As well as announcing updates to 14 desktop apps in its Creative Cloud suite, Adobe has confirmed that its photography program, which was previously billed as a special offer, will be a permanent feature.
The plan includes access to the Photoshop CC and Lightroom desktop applications with free upgrades when they are available, mobile and web apps, 20 GB of cloud storage and a Behance ProSite for £8.78/US$9.99/AU$9.99 per month when you sign up for a one-year plan.
New to Photoshop CC: Blur Gallery
Like Adobe’s other desktop apps, Photoshop CC is being updated with a host of new or refreshed features including the addition of two new motion blur filters in the Blur Gallery.
Path Blur allows movement blur to be added along a line (path) and controlled using an on-screen slider around a pin, like the other filters in the Gallery. The degree and location of the blur can be further controlled by adding pins with zero blur.
Spin blur is designed to add a sense of movement to wheels and disks in images. This size of the area affected as well as the stroke length and centre position can all be adjusted along with the intensity of the blur.
Both blur filters are non-destructive and their effect can be undone at any time.
New to Photoshop CC: Select by focus
Adobe has also added a new way to make selections, Focus Mask, which is ideally suited for use with images that have a sharp subject against a blurred background.
Once Focus Mask is active, it’s just a question of painting over the target area with the cursor and Photoshop will select the sharp areas.
The range of the selection can be adjusted and the refine edge controls are available to ensure that the correct area is selected.
New to Photoshop CC: Heightened awareness
Photoshop CC’s Content-Aware technology has been improved with a colour match algorithm for better results when using features such as the Patch tool.
Rather than just blurring the edges of the cloned section, the surrounding tint is analysed and the element is merged.
Designed for life
According to Adobe, Photoshop is often used for designing web pages and interfaces and consequently the company has made a collection of changes to make designers’ lives easier.
For example, in multi-layer, composite files it’s possible to update layers using a selection of changes made to another layer.
Linked smart objects, such as an Illustrator file, will also show any changes made to it in InDesign and it’s possible to create PNG files direct from layers.
When sharing files with Typekit fonts it’s also now possible for the receiver to download any fonts that they don’t have but that appear in the file.
Furthermore, when changing font, there’s a live preview of the font that’s visible as the list of options is scrolled.
In addition, the latest the version of Photoshop CC can show precise distances (in pixels) between elements, which can now be moved and snapped into position at equal spacing.
Lightroom more mobile
Lightroom mobile was announced with the update to Lightroom 5.4, and the latest version, Lightroom 5.5, takes things a little further with iPhone compatibility and the ability to upload iPhone images to collections.
Lightroom 5.5 allows users to choose which collections to sync with Lightroom mobile to allow them to be viewed on their iPhone or iPad.
The app makes use of Adobe’s Smart Preview technology to reduce the capacity required by large collections of images being viewed on a mobile device.
As well as couple of new gesture controls for Lightroom mobile, Adobe has added the ability to rate images and access to basic Lightroom presets.
As yet there are no plans to introduce Android compatibility, but this may change depending upon demand.
New free apps
To meet the demand for greater mobile creativity Adobe has introduced a selection of new apps that are free to download including Adobe Sketch (a sketchpad app), Adobe Line (for very precise drawings to be made on mobile devices) and Adobe Photoshop Mix that allows composites to be created quickly on the iPad.
The processing for some of the tools available in Mix, for example Camera Shake Reduction, Content Aware Fill and Upright is performed using the cloud server.
In addition, the new Creative Cloud app for iPad and iPhone allows CC subscribers to access and manage their files and assets from their mobile device.
Although these apps are free to download by CC subscribers and easy to use, Adobe says that they are designed to be serious tools for professionals.
Breaking free from its usual software realm, Adobe has announced two pieces of hardware, Adobe Ink and Adobe Slide, which will be sold together as a kit.
Adobe Ink is a stylus for the iPad that enables drawing via a fine, pen-like tip, while Adobe Slide is a digital ruler for the iPad for precision sketching.
Adobe CC updates are available immediately for download by Creative Cloud subscribers at no extra cost and Adobe Lightroom 5.5 is available from June 19.
Adobe Ink and Slide are available immediately in the US for just under $200 and will be rolled out to the rest of the world later in the year.
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