Understanding Photoshop CC’s Special Features

For years, Adobe has heard the pleas of researchers, scientists, and other highly specialized users of Photoshop to include features that fulfill their needs. These extended features don't really have a place in the workflow of most Photoshop users.

That doesn't mean that you'll never use any of these features! You might find a need to calculate a height or a distance using the measuring tools in Vanishing Point, or perhaps use the Count tool.

As a photographer, you may find that a couple of the Smart Object stack modes can be used to solve a couple of photographic challenges. And who can resist the temptation to play around with 3D? In this figure, you can see the 3D panel and menu commands.

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Calculate with Vanishing Point

Photoshop CC also offers measurement in perspective through Vanishing Point. Suppose, for example, you need to calculate how much wallpaper to order for the room shown in the figure. You know the height of the window (70 inches) and using that as your known measurement, you can have Photoshop calculate the height and length of each wall.

Measurements can also be made in perspective with Vanishing Point.
Measurements can also be made in perspective with Vanishing Point.

Counting crows or maybe Avian Flu

Nested with the Ruler tool and the Eyedroppers in the Toolbox is the Count tool. Zoom in and start clicking on whatever you need to count, whether they're birds in the sky or viruses on a slide. Each item you click is labeled with a number.

When you want to record the count, click the Record Measurements button in the Measurement Log. You can also record and work with multiple counts. To the right of the Count Groups menu in the Options bar (see the figure) are buttons to show/hide the currently selected count group, to start a new count group, and to delete the current count group.

Click the color swatch in the Options bar to select a new color for the count group, and you can customize both the size of the circle that marks the count and the marker number — individually for each count group.

Click on each item and Photoshop keeps a running tally for you.
Click on each item and Photoshop keeps a running tally for you.

(Don't you love the way that Warning symbol in the margin catches your eye?) Adjust the marker and label sizes before you start clicking around in your image with the Count tool — changing the size after placing your count markers can shift them in the image window, destroying your meticulous placement.

Viewing Your DICOM Medical Records

If your doctor's office, hospital, or lab has sent you home with a CD, it probably contains DICOM (Digital Imaging and COmmunication in Medicine) images. It might contain the results of a CAT scan, MRI, ultrasound, or X-rays, and you can open the files and take a look right in Photoshop.

Copy the files to your hard drive. (Don't open files into Photoshop directly from a CD or DVD.) Choose File→Open. In the Open dialog box, select the frames in which you’re interested and then click Open.

In the next dialog box that opens (shown in the figure), select the frames, elect to open as layers in an image (the Import Frames as Layers option) or in a grid pattern (the N-Up Configuration option), and then click Open. (You can also use Photoshop's File→Place command to add a DICOM image to an existing image.)

Review medical imagery right in Photoshop CC.
Review medical imagery right in Photoshop CC.

Ignoring MATLAB

Photoshop CC offers all of these interesting features for scientists, researchers, and technicians, so it only makes sense that it should work with some of the file formats they actually use and integrate with their software.

When you come across the term MATLAB in Photoshop CC, recognize it as a software environment (sort of like a programming language) that speeds calculations and helps coordinate work in various technical programs. Unless you actually work with MATLAB, say in a research lab, you really don't need to know anything else about it.

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