Page One: Lightroom changes Adobe market

Photoshop Elements 8

Future updates to Adobe Photoshop Elements may well include much greater control over image curve adjustments, according to Photoshop product manager Bryan O?Neil Hughes.

In the latest version, Elements 8 (introduced in September this year), the curves adjustment is restricted to just four sliding controls that allow the user to alter image brightness and contrast by manipulating pre-designated areas of the curve.

O?Neil Hughes said this has much more to do with a desire to make the control accessible and understandable to a wider audience than to make a clear delineation between Photoshop CS4 and Elements.

He added that the situation had moved on from the position a couple of years ago when Adobe was convinced that Photoshop was for professional photographers, while Elements was for amateur users.

In an exclusive interview with Amateur Photographer (AP) technical editor Angela Nicholson, he said that Adobe Lightroom has ‘blurred the edges [of the different markets] a lot?.

O?Neil Hughes suggested that more intuitive adjustments – made using the Targeted Adjustment tool introduced with an update to Camera Raw for CS4 – may appear in later versions of Elements.

This tool allows the user to click on the image to select the tone they want and move the cursor up or down to make adjustments.

As well as being easier to use – a key aim for Elements – this type of adjustment can be more powerful and may be used to adjust several aspects with one move.

During the AP interview, Photoshop engineering architect Russell Williams added that Adobe?s goals include simplifying the Photoshop user interface to make the regularly used features easier to find and employ.

Page Two: Users have ‘great ideas’

‘Just do it’

Adobe says that only around a fifth of the proposed changes usually make it into an upgrade. So, Williams is a fan of holding what he refers to ?JDI? (just do it) days (or weeks) when the firm’s staff focus their attention on addressing some of the minor issues with Photoshop.

These usually address the items that keep appearing on the wish list for changes, but aren?t headline grabbing. They make some of the ?little things? faster and easier.

Adobe may, for example, make Photoshop suggest the location and file format – when saving images – on the basis of the user?s preferences.

Russell said that one of the problems with making changes to Adobe?s software is achieving a consensus between users about what is the best way to proceed.

He went on to say that users often have great ideas about how to make minor changes to boost the software package?s efficiency.

But the revolutionary changes tend to come from within Adobe.

Before the Healing tool came along for instance, users offered useful suggestions about how the cloning tool could be made to work better.

But nobody suggested making it a ‘one-click’ tool, as the healing tool now is. That came from inside Adobe.

To help improve communications between Adobe and its software users, the company plans to launch a website dedicated to giving consumers a forum for making suggestions for the packages.

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