Design Visualization

Cadalyst Labs Review: Adobe Photoshop CS2

1 Nov, 2005 By: AIA ,H. Edward Goldberg Cadalyst

Image Processing for All


AT THE LAST AIA CONVENTION in Las Vegas, Adobe introduced Photoshop CS2. Adobe now knows what architects and engineers have known for a long time: Photoshop is one of their most indispensable digital tools. They use Photoshop for everything from communicating design concepts and project status to clients, regulators and colleagues to inserting a 3D model into a photograph to creating logos or content for a Web site. Adobe has acknowledged that by adding new tools specifically for the AEC market.



Photoshop CS2 has the same familiar interface with improved and new features.

Vanishing Point. One of my favorite new features, the Vanishing Point, lets users clone, paint and paste elements that automatically match the perspective of the surrounding image area (figure 1). For those AEC professionals who want to illustrate a new façed on an existing building, this feature is a great boon. Just create a 2D graphic image of the new façed (this can be done in a CAD program) and place the Vanishing Point feature to match a bit-map picture of the building. The program converts and places the new façed on the building. Users can also easily place signs, logos, textures and windows in perspective on any plane in any bit-map picture.

 Adobe Photoshop CS2
Adobe Photoshop CS2

Spot Healing Brush (figure 2) is great for effortlessly retouching photos with a single click to remove those pesky telephone wires that always appear in front of a prized project. The Spot Healing Brush removes blemishes and other imperfections in photos. Users can click once on a blemish, or click and drag to smooth away imperfections in an area.

Figure 1. The new Vanishing Point feature matches new elements with the surrounding image. From left to right: the original building with defined perspective planes, new floors duplicated in perspective from the existing selection and finally the completed skyscraper.
Figure 1. The new Vanishing Point feature matches new elements with the surrounding image. From left to right: the original building with defined perspective planes, new floors duplicated in perspective from the existing selection and finally the completed skyscraper.

Image Warp creates dimensional effects by wrapping an image around any shape or stretching, curling and bending an image. The Warp command lets users drag control points to manipulate the shape of images, shapes and paths.

Figure 2. Effortlessly retouch photos with the new spot healing brush.
Figure 2. Effortlessly retouch photos with the new spot healing brush.

Adobe Bridge simplifies file handling. This next-generation file browser lets users process multiple camera RAW images at once; resize, rate and label thumbnails; quickly review images in Slideshow mode; search metadata and more.

Version Cue CS2, which comes as part of Creative Suite, brings an end to confusing filename conventions and versioning. Users can find files quickly using extensive search capabilities, create alternates to show as comps and manage versions within Adobe Bridge.

Multiple layer control lets users select and move, group, transform and warp objects more intuitively by clicking and dragging directly on the canvas. Smart Guides make it easy to align objects.

Smart Objects are containers in which users can embed raster or vector image data, for instance, from another Photoshop or Illustrator file. The embedded data retains all of its original characteristics and remains fully editable.

New filters. Photoshop users can review and apply more than one filter at a time from the Filter Gallery. New Blur filters smooth transitions by averaging the pixels next to the hard edges of defined lines and shaded areas. Box Blur blurs an image based on the average color value of neighboring pixels. Adjust the size of the area used to calculate the average value for a given pixel; a larger radius results in greater blurring. Shape Blur uses the specified kernel to create the blur. Choose a kernel from the list of custom shape presets and use the radius slider to adjust its size. Surface Blur blurs an image while preserving edges. This filter is useful for creating special effects and removing noise or graininess. Lens Blur adds blur to an image to give the effect of a narrower depth of field so that some objects in the image stay in focus and others are blurred.

Animations/layer palette allows users to create dynamic GIF animations—using one or more images—directly within Photoshop CS2. In ImageReady, the Web Content palette can add an animation to a rollover state. Each frame represents a configuration of layers in the Layers palette.

Lens Correction filter/Optical lens correction. The shorter the lens, the more bowed the resulting photograph appears, which is why the shortest lenses are called fish eyes. Adobe Photoshop CS2 corrects these common photo flaws in one quick process with the Lens Correction filter (figure 3). It fixes common lens flaws such as barrel or pincushion distortion, chromatic aberration, vignette and perspective flaws in all three dimensions.

Figure 3.The Lens Correction filter fixes common flaws such as barrel or pincushion distortion, chromatic aberration and vignette and perspective flaws in 3D.
Figure 3.The Lens Correction filter fixes common flaws such as barrel or pincushion distortion, chromatic aberration and vignette and perspective flaws in 3D.

Set the Lens Correction filter based on the camera, lens and focal length used to make the image. Use the filter to rotate an image or fix image perspective caused by vertical or horizontal camera tilt. The filter's image grid makes these adjustments easier and more accurate than using the Transform command.

Shadow/Highlight command is suitable for correcting photos with silhouetted images caused by strong backlighting or with subjects that are slightly washed out because they were too close to the camera flash. The adjustment is also useful for brightening areas of shadow in an otherwise well-lit image. The Shadow/Highlight command does not simply lighten or darken an image—it lightens or darkens based on the surrounding pixels (local neighborhood) in the shadows or highlights. The command also has a Midtone Contrast slider, Black Clip option and White Clip option for adjusting the overall contrast of the image.

Smart Sharpen provides sharpening controls not available with the Unsharp Mask filter. With this filter, set the sharpening algorithm or control the amount of sharpening that occurs in shadow and highlight areas.

It's a Wrap

Although Photoshop CS2 is available by itself ($599), the Adobe Creative Suite 2 Premium ($1,199) is a great buy. It includes Photoshop and the following products:

  • 1. Illustrator CS2 creates vector drawings.
  • 2. InDesign CS2 is Adobe's page layout software.
  • 3. GoLive CS2 handles Web page design and layout.
  • 4. Acrobat 7.0 Professional creates PDF files.
  • 5. Version Cue.

Creative Suite Standard is $899, but doesn't include GoLive and Acrobat Professional. For those who need to make adjustments to raster images, Photoshop can do it, and do it easily. Photoshop integrates well with Illustrator (Adobe's vector program that reads and writes DWG files). Highly Recommended.

H. Edward Goldberg, AIA, NCARB, is a practicing licensed architect and AEC industry analyst. Ed's full-length book, Autodesk Architectural Desktop 2006: A Comprehensive Tutorial (Prentice Hall; www.prenhall.com ) is now available. Contact Ed for online Architectural Desktop training sessions delivered directly to the desktop. Visit www.hegra.org for more information, or e-mail ed.goldberg@cadalyst.com.


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