We’re enjoying meeting everyone who has stopped by Photoshop & You in San Francisco. Just yesterday, I met a pro photographer who uses Photoshop regularly, a group of curious students from a nearby art school, a mother and daughter who wanted to pose for a free portrait together AND a charming dog with a bow tie. It’s fun to see our space become a comfortable hang out for everyone in the neighborhood.
One of the highlights has been a rich seminar series led by all of the masters in photography, art, image enhancement and manipulation. Even our own product team and evangelists are lending their time to provide their expert tips, tricks and inspiration – all for free. Yesterday, Bryan O’Neil Hughes – senior product manager for Photoshop – completely packed the theater with a session about “Hidden Gems” in Photoshop CS5.
Afterward, I sat down with Bryan to ask him a few more questions on behalf of all those who aren’t able to attend these seminar sessions in SF. Coincidentally, today we also posted a line up of “Hidden Gems” videos to our YouTube channel. Check them out! Hope this helps you better understand what the excitement around “Hidden Gems” is all about.
What is a “Hidden Gem?”
Bryan: Hidden Gems are the lesser known features within Photoshop, new functionality or updates we’ve made since our official launch date or new uses for well-known tools or workflows we hadn’t even imagined.
For instance, there are a lot of Hidden Gems that are specific to Content-Aware Fill, one of our most popular new features in Photoshop CS5. Content-Aware Fill can be used for much more than just removing objects from an image – you can remove artifacts like water, a smudge or a finger that’s on the lens or even add objects to a scene or fill in the gaps in a panorama. Lens flare is considered an aesthetic for many images, but not always; if you’ve ever tried to edit it out it’s just maddening! However, it turns out Content-Aware Fill is brilliant for that.
People always ask “what’s the next new thing?” There are a lot of things that come out post launch and this is our opportunity to tell people about them.
Why are you creating “Hidden Gems” videos?
Bryan: As evidenced from the responses I get when I talk about it at tradeshows, user groups, visits with the press, on my guest blog postings, etc. – people like to have a deep understanding of a new release. We created these bite-sized, videos because we’re all living in a very immediate world where we often just want a snippet. Most people want to know why a feature is relevant and an example of how to take advantage of it. We all treat YouTube as a place to go when we have a little extra time…when you have a free moment and you want to learn something new in Photoshop, you now have a place to do that.
How do you find all the “Hidden Gems?”
Bryan: One of the best things about teaching people about Hidden Gems is that they always have their own to share with me. I formally solicit Hidden Gems tips from our Photoshop evangelists and talk with various teams within Adobe, but it’s really cool when people approach me with another Gem I wasn’t aware of.
Why don’t people know about these Gems – are they really “Hidden?”
Bryan: No not at all! We don’t hide them on purpose…although in some cases I’m the last person to know about a particular tweak! The truth is, there are so many features and we can only communicate so much about each new release.
The “hidden” part is how these features are used, which is actually what’s most exciting. I like to check in with people and see how they are using features and many times it’s entirely differently than I thought they would be. This is what we don’t have visibility into before we ship, so when I’m out there instructing, it’s great to talk to people about their workflows.
What’s your favorite “Hidden Gem?”
Bryan: It’s hard to pick one because I’m very attached to the “Just Do It” features. I have to say if there is one feature that impacts a lot of people that few people know about, it’s changes to the Sharpen tool with Protect Detail – that is, brush-based selective sharpening, without introducing excessive artifacts. A lot of people don’t realize this is the most sophisticated sharpening algorithm in any Photoshop app. It’s a minor change to an existing tool, but one that complements anyone’s workflow who wants to do localized sharpening.
Aside from these “Hidden Gems,” what do you want to make sure people know about Photoshop CS5?
Bryan: For one thing, far and away Photoshop CS5 has more things for more people than any release in our history.
Photoshop is a GPU-accelerated, 64-bit cross-platform app and that’s a really big (and largely misunderstood) deal. If you’ve bought a new machine in the last few years, it means you are enjoying a faster and much more capable Photoshop than ever before.
Feature-wise, where to begin!? We have dozens of incredibly powerful features for every type of Photoshop user – many entirely new features and a ton of revised, re-imagined ones as well.
Don’t take my word for it, pull down a 30-day trial and try out these features for free.
There’s actually a price-related “Hidden Gem” too; because of our new subscriptions, you can rent Photoshop now – pay as you go.
I’m always sad to discover that many folks don’t realize that with CS3 or CS4 – you can upgrade to CS5 for a fraction of the cost.
It’s safe to say that Photoshop is more approachable, easier to use and more magical than it’s ever been.
Enjoy these bite-sized videos on some of Bryan’s favorite “Hidden Gems.” In the coming weeks we will be sharing more with you. Follow us on Facebook for opportunities to share your thoughts and catch the latest in our “Hidden Gems” series. If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, sign up for another FREE “Hidden Gems in Photoshop CS5” seminar scheduled for Friday, August 5 at 2pm, at Photoshop & You.
Customer Advocacy, Photoshop Team