photoshop cs4-1.jpg
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About a month ago Adobe released some of the first Beta apps from their Creative Suite 4 product line, and that included Dreamweaver CS4. The one app that was disappointingly missing was Photoshop CS4, which has left a lot of people wondering what’s going on with it.

Just like with Dreamweaver CS4 the new Photoshop is going to be receiving a revamped interface, and it looks as though there’s a handy tab system for switching between your open images. That’s definitely a long overdue feature. Aside from that a notable new feature is the app frame that will be available to Mac users. This feature, as described by John Nack from Adobe, will treat the Photoshop application as a single window.

Current users of Photoshop CS3 on Mac know how the application “floats” around your screen, and it feels completely different than the Windows version. Personally I strongly dislike the applications on a Mac that do this because it feels more natural to have everything contained in a single window, but maybe that’s the Windows side of me shining through. Either way this is a feature that I’ll really be able to appreciate.

This is something that will be optional for Photoshop users on a Mac according to Adobe (can be toggled by going to Window -> Application Frame), and as of right now they’re not quite sure whether the application frame will be enabled by default. Here’s the argument that they provide as to why this type of design is beneficial:

  • It facilitates N-up (2-up, 3-up, etc.) document layouts that adapt as you adjust the interface. Think “live window tiling”–great for comparing, compositing, etc.
  • It makes it easier to move the entire application and its contents, including from one monitor to another.
  • It prevents documents from getting obscured by panels (palettes).
  • It blocks out the contents of the desktop, minimizing visual clutter. (A number of Mac users have requested this option for many years. I’ve known quite a few people who open a small blank document, hit F to put it into full-screen mode, and then put it into the background to hide the desktop. Willingness to live with that kind of hack demonstrates some genuine desire for a real fix.)

I would suspect that a Photoshop CS4 Beta will be coming any day now, but in the meantime here’s a quick video demonstration of the new application frame on a Mac:

Photoshop CS4 UI [via Mac Rumors]