PS CS2 & Extensis PhotoTools with PhotoBars…Adobe folk, help?

DP
Posted By
Daryl_Pritchard
Apr 26, 2005
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2911
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Closed
Chris, Scott, Stephanie, Mark…anyone at Adobe who might know:

I have been receiving inquiries about my plans to update/remap PhotoBars for use with Photoshop CS2, which I’d certainly like to do. However, a couple of users, one using the U.S. English version and the other possibly using the Int’l. English version have both reported that they saw no PhotoBars when installing the version I remapped for PS CS2. It would be no surprise to find the toolbar buttons not mapping in CS2 as they did in CS, due to changes in the menu structure, but he fact that the toolbars do not show up at all raises a question which I’m hopeful one of you can answer with certainty.

Namely, assuming you are familiar with what Extensis did to implement PhotoBars, do you know if the changes made with the GUI in PS CS2 are definitely such that the approach Extensis used to provide toolbar functionality will no longer work? I know Chris once said that Extensis departed from the plug-in spec when they first created PhotoTools, so I pretty much expected Photoshop would eventually evolve beyond a point where that plug-in suite is functional. I also know that Adobe seems to largely shun the idea of toolbars, but it is a highly useful functionality to quite a few Photoshop users. Regardless, I’ll ask anyway…if you do know of some change that would prevent PhotoBars from working, do you know if it would be possible to provide a patch that allows PhotoBars to work without introducing problems in the changes made to the PS CS2 GUI?

Thanks,

Daryl

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M
MarcPawliger
Apr 26, 2005
In article ,
wrote:

I have been receiving inquiries about my plans to update/remap PhotoBars for use with Photoshop CS2, which I’d certainly like to do. However, a couple of users, one using the U.S. English version and the other possibly using the Int’l. English version have both reported that they saw no PhotoBars when installing the version I remapped for PS CS2. It would be no surprise to find the toolbar buttons not mapping in CS2 as they did in CS, due to changes in the menu structure, but he fact that the toolbars do not show up at all raises a question which I’m hopeful one of you can answer with certainty.

Namely, assuming you are familiar with what Extensis did to implement PhotoBars, do you know if the changes made with the GUI in PS CS2 are definitely such that the approach Extensis used to provide toolbar functionality will no longer work? I know Chris once said that Extensis departed from the plug-in spec when they first created PhotoTools, so I pretty much expected Photoshop would eventually evolve beyond a point where that plug-in suite is functional. I also know that Adobe seems to largely shun the idea of toolbars, but it is a highly useful functionality to quite a few Photoshop users. Regardless, I’ll ask anyway…if you do know of some change that would prevent PhotoBars from working, do you know if it would be possible to provide a patch that allows PhotoBars to work without introducing problems in the changes made to the PS CS2 GUI?

I would direct this question to Extensis. The mechanism used by Extensis to hook their menubar extension is not a documented or supported method of doing so. Extensis may need to release a new revision of PhotoBars to work with Photoshop CS2.

–marc
CC
Chris_Cox
Apr 26, 2005
Actually, given the new menu handling in CS2, I really doubt that their old code will work.
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
Apr 26, 2005
Marc (misspelled your name, sorry!) and Chris,

Thanks for the info. With the menu customization now offered in PSCS2, I’m not surprised to hear that PhotoBars is unlikely to work. Unfortunately Extensis is of no help at all, as they discontinued support of PhotoTools (PhotoBars being one component) a few years ago. I’ve just been lucky that the original PhotoBars has continued to work as is, with only a remapping of the buttons needed for PS6 through PS CS. If I had the talent to create such a plug-in for PS CS2, I’d sure do it, as a customizable toolbar is a great asset to Photoshop. Personally, I see little or no value in menu customization and wish you folk had directed your energies toward adding customizable toolbars & buttons. I don’t mean that as any sort of slam on Adobe, but it just seems to me that toolbars that provide one-click acess to any choice of nested menu commands is still much faster and convenient than simply hiding the commands in the menu that a user doesn’t need. I know many like using keyboard shortcuts and feel that is sufficient, but as easy as it must’ve been for Extensis to provide toolbar functionality that had no degrading effect on Photoshop, I’d have thought Adobe could’ve done the same, and done it better.

I’ll wait until the PSCS2 trial comes out and see if I can figure out any way to get PhotoBars to work, such as leaving all menu items revealed so that there’s no risk to the mapping. I suspect the "hooks" will still be messed up though. If Photobars is dead with PS CS2 then folks who prefer toolbars may prefer to stick with PS7 or PS CS if they can’t otherwise justify a good reason to go with PS CS2.

Thanks,

Daryl
F
Fotoeros
Apr 26, 2005
Have been using the PhotoBars for years now
"but it just seems to me that toolbars that provide one-click acess to any choice of nested menu commands is still much faster and convenient than simply hiding the commands in the menu that a user doesn’t need."

Thats why I find the PhotoBars great , we have two studios with the same setup and it makes it easier for our less experinced users .

all things being square or rectangular I’ll never figure out why the tool menu is where it is instead of in the empty space of the menu bar.
RC
Ronald_Chambers
Apr 26, 2005
Maybe Adobe should buy PhotoTools from Extensis and upgrade it to work with CS2. I’ll bet Extensis would like a few bucks and Adobe sure would get a lot of judos for doing it.

This option would put Daryl out of upgrading PhotoTools every year but I’ll bet he wouldn’t mind.

Comments from Chris Cox?

RON C
AC
Andrew_Curatola
Apr 26, 2005
Daryl, I have my special statue of St. Jude that came through for me on Super Bowl boxes that I had for the last three Super Bowls. I’m now hoping that my St. Jude statue helps you on figuring out Photobars for CS2. I’ve been relying on your Photobars since you started it after Extensis Photo Tools said, "No more Photobars".

Thank you Daryl
Andrew
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
Apr 26, 2005
Ron,

Indeed, while maintaining PhotoBars provided me a bit of funding to offset a few purchases, such as my Nikon D70, I’d be happy to give up that effort to someone with the talent to provide an even better implementation of customizable toolbars. For example, PhotoBars as is remain nested within the Photoshop workspace, yet it would be nice if they could float outside the workspace as with the palettes and toolbox. That way, for dual-monitor setups, they could be dragged onto the 2nd monitor where one might keep their tools.

I know there are some who don’t like toolbars, and that’s fine…I’m not talking about something that has to be a permanent part of the GUI, but rather is a user-selectable option that can be enabled if desired. Likewise, when disabled, you’d never know it exists until you remembered how convenient it was. 🙂

Daryl
RB
Robert_Barnett
Apr 26, 2005
Why should they buy a dead product that used smoke and mirrors to work in the first place. All they have to do is add toolbars to Photoshop like many have asked for for years. I think Photoshop is the only application that doesn’t offer them.

Robert
RM
Rob_Miller
Apr 26, 2005
Funny to note that Photoshop Elements has toolbars. Photoshop CS2 is ripe for toolbars. I’d love to toss a few of my favorite commands on a toolbar versus going to a menu or remembering yet another keystroke.
SB
Scott_Byer
Apr 26, 2005
Hmm. I understand the desire for toolbars, so we’ll put it on the list for discussion.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t hold up development of the menu system for backwards compatibility. Having the user-customizable menu colors with presets was far too useful a feature.

-Scott

wrote:
Ron,

Indeed, while maintaining PhotoBars provided me a bit of funding to offset a few purchases, such as my Nikon D70, I’d be happy to give up that effort to someone with the talent to provide an even better implementation of customizable toolbars. For example, PhotoBars as is remain nested within the Photoshop workspace, yet it would be nice if they could float outside the workspace as with the palettes and toolbox. That way, for dual-monitor setups, they could be dragged onto the 2nd monitor where one might keep their tools.

I know there are some who don’t like toolbars, and that’s fine…I’m not talking about something that has to be a permanent part of the GUI, but rather is a user-selectable option that can be enabled if desired. Likewise, when disabled, you’d never know it exists until you remembered how convenient it was. 🙂

Daryl
H
hallinan
Apr 26, 2005
Thanks, Daryl, for all the work you have put into keeping the toolbars alive. They really did make Photoshop easier, faster and fun. I’ll miss them.

Dennis
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
Apr 26, 2005
Dennis,

Thanks…I’m glad I could help. And, once I get my hands on the PS CS2 trial or see Adobe answer other concerns that encourage me to upgrade, I’ll definitely still explore if PhotoBars is truly inoperative with PS CS2. I do expect that to be the case, unfortunately.

Scott,

Making toolbars a topic for discussion of a feature to be provided in PS is all anyone can ask for, short of actually providing the feature. But, without having PS CS2 in front of me to actually gain whatever appreciation is to be had of the new menu customization, here’s my two cents worth on that:

Customizable menu colors with presets is "far too useful a feature"?? What little info I’ve found online that illustrates this new feature of PS CS2 doesn’t give me that impression at all, so again, perhaps I’m just missing it’s real usefulness. Useful…yes, but "far too useful"? I just don’t see that. In Scott Kelby’s overview of PS CS2, he cites that the colored menu customization makes it easier to find, for example, all the new features of PS CS2. I can see that to be one good use of colored menu items, but imagine instead if all those new features were directly accessible by simply enabling a toolbar where they are one-click away. "Finding" almost becomes a misnomer, because a visual association would come to be established pretty quickly, much like playing the piano. Conversely, to find them in a menu (or a submenu of that) means to first remember which menu to choose. That’s not so hard, but for a novice user it still takes a bit of learning. At the same time, I would say that novice does need to learn where menu items are, whether they have toolbars or not.

So, stepping away from the new features and just thinking in terms of customizing the menus so that one can more quickly find the items they use most, again, that is even more quickly provided from a customized toolbar (or keyboard shortcuts, which still don’t cover all menu items and which aren’t all so easily remembered). For the preset workspaces, toolbars of choice for a given workspace would automatically be enabled and present the user again with one-click access to their most used commands. Oh, and while I’m thinking of it, although the Actions palette can be put into button mode, that still isn’t as compact, visually intuitive, or efficient to use when all we’re talking about is quick acess to individual commands.

I’ve seen arguments that toolbars waste precious screen space, yet that would only be true if they are overused. I hate the stacks of toolbars in MS Office applications, but fortunately they can be customized to provide only what I need, and the same could be true of toolbars in Photoshop. Using my current PS CS setup with PhotoBars CS as an example, One toolbar docked to the top of the workspace on a 1280×1024 screen provides immediate access to 48 commands or submenus. Meanwhile, just above it is truly some wasted space in the form of the unusued area to the right of the Help menu…wasted space whether you have toolbars or not. One toolbar of 48 buttons may be more than enough for many users to access their favorite commands but, if not, then a single toolbar docked to the side of the workspace provides me another 36 buttons. I don’t think I could remember 94 keyboard shortcuts to save my life, but visually recognizing the purpose of 94 icons is pretty easy.

In the case of PhotoBars, the Tab key does not hide the docked toolbars as it does the floating palettes in Photshop. That might be an advantage or a disadvantage, subject to a user’s own preferences. If a disadvantage, the cost in terms of screen real estate is still small enough that I can’t see it being a huge concern.

In the end, I can’t imagine any good justification for NOT providing customizable toolbars that can be enabled by the user who prefers to make use of them. Disabled, they hinder nobody, but enabled they become a tremendously convenient aid to productivity that I personally don’t think any kind of menu customization can better. Moreover, to repeat another advantage that I never thought of until a few PhotoBars users mentioned to me, toolbars are reportedly a great help to those who are mobility impaired or have problems with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

So, just consider that all food for thought…I really hope Adobe does give this very serious consideration for Photoshop. It’s too bad that PS CS2 may have caused loss of PhotoBars and that users may have another 18 months to wait, if not longer, before such usability is regained.

Adobe provided a PS CS patch that allowed KPT3 to work. I wish we could expect the same for PhotoTools/PhotoBars, but I don’t see that as likely to happen…this is probably a more involved change than KPT3 required.

Regards,

Daryl
T
troyhark
Apr 26, 2005
Had a look at Elements 3 to see what people mean by toolbars and its very, very like Dreamweaver MX and CorelDraw has had a similar thing for many years. Corel’s customisable toolbar in addition to the context sensitive toolbar [which Illustrator has finally copied] is so superior to anything Adobe has ever implemented, because I get quick access to the specific features that I use. No idea how to find many of them in Menus.
Toolbars taking up screen space is not really an issue if one uses the tab to make them disappear/reappear and learns the basic shortcuts, so toolbars and menus become even less necessary.
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
Apr 26, 2005
Troy,

I don’t know what Elements 3 offers in the way of toolbars, but from what I vaguely recall of Dreamweaver MX from a demo I saw once, its toolbars (if we’re speaking of the same thing) were more of a stacked and tabbed, multiple palettes. So, to get to a certain command you still might have to select the tab of the "palette-bar" on which the command resided, thus meaning two clicks to get where you were going. The toolbars of which I speak in PhotoBars are not stacked. All toolbars that the user wishes to be visible can be positioned so that is true, thus providing immediate access to the commands residing on them. I show an example at <http://jazzdiver.com/photoshop/photobars_hiding.gif> which illustrates 2 docked PhotoBars toolbars and two that are floating. Photobars permits docking one toolbar to each edge of the Photoshop workspace, and any additional toolbars must then be left floating…I can’t imagine most folks would need more than 1 or 2 active toolbars.

Something about your last comment is confusing. I think the jist of your message is that you favor toolbars yet then this comment seems to say you don’t find them necessary. What?

Regards,

Daryl
QP
Q_Photo
Apr 27, 2005
Daryl Pritchard,

While I just simply have learned to use Photoshop without the use of “Photobars” I want to commend you on all that you have done in this area.

It seems to me that you do appreciate Photoshop for all that it is capable of doing. At the same, time you are not afraid to point out the few short-comings that it has.

In the past, I would add my comments (supporting you) to anything that was posted about Adobe’s REactivation policy as I always agreed that this is a stupid process.

While I really have no feelings concerning this “Photobars” topic, one way or the other, I still salute you, as I think that you represent the average Photoshop user.

Being average is not a bad thing, in my opinion. I certainly consider myself in that category. If I’m not mistaken, average usually equals majority.

At any rate, my hat’s off to you. Thank you.
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
Apr 27, 2005
Q,

Many thanks for the kind words. I am indeed, and at best, an average user of Photoshop. The purpose for which I use it could easily be satisfied by a lesser produt, but I generally like the design of Photoshop in spite of its shortcomings. Plus, ever since I got PS3.0 with an Epson scanner back in ’95 or so, staying with PS via the upgrades hasn’t been all that much more expensive than if I had jumped ship to some other product. In the meantime, I’ve scarcely ever learned how to exploit the power of PS, via using layer masks, channels, etc., and as such I continue to learn something every time I use it. Given that I’m not a highly skilled user of PS, it’s not often that I can make suggestions on how do to something that involves some of the more sophisticated operations, but I do offer what help I can. However, more fundamental aspects that affect usability are something most everyone can appreciate, and hence my rants on reactivation as well as my suggestions in favor of adding customizable toolbar support. With the former, Adobe has been very short-sighted and I’m curious to see how things work with PS CS2. With the latter, toolbars, I can appreciate how Adobe may favor the GUI they’ve long been known for, but I suggest that it can still be improved in a manner that will benefit many while not hindering any who like things as they are.

Thanks again,

Daryl
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
Apr 27, 2005
Bad News for PhotoBars Users….

Today a friend received his PS CS2 upgrade and we got together tonight to try out installing PhotoTools 3.06 and PhotoBars CS. Consistent with what I’ve heard and feared to be correct, PhotoBars will not work with the new menu architecture used in Photoshop CS2. The toolbars do not appear nor does the Extensis menu reflect the entries for commands related to PhotoBars. As the result, the toolbars are wholly inacessible and there’s nothing I can do to activate them. So, for those of you who have an earlier version of Photoshop, be advised that you will lose PhotoBars usefulness if you upgrade to PS CS2. I’m not saying don’t upgrade, but rather just take into consideration whether you expect to really benefit from the new features, relative to how you use Photoshop. If the loss of toolbars outweighs the new feature gain, then stay put. If the new features are worth the toolbar loss, then upgrade.

Meanwhile, if you have any concerns about reactivation issues from PS CS carrying forward into PS CS2, I don’t have too much yet to offer on that. However, I did do one brief exercise that always caused PS CS to prompt for reactivation: I moved the Safecast DAT files out of the normal folder (which is a different location for PS CS2) and then launced PS CS2. It launched successfully, in spite of the Safecast file not being present. Upon closure of PS CS2, the DAT file was not recreated, so that suggests to me that PS CS2 no longer updates the files related to activation but that some other approach is used to assess whether or not reactivation is needed. Replacing the original DAT file made no difference. So, for what little I could explore tonight, I feel somewhat reassured that the new activation and reactivation process is more robust and tolerant of situations where that was not true for PS CS. If I do upgrade to PS CS2, I’ll be sure to explore some of my concerns further, voicing them of course if warranted.

The biggest question currently unanswered for me regarding PS CS2 reactivation, is whether or not use of PS CS2 is immediately denied when reactivation is prompted. To test that out, I’d have to figure out a certain step to force a reactivation prompt, but I’ll wait until I have my own installation to tinker with rather than someone else’s. If Adobe hasn’t implemented a grace period into reactivation, then we’re all still going to be faced with a major problem if PS CS2 ever exhibits erroneous reactivation prompts as were seen with PS CS. As usual, the problem would be that of what if reactivation is prompted and yet you’re nowhere near a phone or internet connection? A grace period should be considered mandatory in a professional application that implements activation.

Regards,

Daryl
PC
Pierre_Courtejoie
Apr 27, 2005
Daryl, will you update your activation page with the new discoveries about the new process?
IL
Ian_Lyons
Apr 27, 2005
I would discourage Daryl from publishing anything along the lines he’s outlined above because the actions he described suggest that he wasn’t working with anything related to CS2.
PC
Pierre_Courtejoie
Apr 27, 2005
I was talking about this part: "I feel somewhat reassured that the new activation and reactivation process is more robust and tolerant of situations where that was not true for PS CS."

Of course messing with the activations files should be strongly discouraged. If endusers mess with it, it is totally normal that some will end up at the complaint desk about activation, then…
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
Apr 27, 2005
Pierre,

While I updated my page about Photobars availability for CS2 and included a comment in it about activation that is similar to what I stated here, I have not updated my page about activation since I still don’t really have any answers to my other questions regarding both PS CS2 and how Adobe will address the problems in PS CS for those not upgrading yet. My primary interest last night was exploring PhotoBars. I didn’t spend too much time looking into my questions regarding activation and Ian’s comment suggests I overlooked something, so I’ll just heed his advice and say no more until I decide to upgrade and have time to explore things in detail with with my own system. Regardless, I do feel reassured that Adobe has indeed improved license management.

Regards,

Daryl
T
troyhark
Apr 27, 2005
Daryl, the reason part of my post may have sounded confusing is that I agree toolbars may be useful for some, but for those that worry about space they take up, tabbing removes all said clutter. Knowing shortcut keys for all your basic functions is much, much easier than any number of toolbars and it means one can work on an uncluttered image very quickly. PS has very good shortcuts and I now map them onto other programmes, if I can.
The toolbars in the link you provide look very much like what has been possible in CorelDraw for as long as I remember – Customisible Strips of features one uses most often. Though the sheer number of instantly accessible tools is little excessive and for me unnecessary.
Many ‘hidden’ features usually appear in context toolbar when appropriate tool is selected in PS +CD. Which gets rid of need for many shortcuts. CD has 400+ options to add to customisable strips but you only need choose what is relevant and not bother with anything that comes up on context toolbar, but at least the option is there.

Dreamweaver MX [Win only I believe] has a tidied up palette arrangement which Elements 3 has copied almost exactly. At least Macromedia isn’t likely to sue now. The DW MX interface is very efficient and nice to use. On a designers monitor which is usually way bigger than the smaller monitors the websites are designed for this layout works very well. And when doing web work minimizing clicks becomes an art in itself.
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
Apr 27, 2005
Troy,

I definitely agree that knowing your shortcut keys for basic functions is useful when you want to work with an uncluttered workspace. But, the toolbars come in handy for less "basic" items that may not be used quite so often but which the user still prefers quick access to. Actually, a combination of keyboard shortcuts, menu use, and toolbars provides what I think to be an optimum working environment. PhotoBars works much as you describe for CD, with all toolbars being editable to provide as many or as few options as you want, and with more than 400 buttons to choose from.

Yesterday I tried working in PS CS with my toolbars disabled, just to see how much it slowed my workflow as I edited images for both printing and then for the web. One of the most obvious things that stood out to me was how Save For Web is a 4-key shortcut…talk about unwieldy! To simply click a button is so much more convenient. Overall, I did feel measurably hampered by not having toolbars at my disposal, in spite of still using some of the basic keyboard shortcuts…most of which are 2-key combinations, or 1 key for tool selection. But, using Save For Web as an example, PS CS does allow one to customize the shortcuts so those freuqently used items are more easily accessed. In my case though, I simply incorporated it into an action along with some other rouine commands that I typically performed prior to using SFW. That done, a simple F key selection took care of my needs. So, yes, there are alternatives using the PS GUI as designed that are still effective. It all just boils down to what one becomes accustomed to, as well as their personal preferences in how they might use any program. I think Adobe could easily provide the best of all worlds by enhancing their GUI with customizable toolbars that can be enabled per a user’s own discretion.

Regards,

Daryl
JJ
John Joslin
Apr 27, 2005
I am a supporter (and user) of Daryl’s toolbars although not to the extent shown in his earlier screenshot – I use about a dozen buttons regularly and the rest are keyboard shortcuts and context menus.

Once you have used buttons it is definitely crippling when they are gone.

Keyboard shortcuts are fine, but some of them require the fingers of a gibbon and, if you have too many (shortcuts, not fingers), you have a job remembering them. (Buttons tell you what they are – shortcuts don’t!)

The sweet solution is a combination of both and, when you look around the proliferation of buttons in other programs, you wonder why Adobe has been so stubborn for so long. As Daryl says, you only have to display the ones you want, and I still manage with the real estate of a laptop screen with CS1 and a row of buttons.
DM
dave_milbut
Apr 27, 2005
I’m just happy that PS’s interface doesn’t resemble KPT interfaces in any way! 🙂
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
Apr 27, 2005
KPT interfaces…interesting and nifty to look at, but a challenge to use!
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
Apr 27, 2005
Hey folks,

I don’t want to spread any sort of misinformation about activation or reactivation, so I need to make a correction on what I stated earlier. Ian’s comment that said my actions suggested I wasn’t working with anything related to PS CS2 really left me puzzled, such that I began to question if the installation of PS CS2 I was working with last night was a beta or other "unofficial" release. Contacting my friend, he assured me it wasn’t, and that the program had been properly activated. So, that put the onus on me and I called and asked my friend to repeat what I had attempted last night, moving the license manager DAT file out of its as-installed folder. Well, contrary to what I reported, reactivation was in fact prompted when PS CS2 was launched. We tried a few variations with the same result, leaving me to conclude I’d simply gotten careless and performed a copy rather than a move. That should’ve been obvious, but maybe I was more tired than I realized, and hurrying led to mistakes.

But, there is still good news that reflects an improvement upon PS CS. With PS CS, that DAT file was updated when the app was closed, and it was, for all practical purposes, synchronized with other activation records. Consequently, an operation such as simply moving the DAT file to another area, launching & closing PS, and then returning the DAT file to its original folder would have caused PS CS to prompt for reactivation. That is NOT the case with PS CS2, where restoring the file also removes the reactivation prompt.

Actually, I’d say this is better than good news…it is excellent news, and it leads me to expect far fewer random, errant reactivation prompts arising. While it may be of little use should such a prompt occur, my advice is to encourage all PS CS2 users to make a backup copy of the DAT file residing in C:\DOCUMENTS AND SETTINGS\APPLICATION DATA\ADOBE SYSTEMS\PRODUCT LICENSES. Then, if a reactivation prompt does ever arise at a time when you don’t have access to communications for performing a reactivation, replacing the current file with the backup copy might get you back in business. No guarantee of that, but at least it is worth a shot.

Meanwhile, be advised that if reactivation does occur, there is no grace period provided and you are indeed dead in the water for using PS CS2 until you can reactivate by phone or internet. The Transfer Activation process might provide a way out of that situation if you already have the associated data on backup media, but I don’t know. If not, and if there is no solution to that situation, then Adobe should be pressured by the user community to provide a solution. I suspect the likelihood is pretty rare of a user being prompted for reactivation when they have no communications access for doing so, but that’s no excuse for not providing a grace period of use.

Regards,

Daryl
T
tmalcom
Apr 27, 2005
I’ve been jealous of people who have Daryl’s PhotoBars for some time now. Extensis dropped PhotoTools and I’ve never been able to find a copy so that I could use PhotoBars. I’m not a fan of endless menus and keyboard shortcuts. Aren’t there any brave programmers out there who could put together something similar? I, for one, would be willing to pay for such a thing. I’d love to have customizable toolbars so I could use my Actions palette the way it’s intended instead of having to use it for my frequently-used commands.
RC
Ronald_Chambers
Apr 27, 2005
Are there any other major programs for Windows without toolbars? Non that I know of. Seems like time to have them in PhotoShop CS2 revision 1.

Were any of you asked your preference of toolbars versus colored menus? I wasn’t and would have asked for toolbars as I’d never use colored menus if I had toolbars.

Too much of Adobe’s changes are done without sampling the users. I’ve participated in every survey that I’ve been asked.

RON C
CC
Chris_Cox
Apr 28, 2005
We did talk to the users about that and many other things.

Just because we didn’t ask it on the forums doesn’t mean that we didn’t talk to users.
J
johnkissane3
Apr 28, 2005
Chris, Christ has his cross to bear also…. 🙂
RK
Ronald Keller
Apr 28, 2005
Daryl,

I can’t find C:\DOCUMENTS AND SETTINGS\APPLICATION DATA\ADOBE SYSTEMS\PRODUCT LICENSES on my computer. Is this folder only created by CS2? (I’m still using CS)

BTW I too was a happy PhotoBars user and regret it seems they are no longer working in CS2…

Regards,

Ronald
IL
Ian_Lyons
Apr 28, 2005
It should read: C:\DOCUMENTS AND SETTINGS\All Users\APPLICATION DATA\ADOBE SYSTEMS\PRODUCT LICENSES
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
Apr 28, 2005
Oops! Thanks Ian.
P
Pipkin
Apr 28, 2005
We all have to ask one brave programmer to help us with PhotoBars under CS2: <http://www.jazzdiver.com/photoshop/photobars.htm>
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
Apr 28, 2005
Pipkin,

I do wish I could…but I’m no programmer. Or, are you directing your comment toward Adobe or perhaps even someone else? Part, if not the entire problem, is that Extensis didn’t adhere to the plug-in spec when they developed PhotoBars, and I’m not sure how hard it would be for someone to reverse engineer the plug-in and determine what was done, or how to modify it. For Adobe to do that might be risking some sort of legal issues with Extensis, although Extensis no longer markets or supports PhotoTools.

One fellow Photoshop/PhotoBars user, Nic Barlow, referred me to a product called Macro Toolbar that I’m looking at right now. It isn’t as elegant or tidy a solution as PhotoBars, I don’t think, but it might give some sort of option until Adobe realizes the usefulness of toolbars and provides them as an option.

In another thread, I commented about how I saw little value in the roll-up workspace of PS CS2, but others gave examples of its potential usefulness. Ian also commented to the effect of "if you don’t like it, you don’t have to use it", which equally would apply to customizable toolbars. Well, as I explore the use of Macro Toolbar, I can see where a roll-up workspace might aid using it also, although it also has a "stay on top" option that would also allow it to be placed into some other area of the screen while still leaving PS fully accessible.

Info on Macro Toolbar can be found at <http://www.pitrinec.com>

Perhaps there is hope yet.

Daryl
RP
Russell_Proulx
Apr 28, 2005
I find customizable toolbars to be indispensable (or at least a real PITA if they’re missing). It’s just so much easier to just move the mouse up and click on a small button to do common chores like Purging, Crop a Selection, Change to 8 bit, Unsharp Masking, Change to Grayscale or CMYK, Convert to Profile… ". Yes, many of these can be done using a keyboard shortcut. But this often slows me down on a job and is very impractical when using a pen. I never thought of submitted this to Adobe as a ‘feature request’ because it was already there and working just fine since PS4 (3.5?).

I could create the same features using ‘Actions’. But that menu takes up too much desktop real estate for what it does. Would have been great if Adobe offered "Action Mini-Buttons" which could look a lot like the Extensis PhotoTools. The user could even design their own icon for the buttons.

I just find keyboard shortcuts to be too labour intensive when a simple click on a small button does the same thing.

It’s sad to hear that this longtime useful feature has been locked out by Adobe.

Russell
CC
Chris_Cox
Apr 28, 2005
It hasn’t been locked out – we changed our code and PhotoBars doesn’t work with the new code. I’m amazed it’s worked as long as it has.
RP
Russell_Proulx
Apr 29, 2005
It hasn’t. been locked out – we changed our code and PhotoBars doesn’t work with the new code.

I would have assumed that someone among the Beta testers must noticed this loss of functionality? Adobe has chosen to offer nothing to replace it.

I thought my ‘mini-Actions button mode’ was a pretty good suggestion. It would offer the user a grid of ‘mini-action icons’ to perform programmed tasks using the existing Actions feature. This would give folks who prefer to use **only** a mouse and/or pen a workaround. I’d even pay Adobe $100 more for the feature (offer it as an addon?).

Russell
JJ
John Joslin
Apr 29, 2005
‘mini-Actions button mode’

That reminds me of the "Commands" palette in v 3.0
MM
Mick_Murphy
Apr 29, 2005
Russell

I don’t know if this is of any interest but I wrote a little toolbar program which I have sitting in the large pile of things I have started but never finished. It is not a plug-in, more of a plug-out in that it runs outside of PS. It sits on the desktop on my second monitor.

At the moment it has only a few buttons but more could be added. Unfortunately, It is not user-customisable so I would have to customise it as required. Post back if you are interested and I can arrange to send you a demo.
RP
Russell_Proulx
Apr 29, 2005
Unfortunately, It is not user-customizable so I would have to customize it as required.

Then it would not be of much use to me. I need to add only those items that **I** use most often. This will change from person to person.

Fwiw: here’s what I use for my setup : <http://www.r2p2.com/pt/>

This could even be a floating or docked pallet. But it needs to be user customizable to be worthwhile.

Russell
MM
Mick_Murphy
Apr 29, 2005
I could do a user customisable version if I had time but this would be a lot of work and I just don’t have time at present. Programming is a hobby for me.
SB
Scott_Byer
Apr 29, 2005
You wouldn’t have thought, no?

The super-compact Actions button mode is a good idea, maybe as a secondary view into Actions.

-Scott

wrote:

I would have assumed that someone among the Beta testers must noticed this loss of functionality? Adobe has chosen to offer nothing to replace it.

I thought my ‘mini-Actions button mode’ was a pretty good suggestion. It would offer the user a grid of ‘mini-action icons’ to perform programmed tasks using the existing Actions feature. This would give folks who prefer to use **only** a mouse and/or pen a workaround. I’d even pay Adobe $100 more for the feature (offer it as an addon?).

Russell
T
tmalcom
Apr 29, 2005
The super-compact Actions button mode is a good idea, maybe as a secondary view into Actions.

I’d rather see it in addition to the Actions buttons rather than a different view of it. My Actions palette is configured as toolbar buttons, but I’d really rather use it for other things.
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
Apr 29, 2005
Scott,

Rather than provide a secodary view into Actions, if by that you mean yet another alternate view of the Actions palette, how about making such super-compact actions buttons something that could reside on another super-compact palette….i.e., a toolbar? Personally, I like keeping my Actions in a normal non-buttonized mode so that I can optionally go in and run a part of one if desired.

I’ve seen a few people write me who’ve said that having toolbars in Photoshop is so valuable to them that they readily pay a significant price for an add-on akin to PhotoBars. Don’t I wish I had the software development talent to do that myself! One guy even quoted as high a price as $200, which surely hope was an exaggeration, yet didn’t come across that way. Tablet users seem to be particularly keen on toolbars, for obvious reasons.

I must say, I’m really curious which specific changes it was that Adobe made to the menu architecture or GUI as a whole that caused PhotoBars to no longer work. Feeding off Russell’s comment earlier, I’d not really have expected Adobe to test whether or not PhotoTools with my PhotoBars supplement worked in PS CS2 since Extensis discontinued the product at PS6. But, if it was providing the color keying of the menu items that cost the loss of PhotoBars, that would sure be a shame. I have to believe the cause was something more extensive than a feature which, while not useless, does nonetheless pale in value to the convenience of operation provided by a custom toolbar interface.

Right now, I’m just exploring the use of Macro Toolbar as a substitute for PhotoBars. It seems to work reasonably well and can actually ride "always on top" in the title bar area of the Photoshop workspace, thus making use of an otherwise largely wasted space. A minor nuisance is that Macro Toolbar is a separately-launched app that normally resides as a system tray item. It is supposed to launch automatically for any given defined program, but I’ve not seen that to be the case yet. For those who are happy just to have quick acess to one toolbar of favorite commands, it looks like this may be a temporary answer until Adobe really absorbs the value of toolbars…as an option that can be viewed just as one might choose to view or hide any of the palettes.

Regards,

Daryl
AC
Andrew_Curatola
Apr 29, 2005
Daryl, I wasn’t exaggerating when I said I’d pay $200 for Photobars. If Extensis came out again with Phototools which included Photobars, I’d buy that program in a heart beat just so I can have Photobars again. That’s how much they mean to me.

Andrew
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
Apr 29, 2005
Andrew,

I wondered if that "other guy" might chime in here. 🙂 I didn’t want to name names. Perhaps the comments expressed here will at least send a firm message to Adobe about how useful toolbars are and encourage them to implement them if some other party doesn’t beat them to the punch.

Daryl
P
Pipkin
Apr 29, 2005
Andrew: "That’s how much they mean to me."
The same! It’s very strange that professional graphical editor with extremely intensive using of all it’s features has not get handy and comfortable instruments for job and workflow like Extensis PhotoBars… I am in the deepest upset… :-((
TK
Trista_K
Apr 29, 2005
Another software package that might work for those of you who rely on buttons is QuicKeys. It is a macro program that offers a lot of options for customization, including application-specific macros, customizable keyboard shortcuts, and toolbars that can float or dock and can themselves be activated with a shortcut.

It is cross-platform. It’s not too expensive (iirc). The learning curve for writing simple single-command macros and creating a toolbar should be fairly short.

Find it at www.cesoft.com <http://www.cesoft.com>.

Trista
(not associated with CE Software)
T
tmalcom
Apr 29, 2005
Daryl, I wasn’t exaggerating when I said I’d pay $200 for Photobars

I’d pay that too! Maybe if enough of us make the offer, someone will make what we want 🙂
DM
dave_milbut
Apr 29, 2005
where do i sign up for the sdk? 🙂
DM
dave_milbut
Apr 30, 2005
anyone? chris? you said there was a free sdk available now? if i were interested in developing somehting like this a photobars-like plug in could i get it? can you (or someone) please supply the link again and some info on what i’d need to do to get into it?

thanks,dave
CC
Chris_Cox
Apr 30, 2005
Yes, but the SDK won’t help you write PhotoBars.

< http://partners.adobe.com/public/developer/photoshop/devcent er.html>
RP
Russell_Proulx
Apr 30, 2005
I agree with Andrew. The cost is quickly recovered by the time saved doing the work.

Russell
JJ
John Joslin
Apr 30, 2005
Apart from the dyed-in-the-wool keyboard freaks, I think most of the resistance to buttons is from visions of something like M$Word, with a screen festooned with toolbars and an area the size of a postage stamp to work in.

I use only about a dozen buttons in PS CS and it’s been the same since they came out. The big speed gain is for items well-buried in the menus like Scan or with short cuts involving feats of incredible dexterity like Save for Web.

I too would pay a premium to have them in CS 2.
DM
dave_milbut
Apr 30, 2005
Yes, but the SDK won’t help you write PhotoBars.

having never used photobars (i’ve seen screen caps and heard it described), i’m curious as to why not? don’t you need the sdk to dock it in the photshop mdi? or am i misunderstanding what photobars does?
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
Apr 30, 2005
Dave,

Knowing nothing about the SDK myself, and hoping Chris or Scott might chime in here, I’m guessing that the SDK doesn’t reveal much about how the PS GUI itself is designed or how to hook into it so as to provide toolbars. Instead, it is probably directed more towards image manipulation or printing. Given that Chris said Extensis didn’t adhere to the plug-in spec, I’m again guessing that their software engineers knew enough about interface design that they figured out a way to "hook in" that would work but which simply deviated from whatever design rules the plug-in spec defines.

To give a quick description of what Photobars does, I’ll build up a demonstration video and post a link to it when I get a chance…it’s encoding right now.

Daryl
DM
dave_milbut
Apr 30, 2005
ok. daryl. but i don’t want to give you the wrong impression though. first, i don’t know if i CAN do something like this. second with 3 kids (6 mos, 7 & 8 ) and a full time job and house hunting (along with cleaning and selling our current place) it wouldn’t be a one week job. if at all, i’d say 6 mos. or more at the earliest.

i’m willing to look at it, but i don’t have a ton of free time to spend on it. sorry to say.

dave
MM
Mick_Murphy
Apr 30, 2005
Dave

I don’t know how one could build a toolbar that would work inside of PS but it is not very difficult to do one that runs outside and controls PS using COM automation with the PS scripting interface (with VB.NET for example). This would be a lot easier than delving into the SDK. The more difficult part would be to build in user customisation where a user could choose commands and associate icons with the commands. It shouldn’t be too difficult to do for an experienced programmer though but would be time consuming.
DM
dave_milbut
Apr 30, 2005
The more difficult part would be to build in user customisation where a user could choose commands and associate icons with the commands.

right. i’ve created little automation jobbers before that use stuff like "sendkeys" in vb, but i’m thinking something like in the old logitech fototouch, if you’ve ever seen it. you can drag any tool or menu item into a new button bar (like the one’s i’ve seen in the pix of photobars). so you’d need to hit the ps ui somehow. i’m mainly a vb programmer, but i’m not sure vb (or vb.net) is up to the task. i’m thinking c#.net or c++… i need to build up some c# skills anyway for a work project scheduled for sometime in the next 12-18 mos., so this might be a good self-training opportunity for me. 🙂

ftc is still available for pub download from logitech…

this link should work. check it out and see if that’s kinda what we’re after. it’s a small app, and installs FULLY into it’s own folder. no windows or windows\system or system32 files are loaded. (it was originally a win 3.1 app)

ftp://ftp.logitech.com/pub/techsupport/hand_held_scanners/ft c.exe
P
Phosphor
Apr 30, 2005
While I’m glad you’ve done the work for all these years, Daryl—as I’ve commended you on before, I’m damned glad I’m more reliant on shortcuts than buttons!

🙂
MM
Mick_Murphy
Apr 30, 2005
I don’t know the anything about writing plug-ins save to say that you would use an automation plug-in to drive PS here but how you would do the toolbar itself within PS I have no idea. I’ve just been using VB.NET with the scripting interface and you can do some amazing things with it. If you are stuck for time (sounds like you are) you should have a look at it before going into the SDK.

You can use but you don’t need C# to automate PS through COM. There is no performance benefit and there are lots of VB examples whereas there are very few C# examples.
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
Apr 30, 2005
Dave,

No worries…I wasn’t really expecting you to take on a project of this sort, given other priorities. I just thought I’d try making a demo video to illustrate PhotoBars for any who aren’t familiar with how it works. I was having problems though and just now finished another capture session and am rendering it…it may turn out too large for web use since I was stubborn and stuck to a 720×480 size video. I also went longer than I should’ve at 13 minutes, but it’s been kinda’ fun to see what I could do.

I’ve got a feeling that Macro Toolbar is going to be my answer for this toolbar-less dilemma. It’s not bad, and is less expensive than Quick Keys.

Phosphor, I hear ya’…although I do like the speed of use offered by toolbars, I still often use shortcuts also. It’s just a question of ease of use (multi-button shortcuts vs. one-click) and memorization. Memorizing frequently used shortcuts isn’t that bad, even when multiple keys are involved, but a good memory isn’t my forte’.

Regards,

Daryl
DM
dave_milbut
Apr 30, 2005
.it may turn out too large for web use since I was stubborn and stuck to a 720×480 size video.

you can mail it to me at dave at milbut dot org if you want to. i’d love to see it.

Memorizing frequently used shortcuts isn’t that bad, even when multiple keys are involved, but a good memory isn’t my forte’.

that’s true, except for when the combo forces you to use two hands or the "bass play stretch" to get there! 🙂

did you check out fototouch? look to see what it can do with creating a custom toolbar. it’s really simple. just look at the readme file (short) and it’ll tell you how to do it. something similar?
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
May 1, 2005
Dave,

I’ve not checked out Fototouch much yet. Creating this demo video has been a challenge that I’ve persisted with for simply learning more about how to do it. I’ve created an AVI, but it when I dump it into Premiere and export the video to a new format, the resulting video is mostly all a black screen, which I don’t understand. So, I’ve been fighting that problem off and on throughout the day. If and when I do get something built, I’ll mail you a link to it.

Thanks,

Daryl
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
May 1, 2005
Dave,

I’ve had a heck of a time editing my video. Premiere usually works great, but I don’t think I’ve ever used it for editing screen capture video, so maybe there’s some issue with the codec. For now, the best I can offer is the full quality AVI as it was initially captured. The video length is 13:25 and is a 12.7MB download as <http://jazzdiver.com/photoshop/photobars_cs_video.avi>. If you’ve got broadband, it shouldn’t take long to download it. Meanwhile, if the file doesn’t play due to your not having the codec, the codec installer can be downloaded as <http://jazzdiver.com/photoshop/tscc.exe>. Rather than bulk up the file with audio (since I had trouble anyway), I’ve just included some text to help explain what I’m attempting to demonstrate. Hopefully it will all be easy enough to understand and follow.

Time to get away from the PC for a while.

Regards,

Daryl
DM
dave_milbut
May 1, 2005
cool daryl… downloading.
JJ
John Joslin
May 1, 2005
Due to the constraints of making the video, Daryl’s demonstration might have given the impression that the tool bar takes up a lot of valuable working space

This <http://www.johnjoslin.co.uk/Uploads/Screenshot.jpg> shows that the workspace is not unduly restricted by a tool bar.
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
May 1, 2005
True indeed John…As I’m sure you realize, I simply kept the workspace small for the benefit of trying to keep the size of the video down. And, just as I can never leave well enough alone, I’ve finally reduced the video demo by about half, using a Camtasia Studio trial to export the video as a Flash movie. The variable quality rate (right key menu) makes it more suitable for viewing over the web by those interested.

<http://jazzdiver.com/photoshop/ps8bars_demonstration.htm>

Daryl
CC
Chris_Cox
May 1, 2005
The SDK documents file formats, and how to write plugins. But none of the Photoshop plugins will allow you to add something to the Photoshop UI (other than menu items).

For writing something like PhotoBars, the SDK won’t help.
DM
dave_milbut
May 1, 2005
hmm… ok thanks. still an interface via the menus might be useful.
CC
Chris_Cox
May 1, 2005
But that would just add a filter, adjustment, import, export, etc. — not what you’re looking for.
DM
dave_milbut
May 1, 2005

k. thanks. my idea is to be able to grab a menu item or tool and be able to drop it onto a custom toolbar. would the sdk allow me to do that (interface with the ps menu system and tool bar?) i haven’t watched all of daryl’s video yet though so i’m not sure that’s exactly close to what photobars does.
CC
Chris_Cox
May 1, 2005
Dave – nope.
D
deebs
May 1, 2005
Isn’t this all very Harvard Graphics – Smartsuite kind of stuff?

I wonder what research (user interface) info is out there?

My own preference is for menu driven options rather than icon-button driven. Sure, icon-buttons are great – but surely for most frequently used options rather than system driven?
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
May 1, 2005
While only a piece of an idea, one thought I had on this was that perhaps the keyboard shortcuts dialog could be expanded to include a column where icons could be defined in some manner, along with a hot-text description. Then, apart from that, one or more toolbars could be activated and the icon dragged from the shortcuts dialog onto the toolbar to build it up. Something of this nature would be more married in with the design of Photoshop however, and most likely require action from Adobe to implement.

Chris’s comments about how the SDK doesn’t support the addition of GUI elements leaves me to wonder how Extensis came up with the approach used with PhotoBars. I wonder if there was some amount of reverse engineering of Photoshop going on? All I know, is someone was pretty clever and if some variation of their approach would work with PS CS2, then there’s a potential income stream for them to do so again.

Daryl
D
deebs
May 1, 2005
I do a wee bit of IT training and using a menu based approach seems to work most of the time. It is intuitive whereas icon-buttons are very personal. Besides, an icon which one? which toolbar? seems great from a personal point of view as do personal toolbars but from a standardisation point of view ~ whew!
DM
dave_milbut
May 2, 2005
leaves me to wonder how Extensis came up with the approach used with PhotoBars.

looks like sheridan toolbars to me… (now infragistics).

we use something very similar in a couple apps i work on.
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
May 2, 2005
Deebs,

I agree, toolbars are totally for personalization and enhancing one’s own workflow. Heck, when I tried to come up with meaningful icons for every item in the PS menu structure, you can sure bet that many would be meaningless. However, once a person creates their own toolbar (be it from a set of predefined icons or ones they create) and begins using it, the visual association even to a cryptic icon becomes established and they soon realize what the associated button is for such that it nearly becomes instinctive.

I’m definitely not touting toolbars as the beat-all, end-all for an improved user interface, but they are (unquestionably, in my opinion) a productivity-enhancement to almost any user interface design. This becomes even more true when you factor in the range of users.

Dave, while the plug-in concept fits well to a customization of any sort, you’re correct that most plug-ins for PS are indeed image-manipulation oriented. So, perhaps a custom toolbar plug-in might be better categorized into the Automate menu…not that it really matters which menu provides access to it of course. It’s not exactly automation as I’d normally think of the definition, but in a sense a toolbar button is a way of automating the selection of a menu command. I’d call it something else instead…a "workflow assistant". 🙂

Daryl
CC
Chris_Cox
May 2, 2005
Dave – no, that still won’t let you hook into the UI.
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
May 2, 2005
Chris,

Not that I’d know how to make use of it but perhaps someone with software development expertise would, so I’ll ask this question: Ignoring the SDK, open source information, etc., do you know whether or not the architecture of the Photoshop UI has a mechanism in place that would support "hooks" for adding UI elements such as toolbars? If so, is it possible for someone to obtain such details on Photoshop’s design from Adobe, perhaps under a non-disclosure agreement? And again, if so, can you identify what step(s) need to be followed (or perhaps there’s a web link?) to obtain that information?

Thanks,

Daryl
CC
Chris_Cox
May 2, 2005
No, there is nothing in the Adobe UI code that would support that.
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
May 2, 2005
Thanks Chris. It sounds like the only alternative right now then is to use some sort of application like Macro Toolbar or Quick Keys to accomplish this goal, until Adobe decides that toolbars do have merit and implements their own design changes…which I hope does happen.

I’m not being critical of the work you folks have done with PS CS2, but thinking back to an earlier post I saw where it was questioned whether Adobe did any sort of user polling regarding desired features, it seems really hard to believe that customizable menus and color-keying of menus would have been perceived as all that valuable. Since I don’t work with PS on a professional, day-in, day-out basis, there may be something of great value in this concept that I’m missing, but it totally escapes me what that would be. Given the absence of customizable toolbars, perhaps some users thought customizable menus sounded like a mini-step in the right direction. However, if they had somehow been presented with a choice of customizable toolbars vs. simply being able to hide unused items in the PS menu structure, it just seems to me that toolbars would be a hands-down favorite. Quite honestly, it’s baffling to me that anyone would think toolbars aren’t a useful and worthwhile addition to Photoshop.

Regards,

Daryl
CC
Chris_Cox
May 2, 2005
Menu customization was considered very valuable.
Yes, it’s only part of what we’re planning for UI customization.

Button Bars were (in general) only considered useful by consumer users.
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
May 2, 2005
"only considered useful by consumer users"

Hard to believe, but since I’m in this category, I can’t argue otherwise.

"only part of what we’re planning"

So, I guess we’ll see what lies down the road.

Thanks,

Daryl
TL
Tjalda_L._Schiel
May 2, 2005
Daryl,

I’m not going to miss photobars because my plans to upgrade to CS2 won’t materialize any time soon. My workflow would suffer immensely without them. I use some keyboard shortcuts but when I’ve got my hands full with sketches, mouse(s), books, the phone trying to talk to my boss, I should drop everything to enable a 4 keystroke shortcut. No way. I have a plugin for smart sharpening. I’ll check out the spot healing with the trial or a friend who has the trial, but I don’t think that will be worth my Photobars. Heck, I still use a couple of the Extensis filters. I’ve never seen a reason to part with them. I’ve got customizable icon toolbars on a ton of my apps. What does Adobe have against them? They could be optional or hideable or whatever. I would think that ease of workflow would be one of their main priorities. You build some and I’ll buy them. THEN I will think about upgrading to CS2.

What is the dog’s name? He/she is a cutie.

Tjalda
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
May 2, 2005
Tjalda, that’s Nellie…part Labrador Retriever and part Basenji per the best guess offered by the prior owner and with the vet’s concurrence.

For what you say, I gather you are using Photoshop in a professional capacity, so I sure hope others such as yourself speak their minds and Adobe takes heed of the recommendation to add customizable toolbars to their UI.

For that matter, I’d like to see some professional users express what value see in the menu customizations and color-keying offered in PS CS2. If so, why would you favor that over customizable toolbars if presented the option of choosing one or the other in some Adobe user study/poll? Mind you, I’m not saying the menu changes made in PS CS2 are bad at all, but rather that their value pales against the value offered by customizable toolbars in my opinion.

Oh, and maybe I’m repeating something I’ve said before, but to any who might point this out, I certainly recognize that any multi-key keyboard shortcut can be redefined so it is easier to use. Toolbars simply eliminate the need for doing that.

Thanks,

Daryl
JJ
John Joslin
May 2, 2005
I don’t know where Chris gets the bit about consumer users – what are they anyway – hobbyists? I have used PS for my work since version 3 and, since version 6, find a combination of menus, keyboard short cuts and buttons very useful for speeding up my work.

I haven’t given the new customisable menus a chance to prove their usefulness but they won’t be as helpful as buttons. How come practically all other professional graphics programs have buttons if they are so "consumer" oriented?
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
May 2, 2005
John,

As I haven’t played much with PS CS2 yet, I too haven’t given the customizable menus their fair chance yet to impress me, but I can at least see some usefulness of the color keying. Namely, it is for user training on new features as provided by one of the native menu customizations in PS CS2. Once a person gets up to speed, I’m guessing they would disable the colors. Also, if there were a few commands I used a lot but didn’t learn shortcuts for or didn’t want to define shortcuts for, then color-keying them would at least speed me to finding them in a menu as would removing any items I don’t often use. But, again, why bother when instead I can stay with PS CS and put the commands I use one click away? 🙂

Daryl
TL
Tjalda_L._Schiel
May 4, 2005
I checked out the trial at a friend’s computer. Nice bridge but since I never used browser not a necessity. I’ve been using either Thumbs Plus or ACDsee so long, I’ve never changed. Lots of filters. Lots of looong
drop down menus and lots of nesting and nesting within nesting. Whew. BIG change in workflow speed. Once thing is VERY nice. Non-destructive transform tool along with smart objects. That gets a WOW. I use that quite a bit. My smart sharp looks just as good as their smart sharp so no change. Noise reduction looks nice, but would I use it much? I think I would occasionally. Perspective tool is quite nice but use is again occasional. My take on this is buy the upgrade sometime in the future and run it concurrently. Use my photobars version as long as I can. On second thought, I may never buy this upgrade. I saw a things I didn’t like, but that needs more exploring. Verdict: Some great new additions but the losses are tough to take. Someone make a photobars plugin not dependent on Extensis Tools.
AC
Andrew_Curatola
May 4, 2005
John Joslin, I just saw your last post dated May 3rd. I love that expression: "I’m leaving this debate because there is nothing nicer than the feeling you get when you stop banging your head against a brick wall"
Sorry to say I never heard or saw that expression. Why do I get the feeling that it fits right into these posts regarding the future of Photobars?
Andrew
JJ
John Joslin
May 4, 2005
😉
S
Sepen
May 4, 2005
"Why do I get the feeling that it fits right into these posts regarding the future of Photobars?"

I think that may be the point that a lot of people are missing in this thread: The future of Photobars pretty much ended when Extensis dropped support for it. They own it and they killed it.

Seems like it is time for this discussion to work itself into feature request. From what Chris Cox has said, it sounds like the people at Adobe will be the only ones who can add the complete functionality requested into Photoshop going forward.
RP
Russell_Proulx
May 5, 2005
elitist but ill-informed clique

Unfortunately one does get the impression that too many Adobe folks are converts to the mantra that ‘Macs are better’ 🙁

Since Macs lost the ability to use PhotoBars long ago I assume Adobe felt it necessary to insure that we don’t get em either! I must say that anyone who’s ever seen how I use Photobars is VERY impressed by the advantage they offer.

Perhaps we should write Adobe marketing so this ‘great new feature’ will be ‘worth the upgrade’ in PS10 <g>

Sigh..

Russell
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
May 5, 2005
Better stil…PS 9.1. 🙂

Just had to say that to get this thread closer to 100 posts. I don’t recall having ever seen quite so many comments on PhotoBars, but I guess absence of them does make a difference.
RC
Ronald_Chambers
May 5, 2005
I’ll make it 100.

Adobe, please add photobar like toolbars to PS CS2.

RON C
CC
Chris_Cox
May 5, 2005
CS2 has already shipped – nothing can be added to that release.
JJ
John Joslin
May 5, 2005
I think he meant add the feature to those features that CS2 currently offers. I think we all realise that it would need a new release, but it wouldn’t have to be PS 10.0!

Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t recall such a large number of problems with the release of Version 9.0 so maybe a dot release is on the cards. (Said more in hope than anticipation 🙁 )
P
Pipkin
May 5, 2005
Yeah, please, please, please!
KC
Kent_C
May 5, 2005
Daryl:
"Just had to say that to get this thread closer to 100 posts. I don’t recall having ever seen quite so many comments on PhotoBars"

Heck, your 29 is impressive! 😉
S
Sepen
May 5, 2005
"Since Macs lost the ability to use PhotoBars long ago I assume Adobe felt it necessary to insure that we don’t get em either! I must say that anyone who’s ever seen how I use Photobars is VERY impressed by the advantage they offer."

Now that is just silly. First of all, smaller third party developers have sprung up with plugins that are only made to work on a single platform (ie. Windows OR OS9/X) so why would the fine Adobe folks go out of their way to break this one three versions after the maker of the plugin decides to kill it?

You have been humming along using unsupported outdated software all this time with the thought apparently never occurring to you that there might come a day when someone else out there couldn’t get it to work on new versions for you.

Do you honestly think Chris and Scot spent a late night in the Adobe office with flashlights conspiring to wreak the workflow of PC Photoshop users? Perhaps it was a directive that came down from the evil Adobe CEO “These guys are way too productive with our software! Something must be done to fix this!”?

The company who developed the software for whatever reason, chose not to continue development. You can’t expect Adobe to hinder the development of their software by providing backwards compatibility to another piece of software that the developer of, had no plans on reviving.

Try to actually think about this for a moment. There are a lot of people out there that will never use a third party plug-in for Photoshop at all. There are also a lot of plugins out there available for sale today that most of the Photoshop community will never use. How high do you honestly think the percentage of people using a third party plugin that was killed by the manufacturer over four years ago would be?

Adobe made changes to their interface in version nine that aren’t compatible with a plugin designed to work with version six of Photoshop. How crazy or maniacal does that honestly sound to you people? How many of you have taken Extensis to task for not revising and updating Phototools to work with CS2? I’m sure as a high profile third party developer, they got beta or advance copies of some sort.

Breaking Phtototools to add menu customizability (if that is what actually did it) may seem like a step back to you but to the vast majority of users who never touched Phototools, it is a step forward. It *IS* an interface *improvement* to Photoshop.

I know it comes off like I’m lecturing and who am I to do that (?) and all but Chris, Scot and all the rest of these guys work really hard to give us an outstanding product year after year. Heck, they even take their time to come in here and offer help and support that you might otherwise have to pay for. The accusation that they for some reason went out of their way to make your day worse is just absurd, insulting and rude… not to mention silly. They DO listen to us, guys. They wouldn’t be here if they didn’t and they are the *humans* who develop the primary tool at question here that you feel so emotionally charged about.

After posts like this and many nasty other ones I’ve seen over the years, I’m surprised they even bother to make their presence known around here at all.

If you want to get mad at anyone. Get mad at Extensis. They are the ones that took your money and provided you with a plugin that wasn’t up to Adobe spec to begin with (according to Chris) and who chose not to make sure their loyal users had a road to move forward on. THEY left you high and dry, not Adobe.

Otherwise like I said before, it would seem more productive for all of you who have been using an outdated product all these years without seeing the writing on the wall, to move your energy to the feature request thread where you can make a better case to Adobe and the rest of the world who never used this plugin as to why Adobe should roll this feature into a future release.

If Phototools is that vital to your workflow that you can’t survive without it, you have a legitimate reason not to upgrade but saying “I’ll never upgrade Photoshop again blah, blah, blah (like some have) because Adobe never took out a feature that Adobe never provided in the first place is like me saying I’ll never upgrade again because Chris cut me off in traffic the other day and made me late for work. Cutting your nose to spite your face; Time to grow up; and so on.

<now getting off soap box>
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
May 5, 2005
Sepen,

Just a few comments (29 of these are mine?…I’d not counted! LOL!) on what you said: Firstly, while I hated to see Extensis delete the PhotoBars component from PhotoTools, I don’t believe I’ve ever accused Adobe of ever deliberately thwarting the use of PhotoBars by making select revisions to Photoshop. Rather, I do see that as a somewhat natural by-product of the evolution of Photoshop. It would be nice if Adobe had maintained an awareness of an old plug-in like this and tried to avoid corrupting its usability, but sometimes that isn’t possible. Hence, it would also be nice if they did act on feature requests which have been inclusive of requesting a customizable toolbars interface. Perhaps no such requests are in the current list, but they have been mentioned before by myself if not others. Finally, as for Extensis, I did encourage them early on to maintain PhotoBars or perhaps spin off a new product that only provided a customizable toolbars interface, but their response was something along the lines of "going in a different direction" with their product line…I wish I’d kept the e-mails but I haven’t.

I don’t believe your comments were directed at me so much since my own posture toward Adobe hasn’t been an attack on them, but I just wanted to make that clear. At best, I can only say that I wish Adobe had given more weight to the value of a customizable toolbar interface, considered that they may have as many "casual" users of Photshop as professional users (if of mindset that casual users aren’t quite as important), and that toolbars when provided as a user-selectable option are unquestionably a valuable, productivity-enhancing tool for Photoshop.

Do I want to see customizable toolbars in PS? Absolutely. Do I believe Adobe deliberately modified PS to block the use of PhotoBars? Absolutely not.

Regards,

Daryl
S
Sepen
May 5, 2005
Daryl,

My comments weren’t really directed toward you at all. In fact, you are the reason people have been able to use the plugin this long. It comes as no surprise to me that you understand what is going on and I think you have been rational and reasonable throughout your posts.

It is the people that seem angry over the fact that it doesn’t work and that there isn’t anyone to step in and make it work that confounds me. The program *broke* in the three versions ago and you have stepped in and made it continue to work each time and now that you can’t, people seem to think that Adobe has done something horribly wrong with CS2 when as is, the plugin hasn’t worked with current versions of Photoshop for quite some time.

The only thing I said that might have been directed towards you at all would be when I tried to point out that what potentially finally *broke* the connection between toolbars and Photoshop was a Photoshop feature. While it may be easy for anyone who has toolbars to see this as a step back ,anyone who doesn’t will still see it as a step forward. This doesn’t mean I don’t think they should build the feature into Photoshop, only that it really wouldn’t have made sense for them to hold off on improving *anything* in Photoshop, no matter how small, just to keep a third party plugin that was killed by the creator years ago and that only a very small minority of the overall userbase would have used then and even smaller now when the program was officially unusable after I believe, version 5.5 save for the efforts of an individual (you) who was not associated with the plugin itself or the company that owns it.

I am a professional user and while I don’t see this feature as being much of an enhancement to my workflow, there are a lot of things in Photoshop already that I don’t feel a personal need for. I can however, respect that such features might be of benefit to others and would not be at all upset if this feature were added.

And finally, the CEO of Adobe is on the record as saying that at this point, more than 50% of new Photoshop customers are not professionals. To me, that would suggest that what is important to people such as yourself is important to Adobe as well.
D
deebs
May 5, 2005
Personally I can’t see why personal menus couldn’t be supported. But why depend upon mouse or keyboard prompts?

Now that XP has speech recognition (with Dr Who in the background) why not go a whole new way forward and have speech commands?

This IMHO is a good reason for a standard structured menu system eg: keyword Brush (brush pallet appears)
keyword Favorite (user defined favorite brush appears)

Now this IMHO would be worthy of a bit of R&D (my own view is that customizable toolbars are great especially for seasoned and experienced users but a speech prompted/driven menu system may be cool too)

(I’ll pop a copy of this into the Extensis thingy thread too)
DM
dave_milbut
May 5, 2005
to bad extensis did’t/won’t make the code handy or even open source it. THAT i bet i could work with pretty quicky…
D
deebs
May 5, 2005
Early days Dave – it wouldn’t surprise me if someone else took up the topic.

After all, something has got to make use of some of the 16GB RAM and all those terrabytes of disk space, may as well be voice prompts?
RP
Russell_Proulx
May 5, 2005
deebs wrote:

why not go a whole new way forward and have speech commands?

I can hear it now in the "open office" concept that we’ve already been forced to endure:

"higher, higher … lower, lower … yes, YES, Y E S !! … mmmmmm 😛

The new ‘speech command’ driven office will be a very interesting spectacle indeed.

Russell <g>
D
deebs
May 5, 2005
True – but I think that is what Dr Who is about
RP
Russell_Proulx
May 5, 2005
but I think that is what Dr Who is about

LOL 🙂
DM
dave_milbut
May 6, 2005
daryl, have you tried a letter writing campaign to try to get extensis to revive phototools? sounds like there’s a lot of support…

for the amount of work it’d take, i can’t see them saying "no, we don’t want your money".
D
deebs
May 6, 2005
It would be a shame if they can’t see the future for wallowing in the past?
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
May 6, 2005
Dave,

No, I’ve not pursued that. I’m sure you’ve got a better sense of how much work it would take to provide toolbars than I do, but I wonder if perhaps the changes in the PS CS2 UI have made adding toolbars a very difficult challenge? Hard to say. The only option might be via an application such as Macro Toolbar that is run in tandem with PS CS2. Heck, it might even be possible to encourage the developer of Macro Toolbar to pursue expanding upon their product to target the PS CS2 audience.

Daryl
DM
dave_milbut
May 7, 2005
looks to me like the development (with current code in hand) would be negligable. one guy, two weeks. <shrug>
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
May 7, 2005
Maybe I should just make a copy of this thread and forward it to Extensis. I’m not sure who to contact any more, as I made the mistake of not keeping the e-mails I swapped with the product manager back when PhotoBars was first killed off. The last time I sent anything via an e-amil address on their website, it led to no reply at all.
CC
Chris_Cox
May 7, 2005
Dave – I doubt that Extensis’ previous approach (existing code) would work in CS2.
DM
dave_milbut
May 7, 2005
maybe not, but it would be a helluvalot easier than starting from scratch!
LB
Luigi.B
May 7, 2005
This is not really true.
I’ve downloaded the sdk for 7 and cs version but the file "Photoshop File Formats.pdf" is missing although it appears in the start menu folder. Can you give me more informations about this?
AC
Andrew_Curatola
May 7, 2005
I just made a post in "Feature Requests" forum Andrew Curatola, "Photobars type feature" #, 7 May 2005 6:34 am </cgi-bin/webx?50> regarding Photobars.
Hopefully more pro Photobars users could add to that post. Maybe if we made louder squeaks we might catch a little oil from the good people of Adobe.

Andrew
H
hallinan
May 7, 2005
Two or three months ago I stopped at the Extensis booth at the PMA tradeshow in Orlando, Florida to ask the person in charge about Phototools. She said, "What’s Phototools?"
RP
Russell_Proulx
May 8, 2005
Maybe I should just make a copy of this thread and forward it to Extensis.

Daryl,

Seems to me it would be easier to just apply Photoshop’s existing ‘Actions’ via small icons to activate them. Adobe (or you) could supply a set of pre-configured buttons to replace all the tools in CS2. Users could create their own buttons which would be a lot more convenient with frequently used Actions. (Yes, I know.. you can assign an Action to a keyboard command)

The idea of adding a toolbar to an app isn’t something Extensis could possibly hold a patent for. I even wonder if Extensis wasn’t stopped by Adobe because they were using Adobe designed icons in Photobars?

All in all there wasn’t much in Phototools that was worthwhile except for Photobars which could be replaced using Photoshop’s ‘soon to be announced’ Action Buttons. This avoids the need to ask anything of Extensis. Anyway, if Extensis caused any trouble Adobe could just buy them and take whatever they need 😉

Russell
CC
Chris_Cox
May 8, 2005
Luigi – all SDK inquiries need to go through ASN. And please read the documentation that came with the SDK.
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
May 8, 2005
Russell,

I don’t think Extensis was using any Adobe-designed icons in PhotoBars. After all, apart from the tools in the Toolbox, none of which are associated with the PhotoBars buttons, there are no icons in Photoshop to have made use of. If anyone was guilty of plagiarism, it would’ve been me, as I sought out icons from various applications that seemed to provide reasonably intuitive graphics to associate with the menu items in PS. Some were also just my own derivatives of what Extensis originally supplied.

True, assigning actions to a button would work, since the actions can record (I think) any menu item in PS. But, I suspect that also means the toolbars and buttons would have to be an embedded part of the Photoshop interface. Currently, I’m exploring the use of Macro Toolbar, which resides outside the PS user interface and can only access commands in PS that are mapped to keyboard shortcuts…at least, for what I’ve seen thus far.

I think I’m repeating I idea I’ve mentioned earlier (I’ve not gone back to look), but I’ll elaborate on what I think would make a nice implementation of customizable toolbars: Take the existing keyboard shortcuts dialog and modify it to list all menu items in PS. For each item, also show an icon to represent that item. Whether there is a shortcut mapped to that item or not, the icon could be clicked on and dragged to a toolbar where a copy of the icon would be placed. This would be repeated for any items desired so as to build custom toolbars per the user’s liking. The toolbar set could be saved much as other tool presets are saved. The icons would perhaps still use some sort of embedded indexing of the menu items so that they are independent of keyboard shortcuts. Apart from this, the Actions palette might be expanded to show the "super-compact" button mentioned in earlier postings, and perhaps even that button would provide a customization dialog to allow substituting an icon of the user’s own design. Ideally, it might even support two widths or sizes of icon, so that a meaningful icon is more easily created. As with the menu item icons, the action icons could be added to any custom toolbar.

Daryl
B
BJNicholls
May 16, 2005
I just like to let folks know that although the toolbars don’t work (I never used them) under CS2, the plugins do provided you put a copy of EToolBox.dll in the Adobe Photoshop CS2 folder along with adding the plugin folder. Someone reading this thread may get the idea that Phototools plugins don’t work at all under CS2.
T
tmalcom
May 16, 2005
Button Bars were (in general) only considered useful by consumer users.

I’m most definitely a pro and I consider button bars extremely useful. My text editor (Ultra Edit) and my HTML editor (Homesite) both have configurable button bars. Not everyone is as enamored of the keyboard as the Adobe developers seem to be and I don’t understand their hostility toward button bars. My Actions palette is configured to be a button bar because it increases my productivity. I’d be happy if I could just have more than one Actions palette or resize the buttons and arrange them in multiple columns.
CV
Charles_Vortreflich
May 29, 2005
Just to add my name to the list, I have been using Photobars exclusively for navigating Photoshop since Daryl adapted PhotoTools for this task (actually, since Extensis first offered the program). It’s simply wonderful and, to me, indispensable. Why Adobe hasn’t included this feature is a puzzle to me. The PhotoBars allow me to keep my hand on the mouse or tablet to reach a command and to reach that command, which Photoshop may have several levels down, in one click. I can customize PhotoBars to include my favorite commands only and so not clutter my ‘real estate’ with commands I have little or no use for. I’m actually considering not upgrading to CS2 just because of the unavailability of this feature.
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
May 30, 2005
Charles,

The more I use PS CS2 without Photobars, the more I favor keeping PS CS as my primary image editor. Just as you mentioned, I find it annoying to remove my hand from my mouse or pen to do a Ctrl+L to open the Layers Adjustment dialog, since that is pretty much a right-hand operation. PS CS2 feels downright clunky to me but I’m still trying to give it a chance to win me over. A pseudo-remedy for the missing toolbars is a program called Macro Toolbar which I’ve used to create buttons for a few of the keyboard shortcuts that I prefer one-click access to, but I don’t think that software can handle items on a submenu unless they are mapped to keyboard shortcuts. In fact, I don’t believe it can access any command that doesn’t have a shortcut associated with it. It is a $30 application and probably worth it for the times when I feel I have to use PS CS2, but I’m still awaiting an e-mail of the registration code for it and currently have to deal with nag screens since the trial period has expired. In other words, since the nag screens are slowing me down at the moment, I’m not using either Macro Toolbar or PS CS2 and am back to PS CS for the moment.

Regards,

Daryl
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
May 31, 2005
For users of PhotoBars with earlier versions of Photoshop and who are wishing for customizable toolbars in Photoshop CS2, I have been working some with an application called MacroToolbar, downloadable from <http://www.pitrinec.com> (this is not an endorsement, nor am I affiliated with the product in any way), which appears to be working reasonably well with PS CS2. For anyone interested in downloading a copy of my customized toolbar file to use with MacroToolbar, more information is presented on my website at <http://jazzdiver.com/photoshop>. Just scroll to the bottom of the page and you’ll find an illustration of the toolbar I created, the buttons provided on it, and other info. Hopefully this will be helpful.

Regards,

Daryl
H
hallinan
Jun 1, 2005
Daryl…just made a happy discovery: I open Bridge (as a standalone) select a D2x NEF file to open in Camera Raw, make corrections and save as TIF then from Bridge drag and drop the TIF image into Photoshop CS (version 8) with the Extensis icons available. Not real slick but it works. 🙂

Dennis
DP
Daryl_Pritchard
Jun 1, 2005
Dennis,

Thanks for the idea…I’m not sure why I never thought of it, other than that I’ve never used File Browser or Bridge all that much. Similarly, I’ve found that I can use the Lens Distortion filter in CS just fine.

Daryl

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