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!
If you’ve ever created a special style or “look” to apply to your images using multiple layer adjustment and blending options, then the ability to create and export Color Lookup Tables (LUTs) in Photoshop CC could potentially save you a significant amount of time. Although historically Color LUTs have been used primarily by the film industry, I believe that many photographers and designers will find the ability to remap any color in an image to any other color quite powerful.
These “looks” can be used to simply color correct an image, or they can be used to take an image to the extreme! Certainly we can use presets in Lightroom and/or Camera Raw to make creative color manipulations, but in Photoshop, we can use Color Lookup Tables to incorporate not only the entire range of Adjustment and Fill Layers (such as Curves, Selective Color, Channel Mixer, Gradient Fill, even other Color LUTs!) but even more features including blend modes, opacity, and the advanced blending sliders.
For example, the image below has three different “looks” applied using a variety of layer adjustments and blending options. (Click on the image to view it larger.)
Now, instead of having to apply each series of adjustments to another image, these adjustments can be exported as a single Color LUT (File > Export > Color Lookup Tables). Note: I chose to save my LUTs as ICC Profiles because it isn’t dependent on a color space, but you can also export a 3D LUT file or a Device Link. Click here for more information on the types of LUTs.
To load and apply a Color Lookup Adjustment Layer to another document, choose Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Color Lookup and, in the Properties panel, load the custom LUT. And don’t forget, the Color Lookup Adjustment layer can then be selectively hidden/revealed using the Adjustment Layer mask as well as blended using blend modes and opacity for additional creative opportunities.
For those of you who might be asking “Why not just drag and drop the adjustment layers onto another file?” Well, color LUTs created in Photoshop can be used in Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere, SpeedGrade and other applications that use 3D LUTs to help get the same look and feel across images and other media (like video), even though these applications don’t share the same math and color correction techniques. The Color Lookup Table can also include the results of dozens of adjustments, and apply those to images in different colorspaces (which doesn’t always work when dragging adjustment layers between documents).
Note: there is one caveat, you can not use layer masks to selectively hide or reveal any of the adjustments while making the color lookup table – they need to be applied to the entire image (canvas) area.
Click here for more information (as well as a downloadable file to quickly see your own image with each default LUT applied).
Chris Cox has also posted two additional color profiles for you to download and try.
The videos below cover the new and improved features surrounding 3D in Photoshop CC including generating UVs as well as printing to a 3D printer! Since I am not an expert in this area, I’m going to rely on Adobe’s very own Daniel Presedo to explain.
Daniel starts by demonstrating how to generate UVs in Photoshop CC.
In this video you’ll discover how to print a 3D object from Photoshop CC.
Next, learn how to prepare your 3D model to upload and print via Shapeways.com.
Finally, discover how to share your 3D images using Sketch Fab and Behance.
If you’re new to 3D in Photoshop, here is a Getting Started with 3D in Photoshop play list from Daniel.
Photoshop CC’s new Experimental Feature Manager now ships with experimental features that you can enable and try out. These features are not yet production-ready, so exercise discretion while using them. For example, many customers on Windows have been requesting HiDPI support – if you want to give it a try, do the following:
Select Preferences > Experimental Features.
Select the experimental feature that you want to enable.
Restart Photoshop and give it a spin.
Even though I have spent the past 10 weeks talking about all of the new features and product enhancements that the Photoshop team has added since Photoshop CC launched, there are still great features that I wasn’t able to cover! So to make sure that I’ve covered all of the topics, I’ll extend the project through the end of the week.
Today we will start with four hidden gems including:
• When creating new documents, the Background Contents option can be included as part of a script and will also be saved as part of a New Document Preset.
• Clicking the lock icon next to the Background layer on the Layers panel converts the Background to a layer.
• The Swatches panel now displays the recently used swatches across the top of the panel.
• The Color sampler tool can now add up to ten different samples. You can click on the eyedropper in the Info panel to change the color readout values for each sampler individually, or Option (Mac) | Alt (Win) click the eyedropper to change them all at once.
If you prefer to watch a video, here you are:
The new Sync Settings feature in Photoshop CC uses your Adobe ID to synchronize your settings between the two software installs allowed in the license agreement (your home and work computer for example). To specify which settings to synchronize, choose Preferences > Sync Settings. Available settings include: Preferences, Workspaces, Actions, Brushes, Swatches, Styles, Gradients, Custom Shapes, Patterns, Contours and Tool Presets.
Use the drop down menu in the Advanced area to choose “What to Sync”: “Everything” checks all options, “Custom” allows you to select specific settings, and “Nothing” unchecks all and deactivates the upload/download transfers.
To synchronize the settings from one computer to another:
Select the “master computer” the one that has the modified settings and choose “Upload Settings” (either from Photoshop > Your AdobeID Sign On or Preferences > Sync Settings). This will take all the non-factory settings files (ie. the settings that you have modified) and upload them to your AdobeID’s Creative Cloud account. Any files with the same names will be overwritten; there is no conflict resolution.
• Then, move to the secondary computer (that you want to download the settings onto), and choose “Download Settings” (either from Photoshop > Your AdobeID Sign On or Preferences > Sync Settings). This will take all the settings files* from your Creative Cloud account and download them to the local machine. Any files with the same names will be overwritten; there is no conflict resolution.
Note: *workspaces that are created/uploaded from a different platform will not be downloaded.
You must have Internet access and be signed in to your Adobe account to sync settings. To sign in, choose Help > Sign In.
• You are always in control of when you sync your settings (i.e. there is not an option to “auto sync settings” – they will only sync when you select “Sync Settings Now”).
• Even if you only have one computer (a single machine/single install) , you can always sync your settings to your Creative Cloud account which can really save time when upgrading your machine or when bad things happen (like a drive goes down that has your settings/applications on it).
• There are settings that are specific to the machine running the application (such as Memory Usage and Scratch Disks options), and these are not included in the synchronization feature.
If you need to automatically generate assets from individual (or groups of) layers in Photoshop, then you should check out Adobe Generator in Photoshop CC (File > Generate > Image Assets). By using specific parameters to name files, Photoshop can automatically create JPEG, PNG or GIF images.
For example, if you mock up a web page and then want Photoshop to export individual graphics, you can name a layer with the desired extension: banner.gif or photo.jpg or logo.png. If you need more than one version (different file formats for example) for the same layer, add a comma between the names: photo.jpg, photo.png Note: you can also use the plus (+) symbol instead of the comma.
JPEG assets are generated at 90% quality by default. PNG assets are generated as 32-bit images by default. GIF assets are generated with basic alpha transparency. If you need to set additional options for file formats, include them in the layer name as well:
• For JPEG files, set the compression quality by naming the layer (or layer group) to photo.jpg5 or photo.jpg50% to give you an asset set to 50% compression quality.
• For PNG files, set the options for logo.png.8, logo.png.24, or logo.png.32
When exporting assets, if no size is determined, then the asset will be generated at the same size as the original. However, you are also able to determine the size of the image that you want Photoshop to output using the layer name. The size goes at the beginning of the layer name and can be set in pixels, inches, percentage (%) and/or mm. Do not put a space between the numeric value and the unit of measurement. For example, 40px x 40px logo.png will generate an asset while 40 px x 40 px logo.png will not. You also need to leave a space between the size and the layer name. If you don’t add any units, then Photoshop will assume that you want pixels. For example:
200% banner.jpg will create a JPEG file that is 200% of the original
40 x 40 logo.png will create a png file 40 x 40 pixels (as would 40px x 40px logo.png)
2in x 60 graphic.gif will create a GIF file 2 inches by 60 pixels.
As you can see by the last example, you can mix the units of measurements. You can also use the question mark “?” to choose one dimension and simply have Photoshop resize the asset proportionally (similar to setting the long (or short) dimension of a file when exporting in Lightroom, Saving images in Camera Raw, or using the Fit Image option in Photoshop (File > Automate).
Before automatically generating assets, you must first choose File > Generate Image Assets. This “enables” Generator. Photoshop will save all of the necessary assets in a subfolder alongside the source PSD file. Note: If you have not saved the source file, then Photoshop will save the assets to the desktop.
A few last tips:
• Name a layer group to have all of the layers within the group saved as one asset.
• Do not use illegal characters (such as / \ : * etc) – no asset will be generated.
• If you clip a layer to a shape, name the topmost clipped layer to generate the asset.
• If your layer extends beyond the visible image area (or if it’s partially hidden by another layer), all of the content will be exported.
This help document is also informative: Generate image assets from layers in Photoshop CC
There were some very useful improvements made to Color Range in Photoshop CC. When choosing to select the Shadows, Midtones or Highlights in your image, there are now controls to modify the range (used to select the threshold value), and fuzziness (used to gradually fan out the selection for smoothness). These new capabilities enable you to be more specific in defining the areas in your image that you want to select based on luminosity values (previously these selections had been based on fixed values.
Although it is easy to use Select > Modify to expand or contract a selection by a specific number of pixels, for additional control, try using the Maximum and Minimum filters (Filter > Other > Maximum/Minimum). To contract or expand a selection by a decimal number (not a whole number as is the limit for the Select > Modify command), first, make your selection, then click the Quick Mask icon to view the red overlay before selecting the filter (otherwise the filter will affect the pixels in the photo that you have selected). Then, choose Filter > Other > Minimum to contract the selection by a non-whole number or choose Filter > Other > Maximum to expand the selection by a non-whole number.
Note: both of the filters are looking at the values of gray within the radius that you specify. The Preserve Roundness option will help keep round shapes round instead of being reduced using a more “rectangular” method, which will cut corners when contracting. The Preserve Squareness will help keep rectangular shapes with more square edges from getting rounded. Both filters can be used for choke and spread operations on masks or images (removing dirt, enlarging bright points, etc.).
Photoshop CC (v14.1) added 32-bit image support for a number of filters including:
• Blur -> Blur and Blur More
• Distort -> Displace, Pinch, Polar Coordinates, Ripple, Shear, Spherize, Twirl, Wave, and ZigZag
• Pixelate -> Color Halftone, Crystallize, Facet, Fragment, Mezzotint, Mosaic, Pointilize
• Render -> Fibers
• Sharpen ->Sharpen and Sharpen More
• Stylize -> Diffuse (anisotropic is disabled in 32 bit), Trace Contour
• Other -> Custom
Note: in some of the examples above, changes have been made to opacity and blend mode.
This video demonstrates how to use the enhanced Scripted Patterns and Fills in Photoshop to add a picture frame and border to your images. Select a frame from simple strokes to flowers and vines, snowflakes and leaves, then change the margin or offset from the edge, size, thickness, colors, angle and arrangement of the frame. Of course, you can combine any number of frames to make your border unique.
• Shift + Delete (Mac) | Shift + Backspace (Win) displays the Fill dialog.
Discover how to use the Enhanced Scripted Patterns to create one-of-a-kind trees by changing the direction of the lighting, camera tilt, amount and color of leaves, branch color, and more in Photoshop CC.
• Shift + Delete (Mac) | Shift + Backspace (Win) displays the Fill dialog.
Note: this video was recorded prior to the 2014 release of Photoshop CC. As many of you have already discovered, the 2014 release of Photoshop CC installs a new version of Photoshop (which can run along side of Photoshop CC – the previous version). However the Oil Paint Filter had to be removed from the 2014 release so if you want to use this filter, you must use the previous version of Photoshop (Photoshop CC). Click here for more info on the Oil Paint filter, Flash Panels and Mac OS X 10.6 support.