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Adobe Photoshop CS4 release date and wish list

AdobeAdobe Creative Suite 4 is set for a September 23 release date (Update: the 23rd was the announcement date, release date should be mid October). Adobe has a registration form up for a September 23 web broadcast of CS4. I always look forward to the Adobe products, especially Photoshop. This is a program I have grown to really know and I’ve used it since version 3. Even though I love this program, their are some little issues that bother me, so I thought with the release coming up I would create my personal wish list for CS4.

1. Smart object mask linking

This is a seriously annoying behaviour that I would even go so far to label as a bug. Whenever you add a mask to a smart object it is not linked nor can it be. A good workaround for this is using a layer group and masking that, but really, this is redundant and shouldn’t be necessary. Masks can be linked on other layer types, why not smart objects? I describe a workaround in Photoshop Tip #1: Smart objects and layer masks.

2. Better smart object scaling

Smart objects usually scale ok, but every now and then they leave weird artifacts or just look bad, it all depends on the image being scaled. Often what I do to get around this is create a smart object, duplicate it and then rasterize the duplicate and do destructive editing on it. Then if I do need to quickly go back to the original I still have it right there in my layers. Non destructive editing all the time would still be a much better solution.

3. Slice layers or saving

This is a big one for me. Sometimes I like to put many web mockup pages in one Photoshop file. Often only small parts of it change from screen to screen and it is much easier to add new layers and groups. Often near the end of this process I will end up breaking up the groups into separate files just so I can have multiple slices. Having slice layers similar to Illustrator or some kind of saving mechanism would help enormously, especially in multiple language layouts where the slices remain the same, but the names do not.

4. Guide layers or saving

Same issue as slice saving. Sometimes you need new guides for each type of page and without being able to have guide layers or saved sets it can become messy very quickly.

5. Dashed / dotted strokes

Yes there are many workarounds for this, but real stroke settings would be nice. Right now work workarounds are; copying the dashes in quickly via duplicating your dash and merging until you have a long dashed line, or even using styles.

6. Stroke top, right, bottom, left

Often I will have to overlay shapes or use masks just to get a left and right stroke. It would be nice if the stroke options had top, right, bottom, left tick marks so you could choose the sides to stroke, much like you can with the CSS border attributes. This would obviously only work on rectangular shapes.

7. Animated GIF import returned to the way it was before CS3

If the traffic to my work around on importing an animated GIF is any indication to how missed this feature is then it should definitely be added to CS4. My most visited article is still Adobe Photoshop CS3 and no Image Ready? No animated GIFs either?. For some odd reason Adobe decided to move a lot of the Image Ready features into Photoshop before trashing Image Ready all together. One feature that was missing was the ability to import animated GIFs. The strange thing is you can still use Photoshop to create animated GIFs, you just can’t open them properly. Stranger still, the ability to import an animated GIF is still present in Photoshop, but hidden. I would love to see this rectified in CS4, but since they may be pushing fireworks for animating GIFs we may never see this feature return. It’s upsetting because the feature is present and always has been, but it has basically been removed from the UI.

Do you have a wish list, ideas, or suggestions?

Please feel free to leave feedback on any wish list items you may have. My idea’s have mostly revolved around web design features, but feel free to suggest anything I have missed.

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