainsite/handson

5 - Please provide one quote that sums up your feeling about Photoshop 7
Lynda Weinman - Photoshop 7 isn't an earth shattering release of Photoshop, but as always, the tool gets better and better with age. With Photoshop, you can never know everything and that's the beauty of it. It provides as many choices as your imagination can throw its way.
Gregory Georges - If you are serious about digital photography, Photoshop 7 and ImageReady 7 are the tools to have--all other tools get you only part of the way there.
Martin Evening - Photoshop 7.0 is an important upgrade that has a lot to offer photographers, especially those who are now shooting digitally. It speeds up the way I work enormously and I just could not afford to work without it
Richard Lynch - PS7 is a mature upgrade for the Photoshop old-timer, with the needs of those who have been using the program for a long time in mind. The novice and newer user will grow into those new PS7 tools almost seamlessly -- probably never realizing they didn't exist before. After a few months of using PS7 you won't want to step backward to PS6 again.
Katrin Eismann - I think Photoshop 7 is the version that recognizes the importance and passion that photographers bring to image making. With Photoshop 7, what Adobe has recognized and supported is the quality, time, and the attention to detail that photographers sincerely invest in their images. They’ve recognized that, because digital cameras and inkjet printing have gotten so much better that they’ve met the bar, in fact they’ve raised it in terms of what a digital image maker can now do with the application.
Scott Kelby - Photoshop 7 is an incredibly robust upgrade, and probably the most substantial upgrade in years, but you have to look "under the hood" to see the level of improvements, enhancements, and tweaks Adobe did to this new version. The longer you work with you, the more you uncover new goodies, and the more you realize, you can never go back to version 6.0 again.
Jeff Schewe - Steady positive advance, or if Photoshop 5.5 was the "web version", Photoshop 7.0 is the "digital photography" version!
Julieanne Kost - "Photoshop 7.0, once again, leads the imaging market on new platforms (OSX and Windows XP) while keeping the production world happy with every increasing productivity enhancements, and keeping the creative world happy with more powerful and diverse creative features." Please visit our web site, adobeevangelists.com, for the latest inside tips and trick on Photoshop 7.0.
Ben Willmore - Jump on in, the water is fine... just watch out for the sharks and jellyfish. Translation: After a month of using auto color, the patch tool and the file browser, you'll never want to go back to 6.0, but at the same time, the new rollovers palette and tiff options will leave you scratching your head for months to come.

Dan Margulis
Dan's response was to give us permission to reproduce his post on Photoshop 7 that he made to his Color Theory Forum.
Photoshop 7 has pluses and minuses. Depending on how each one of them affects you, you will have to decide whether the upgrade makes sense. For myself, the minuses far outweigh the pluses, so I will be sticking with Photoshop 6. However, depending on your workflow, it may be logical for you to make a different decision. Naturally, the pluses have gotten all the coverage and nobody is aware yet of the dark side. Therefore, I'll concentrate on that. But I'll lay out what I consider to be the five top issues on each side.
-It runs natively in OSX and Win XP
B-Adds a huge array of brushmaking and painting features, to the point that it becomes a rival to Painter. This is a really big deal if you happen to do this kind of work. If anything, the power of this has been underrated, but it's not for everybody, either.
C-Liquify tool much better; a Pattern Maker added that can easily create an entire file based on a single selected object. A nice special effect.
D-A File Browser that lets us point at a given folder and it gives us what amounts to a contact sheet of what's in it and even open images directly. The thumbnails it shows are not large enough to evaluate image quality but they're plenty large enough to find a specific image if you don't know what its name is.
E-A Healing Brush, and a companion Patch tool, that try to do intelligent correction of damaged areas of an image. The Healing Brush operates similarly to the clone tool: you click an unaffected area first and then paint over the damage. With the Patch tool you drag a selection on top of the damaged area. Either way, Photoshop analyzes the situation and tries to figure out how to repair the damage based on the patterns it sees in the undamaged area, rather than blindly cloning. It ain't perfect but it's a nice improvement.
-Unlike previous versions, if we open a file that contains an embedded profile in any way other than by honoring that profile, Photoshop 7 considers that it is a change to the file *even if we immediately close the file without any other change.* Thus, it will generate a Save Changes? dialog that we must respond to, even though there has been no change. The ramifications of this are quite serious if you happen to accept many files from strangers who embed the wrong profiles (like, anybody who hasn't changed the Photoshop defaults). You can't open a large number of these files simultaneously just for a looksee without having to respond to a warning upon closing each one. For an operation as large as a service bureau, it's unworkable. Salesmen and CSRs are always opening client files to see what they contain, and they'll be prompted to save nonexistent changes, default answer being Yes. Similarly, any large CMYK operation that accepts profiled files from clients is in trouble. It sounds like this wouldn't affect a studio photographer who only is working on his own files, but wait, it gets better.
B-(There's nothing wrong with the following change, until it's coupled with #1.) Unlike previous versions, Photoshop 7 reads EXIF data. The English translation of this is that some digital captures have no embedded profile for purposes of Photoshop 6, but they do for Photoshop 7. This was pointed out late in the beta process so nobody really has a good handle on it yet, but all the cameras that are known to do so at this point to do this state that the profile is sRGB. Unfortunately, none of them actually behave as sRGB devices. At least two Nikon and two Canon models have been identified as behaving this way, including the Nikon 950 that I own. They say sRGB for Photoshop 7; in fact they are more like Apple RGB or ColorMatch RGB. This means that, in order to open the files without getting an alert every time, you have to turn profile mismatch off in color settings, which one would prefer not to do. But at least it's workable. The problem is, however, how this operates in conjunction with problem #1 above. If you have such a camera, you are in the same position as the service bureau--although you have generated the file yourself, it has an incorrect embedded profile. Therefore, you either have to open in sRGB and deal with a photograph that's darker and flatter than it should be, or open it in a correct way and have Photoshop 7 treat the very act of opening it as a change. In other words, if you are used to opening a whole batch of images from a given shoot at the same time just to examine them quickly without changes, you can't do this in Photoshop 7. Every image will give you a Save Changes? prompt. You can't even quit the program to close the files.
C-As most of us know, layered files saved in PSD format are much more economical if the "Maximize Compatibility" option in preferences is turned off. Otherwise, every layered file saves, in addition to the layers, a composite flattened version of the file. This unnecessarily bloats the file size, often doubling it. The original need for this was when Photoshop 3 introduced layers in 1994, a Photoshop 2 user wouldn't be able to open a layered file at all without the composite, but at least could see something if the composite was there. Since there are few Photoshop 2 users left, there's really no excuse for this option to be checked, and it can be a big deal if it is. If you use, say, three adjustment layers on one base layer, checking that option doubles file size. Unfortunately, Adobe has now decided that this is a needed option, because InDesign and Illustrator don't read layered files without the composite, although why anyone would want them to is unclear. Therefore, when first we uncheck the preference, we get a new warning message saying that we shouldn't do so. Assuming that we still persist and check this new warning saying yes, we understand, but we still want to save without a composite, the suffering is not over. In spite of our having declared twice that we wish to do the sensible thing that 99% of all users should do, Photoshop 7 won't let us do it in peace. Instead, each and every time we save a new layered file, it will warn us that we shouldn't be doing it, and require that we respond. There is no way of turning this bogus warning off.
D-The TIFF format has been seriously degraded.Adobe owns it, so they can do whatever they like with it, which is unfortunate because so many of us depend on its stability to make a living. Some years ago, the spec was amended to permit, among other things, layered TIFFs or those saved with JPEG or ZIP compression. A layered TIFF, unlike a layered PSD, *must* carry a composite version. Most but not all applications can *place* a layered TIFF, but whether they can image it is unknown. Layered TIFFs can be large. At the very least, they'll clog networks and strain RIPs. As for JPEGged or ZIPped TIFFs, AFAIK only Adobe products can even place them. In Photoshop 6, users were given the opportunity to access these dubious features but had to check off a preference to do so. By default only a standard TIFF could be saved. A few people did decide they needed the features but by and large the world said no, quite logically in my view. Notwithstanding the clear lack of interest in the market, Adobe has decided to make these changes *mandatory* in Photoshop 7, even if you are one of the 99% of users who *never* want to save a TIFF with layers or with one of these exotic compressions. They'll be in your face every time you save. And, naturally, thousands of less sophisticated users, who don't know the difference between JPEG and JPEGged TIFF, will be saving them by mistake, let alone saving enormous files because they don't understand why smaller TIFFs are a good idea or don't notice the tiny box in the save dialog box that "alerts" them that they're saving layers.
E-In certain versions of Photoshop 7, notably OSX, the Custom CMYK dialog now defaults to 400% total ink, unusable for any printing conditions. As I haven't been using OSX and the issue is not present in 9.2, I can't give further details.
We would like to express our appreciation to all the people who responded and took time out from their busy writing schedules to answer our questions.
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