PhotoShop for Video Tips and Tricks
While this article does not go further than CS5 Extended, many of techniques also apply to newer versions.
The latest version of Photoshop, contained in the Extended Package of the Creative Suite 5, continues its support for many of the video tools and features described below, and as found in previous or standard versions of Photoshop CS5. The software is up to version 12.0.4 or later in its numerical naming convention.
Check with Adobe as upgrade options and special offers change often. If you own a registered copy of Photoshop CS2, CS3, or CS4 or Photoshop CS3 Extended or CS4 Extended, you can move to Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Design Standard or Design Premium at upgrade pricing, for example. But do you need to, if video is your main business or and primary concern?
Adobe continues to try and make the program as useful for videographers as it is for photographers, and one of the ways it’s doing this is support for new video formats and flavors. Not only are high end HDTV formats supported, but also popular mobile or online video formats like 3G, FLC, MOV, AVI, DV Stream, MPEG-4, and FLV formats.
Handling all the various video flavors out there is a challenge, so it’s nice to see Adobe continuing to do battle on this front. There are other software tools, conversion programs and compression algorithms out there, so Adobe is not the only one doing it.
Adobe has been updating and improving the way it handles video with different pixel sizes (that ol’ non-square vs. square pixel bugaboo.) It’s changed its internal math calculations and processing algorithm to better deal with the way pixels are sized and ratios calculated. Some graphics or sequences from older version, being worked on in the newer version, can generate an error message as a result. Not to worry; it’s subtle, and you should be able to work on all versions with little or no objectionable visible changes.
Another advantage with later Photoshop version is support for 64 bit processors. Photoshop will run in either 32-bit or 64-bit environments, including Windows XP, but CS5 users ”“ with a 64-bit PC ”“ should get noticeable improvement in performance speed and processing ”“ as much as 10X in some instances! On 64-bit operating systems, there’s essentially unlimited RAM, through a wider data path and more capable addressing system On 32-bit systems, most apps are limited to 4 GB of RAM (and in practice this number is actually smaller).
If you are working with, or adjusting, the grayscale, RGB, CMYK, and LAB color spaces in images at 8-, 16-, and 32-bit depths, you’ll work much faster. Color management (and most other functions) is greatly sped up with full 64-bit processing. In fact, the on screen color picker seems to go faster, too.
Some added features include a nice ability to work with a ”˜Rules of Third’ grid, so you can crop or position elements of an image and be confident they will be seen in their entirely, whether on 16:9 or 4:3 screens. There is a very handy new text and voice search function, which lets you search for spoken dialog in your video assets. New text creation tools, such as 3D extrusion, have been added and they can work with multiple title lines much more quickly now, with line-by-line previews or changes as easy and a series of down arrow clicks.
Your own video workflow is the best determinant of when to upgrade, and to what. If you are stuck when trying to work with some of the newest video formats out there, Adobe’s enhanced file format support may help.
If you have a new 64 bit system, the newest software version will make good use of your increased horsepower and memory capabilities.
But if you are happy and productive with older, or ”˜liter’ versions of the software, stay where you are.
When Adobe Systems announced a new improved version of Photoshop (back in October of 2003), they not only changed the program, they changed the naming protocol, as well.
Photoshop 8.0 did not follow Photoshop 7.0 – Photoshop CS did!
The new name said: “Not only is Photoshop new, not only is it available on its own, but it is available as part of Adobe’s new Creative Suite’ – hence, the CS.
The fact that Photoshop is bundled and even more tightly integrated with other Adobe programs is in itself significant, but Photoshop CS is a major upgrade on its own.
It includes several new features: the File Browser function is now accessed through a button, not a tab. Preview panes are enlarged and it’s easier to see and select images.
Particularly for videographers, the new program includes special features and functions, not the least of which is its ability to correct pixel aspect ratio for non-square pixels, those extracted or captured from digital video sources.