Adobe has added some nice new features to Photoshop CC and, as noted above, they rolled all of the features that used to be in Photoshop Extended into the CC version. The inclusion of 3D tools aside, Photoshop CC isn’t the most feature-packed upgrade the program has seen, but it’s still got some good stuff in it, especially in the realm of actions and filters. Here’s an overview of the new goodies (don’t worry if you don’t yet understand some of the terms used here—you’ll learn what they mean as you read through this book):
Retina ready. Both Photoshop and Bridge now support Retina displays, Apple’s super-high resolution monitors (called HiDPI on PCs) and as such, you’ll spot a new 200 percent option in the View menu (which lets you see web graphics at the size they’ll appear in a browser). Several plug-ins also support these mind-bogglingly crystal-clear displays including Liquify, “Save for Web,” “Merge to HDR,” Vanishing Point, Adaptive Wide Angle, Lens Correction, and the Filter Gallery. While the new Adobe Camera Raw 8 isn’t yet Retina-happy, it should be soon (probably in version 8.1).
Conditional actions. This super useful new feature lets you record a conditional action (see Chapter 19) that chooses among several previously recorded actions in order to meet criteria that you set. You’ll learn all about it on Managing Actions.
Field Blur, Iris Blur, and Tilt-Shift filters now work with Smart Filters. Some of the most useful new features in Photoshop CS6 were the Field Blur, Iris Blur, and Tilt-Shift filters, which make creating blurry backgrounds easier than ever. Here in CC, those filters now work with Smart Filters, so you can run ’em non-destructively without having to duplicate your Image layer. These filters also take advantage of OpenCL, a technology found in newer graphics cards that lets Photoshop tap into the card’s processing power. As a result, previewing and applying these filters to your images is noticeably faster.
Camera Raw filter and other Camera Raw enhancements. One of the most useful changes in Photoshop CC is that the Camera Raw plug-in is available as a Photoshop filter (it works as a Smart Filter, too). Camera Raw also has a new Radial filter that lets you apply adjustments in a circular fashion either from the inside of your image to its edges or vice-versa (it’s like a circular Gradient Filter). You can now heal areas that aren’t round using Camera Raw’s Spot Removal tool, and the new Upright feature lets you correct perspective problems. Last but not least, when merging multiple 32-bit image exposures using the “Merge to HDR Pro” dialog box, you can have Photoshop automatically create a Smart Object out of the result and then open it in the Camera Raw filter for fine-tuning. (Camera Raw is discussed throughout this book, but the bulk of the coverage is in Chapter 10.)
Shake Reduction filter. In previous versions of Photoshop, there wasn’t much hope of making a blurry image look sharp (aside from using the Emboss filter). However, Photoshop CC’s new Shake Reduction filter analyzes your image and traces the pattern of the blurry parts in order to eradicate it. It does an incredible job on images that are slightly blurry due to camera shake. You’ll learn all about it starting on Sharpening with the High Pass Filter.
Redesigned Smart Sharpen filter. Rounding out the improvements in the sharpening realm is the completely redesigned Smart Sharpen filter. It sports a new and improved sharpening method that keeps from introducing halos around high-contrast edges, a new noise-reduction slider, as well as a simplified, resizable dialog box.
Faster Liquify filter that works with Smart Filters. The Liquify filter also takes advantage of your graphics card’s processing power, so it runs up to 16 times faster than it used to (especially when you’re working with big files). It now works with Smart Filters (The Joy of Smart Filters), too, which lets you use it nondestructively on any kind of layer including Shape, Type, and Video layers. Its masking controls were also simplified, it sports a new Smooth tool, and the new Load Last Mesh button lets you summon the last mesh you made.
Minimum and Maximum filter improvements. Both of these filters were notorious for making round things appear square, though by choosing Roundness from the new Preserve drop-down menu, that won’t happen. And when you choose Roundness, you can enter decimals into the filters’ Radius fields, letting you be a lot more precise when you’re using ’em to fine-tune a layer mask.
Brand-new Image Size dialog box and interpolation method. The Image Size dialog box has been simplified and redesigned to include a resizable image preview that helps you see the results of your settings before applying ’em, which is incredibly helpful in choosing the right interpolation method. The new Preserve Details interpolation method sharpens areas of fine detail in your image in order to produce higher quality enlargements (this new method includes a noise-reduction slider, too). All interpolation methods now have keyboard shortcuts, and there’s a handy list of size presets in the new Fit To drop-down menu.
Rounded Rectangle tool has editable properties. One of the problems with using the Rounded Rectangle tool was that you had to guess at the Radius setting in order to produce the corner roundness that you want. That’s all changed now. When you use the Rounded Rectangle tool (or the plain ol’ Rectangle tool) in Photoshop CC, the Properties panel that opens includes four fields that you can use to alter the roundness of each corner individually, after you’ve drawn the shape.
Path improvements. You can now activate multiple paths in the Paths panel by Shift- or ⌘-clicking (Ctrl-clicking on a PC) them, which lets you delete, duplicate, and change their stacking order en masse (you can also Shift-click to activate ’em in your document). And speaking of paths, Photoshop CC also lets you use the space bar to reposition an anchor point while you’re drawing a path.
Selective layer filtering. This option lets you view only the layers that are currently active in the Layers panel. It’s really handy when your Layers panel is long and you’re editing layers that don’t necessarily match any of the other layer-filtering criteria, as well as when you’re editing vector shapes. Filtering Layers has details.
Default character and paragraph styles. Once you’ve saved frequently-used text formatting as character or paragraph styles, you can use the new Save As Defaults option to make Photoshop automatically add them to new documents, as well as to existing documents that didn’t previously contain any styles. You can also activate multiple styles in the Character or Paragraphs panel and delete ’em all at once.
CSS support. To the delight of web designers worldwide, the new Copy CSS command lets you copy color and formatting info into your computer’s memory as fully functional CSS code, so you can then paste it into your favorite HTML editor. You’ll spot the new command in the shortcut menus you get when you Control-click (right click) Type and Shape layers. Also new is the ability to point the Swatches panel to an HTML, CSS, or SVG file and have it automatically generate swatches from the color info inside those files (the Tip on Tip tells you how to accomplish this).
3D. The experience of painting 3D objects in Photoshop has been improved and live previews are up to a hundred times faster than in previous versions of the program. To help you get a grip on 3D, this book sports a brand-new chapter (Chapter 22) that shows you how to start creating and working with 3D text and objects.
There are also tons of little changes in Photoshop CC, too, that are the direct result of Adobe’s customer feedback initiative called Just Do It (JDI). Here’s a partial list: the Crop tool now includes a setting that brings back the resolution field in the Options bar, you can save more than one Photoshop document at the same time, the Color Range command is better at detecting faces, a new anti-aliasing option makes text look like it will in popular web browsers, the Type tool new supports Indic languages, the Migrate Presets feature now copies over presets that aren’t currently loaded in Photoshop and doesn’t require a restart, metadata and ICC profiles are now saved with PNG files, Shape layer thumbnails now accurately preview the whole document, the Color Picker’s hex field is automatically highlighted when you open the dialog box, and last but not least, the Brush Preset picker now includes a brush tip preview as well as angle and roundness controls (which are also accessible from the Brush tool’s shortcut menu).