Over the last three decades, Photoshop has become part of our culture. Even those who’ve never used a copy are familiar with the concept of “Photoshopping.” While the program has been eclipsed by slicker, newer applications for many, it’s still the most widely-used powerful image editor on the planet. To help mark the milestone of its 30th birthday, Adobe has rolled out some nice updates for the desktop version, especially for heavy users of Content-Aware Fill or the Lens Blur Tool. Photoshop for iPad picks up a new Object Selection tool, and the company also added a few goodies to Photoshop siblings Lightroom Classic, Lightroom, and Lightroom Mobile.
Content-Aware Fill Workspace Grows Up
Depending on how you use Photoshop, this one is either a big deal or a “huh, CAF has a Workspace?” But if you’re accustomed to doing a lot of edits using Content-Aware Fill, the updated Workspace allows you to make multiple different edits without leaving and re-entering the Workspace. One place where this will come in handy is complex removal tasks, where multiple passes are necessary to complete the job. Now they can all be finished in the same Workspace session.
Lens Blur Gets Better and Faster
As more smartphones incorporate the ability to add depth maps to their images, post-processing to add synthetic effects like lens blur and its accompanying bokeh have become popular. Adobe added this to Photoshop a while ago, but the company has now upgraded the Lens Blur tool by moving it to the GPU and improving its results. In particular, it now does a better job of preserving color in its synthetically-generated blurring of specular highlights. Foreground blurring should also be more realistic. As with the current version of the tool, you can manually edit the depth map while experimenting with the results. That’s particularly important given that no smartphone yet delivers perfect depth maps for complex images.
Smoother Pan and Zoom, Sleeker Stylus Support
As always, there are some performance improvements to go along with the new features. In particular, panning and zooming are supposed to be faster and smoother, as is mousing. Windows customers won’t have to use WinTab for stylus support. In my experience, if you have a high-end system, pan and zoom on most size files are already quite smooth, so I’m assuming these upgrades will allow that same type of performance on systems that aren’t quite as heavily configured. Stylus support on Windows has always been a little tricky, so it is nice to see Adobe taking more control of that experience as well.
Photoshop for iPad Continues to Improve
Adobe got some heat for all the features missing from the first release of Photoshop for the iPad, but the company has kept up its promise to roll out updates on a regular basis. This week’s update brings an improved Object Selection Tool, lots of new Type features, and improved performance for cloud uploads and downloads.
Lightroom and Camera Raw Also Get a Few New Goodies
First, Lightroom Classic and Camera Raw now offer photographers the ability to set Camera Settings as the default for color rendering when importing Raw images. Before Adobe Color was the default, so if you wanted to match the color you saw on your camera’s LCD you needed to change it each time. Both also gain performance from having Lens Corrections and Transforms move to the GPU, and Enhance Details to the eGPU, if available, on Macs.
Large files (.psb) are now supported in Lightroom Classic, and users have more flexibility on how a second display is used. The Auto-Sync UI has also been improved. Those wishing to migrate from Photoshop Elements 2020 can now also import their catalogs. HDR and Panorama creation can now be done without having to deal with the Merge dialog as a separate step, by using “Ctrl + Shift + H” and “Ctrl + Shift + M,” respectively.
The cloud-centric version of Lightroom also gets some additions. Mac and Windows versions can now export DNGs, just like it can on Android and iOS. Sharing to someone else’s album now offers the option to omit metadata, and the owner of an album can export images that others have shared. Support has also been added for direct import to a specific Album by simply dropping images onto it.
- Hands On With Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Elements 2020
- Full Version of Adobe Photoshop Coming to iPad
- Adobe’s Big Push: Make Lightroom Easier to Learn and Use