It’s no secret that Adobe lately has been slipping out little sneak peeks of “a future version of Photoshop” – presumably Photoshop CS6, when it comes out…
What’s surprising is that over the past two months we’re now up to 8 (eight!) different videos released in total, to date.
The first 5 previews arrived in January and February, and now we’ve got 3 more so far in March…
This latest set shows off new capabilities for working with 3D and Video, as well as easily creating shallow depth of field in any image (a.k.a. the bokeh effect, the technique of aesthetically blurring the background).
Photoshop’s new “Blur Gallery” including the Iris Blur Filter can quickly add selective blur to any image without masks, layers, or depth maps – making it very easy to “pop out” a photograph’s subject with the appearance of shallow focus:
Following onto a successful public beta period, the long-awaited Adobe Lightroom 4 final release began shipping earlier this week, and has some folks pretty excited about the new features and capabilities. There’s a complete list further below, but some of the biggies include much better video support, soft proofing, integrated maps and photo books, enhanced sharing & exporting, and some amazing improvements to the Develop module.
We’ve got a new video set from the popular Julianne Kost giving a thorough review of what’s new and improved… (2 hours of coverage; see Table of Contents) If you want to try out the software for yourself, the 30-day free trials are also now available for download.
New Features in Lightroom 4 (Video Collection)
Adobe Lightroom 4 is only days old, yet it’s quickly getting rave reviews across the net…
PC Magazine gives it 4½ stars and their Editors’ Choice Award for photo workflow software, writing: “For anyone who’s serious about digital photography, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 is now a more essential tool than ever – this is the app you need.”
Digital Photography Review also has great things to say: “Lightroom 4 is a substantial upgrade … offers an impressive list of features … on image quality, the Lightroom team has kept its eye on the prize … consistently getting pleasing results in fewer steps … works impressively well on a range of images … you can get superior results compared to previous versions … video users will also be pleased … welcome surprise price drop … compelling reasons to upgrade.”
And there is already a wealth of free learning resources available… Here are some good ones:
We’ve seen a few sneak peeks already of what Adobe’s working on now in Photoshop – but this new one is the best to date, it’s pretty incredible… They don’t say which release these capabilities could make it in (or when), but presumably it’s Photoshop CS6.
This new demonstration takes the much-praised concept of Content-Aware Fill that was introduced in Creative Suite 5 and carries it much further with new Content-Aware Move, Extend, and Patch tool features. It’s hard to explain but you can see how it works with the 2½ minute video below.
Last month we actually put together a guide to getting the best results with Photoshop CS5’s Content-Aware Fill, but these new tools clearly make the work much faster, simpler, and more flexible… and dare we say magical (see the “before and after” screengrabs below the video).
See more advanced features of Photoshop Content-Aware technology. Straight from Photoshop Senior Product Manager Bryan O’Neil Hughes, this video shares how to seamlessly move, extend, remove, or patch an object from an image.
Last month Adobe quietly revealed a first look at Photoshop CS6, which was received with hundreds of thousands of views… And now we have second and third looks, new sneak peeks which focus on performance gains and vector improvements (with dashed and dotted lines).
As images grow larger and larger in resolution and file size, even simple actions such as saving your files can slow down productivity – which has been a point of interest in Photoshop CS5. In this preview, a smooth and oft-requested Background Save capability is introduced allowing you to fully continue working while all file saving takes place in the background, regardless of size or compression.
Large images also slow down functions like Liquify… In the video, a 100MB photograph lags when loading and editing in Photoshop CS5. Now this new Photoshop (CS6 we presume) uses the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) to greater effect to bring real-time loading and editing responsiveness. See how much faster and crisper the Liquify filter works, enabling effectively unlimited brush sizes:
Content Aware Fill is one of the major features added since Adobe Photoshop CS5, and is said to be one of its greatest new timesavers. CAF allows you to move or delete parts of your image and Photoshop will automatically and intelligently fill in the space left behind. We’ve written about it before with the quote, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” [Arthur C. Clarke]
Yet we still see some people claiming that Content Aware Fill “doesn’t work,” “doesn’t give results like in the demo video,” “doesn’t use the right background,” or is just hype, smoke-and-mirrors, or a “gimmick.”
It’s true that it doesn’t always work and of course has its limitations. You can’t synthesize brand new material or hidden content that doesn’t exist in some related form elsewhere in the image. And often it will require some retouching afterwards to get the final result you want.
But usually it will get you most of the way there very quickly – if you know the most effective ways to use the feature. The best is when it “just works” without doing anything special, and this happens often enough too…
If you’d like to learn how to use Adobe’s Creative Suite tools to easily and portably create websites and apps for tablets, smartphones, and mobile devices there’s a new 2¼-hour course you’ll be interested in…
Guru Paul Trani teaches an extensive free class with 18 video chapters that will take you step-by-step on how to create portable content that will run on both Apple iOS and Google Android devices with a wide variety of screen sizes using a single code base. Basic usage of HTML5 and CSS3 is covered, as well as how to bring in Adobe’s recent additions PhoneGap (for building fast, cross-platform mobile applications) and Typekit (for delivering custom web fonts).
The first half of the video series employs Adobe Dreamweaver CS5.5 to develop both websites and apps, with steps on how to convert a website into a portable mobile app. The tutorials then move on to using Flash-based tools (with Adobe AIR) to build multi-platform mobile apps. We already know that Flash Professional CS5 can be used to build apps for the iPad and iPhone, but this takes it a step further. The videos guide you all the way through to how to publish your app to your device and to the Android Market (which shows immediately) or to the Apple App Store.
Adobe Photoshop is a sophisticated tool with a 21-year history and a seemingly-endless array of powerful capabilities. And after spending $549 for the product with discounts (or $199 for students), who wants to pay a lot more to learn how to use it all?
Fortunately there are a number of avenues to get great training and tutorials for free. The first stop is Adobe TV, which has nearly four hours and 37 chapters of 100% free tutorials for Photoshop CS5 alone. There is also a wealth of content for prior versions like Photoshop CS3 and CS4. It’s a good place to get started and orient yourself with the major functions, and all of it is gratis.
For learning how to use the best new features added in Photoshop CS5, take a look at our collection of articles with tours of:
- Content-Aware Fill
- Puppet Warp
- Top Masking Techniques
- Creating Time-Lapse Videos
- Impressionist Oil Painting
We also have a regular page here on the site with a rotating selection of tuts for all versions of Photoshop, stepping through various tips and tricks. And for a terrific set of little-known but very handy techniques, check out Adobe’s Photoshop “Hidden Gems” series with Product Manager Bryan O’Neil Hughes.
Knowing how to make a good mask is one of the most important things you can learn to do in Photoshop. With accurate masks you can completely control the placement and movement of all the elements of your image. The techniques shared in these videos will help you get the most out of the new masking capabilities in Photoshop CS5… And when you combine them with the new content-aware fill feature to magically fill backgrounds of moved or deleted objects, well then you’ve really got something.
The first video is a two-part playlist, New Masking Basics: Get up-to-speed with the great new masking tools and techniques in Photoshop CS5, to quickly and easily create professional quality masks, including a photograph with challenging hair.
The second video, to the right, also plays in two parts – New Advanced Masking: Learn some of Photoshop guru Russell Brown‘s favorite methods for masking out the background from a really difficult image.
The third and final video is Advanced Motion Blur Masking and Blending: This tutorial will get you through the toughest motion blur with flying colors… Also learn some advanced blending tips and techniques.
We’ve previously covered 17+ hours of free video tutorials for Creative Suite 5, plus three hours for Lightroom 3 – so here are some brand new training resources for the just-released Adobe Photoshop Elements 10… Most of these tutorials also apply to Photoshop Elements 9, which shares the same interface but just doesn’t have as many features.
In these three courses the experts share how to get started, the basics of the software, new features, how to use key tools and functions, plus their favorite tips and techniques. In sum, there is over four hours of free content, with 46 separate chapters.
[ Bonus! Here also are 70 minutes of free tutorials for Premiere Elements 10 for taking care of your video. ]
If you need a copy of Photoshop or Premiere Elements 10 to get going right away, just download the free trial and it will work fully for 30 calendar days, which should be plenty of time to get through the classes.
If you prefer learning in written form, we’ve got the Adobe Photoshop Elements Guide – a free 95-page e-book you can download as well.