Adobe Photoshop CS4, the latest version of Adobe's flagship image-editing program, will hit the streets practically on the heels of Photoshop CS3, which debuted a little less than 18 months ago.

What kind of features could Photoshop CS4 have now that it didn't have slightly over a year ago? As it turns out, the Photoshop product managers have barely slept since herding CS3 out the door and the answer is, "Quite a lot, thank you". Photoshop CS4 sports an overhauled workspace, OpenGL features such as a rotating canvas, new panels for Masks and Adjustments, on-image controls for some adjustments (a la Photoshop LightRoom), a 3-D engine, and that's just for starters.

Here's what to expect from the latest version of Photoshop when CS4 ships in October.

Workspace overhaul

In an attempt to significantly streamline your work environment and lessen window clutter, the new Application Frame was born. It confines all things Photoshop to a single resizable and movable window. You can grab the whole mess - documents and all - and move it to the side of your screen (or better yet, to another monitor) so it's out of the way. If you open more than one document, they're displayed in tabs (just like in your web browser).

The new application frame consolidates your workspace, allowing you to work with documents in a tabbed environment. On the right you can see the new Adjustments panel, which houses the dialog boxes for all of your adjustment layers.

At the very top of the frame, you'll notice a new row of tools called the Application Bar. Here you've got one-click access to handy stuff such as Extras (grids, rulers, guides), zoom percentages, and more. The real gems, though, are the new Rotate Canvas and Arrange Documents menus. Rotate Canvas will make tablet users squeal with delight because it creates a more natural way to paint or draw. The Arrange Documents menu lets you view several open documents side by side, which is handy for before/after evaluations or just managing a bunch of open windows.

NEXT PAGE: new masks and adjustments panels