In previous versions of Photoshop, clicking the “Create a new group” icon at the bottom of the Layers panel added an empty Layer Group regardless of whether or not any layers were selected. In the current version of Photoshop CC however, with multiple layers selected, clicking the “Create a new group” icon adds a new Layer Group and places all selected layers into that Layer Group. Command + G (Mac) | Control + G (Win) will also create a new Layer Group while placing any selected layers within the Group.
To create an empty Layer Group, deselect all layers and click the “Create a new group” icon (Photoshop adds the group to the top of the layer stack).
To quickly ungroup layers, select the Layer Group in the Layer panel and use the keyboard shortcut Command + Shift + G (Mac) | Control + Shift + G (Win).
In previous versions of Photoshop, if you selected an area of an image that included an edge area and then chose Select >Modify > Feather, the Feather would be added to the entire selection. While this might be desirable in some instances, in the majority of cases, it would be ideal if the feather was only applied within the image (and not to the edges). As a result, in the current version, the engineering team has changed the default behavior so that they feather is not applied at the edge (the canvas bounds) of an image.
This is also true for the following commands:
Select > Modify > Smooth…
Select > Modify > Expand…
Select > Modify > Contract…
Note: the checkbox option will be remembered for each individual selection modification option. The checkbox default is Off on first launch as well as when the Photoshop Preferences are deleted.
The new Libraries panel in Photoshop CC (Window > Library) is a powerful way to store different design elements in an easily accessible panel, which can then be quickly applied across multiple documents as well as shared with Adobe Illustrator.
For example, if you have a logo that you regularly add to documents, you can open your logo file in Photoshop, select the logo layer in the Layer’s panel (or Layer Group if the logo is made up of multiple layers) and click the Add Graphic icons at the bottom left of the Libraries panel to “store” the logo in the panel. This “stored” version is saved locally as well as copied to the Creative Cloud making it accessible across multiple installs using the same Adobe ID. (For example, if you have two copies of Photoshop installed – one at home and one at work you will have access to the content of your Libraries panel in both locations).
When you want to apply that logo to additional documents, drag and drop the logo icon in the Libraries panel on to the open document. Note: you can also drag from the document area into the Libraries panel to store a Layer/Layer Group and, if you prefer, you can right mouse click on the icon in the Libraries panel to select “Use in Document” to apply that layer to another document. You can also Control -click (Mac) | Right -click Win to see additional options for each of the elements stored in your Libraries.
In addition to storing graphics (including Layers, Layer Groups, and Smart Objects), text styles (including font, type style, color, size, tracking, and leading), layer styles, and colors (fill, stroke, and foreground) can all be added to the Libraries panel. The Libraries panel can display brushes that are captured via the Adobe Brushes app (but not brushes created in Photoshop). If you have saved items in the Libraries panel in Adobe Illustrator, you will see those items in your Libraries panel in Photoshop and vice versa. If the element is understood by both products, then you can use them across applications. If the item being stored is specific to one application then, although you can view it in the Library, you will not be able to use it. (There might be some debate over whether or not we should be able to see items in a Library that we can’t use, but I believe it’s better that we can see all of the items regardless if we can use them or not – which could potentially cause confusion and lead us to believe that they are “missing” from one Library or another).
You can create as many Libraries as needed to help organize commonly used assets for different projects (click on My Library and choose Create New Library from the drop down menu).
You can view these assets in Creative Cloud by choosing View on Web from the fly-out menu on the Libraries panel.
If you are not online, you are still able to use items stored in your Libraries (a local, offline, copy is available). Any changes will be synced once you get back online. Note: the content stored in Libraries is not “linked”, meaning that if you add or apply the item that is saved in the Library and then make a change to that content in the document, the layer style, graphic, color etc., will not be automatically updated in the Library.
In addition, although technically the Libraries panel can support any size graphics (including Layer Groups that might include multiple, high resolution smart objects), I wouldn’t recommend storing really large files in your Libraries as they might reduce performance. There is a limit of 1000 elements in the Libraries.
Finally, setting type in a layer in Photoshop CC and then saving it as a Type Style in the Libraries panel enables that Type Style to be used in Illustrator. It would be useful to have Libraries use Paragraph and Character styles from Photoshop, but unfortunately there are slight differences between the way that the type engines in Photoshop and Illustrator display some type attributes.
The ability to quickly add multiple guides in Photoshop has arrived! Access this new feature and customize the options by selecting View > New Guide Layout. Not only can you enter the number of Columns and Rows that you need, but you can also choose the Width or Height, Gutter, Margins and whether or not to Center the Columns. To reuse the guides in multiple images, save the New Guide Layout options as a preset using the Preset drop-down menu. You can also choose to Clear Existing Guides if needed. Here are some examples of the guides you can create.
In addition, you can create guides based on a shape (View > New Guide from Shape). And you’re not limited to only Shape layers, you can create Guides from Type layers and pixel based layers! As you can see from the examples below, the Guides are created based on the bounding box around the contents of the layer
These two new features are going to save me a significant amount of time!
If you’ve ever needed to create flames, be sure to check out the new Flame Generator filter in Photoshop CC. This new feature is designed to render realistic flames on user-defined paths. You need to create your path first (using the pen tool or any of the shape tools), then choose Filter > Render > Flames. (Note: you need to have a pixel layer targeted in the Layers panel as a landing place for the flame to be created, not a Shape, Type, or Smart Object layer. You can however convert type to paths or use the Type Mask tool to render paths for letter forms).
As you can see from the dialog below, there are a large number of options that can be customized in a number of ways. The six different Flame Types are:
• One Flame Along Path: A single flame will be rendered on each path.
• Multiple Flames Along Path: More than one flame will be rendered on each path. The flames will follow the direction of the path.
• Multiple Flames One Direction: Multiple Flames will be rendered on each path. All of the flames will point in the same direction.
• Multiple Flames Path Directed: Multiple Flames will be rendered on each path. Each Flame will point according to the path angle.
• Multiple Flames Various Angle: Multiple Flames will be rendered on a path. Each Flame will point randomly. You can control the angle variation by changing the “angle” parameter.
• Candle Light: One candle light will be rendered on a path.
Another variable that you can change is the Flame Style. There are three types including Normal, Violent and Flat and are illustrated below.
The Flame Shape can also be varied and include the following options:
• Parallel: The lines that construct the flame are parallel.
• To The Center: The lines that construct the flame point toward the center.
• Spread: The lines that construct the flame spread away from the center.
• Oval: The vectors that construct the flame shape are curved in an arc.
• Pointing: The lines that construct the flame point converge at one point.
In addition, many other parameters can be changed including:
• Length: Flame length in pixels (available for Flame Types #2-5).
• Width: Flame width in pixels.
• Angle: Flame angle (available for Flame Types #3-5).
• Interval: Pixel length of the gap between flames (available for Flame Types #2-5).
• Adjust Interval For Loops: When checked, if the path is a loop, “Interval” will be adjusted so each gap between the flames will be uniform or even.
• Flame Lines (Complexity): This setting will increase/decrease the number of lines in each flame (each flame is made up of lines under the hood).
• Turbulent: This controls the calmness and roughness of the flame.
• Jag: If this is greater than 0, the flame will be jagged.
• Opacity: This controls the opacity/transparency of the flame.
• Flame Bottom Alignment: When this number is 0, each line that constructs the flame is evenly aligned. When this number is greater than 0, they will be randomized.
• Color: Choose from any color by clicking in the swatch and using the color picker
• Quality: This is always a trade-off – the lower the quality, the faster the render. However too low of quality might result in pixelated or jaggy edges.
• Randomize Shapes: when checked, the flame shape will be different every time a flame is created.
• Arrangement: The Randomize option must be turned off to access the Arrangement parameters to create identical flames.
Here are a few more examples of the different types of flames that can be made using the various adjustments listed above. All of the flames were based on a circular path.
Note: the Scripted Pattern Fill features – Picture Frame and Tree – are also now available under Filter > Render.
Photoshop’s new Welcome screen has the potential to help all different levels of Photoshop users. For beginners, clicking on the Getting Started tab displays tips and tutorials that cover the fundamentals. For those who have been using Photoshop for some time, the New Features tab will quickly demonstrate what feature enhancements have recently been added. And for continuous learning, the Tips & Techniques tab will offer additional training. The Create tab enables one click opening of recent documents and additional presets.
Use the links at the bottom to quickly navigate to additional resources. For example, the Help link will take you to CC Learn. Click Forum to ask a question or submit a request. Click Inspire to discover new work from artists around the world on Behance and click on Blog to check out what’s new on Photoshop.com.
Based on the tutorials that you choose to view, the Welcome screen will personalize what training to display to match your interests so get ready to learn!
Note: to disable the Welcome screen, click “Don’t show Welcome Screen Again” at the bottom of the New Features panel. Choose Help > Welcome Screen to enable it at a later time.
Extract Assets is a new feature in Photoshop that provides an interface on top of Adobe Generator to help automate the creation of assets for web and screen design from Photoshop files. The Extract Assets command allows you to define which layer(s) you want to create assets for, their size, file format and saved location on disk. Extract Assets automates the renaming of layers using the Generator syntax. To use Extract Assets, open a PSD file and select the layers you want to create assets for.
Then, choose File > Extract Assets (or use the keyboard shortcut Cmd + Option + Shift + W (Mac) | Ctrl + Alt + Shift + W (Win). The default file format is PNG but additional formats can be selected using the drop down menu to the right of the assets (PNG-8, PNG-32, PNG-24, JPG, GIF, and SVG are all supported). Once selected, additional file format specific settings can be chosen (for example, the compression level for JPEG files).
To set the resolutions for the assets that are created either click the Extract Assets resolution options across the top right of the dialog or, for additional options click the gear icon to the right of the options (or click the Settings… button in the lower left).
Typically for screen design you will want to create assets in 1x and also a 2x version, but you can choose from any of the Asset Resolutions listed in the Settings dialog. Once an Asset Resolution is selected, add a Suffix for each resolution and folder name (to save the assets within their own subfolder).
In addition, you can turn on or off the automatic generation of assets when your Photoshop document is changed. With automatic generation enabled, assets will be saved next to your Photoshop document in a folder named the same as your Photoshop document with -assets added. The assets in this folder will be continuously regenerated when any of the layers you want assets for are updated in that document.
If you forget to select the layers (or want to make a change to the layers that you have selected), you can do so without having to back out of the Extract Assets dialog. To add another layer, select one or more layers in the Layers panel and then click Add to add the selected layers. To remove them, select them in the Extract Assets dialog and click the trashcan icon.
Once you are ready to extract assets, click on the ‘Extract’ button and choose a location for your save assets. Once the assets are extracted, the operating system will show you the folder and all of the assets that have been created. If you prefer not to create the assets at that time, you can choose ‘Done’ to rename the layers using the Generator syntax). Click here for more information on the Generator syntax.
Note: assets and previews will not be generated if there is a comma in the layer name. In addition, each asset/layer must have a unique name to be created.
I’m happy to announce that Photoshop Mix is now available on iPad and iPhone! Be sure to check out the new features including Auto Cut Out for making selections faster and easier as well as the ability to share projects directly to Behance, Facebook, and other iOS services from your Gallery.
If you skipped the last update, you’ll also be pleased with new features such as the ability to undo/redo, swap foreground and background images, and save to a local device, as well as improved performance, and Dropbox support. In addition, the Enhance feature has been renamed Adjust, several bugs have been squashed and additional languages have been added (Italian, Spanish, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Korean).
Be sure to download the update to Lightroom mobile to access new features including:
• Set pick flags and star ratings without having to switch contexts or modes.
• Collect feedback on shared collections using lightroom.adobe.com. That feedback will then flow back into Lightroom mobile. (Stay tuned for how this feedback will flow back into Lightroom desktop in an upcoming release).
• GPS information from the iPhone now syncs with Lightroom desktop.
Plus, there have been bug fixes, performance improvements, and language updates. Lightroom mobile 1.2 adds support for Brazilian Portuguese, Italian, Korean, and Spanish.
A few weeks ago I had a unique opportunity to fly over the San Francisco Bay area in a small plane with my friend Bryn. James, the pilot, was fantastic and the weather was, thankfully, very cooperative. I’d never been in a plane with the doors off, but with the safety harness secure, and a few reassuring words, off we went! Here are a few of the resulting images from the 90 minutes in the air. I certainly never knew that the bay could be so colorful. These images are a part of my ever evolving book project: Window Seat, The Art of Digital Photography and Creative Thinking. Click here for more information about the EPUB on the iBook store. To view more images from the shoot, check out the San Francisco Bay portfolios on my Behance ProSite.
Since Adobe’s transition to Creative Cloud, Photoshop has delivered five major updates containing dozens of new tools, feature enhancements, and productivity improvements. Over the past 10 weeks, I’ve selected my top 55 features and posted about each one. Here is that list (with links to each post) in a single location. Have fun exploring!