All updates all the time: That is Adobe’s mission for its Creative Cloud subscription plan. Delivering perpetual updates to the suite’s desktop lineup, without adhering to a designated upgrade schedule, frees both company and users from the long, cold wait for new and enhanced features. On Monday, Adobe announced a huge update to Photoshop CC 2015, its flagship image editor, which now hooks into its new 3D character creation app called Fuse CC.
There are also updates to Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro and After Effects – and Adobe has also announced that Flash Pro is being renamed Animate CC (we're guessing because the Flash name has become associated with malware threats, and because the tool is more for creating animations output as HTML5 and video).
But today, Photoshop is the big news.
Photoshop users are accustomed to change: Over time, Adobe has tweaked the app endlessly. But even by Adobe’s standards, the winter 2015 update opens up a new world to Photoshop users. Its flatter look and redrawn icons are just the beginning: Its integration with Fuse, which enhances Photoshop’s already extensive 3D capabilities, goes further.
So set your Creative Cloud updates downloading and let's have an in-depth look at what's on offer in the new Photoshop.
The app sports a new launch dialog, which features a thumbnail or list view of recent files, document presets, and Library contents.
The new start interface experience may take some getting used to, but take as long as you need. If you don’t like it, you can disable it in the preferences and start off Photoshop the same way you always did.
You can now, for the first time, edit the main toolbar to contain only the tools you need. It also gives you personalised Photoshop tutorials, matched to your particular workflow.
This update also makes Photoshop easier to use on touch devices like the Microsoft Surface Pro 4, with new gestures, larger tabs, and more-accessible on-screen presets.
Photoshop CC links into Fuse CC (Preview), a new desktop app designed to create and animate realistic 3D models and insert them into Photoshop via the Creative Cloud Library. Once in Photoshop, Fuse models can be further manipulated with adjustable camera angles, lighting, and positioning.
Though it is a finished app, Adobe is calling Fuse CC a preview, making it available for free to anyone with an Adobe ID, though Photoshop integration requires a subscription.
More Photoshop features
The introduction of artboards into Photoshop CC 2015 last summer was popular, and this update offers improvements that make it easier to add and lay out boards and choose colors, guides, and other elements.
A new font filtering feature lets you find and select typefaces by category, choose favorites, and more. New machine learning functionality analyzes and pinpoints fonts that are visually similar to those already in your system. Photoshop now has an enhanced glyph panel to track recently used or favorite glyphs.
Additional new capabilities let you export a file in multiple sizes, and export multi-select assets like artboards or layers as individual files. Exporting is now faster and more compression efficient than the previous “gold standard” Save for Web command, especially for JPEGs and PNGs.
Creative Cloud Libraries are the glue that connects creative assets on the go, and updates here are meant to enhance usability. Libraries track character and layer styles, colors, and smart objects to apply to documents. A new button lets you create a library from an existing document and control which elements can be viewed.
Logos, graphics, colours, styles, and brushes in the Library can be shared with a creative team. Drag and drop items from the layers panel into the library panel or drop smart objects into a document and even bypass the Transform state, which saves keystrokes. Updated search functions let you search across libraries and even Adobe Stock inventory.
Oh, and welcome back a new, improved Oil Paint filter and get your thrills from opening and placing SVG content in Photoshop libraries and documents.
Since the dawn of Creative Cloud, Adobe has been obsessive about updating the app to meet user requests as well as implementing its own long-range agenda. While many previously announced updates to both desktop and mobile apps are also available, Adobe says it is prepping even more for early next year. Look for updates to Muse, the visual web design tool, and Project Comet, the brand new cross-platform UX design app.