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Pros and Cons of P.S. 7

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Old 04-17-2002, 08:13 AM
john_opitz john_opitz is offline
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Pros and Cons of P.S. 7

The following is from Dan Margulis about Photoshop 7. He is a beta tester for Adobe and author of Professional Photoshop 6.
Posted with his permission.


As Photoshop 7 shipped yesterday (15 April) I will now amplify my earlier
comments about workflow issues with the release.

Photoshop 7 has pros and cons. 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 items on each side.

Dan Margulis


1) It runs natively in OSX and Win XP.

2) 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.

3) 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.

4) 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. 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.

5) 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.


1) 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.

The ramifications of this are quite serious if you happen to accept many
files from strangers who embed a profile you don't wish to use (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.

2) Unlike previous versions, Photoshop 7 reads EXIF data. The English
translation of this is that some digital captures have no embedded profile
for the 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 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 even 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

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.

3) 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.

4) 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.

5) 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.
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Old 04-17-2002, 09:06 AM
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thomasgeorge thomasgeorge is offline
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Thanks for Heads up, John! It sounds like , for the most part, the cons outweigh the pros, especially when it comes to the saving and profile "Improvements". Almost sounds like Adobe rushed V. 7 to market a bit before all the implications of the changes were evaluated....While the new repair tools sound interesting, I wonder if the results couldnt be duplicated by utilizing the existing tools. Interesting post, and thank you very much ,again, for the "heads Up"!! Tom
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Old 04-17-2002, 09:35 AM
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DJ Dubovsky DJ Dubovsky is offline
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Thanks John. Lately all I've been hearing are the wonderful things in Photoshop 7 and none of the bad points. Although I really like the new features and think they are worth the upgrade, the points you brought up are very important to know in dealing with Photoshop 7 and assessing whether it's something that will slow you down by upgrading as you pointed out in a few of the cons in mass production. An understanding of how to deal with saving Tiffs in 7 is good to know as is the issue of saving files with embedded profiles. I read through your entire post and I will definately refer back to it when I get 7 to better understand how to work with these cons. Thanks again.
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Old 04-17-2002, 09:51 AM
john_opitz john_opitz is offline
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Exactly. Listing,..... it's not to buy(Adobe bashing) the upgrade. But to know how to handle the cons.
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Old 04-17-2002, 09:58 AM
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CJ Swartz CJ Swartz is offline
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John, as with the others, this is the first critique (rather than promotion) of Version 7 that I've seen. I respect Mr. Margulis' knowledge in this area, and now have to reconsider whether to upgrade to V7. The main area that I will have to consider is my work with my digital camera files.
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Old 04-17-2002, 10:56 AM
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jeaniesa jeaniesa is offline
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Thank you John. It's very good to know the problems I might run into. When I think about my use of PS, I don't think the downsides will affect me as much as some others since I don't work with batches of photos and I don't own a digital camera. ( I know - I'm still in the dark ages.) But, the info on TIFF files is definitely of interest to me! Thanks for forwarding this info. Jeanie
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Old 04-17-2002, 11:04 AM
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DJ Dubovsky DJ Dubovsky is offline
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Just a note here. Photoshop 7 is due for release tomorrow, April 18th. Guess we'll really start getting some feed back then as people start using it.
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Old 04-17-2002, 04:19 PM
Vikki Vikki is offline
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I just received version 7 in the mail (preordered).
I can't wait to try it out, but I have a previous engagement this evening, so I can't get to it until tomorrow.

I know one thing for sure, I am making quite a steep jump from version 4 to 7! I hope it's not too difficult.
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Old 04-17-2002, 05:54 PM
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DJ Dubovsky DJ Dubovsky is offline
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I think you may be in for some serious culture shock. I hope you don't plan to change over until you feel comfortable with it. Even changing from one version to the next is tough to get up to speed on. I am curious about your experience with this change over so keep us informed on what you feel are the pros and cons.
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Old 04-17-2002, 10:01 PM
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Ed_L Ed_L is offline
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Thanks John. Dan knows his stuff, for sure. Now at least we'll know what to be aware of. Thanks again.

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