Adobe's trotting out the carrot-and-stick approach to convince people to upgrade to Photoshop CS4. The carrot is CS4 Configurator, a free utility that currently allows you to create custom panels for Photoshop CS4 and eventually for the entire suite. The stick? This year's iteration of its three-generations-back-only upgrade pricing (only users of the previous three versions qualify for upgrade pricing), which will cut off eligibility for Photoshop 7 users on October 15.
CS4 configurator, which should be freely available for public download from Adobe Labs at the end of the month when Creative Suite 4 ships, is the first stab at allowing users to create Flash-based custom panels for the applications. The tool, an Adobe AIR application, is made possible by the software's interface re-architecture to support Flash.
According to John Nack, senior product manager for Photoshop, Configurator is intended to "let anyone with ideas and experience extend and remix the interface," not just to remix the elements but to "contextualize them in meaningful ways." He expects "only about 2 percent of Photoshop users to create panels, but 98 percent to use them."
I've played with Configurator a bit--well, as much as possible given how unstable the the Photoshop CS4 beta has been on my system--and while I love the idea, Adobe has a bit further to go before the beta even becomes useful to seriously try out, much less create distributable panels.
Photoshop has been getting so bloated crammed with features that something like this was inevitable. Corporate shops will eventually be able to supply production drones with quick access to just the tools they need and authors and trainers will be able to supply custom panels that match up with specific tutorials.… Read more