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