Adobe to revamp Photoshop

Details of a planned transformation of Adobe's Photoshop software were revealed this week, by Photoshop product manager John Nack, writing on his blog. The company is looking at significant changes to the user interface, customising it to the task in hand. This should make it easier for users to see the options available for a particular task, rather than having to search through multiple menu options. The company wants the software to be substantially more configurable, so that solutions are presented in task-oriented workspaces.

View: Full Story @ Platinax

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

DivX 6.7.0.17

Next Story

Ad-Aware 2007 7.0.2.5

44 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

The idea of a Photoshop CS4 with even better features (how they keep improving it is beyond me, but directly painting on 3D objects is one thing it would rock to be able to do that you currently can't do in PS) and a ribbon interface like Office 2007 sounds REALLY appealing.

I'm having a love-hate thing going with the ribbon in Office. On one hand, 95% of all of the tasks I want are right in front of me. On the other hand, if I want to use an obscure feature, then God only knows where they stashed it. At least with the old menu driven system I could pick a broad category and narrow down as I went from menu to menu until I (hopefully) found the option or tool I was looking for.

Like macros and OLE objects. I had to do a few Google searches to figure out that its hidden by default, and I need to go into the application options to make it visible.

Much like Microsoft Office 2007's Ribbon. Great interface, btw. But for a program like Photoshop, I wonder how effective it would be?

No, but having it be at least an option is a valid concern, because one may be interested in the other features, so please stop throwing that comment around. It's usually not valid anyway with computer software at least, because a piece of software rarely just come with one new feature to choose or not to have.

I've never had any problems with the Photoshop UI really. I would love a revamped Illustrator though.

I know people, including me, that stuck with the Office 2007 ribbon interface despite it being wildly different. But you're right, those who don't want to bother changing, even if it would lead to using the software more quickly in the long run, probably won't.

They better not mess it up though, I like the idea of having tools related to the task at hand, but if it impairs my ability to get to a different tools to do an entirely different function that I'm going to get annoyed fast.

I have no problem navigating the program as is, but I use it all day for work, I guess this is more of a thing for new users..

These changes are the reason I switched to Corel years ago. The tools bars dynamically change relative to the tool you are using. Photoshop was just a MESS of floating dockers stacked all over the place eating resources up. Corel was everything I needed so no reason to switch back.

Hmmmm not sure on this... Office 2007 was an amazing improvement just hope adobe can come up with something as usable as PS is now... or allow a classic layout option.

As soon as I saw the title, I thought what you guys had said, it would be damn perfect for it, and because of the Licensing requirements, it's also Royalty Free! They made some improvements with CS3, but it is still very cluttered, although I do think CS3 responds better than CS2.

I won't even touch CS2. It's horrible just trying to do the simplest of things compared to CS1.

As for CS3, I've tried it. Liked it a lot. Didn't like how long it took to install or uninstall. Guess that means I need a new computer. :P

Am loving Office 2007's task-based Ribbon interface as I'm more productive using it than regular menu-based interface back in Office 2003. Hoping Photoshop would have something similar in their next version

I agree, having got used to that interface I think it's among the most impressive Office releases in a long time to leave Redmond. I think it even overshadows Vista in that department. Not only the UI, but a thorough upgrade of most applications functionality too, even Microsoft Access.

For me, ribbon was the most annoying interface present in the new office, with ribbon easily you can find regular commands but hard to find more advanced commands.

Well, when you look at the UI od the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, that just might happen. Microsoft released the ribbon to be used by the public as long as your product does not directly compete with their own product.

buletov said,
Well, when you look at the UI od the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, that just might happen. Microsoft released the ribbon to be used by the public as long as your product does not directly compete with their own product.

Doesn't Photoshop compete with Expression Studio in some way?

PureLegend said,

Doesn't Photoshop compete with Expression Studio in some way?

The competition part only applies to competition with the Office suite, and even then, you may be able to get a license, just not for royalty-free use:
"if you are building a program which directly competes with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, or Access (the Microsoft applications with the new UI), you can't obtain the royalty-free license."

It's like a user interface / design license written to block OpenOffice.

lunarworks said,
Would you pay for it on Linux?

Didn't think so.

Whoa there, sport! You presume a lot about me!

I have paid for Linux (which is free) buy buying a boxed set. I purchased UT2k4 because they have a Linux installer right on the CD. Just because I use Linux does not automatically make me a freeloader or someone who is otherwise adverse to paying for products that have value.

That said, I was hoping for a Linux release to support the platform as a whole. I have also voiced a support for the position that AutoCAD should be released for the Linux platform. These two apps are very important in different professional roles, and having them supported in Linux is a big step.

Now, please, step off that high horse of omniscience that you are riding and join the rest of us.

I think to be honest Adobe could open source the entire Creative Suite and release it under the GPL. The price of the applications matters little. There are two reasons for this.

First, a high percentage of the Creative Suite (including Photoshop is pirated). I have over the past few years found I don't know how many graphic shops running questionable versions of Adobe software.

Second, the majority of their profit is not on the software, but rather on the support model (telephone, courses, books and 3rd party author plug-ins). They could easily off a free download of their software and than charge $15,000 per year (or a lot more) for a site license for end user support.

Realistically, however, this will never happen for a number of reasons. The first is that they don't own the royalty to the majority of the software in the Creative Suite. Second, I do not believe that the company is capable of mainstaining an OSS project. Finally, the software (from what I understand) is holier-than-thou (in the bug sense of the word).

As I final complaint, I take issue with people who run Linux not willing to pay for software. While this is true of some desktop users, it is simply not true when it comes to the SOHO and enterprise sector. I have known of plenty of people who have Linux and a purchased copy of Photoshop and choose to run it under wine because they either like the Unix environment or have hardware that simply runs better on a heavily customized Linux kernel (due to less resources).

lunarworks said,
Would you pay for it on Linux?

Didn't think so.

I would. I think that would at last make me switch full to a Linux OS.

That and maybe more games. :P

Mr.Ed

Mr.ed said,

I would. I think that would at last make me switch full to a Linux OS.

That and maybe more games. :P

Mr.Ed

I would too. I doubt they would release it under GPL though.

bluarash said,
I think to be honest Adobe could open source the entire Creative Suite and release it under the GPL. The price of the applications matters little.

Absurd. It would matter if you ran a business and you had to do budgeting.

bluarash said,
First, a high percentage of the Creative Suite (including Photoshop is pirated).

Source, please? There is difference between "everyone" having Photoshop and everyone actually making money using Photoshop without paying for it. I doubt Adobe is concerned that every teenager on Neowin runs PS3 Extended since 99% of them can't even use it to make something. Great majority having it installed still ask someone to make them a sig/avatar and so on. Everyone at some point pirates a piece of software. That's how most people learn it. Many people pirate software to learn it...and although it's wrong, it will have its advantages for Adobe as well. You stick with what you know and when you learn something and start making money you are more likely to buy it. When you are paid thousands of dollars for a single project, $600-1000 is no longer an issue.

bluarash said,
I have over the past few years found I don't know how many graphic shops running questionable versions of Adobe software.

Those are issues everyone deals with. You wouldn't believe how many companies run pirated Windows/Office. It's because people don't have habit paying for software. I worked in a computer store. People just purchase computer and TELL you to install Corel(Draw)/(MS)Office/Windows/Photoshop. Even though most of them have no idea what those do (Corel/Photoshop), everyone has it, they have to have it as well. When you tell them how much those cost they just tell you to install it and stop BS. Single ignorant users aren't much of a deal...companies that use it to make profit are. You can simply report them and there is BA which deals with it already.

bluarash said,
Second, the majority of their profit is not on the software, but rather on the support model (telephone, courses, books and 3rd party author plug-ins).

Source? Unless you're sitting in Adobe's BOD, you have no access to those reports and can't state those as a fact. To contradict you, Adobe's profit skyrocketed since release of CS3. Their main income source was always Photoshop. Their stock would go up every time new version is released. Now they have switched those expectations to their suite.

Support isn't a profit. It's a cost. You don't call support daily. I have never called any vendor and asked for support. You will have issues, but they also have non-paid support for certain issues (installation for example).

Books - hardly a huge revenue maker. If you bought a book on Photoshop 5, it will most likely be useful for great deal of things in PS CS3. Things have changed, but a lot of tools and overall functionality has not changed. It's same with all applications in their suite. Huge (interface) changes aren't something that is done with every release. They just simply improve existing features while adding some...hence, you don't purchase a book for every new release because old ones will just do.

3rd party plugins...well...i don't know relationship between plugin vendors and Adobe, but shouldn't most of revenue go to plugin maker? How many people do actually purchase them? And how much does that actually go to Adobe? Again, Adobe's not company which makes $10 000 a year. It makes billions and such revenue would be not enough to cover the costs they have.

bluarash said,
They could easily off a free download of their software and than charge $15,000 per year (or a lot more) for a site license for end user support.

Yes, you said they will pay for support instead of software. But isn't it the same?! As you pay for product while also paying for support. Their licensing model will move to leasing their software on yearly basis. Much like most of scientific software do now (SAS is good example of this).

bluarash said,
Realistically, however, this will never happen for a number of reasons. The first is that they don't own the royalty to the majority of the software in the Creative Suite. Second, I do not believe that the company is capable of mainstaining an OSS project. Finally, the software (from what I understand) is holier-than-thou (in the bug sense of the word).

It will "never" happen because OSS is not actually God given either. It wouldn't solve anything. It would only allow for John Doe to make 100s of versions of same thing, adding their own icons and God knows what, making it incompatible with "other versions" as well in the process. I love Linux and OSS. I think it's great. It's that there are too many people working on too many single projects. Buggy...everything's buggy. As long as workaround exists or it doesn't make you loose money and (much)time, it's tolerable. OSS in this case wouldn't do much either, IMO.


bluarash said,
As I final complaint, I take issue with people who run Linux not willing to pay for software. While this is true of some desktop users, it is simply not true when it comes to the SOHO and enterprise sector. I have known of plenty of people who have Linux and a purchased copy of Photoshop and choose to run it under wine because they either like the Unix environment or have hardware that simply runs better on a heavily customized Linux kernel (due to less resources).

Not to sound like an ass...which is not the point of this reply either as it's nothing personal against you...but... Even if everyone you know purchased 10 licenses each, it wouldn't make any difference. Photoshop itself is more oriented towards individuals/freelancers than corporate market. Linux market is too small for Adobe to make profit. Its marketshare is certainly single digit. I've stumbled upon some website recently that said it was 0.8 (of desktop users). I don't know if that is correct or not. Even if it were double that...the cost of porting is much greater than they could ever sell it to Linux users with that usage percentage. Knowing that most (not all) expect everything about Linux to be free, it's not really hard to conclude that many would expect it to be free. Knowing how much OSS advocates are against commercial solutions... well put 2 and 2 together. Not much in for Adobe there to justify the costs, let alone expect profits from it.

I guess when I was talking about the contractual support model I was thinking of companies in general because it is easier to make money from support calls that it is the software. Sure, it you have a $799 product and than support is free you are going to be burdening yourself, however, most companies have moved past this and offer little to no free support. An example would be Vista, a product most people actually pay for that after basically 90 days will require you to pull out a credit card and pay somewhere around $35 (US) to talk to a support representative.

The days of free support are over. Most individuals do call support. I am very skeptic of someone who claims never to have encountered a problem (Google can not fix everything), at least not when you have a deadline the next morning and it is 4am (you would be surprised how irresponsible people can be with there time). As for books and 3rd party plug-ins you simply at 20% of the revenue that they make for signing a licensing agreement. There are a number of companies that do this and are very successful.

I will freely admit that I do not actually know the patents held by Adobe, but it is hard for me to believe that a company and product as big as the Creative Suite is not tied down by shared cross licensed IP. Many of the registered trademarks lead me to believe they don't actually own the majority of their product (though neither does Apple or Microsoft).

Finally, I will agree that given market share numbers Adobe should not invest in Linux, but the same could be said for the Mac platform as well (with its sliding 3 to 5%) market share (that little more than the press seems to care about). The truth is that a lot of projects in movie productions and photography are moving to Linux (due to performance issues) and the ability to have access to the code. The John Doe you cited earlier is more likely to actually be doing something tangible with the code that he has access to (lighting, modifying a compression scheme or writing a plug-in for the GIMP/CINEPAINT/Cinelerra).

I think we both agree that Adobe is not going to be porting CS to Linux.

bluarash said,
I think to be honest Adobe could open source the entire Creative Suite and release it under the GPL. The price of the applications matters little. There are two reasons for this.

First, a high percentage of the Creative Suite (including Photoshop is pirated). I have over the past few years found I don't know how many graphic shops running questionable versions of Adobe software.

Second, the majority of their profit is not on the software, but rather on the support model (telephone, courses, books and 3rd party author plug-ins). They could easily off a free download of their software and than charge $15,000 per year (or a lot more) for a site license for end user support.

Realistically, however, this will never happen for a number of reasons. The first is that they don't own the royalty to the majority of the software in the Creative Suite. Second, I do not believe that the company is capable of mainstaining an OSS project. Finally, the software (from what I understand) is holier-than-thou (in the bug sense of the word).

As I final complaint, I take issue with people who run Linux not willing to pay for software. While this is true of some desktop users, it is simply not true when it comes to the SOHO and enterprise sector. I have known of plenty of people who have Linux and a purchased copy of Photoshop and choose to run it under wine because they either like the Unix environment or have hardware that simply runs better on a heavily customized Linux kernel (due to less resources).

and just exactly how would you know if their copies of photoshop were legal or not? what are you, the photoshop police? you got some secret adobe disk that you put in and it tells you if it's genuine or not?

Great news... i think they should change the interface to a "modern" style (you know what i mean) and they should improve performance of the product, specially when we are staring it, even without plugins it take some time to load (CS2).

More and more has been added to the interface, to the point that it's ready to fall apart under it's own weight.

Adding menu's and tools to the existing panels was the easy option, but not the most user-friendly. Too many options means that the useful once become just another tool in a sea of icons.

Microsoft realised this and introduced the "Ribbon". Love it or hate it - I personally feel that it works for the majority of users.

I hope Apple can do something similar (not in looks necessarily, but in principal).

Since DeluxePaint on the Amiga had a more intuitive paint interface 20 years ago, I would have to wholeheartedly agree with you.

excalpius said,
Since DeluxePaint on the Amiga had a more intuitive paint interface 20 years ago, I would have to wholeheartedly agree with you. :)

Ahhh yes, Deluxe Paint on the Amiga. Great software especialy if you used a virtual memory system. I was doing super hi res stuff with a 40MB virtual memory set-up long before I ever used Photoshop. A primo computer and OS too...