Although Photoshop is not a page layout or illustration program, you certainly can produce simple brochures, posters, greeting cards, and the like using only Photoshop. (See Figure 1-4.) One of the features that sets Photoshop apart from basic image editors is its powerful type engine, which can add, edit, format, and stylize text as capably as many word processing programs. Photoshop even has a spell check feature — not bad for a program that's designed to work with photos, eh?
Photoshop CS2 takes yet another giant step toward filling in for InDesign or Illustrator with the introduction of Smart Objects. Smart Objects can be created in Photoshop through the Layers palette or pasted into your artwork from Illustrator. A Smart Object is a designer's dream. You add the Smart Object to your project; then, you can edit the original file and have the Smart Object updated to match. For example, suppose you add a sponsor logo to a poster as a Smart Object, and then use that same Smart Object in a direct-mail piece, a flyer, a magazine ad, and a couple of other related projects. Just before the approval date for the project, however, the sponsor drops out and is replaced by a new sponsor. You simply change the original file from which you created the Smart Object and then update the various instances of the Smart Object in your various projects. Done! Not only is this approach faster than manually changing each instance of the logo, but it ensures accuracy. Each Smart Object retains any effects you've applied, but those effects are applied to the updated artwork.
On the subject of special effects, Photoshop CS2 also introduces object warping, which you use to bend and twist elements in your artwork. As Photoshop moves more toward an object-based interface, it provides you with more ways to work with the content of a layer as a single unit rather than as independent pixels. Sure, you can still work with pixels, but treating a layer as an object certainly can be convenient. Take a look at Figure 1-5. Using a warp mesh to manipulate the artwork makes short work of what would otherwise have been a difficult edit. Click and drag an intersection within the mesh to reform the shape.
You can certainly supplement your video editing program with Photoshop (even if Photoshop can't open and play movies you capture with your video camera). From Adobe Premiere (or other professional video programs), you can export a series of frames in the FilmStrip format, which you can open and edit in Photoshop. Photoshop even provides support for nonsquare pixels, just in case you find yourself developing a project for television. You can create new documents that use nonsquare pixels and, through Photoshop's View menu, work on them as if they were regular old square-pixel digital images. No more "guesstimating" distortion factors or trying to calculate what is round or square in the artwork.
When you install Photoshop CS2, you also install a separate program named Adobe Bridge. (Unlike ImageReady, Bridge isn't inside the Photoshop folder.) Bridge is a standalone version of the File Browser from the previous version of Photoshop. As an asset management tool, it's even more capable. And because it's a separate program, it can be used throughout the Adobe Creative Suite or even independently to organize your images and artwork. (Figure 1-6 shows Adobe Bridge.) See Chapter 4 for more on Adobe Bridge.
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Adobe Photoshop can be a complex tool only because you can do so much with it, however for in this video series, we're going to keep it as simple as possible. In fact, in this video you'll see an overview of the few tools and Adobe Photoshop features we will use. When you see this video, you'll see how you can do so much with so few features, but you'll learn how to use them in depth in the future videos.