Adobe is having its annual MAX conference this week, and today it lifted the lid on a number of new products, including Photoshop CC, the new, Creative Cloud-era version of its incredibly popular photo editing application. Photoshop CC is in many ways an evolution of the Photoshop brand, adding some powerful new features while mostly keeping things similar to CS6, but it’s a significant departure in terms of the way Photoshop gets updated, released and sold.
First, the new features, since two in particular are especially impressive: The new camera shake reduction engine looks like an actual miracle worker, and the updated RAW editing engine in CC gets the best of Adobe’s recent Lightroom update, plus the ability to do continuous, non-destructive RAW edits, something which hasn’t been available in the past. That’s thanks to the introduction of RAW editing as a filter, which you can use even with non RAW images to get access to great tools like the Exposure slider.
The Camera Shake Reduction feature magically turns blurry photos into exceptionally crisp ones, or at least it did with the examples Adobe used in its briefing of the feature. Details become sharp, text legible, and you can even follow what exactly it’s doing since you can view the blur path the software has identified and corrected for. Be aware that this is a tool with a very specific use, though; if you’re using a camera in a dark environment and you’re set for a long exposure, it’ll correct for any shakes created by your hand twitching a bit, or if you’re shooting without a tripod with a long zoom, but it has to be motion related. You won’t get a fix for missed focus or any other cause of blur.
Still, for low light shooters who prefer shooting handheld to dragging around a full size tripod, which can really get in the way when you’re looking to capture candids, this is an amazing addition to the Photoshop arsenal, so long as it works in practice half as well as it demos in controlled conditions.
The other big new banner feature is improved RAW editing, and this is another really impressive and powerful feature, especially for photographers. The RAW import dialog on Photoshop is decent, and matches a lot of the features found on Adobe Lightroom, but it’s also limited. Once you’ve accepted your changes, there’s no way to go back and make more tweaks after you’ve begun editing in Photoshop itself. Now, you can jump into RAW editing at any time, and use the RAW editor as a filter layer on top of your original image. You also get some of the great new tricks Lightroom has adopted, like the new customizable shape healing brush, and the Upright horizon and perspective correction tool.
Ohter new features include a redesigned smart sharpen feature, better upsampling when you’re blowing up a lower resolution image, rounded rectangle shapes with editable corners (this has been a very annoying oversight up until now) and multi-shape and path selection, Illustrator-style. There’s also now Behance network integration built right into Photoshop CC.
As mentioned, this also marks a big shift, where it looks like we’ll see Adobe focus exclusively on the Creative Cloud releases of Photoshop in favor of numbered versions, so expect updates to arrive more like they do with something like iOS or Android, with improvements coming as needed instead of lumped into standalone larger releases. All of this comes alongside the rest of Creative Cloud’s latest version on June 17.