Photoshop Leads New Creative Cloud Release

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Photoshop users got a nice surprise June 20 when Adobe released a major update to the program along with smaller additions to other tools in the Creative Cloud. I'll be offering my impressions in an article for HOW, but here's the skinny.

  • The new Content-Aware Crop feature works like Content-Aware Fill, intelligently filling in the edges of images when you rotate them or expand the canvas.
  • A new Selection and Masking Space improves on the old Refine Edge tool.
  • You can cause endless mischief with portraits thanks to the new Face-Aware Liquify.
  • Match Font is for situations where you see a type treatment you like but can't figure out which font was used. You open an image containing the type, and Photoshop suggests alternatives from the fonts installed on your computer or available through Adobe Typekit.
Steampunk Camera

Match Font is similar to WhatTheFont and WhatFontIs, and as with those services, I found that it works better with some fonts than others. It was spot-on with Typekit fonts and okay with an old song sheet cover, but it had trouble identifying a few display fonts installed in my system.

Photoshop received most of the attention, but web designers will appreciate a useful addition to Illustrator. The new Export for Screens and Export Assets features make it easier to export multiple versions of an image. Each version can be optimized for a different screen size and resolution, which is increasingly important given the plethora of devices where your designs might appear.

Since moving to its new subscription model, Adobe has released three major annual updates to the Creative Cloud applications — CC, CC 2014 and CC 2015 — with smaller updates in intervening months. However, if Adobe is planning a CC 2016, this isn't it. The Photoshop update is numbered CC 2015.5, and Illustrator is CC 2015.3.

Again, you can get my full impressions in a forthcoming article for HOW. I can't provide a link just yet, but you can find all of my recent HOW articles in one convenient location.

Taking Stock

Cash Register

Adobe also announced new features in its Adobe Stock service. Since Adobe launched the service in June 2015, its big selling point was its more-or-less seamless integration with Creative Cloud applications. When you choose an image in Adobe Stock, it's instantly accessible in a Creative Cloud library. You can also test watermarked versions in your layouts before paying for them. The update removes a few steps that were previously required to license the images or place them on your canvas. Adobe also added a Premium Collection consisting of curated images that sell for up to $499.99.

One piece of news that Adobe didn't announce: It made a small but welcome change to the terms of its "10 free images" promotion. The deal gives you one month of Adobe Stock for free, but its implementation raised hackles among some users. As the promotion was originally conceived, you signed up for the annual subscription plan, paid $29.99 in advance for the first month and then received a refund from Adobe. You had the option of cancelling within the first month, but the terms were confusing: They made it sound like you'd get the refund only if you continued with the full annual subscription.

Now it's a better deal. You no longer have to pay up front, and the terms have been rewritten to make it clear that you get the 10 free images even if you cancel the subscription. Adobe has also continued the promotion indefinitely. You can read all about it in this blog post.

I think this qualifies as a scoop for yours truly, albeit a small one. As I mentioned in my blog post, I don't think the promotion was handled well, but I do give Adobe credit for modifying the terms.