Sneak peek: Some Photoshop "JDI" improvements

Last summer the Photoshop team asked for your help in identifying candidates for “JDI” (“Just Do It”) work, aiming to pick off little irritants & to polish the little things that matter. You replied with tons of great ideas & comments, and I’m pleased to say the team has been working away. Here you can see Photoshop PM Bryan O’Neil Hughes show off a few of the the tweaks that you’ll likely see in “a future version*” of Photoshop:


* I know this kind of caveat & hand-waving always seem a little contrived (“C’mon, dude, we all know what version you’re talking about”), but nothing is done until it’s shipping, and there really is a chance that details can change. Very occasionally we have to pull out an improvement if we find that it introduced other problems, taking additional time to get the details right. I’m just saying, you never know.

30 thoughts on “Sneak peek: Some Photoshop "JDI" improvements

  1. Stuff like this is great.
    Communicating that the team is actively pursuing these kinds of “little” optimizations is even greater.
    Should help sell that “future version”.

  2. Here’s another idea for you: add an option to preserve opacity when resizing a layer.
    To show the problem:
    1. on a white canvas, draw a smaller black rectangle on it’s own layer
    2. resize that layer up and down a few times (ctrl-t, drag, enter)
    3. zoom in as far as you can onto one of the corners
    The result is that the black rectangle now has a 1 pixel wide “border” of translucent pixels. You can see this better by applying a layers adjustment layer to the black rectangle layer, and dragging the right side toggle almost all the way to the left.

  3. Three nice improvements. At the risk of sounding snarky, I’ve gotta say that it’s extraordinary that it took until this late date to figure out that the mechanism for saving as jpegs was inconvenient and unnecessarily complicated.
    [Figuring it out was no problem; making the time to make & test the change was a bigger deal. “But why,” you say, “as this should be a simple tweak.” Well, the bulk of the engineers’ time is spent on really big, hopefully transformative changes (e.g. moving from Carbon to Cocoa & enabling 64-bit on the Mac), and it’s hard to prioritize little tweaks above those big efforts. That’s precisely why we’re starting to do explicit JDI days/weeks, where people are encouraged to take a break from other work & to knock out small but impactful changes. –J.]
    Sure, it was only one extra step, but it was an extra step that other graphics programs always managed to avoid. Any concern about degrading an image from 16-bit to 8-bit could have been handled with an on-screen warning which the user could choose not to see again.

  4. Great stuff John et al.
    I’m particularly pleased to see the jpeg simplification as that is one of the JDI’s i noted when you asked originally.
    Keep up the good work..

  5. since three days im suffering from workflow with hundreds of layers from Illustrator, going to After Effects to PS and forth and back.
    I know what you’d say: “You can’t suit everybody.”
    Please think before you post a lousy compressed video with features you could have already put into PS long, long time ago.
    I mean there are several people at adobe holding a high level university degree and the some user is coming over requests “opacitiy control for multiple selected layers”!??
    Wanna know what you need to do? Hire some NORMAL users worldwide for testing your Betas and Major releases, with different daily workflows inbetween adobe apps.
    I sure the results would be outstanding, because i’m afraid that you guys are seeing your software with a completely different approach.
    Feature request, “JDI” BS, Forums. Makes all no sense because it seems that you don’t know anyway waht to do with all that information.
    and here is my rant for my last three horrible and wasted days and the ongoing week … you guys don’t rock, you’re just frustrating.
    [It’s amazing, then, that you waste your breath addressing such a group of lazy fools. –J.]

  6. I’ll just throw this out again:
    Please implement the new Common Dialog Boxes for Vista/7. It would help me every day to have my user defined shortcuts available.
    [It’s a good request, but it’s anything but JDI. (Conceptual simplicity & implementation simplicity sometimes have nothing to do with one another.) –J.]
    (although, I’ve heard some rumblings about super open/save dialog, so my request may be moot.)

  7. Worthwhile improvements; thanks for the sneak peek.
    Is there any possibility of adding a “Crop to Bounds” checkbox to the straighten tool? In the example here, it looks like this is done by default. It would be nice to have the option of leaving whitespace.
    [Holding Opt/Alt while clicking the Straighten button will rotate the image without cropping it. –J.]
    This would be useful in the case of retaining a corner of the original image that would otherwise be outside the crop and then cloning/retouching the empty space.
    Seeing that this was one of the requests makes me wonder whether many people know that the Arbitrary rotation function will carry over the angle measured by the ruler. Granted it doesn’t crop afterward, but if the function is set to a shortcut, it’s pretty quick and painless.

  8. Great to see (now where’s my undo queue improvements! 😉
    @ MikeD: in your preferences, alter your “image interpolation” setting. If you want the edge to stay hard, use nearest neighbor, if you want it soft like now, use any other.

  9. This always gets some of my coworkers, when scaling something down with a solid black layer – that’s NOT a ‘Background’ – and then exporting a JPEG to put online. It’s then when you can notice the edges of the layer have been anti-aliased and the image gets a white halo.
    I’m not sure what an easy solution would be though – generally speaking, you wouldn’t want to scale something without some resampling (if I’m even using that term correctly), so I don’t know how one could tell PS “I want this layer to keep its hard edge, but not the others” – assuming you were to Cmd-T multiple layers, for instance.
    Semi-related, what I WOULD love is for vector squares/rectangles to always have a hard edge. There’s always at least one edge that has the same 1-pixel translucent border you speak of, that requires some nudging to fix.

  10. I wish people wouldn’t complain that Adobe keeps adding too many new things instead of improving the current ones, and then also complaining when said current tools gain new functionality.
    All of these little things are just that on their own, but I think all combined together are going to make a compelling “maybe CS5.”
    Plus there of course will be the bigger stuff; these new painting features to me seem like what the new paint engine in PS7 always wanted to be.
    It may be completely minor, but every time I see these videos, for some reason I’m dying to know what that “Mb” icon is next to the Bridge shortcut.
    (And kudos for ditching the hand/zoom/rotate icons in the top bar – a nice idea, but they’ve always seemed so unnecessary I tend to forget they’re even there.)

  11. So help me gods I hope there are less of those confounded modal dialogues. In 2010 we need not still be having to make adjustments in annoying little dialogues, trying to shift them away from obscuring our artwork and needing to check “preview” to witness the adjustments.

  12. I’d really like to see a new brush panel/window using grouping.
    So lets say I have 3 groups of brushes I’d like to use “Paint”, “structure”, “stamps”. The way it works now, the brushes from all three groups would be in one list-view, having no real separation from eachother.
    I suggest implementing groups that can be unfold/fold via little arrows.
    This little feature would really make the life of many digital painters more easy and giving themto work more efficient.

  13. I’d really like to see a new brush panel/window using grouping.
    So lets say I have 3 groups of brushes I’d like to use “Paint”, “structure”, “stamps”. The way it works now, the brushes from all three groups would be in one list-view, having no real separation from eachother.
    I suggest implementing groups that can be unfold/fold via little arrows.
    This little feature would really make the life of many digital painters more easy and giving themto work more efficient.

  14. [It’s amazing, then, that you waste your breath addressing such a group of lazy fools. –J.]
    Wrong, not wasting breath!
    Wasting money!
    I’m the reason (among millions of users) why you guys are getting a paycheck.
    You’re not fools, but yes you guys are lazy. You rather bloat a soft than to fix the tiniest tweaks that makes workflows less pain in the ass.
    And the main adress goes to straight to the illustrator-team.
    Wake up!

  15. Nice preview. Although admittedly I thought the straighten tool preview was already in Photoshop, lol, and I use groups generally when needing to apply a mask or opacity change to more than 1-2 layers, but I can see how this new JDI could be useful.
    It’s always good to see a company focusing on applying small details though, especially if the details are based on what users are looking for in the software.
    And agreed, John, on wasting breath. The company I work for is small, but we make tools for a niche market and no matter how much education you have as a designer or engineer, your scope is limited to your experience. We get many users to test our tools before they go into final production, but there are always those who complain afterwards and say, “Well, why not this or this for me? That’s what I really need.” No one company has infinite resources (time, money, knowledge) to make a product with EVERYTHING every user wants that is still at a price point affordable for it’s user base.
    Anyway, I can’t wait for the next CS release!

  16. Maybe it’s because I’m not an Adobe Engineer, but personally, I’m having trouble figuring out your posts, Thomas. You sound pretty darned angry about something that Adobe has or hasn’t done with their software–something that is apparently not only obvious, but that also makes these products unreasonably hard to use for the audiences they intend to target.
    But…what are you talking about? From your comments, it’s not clear that there’s something concrete that needs to be fixed; it sounds as though your workflow wants something from Photoshop that’s not part of the package…but aside from nebulous frustration, there’s nothing actionable.
    Now, I’m all for telling Adobe that something’s wrong, or that there’s a feature I’d really like that’s missing…but I put in bug reports and feature requests. As a result, I’m delighted to see things like multiple-layer opacity (and I actually wanted to comment to say thanks, keep up the good work to John). It’s nice to see a little usability feature like this, especially when it’s one you’ve asked for.
    And I guess that’s my point–Adobe can’t fix your frustration with things not working the way you’d like. They *can*, though, fix their software *if* they know what you’re trying to do with it; you just have to tell them. And come to think of it, there’s actually a few people using Photoshop pretty regularly now–seems to be somewhat popular–so it’s possible that if you give specific reasons for why you’re less than enthusiastic about these updates we’ve been getting, some guru out there may actually know of a workflow solution to a frustration you’ve been having. (Mind you, John’s blog isn’t a helpdesk, and it would be unwise to *expect* help and support…but if he’s soliciting feedback, seems like a good place to give it!)

  17. Anything that has been said regarding to improvements is been said via the Specific Adobe Products Forums and OF COURSE via Feature Requests i was participation since ages, which i belive no one cares about really.
    My fear is that most of CS5 will literally be a cocoa rewrite only – because i always hear the Adobe guys moaning about “how hard”.
    It’s not that im an ignorant person who’s not aware of the huge undertaking that it takes to bring it over to Cocoa, but i’m in anger about the slow developing years BEFORE COCOA!
    As i said, i’ve wastetd two days to get organized with an Illustrator file i got from a moron who seemed to be overextended (not trained) with the use of AI and he gave me many hundreds of Layers, Groups, Paths, Shapes, etc. spread all over the place. Working with the layers panel in Illustrator is a JOKE. Selecting layers and sub-sublayers, soloing them, making them invisible, isolating elemnts, and anything regarding to organizing is time consuming and hast nothing to do with inutitive working. Not to mention the terrible GUI navigation and how/where panels reside.
    I needed to retouche some stuff in PS but the Ai file of course could not be imported as expected, not to mention the weakness of After Effects and how it integrates with Illustrator files, it wants everything to be served perfectly on a golden plate.
    Anything that could have been improved hasn’t been done since CS1, CS2, CS3 and not even CS4 (ok, great improvement: not running on PPC anymore) brought the desired improvement requests i’ve been monitoring since then in the diverse Adobe forums. Instead we got funky flash panels bloating the app, useless new features people use maybe in 5% of any cases. Etc.
    So if you need to, call me ignorant, but the hard and rocky road to cocoa is no excuse for me because there were a timeline of 4 Major releases to tweak the little important stuff in the apps.
    Yes i’m full of grief an anger because my actual job shows me again where the weakness in every single Adobe application lies.
    Wanna know more Adobe guys? Read the wishlists from anno 200X till now in the forums or
    print out all the feature requests an read them as a book.
    I’m tired of explaining a desired logical functionality for an Adobe product which any open source developer put more brain into GUI and usability for its own software.
    Software is beautiful unless money gets involved.

  18. Wow wow wow. I thought if Straighten-and-Crop didn’t make it by v11, I had a conceptual problem in wanting it. Never liked the pain in selecting exactly the last pixel when cropping but always thought I must have a strange workflow. This kind of thing really puts a user at ease.
    On a completely unrelated topic – I know this is not the forum for feature requests but you got my excited – why aren’t masks protected along with their Smart Objects? I again may be missing the workflow/advantage/theory but I don’t know what to do with Smart Objects as they are. Protecting an image but not it’s mask isn’t really protecting it.

  19. Another “JDI” improvement I would like to see:
    I usualy change my imagesize by percent, so I would like the dialogbox to display percent as default, instead of pixels or inches.
    Every time I open an image from Indesign and want to change the size in %, I have to set “pixel” to “percent” by hand.
    Comparing with the pixel/inch or pixel/cm field:
    When you change this field, next time you open the dialog box, its still there.
    So it must be simple to have such an option in the cm or percent field…
    Lots of designers would be happy!

  20. [It’s a good request, but it’s anything but JDI. (Conceptual simplicity & implementation simplicity sometimes have nothing to do with one another.) –J.]
    I seem to spend large amounts of my life coming up with ‘simple’ ideas which then take a lot of time, complicated thinking and effort to realise.
    [Yeah, you and me both! 🙂 –J.]

  21. Set rulers to percent and then image size change will always be perecent.
    But a proper JDI would to to have a make sticky checkbox for this dialogue, so you could have rulers independently set to whatever measurement you want and have image resize to something you prefer for that different task.

  22. A company that cared about its customers would have a free point release that added the straighten & 16bit jpg saving feature.
    [You’re right: Any time we don’t give you what you want for free, it means we don’t care about customers. –J.]

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