Almost no other software has been as instrumental and defining for an industry as Adobe’s Photoshop Suite has been for photography and imaging. Adobe’s famous «graphic editing program» (they get really annoyed if it’s called anything else, especially «image manipulation tool») has gone through several versions over the years, and with its latest iteration, Photoshop Creative Cloud a.k.a Photoshop CC, it has entered a brand new era.
We’ll begin this article with some clarifications. Unlike what most users believe, and what has been bandied about the internet, the new version of Photoshop is not limited to working only with internet access. You don’t have to be constantly logged on to the Cloud to be able to use the software. Once you purchase the initial license (just like previous CS versions), you download the software to use on your desktop. Yes, you do have to pay a monthly subscription fee to use the software, for which you do have to let the software access the internet once a month for validation, and you do need to pay to buy additional storage space on the Cloud (you only get 2GB of free space in the beginning), but otherwise you can continue to work on Photoshop as before. In case you have issues logging in once a month to the internet as well (say you’re on a long trip to a remote location for a photo-shoot for over a month), Adobe has you covered too; simply purchase a premium subscription of CC that lets you log in once every three months, or even a year for the highest payment option, instead of the monthly check-in.
Now that the essential peripheral queries have been answered, let’s get down to the software itself. Photoshop CC has maintained the same user interface as Photoshop CS6, making it an easy transition for users of the previous version. Adobe has added several nifty new features to the new version that increase the already-powerful image-editing capabilities of the software. Let’s take a look at some of these.
Smart Sharpen is one of the most useful filters in Photoshop, and Adobe has redone the whole thing from the ground up. The new filter lets you reduce noise in out-of-focus backgrounds while sharpening edges that need it, solving the problem of background noise being sharpened along with the areas that need to be sharpened. The Upsampling tool has also been given a makeover from scratch. The new tool gives you the option to make several tweaks when enlarging your image, including the critical «preserve details when enlarging». For users in a hurry, or those who are simply not comfortable making all the changes individually, the tool also offers a handy Auto option that maintains the «preserve details» option while doing whatever else is required to achieve the desired size and resolution.
Adobe has also introduced a very handy new feature in the Camera Shake Reduction filter. Selecting Shake Reduction from the File/Sharpen menu lets you select blurry areas in the image that need sharpening. The software analyzes the amount of pixel displacement in the picture and tries to compensate the same in the direction (horizontal or vertical) you tell it to. While not a miracle worker, it works well enough to come close. And in one of the best improvements, Adobe has finally integrated Camera Raw 8 support directly into Photoshop CC, letting you use the extremely precise control of Camera Raw as a filter. Features like the improved healing brush and the new Upright feature (lets you straighten horizons and buildings intuitively) serve as bonuses to the new feature.
While you may not be a fan of the new subscription-based model (Adobe’s complicated payment plan can be seen on their website), the host of new features offered by Photoshop CC, and the promise of many more to come, make switching to this new version of the iconic software a given. If you’re still not convinced, you can always continue to use CS6, but be warned: Adobe will no longer support pre-Creative Cloud versions of its softwares.