Adobe’s Major CC Update Puts The Photography Mobile Workflow Front And Center

Adobe's New Photographer's Plan

As part of Adobe’s 2014 Update Bonanza! taking place today, there are a number of changes that are tailored purely for photographers. Adobe has long been associated with desktop photography software, but the company has been taking notes and listening to its customers and tailoring the experience for their key market.

Despite initial criticisms of the Creative Cloud subscription service,  Adobe have embraced and furthered the software. This is largely with thanks to the access Creative Cloud has provided. Through the service, Adobe has been able to constantly drop updates and micro-features to customers as well as identify key areas of use and gather constant feedback to improve their services.

While there are many updates to other apps and the release of multiple iOS apps today, we will focus purely on those relevant for photographers. There are exciting changes to both photography applications within their Creative Cloud range as well as to their subscription formats.

Personally, I am still using Adobe Photoshop CS5. I purchased it while still a student (before I had to pay full price, although a trip from Australia to the US to buy the software may have been nice…) and I have never found a reason to justify the upgrade to CC services. Simply, the plans have never really enticed me for what I needed. They have always been a touch expensive for my liking (especially at first within Australia upon release) and offered me more than I have needed.

Today, I’m excited. With updates to Photoshop with very cool new functions that almost makes my CS5 look like a version of MS Paint with a nicer UI,  and a new plan that has been created purely for photographers who only want applications applicable to them, I know that I will soon be throwing my credit card at Adobe. Add to that Adobe’s break into the hardware market, and today is a big day for Adobe.

A New iOS App For Photographers

Adobe is branching out from the desktop application market that they have dominated for years with regards to photo editing software and stepping into mobile devices. Having listened to their customers, they see that mobile technologies are a massive part of the industry. As such, they have announced Adobe Photoshop Mix.

This is where it is at for me.

When the features of this new app were discussed, I was looking at my iPad and going “Nah…” But, sure enough, the demonstration blew me away.

Through Creative Cloud, you have access to all your photos. But have you ever wanted to use your iPad as a tool for precisely selecting elements of your photos? Now you can. Photoshop Mix allows you to select an element of your photo and edit it individually, as well as giving the ability to cut-out and create a mask, and then save and open it in Photoshop CC on your desktop, complete with layers and masks intact. It also allows an easy means for you to create composites. Partner it with their new Ink and Slide, and you have precision tools for fine editing of your images.

Adobe Mix: Allowing You To Save Layers And Send Them To Desktop

Adobe Mix: Allowing You To Save Layers And Send Them To Desktop

Let me just repeat that. With this app, from your iPad, you can select something accurately, even hair, create a layer / mask, and open it on your desktop as a PSD, with all layers and masks created by the iPad ready for you to further edit in Photoshop CC 2014.

In addition to this, the app also brings powerful tools, such as Upright, Content-Aware Fill, and Camera Shake Reduction to the mobile platform, thought to be too complex and resource heavy for mobile devices. How? For Content-Aware Fill, for example, you select something, you apply Content-Aware Fill, and the iPad will upload the image to the Creative Cloud, perform the operation on their systems, and download the processed image to your iPad.

Adobe Photoshop Mix also allows for non-destructive photo enhancements and ‘looks’. It all allows for a flexible, easy to use app, which can be used by anyone, whether they have a knowledge of Photoshop or not.

Yes, this does mean you have to have access to the internet for some functions, but the app is still said to be able to be used without internet (if you are in a remote area), but in a limited capacity until internet is available. And, yes, I know, there is a market beyond iOS devices, but Adobe have focused on the iPad initially, and pending demand will consider branching into the Android market at a later date.

Photoshop Mix

The other exciting part is this app (along with the other iOS apps released today) is created with Adobe’s new Creative SDK, which will be made available for developers of third-party apps. Yes, the power of Adobe’s creative technologies will be made available for app designers, creating a potentially limitless possibility of creative applications in the future.

Other significant releases for Adobe-iOS products include Creative Cloud for iPad and iPhone, which simply allows Creative Cloud members to access and manage their files, assets and more from their iOS mobile device, and Lightroom for iPhone, which is an extension of the Lightroom for iPad app (which receives an update) and will allow syncing of edits and images across all devices. More information about Adobe’s mobile apps can be found here.

A New Creative Cloud Plan (Just For Us…)

Today, Adobe has announced the permanent addition of the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan. Yes, Adobe has seen that there are just a few photographers using their apps, with “Lightroom products alone managing over 100 billion images” (Vice President, Digital Imaging, Winston Hendrickson), and are tailoring their services just for us. I think it is great to see them listening to what customers want and adapting to suit.

For just US$9.99 per month, photographers can now sign on and receive both Photoshop CC and Lightroom 5 – two pieces of software that are perhaps the most significant releases in the imaging world – along with Lightroom’s mobile apps on iPad and now iPhone. On top of this, Adobe Photoshop Mix fully compliments the collection of applications allowing powerful Photoshop tools from your iPad. Perfect for when you’re in the field.

For US$9.99 per month, it is a great investment for software that is constantly being updated with new features. For additional details on the new Creative Cloud Photography plan, please visit www.adobe.com/go/photographyplan

I am unsure about anyone else, but I do believe I will be making a purchase soon.

Updates To Lightroom and Photoshop

Below I will simply copy/paste details from Adobe’s press release with details of changes coming to Lightroom and Photoshop. But, before I do, I want to share my thoughts.

The integration between the mobile apps and desktop applications of both Lightroom and Photoshop is brilliant. It allows an efficient way to manage and edit images across desktops, mobile devices  and the web, with automatic syncing of edits and metadata between platforms. With Photoshop Mix and the updates to Photoshop CC, it puts a precision tool at your fingertips with the iPad to use as a drawing tablet and then grants ability to open layered and masked compositions in Photoshop CC on your desktop. The precision with selection and creation of masks on both desktop and mobile apps is astounding. This will be cutting significant amounts of time from my work and improving my workflow.

New features coming to Photoshop CC also have made my mind up with wanting to make the switch from CS5 over to Creative Cloud. New Perspective Warp and non-destructive Blur Gallery motion effects allow the ability for some very cool effects within your photography. And perhaps it is the new Focus Mask (which I referred to last week when Adobe released their teaser video) that still excites me the most. Since I particularly love shooting with a shallow depth of field, this tool is going to speed up my workflow significantly, with the ability to easily select in-focus pixels and edit my work accordingly.

There are also enhancements to type tools, with TypeKit allowing for easy search and installation of new fonts, improvements to Smart Guides, allowing for easier for aligning of layers, plus workflow time savers including the redesigned colour panel and easy access to recently used brushes. Additionally, there are improvements to Content-Aware tools, with improvements to colour adaptations and blending. Having seen these in action, I must say I am impressed with the accuracy of all these new features.

Perhaps those already using Photoshop CC will not be as excited as I am about these specific updates, but it is a massive jump from my present CS5 and the functionality and integration seems to be quite advanced.

But, I will again reemphasise, the integration between desktop and mobile apps is where this all excels. I know that on several times I have wanted to work on something with a touch screen and stylus but, with my current equipment, it has not been possible. With the changes coming and new apps, the world is at my fingertips.

From the press release, features for photographers include:

  • Perspective Warp – The recently introduced capability for fluidly adjusting the perspective of a specific part of your image without affecting the surrounding area.
  • Blur Gallery motion effects – Two new additions, Path Blur and Spin Blur create a sense of motion, even if not originally captured with a camera, enabling photographers to tell their story or express just the right feeling in an image. There’s also faster performance when creating blur effects with the Mercury Graphics Engine delivering a performance boost with OpenCL.
  • Focus Mask – Lets Photoshop CC create the first step of a mask by automatically selecting the in-focus areas of an image. The Focus Mask feature works great with headshots and other images that have shallow depth of field.
  • Content-Aware color adaptation improvements – Previously when using Content-Aware features, if a selected area contained smooth gradiants, it didn’t necessarily appear in the final image. Now retouched images using Content-Aware Fill, Move and Patch gets more seamless and realistic. Additionally, new technology blends areas containing gradients, like skies, to give exceptional results.
  • Improved stylus support and experimental features for Windows 8.1 – Enjoy smoother brush strokes and simple out-of-the-box experience with expanded stylus support for Windows 8.1. Turn on experimental features for touch and gesture controls and bigger touch targets on devices like Surface Pro 3.

photoshop-focus-mask

Which announcement are you most excited about? Or, like me, are you just going “Give it all to me! NOW!”

  • catlett

    Renting software is not an investment in any way. It is more like a loan shark. If you stop paying you lose.

    • Peter Bower

      While somewhat true, keep in mind that this can be beneficial for some. In Australia, full price Adobe Photoshop CS6 Extended alone was over $1600. Not a typo. Sixteen HUNDRED dollars. If you were a student, it was still $250 (with very strict checks on if you were a student — when I purchased mined, I had to provide a copy of my transcript to show I was an enrolled student before the software was activated).

      With CC Subscriptions, I can get PS, LR, plus mobile apps for $10/month, meaning I can rent for approximately 11 years? Before getting close to what Adobe Photoshop CS6 cost. Plus constant updates. Plus major releases are part of subscription — previously, all the announcements yesterday would have meant a new purchase. Now they just download to your PC. It’s not ALL bad.

    • Mark Berry

      How is buying software ever an investment? What is the second hand value of CS6?

      What you’re investing in is your workflow, not the software, and I’d rather invest $9.99/m in that than hundreds of pounds in one go.

      Yes, if you stop paying you lose the software, but if you “buy” you’ve paid up front for stuff you may not want in two years time, with no option to get any money back. At that point, you’ll have paid full price, I’ll have paid only $240, AND will have had access to all the upgrades.

      Plus, I couldn’t find full price in one lump sum even if I wanted to, but can easily find $9,99 each month.

      • catlett

        Neither is an investment. The word investment is getting completely misused. If I purchase a license I can use that for many years just like if I buy a car I can keep using that for many years. If I rent the software and stop renting then I can’t continue to use it. Exactly like renting a car. If you like buying into Adobe’s idea of hooking you into paying for life then it’s great that works for you. Many of us don’t want to do that. Again … NEITHER is an investment and trying to fool oneself into thinking it gets a return is just rationalization.

        • Mark Berry

          If you make money out of photography, buying OR renting the tools you need to do so effectively is an investment, in exactly the same way as a carpenter will invest in a solid workbench. It’s a perfectly valid use of the word.

          If you prefer to pay for software up front instead of as you use it, so that the money’s in their bank not yours, go ahead.

          • catlett

            You have just exposed that you are either a hobbiest and / or ignorant of business terms. Tools used to perform your job are EXPENSES just like the chair or the computer. The only thing you are right about is that it is the same as a carpenter and the smart carpenter writes that workbench off as a capital expense.

          • Goliathgun

            Glad someone knows the difference between an expense and an investment. On topic, I still prefer to pay the expense of my software at once vs. paying monthly.

          • Mark Berry

            It’s not a difference, because they are not words that are mutually exclusive. An expense can be an investment (such as upgrading software to make the business more efficient and thus more profitable), or not (such as paying for digs, which is a direct cost/expense). Being an expense does not make something not an investment, and the use in the article was correct.

            Regarding paying up front or as you go, the only person who’s suggested that either is wrong is catlett, who described Adobe’s model as loan sharkery. Either approach is valid and either will be preferred by some, but describing a perfectly honest, and for some beneficial, payment model as “like a loan shark” is ridiculous.

            It’d be interesting to hear whether or not catlett uses the term “thief” for those who pirate Adobe software (one of the problems their new payment model seeks to solve) as freely as he uses the term “loan shark” for the vendor? If Adobe’s payment model is wrong, and I can’t see how it is for a lot of people, then the 70% of Photoshop users who stole it are at least as much to blame as Adobe are.

            For me, I’ll end up paying a lot less for my Adobe software, will get better use out of it, and will improve my cash flow, by using the “rental” model instead of “buying” it (assuming I could afford to buy it even if I wanted to), but that might not be true for you, and that’s fine.

          • Mark Berry

            And you have exposed that you understand the dictionary meanings, but not the common usage or the contextual correctness or otherwise of word use. When you put money into your own business, or use money the business has made, to advance that business, you are investing in it. Manufacturers invest in new machinery to improve their productivity, accountants invest in training to keep up with current practice, and photographers invest in the latest software to improve their workflows or output. Those purchases will not be described as investments in the accounts, you’re right, but they remain investments in the business owner’s future, so the use of the word investment in the article is correct.

            If you really want to get pedantic about it, do you regard software as an operating expense, or as a direct expense? The former is sometimes described as an investment, especially when it moves the business forward rather than simply maintaining it, the latter rarely is.

          • Mark Berry

            By the way, for the record, I’m a hobbiest (sic) with regard to photography, a business owner for my livelihood, and in my business I understand that when we have EXPENSES that improve our profitability, as upgraded software can, those EXPENSES are INVESTMENTS in my future. That is especially true if we could have got by without the EXPENSE, but have decided to incur the EXPENSE as an INVESTMENT in the future, exactly as the article was describing.

      • catlett

        BTW I never said buying software was an investment. The author tried to indicate renting software was.

  • Ivan

    Looks nice, except that I’m on a Surface Pro and Windows workflow. I suppose the Surface hardware implicitly covers the mobile features without having to upgrade to CC services.

    • Peter Bower

      Upgrades to Windows platforms will likely cover what you want — the hardware will not work fully with said devices (it can still be used as a stylus, but won’t have different things like Cloud integration and I *THINK* pressure sensitivity), but, you know, you don’t need an iPad on top.