Let's take a look at some of the new features in Photoshop CS5. There are a lot of exciting new features and improvements--so much that I can't cover them all--but I'll show you several of the features I think you'll be most excited about. I have not personally worked with the software just yet, so consider this a sneak preview rather than a critical review--that will come later.
Content-Aware Fill is probably the new feature with the broadest appeal. Content-Aware Fill allows you to remove objects from an image simply by making a rough selection and pressing delete. Photoshop intelligently fills in the area with background details which blend seamlessly with the surroundings. This eliminates the need for hours and hours of careful, tedious clone tool or healing brush work. Content-Aware Fill is an option in the Fill dialogue, and in the Spot Healing brush. If this works as smoothly as it did in the demo I was shown, it will be a huge time-saver!
Photoshop's painting engine hasn't been updated since Photoshop 6, so it's been a long time coming, but Photoshop CS5 now provides much more sophisticated painting tools with Mixer Brushes and Bristle Tips. Finally, we have realistic painting tools in Photoshop!
With Mixer Brush, you can combine multiple colors on a single brush tip. Colors can be mixed and blended with the underlying colors on your canvas, or you can use a dry brush on a photo to blend the colors for a painted effect. Mixer Brush gives you control over paint wetness, load rate, mixing rate, and whether the brush is cleaned, refilled, or both after each stoke.
Bristle Tips are custom brush tips which you can define by adjusting properties such as shape, length, stiffness, thickness, angle, and spacing. A Bristle Brush preview shows you how the brush tip will look as you adjust its qualities. Of course, you can save your custom tip configurations and create your own collection of Bristle Tips.
A new HUD Color Picker allows more flexibility in selecting colors and offers two modes--Hue Strip and Hue Wheel.
The new Puppet warp feature brings intelligent transformation and deformations to Photoshop. Puppet warp can be used on selection, layers, and whole photos, to push and pull elements into new configurations. With Puppet Warp, you place multiple "pins" on the image as anchor points. The pins define where image parts remain fixed, and become handles for warping--you drag the pains around to reposition elements of the image. Puppet Warp settings allow for rigid, normal, or distorted pixel fidelity and the pin depth (stacking order) can be defined for layered effects.
This looks like a really fun feature with practical uses, but I also see much potential for abuse here!
Merge to HDR (high dynamic range) has been a feature of Photoshop for a while now, and many photographers are using this feature to create dramatic effects by combining multiple exposures of the same scene. Now Photoshop CS5 offers HDR Pro, an enhanced version of the HDR feature. HDR Pro offers new controls in an enhanced dialog box, better alignment, and automatic deghosting of problem areas caused by moving elements across the source photos.
Casual photographers like me will also appreciate the new HDR Toning feature which allows you to experiment with dramatic effects similar to HDR , but using only a single image instead of multiple exposures.
Adobe takes the Refine Edge dialog introduced in CS3 a step further with Photoshop CS5, making great strides in easing the task of making complicated selections and masks. If you've ever struggled with masking hair or fur, you'll appreciate these improvements.
First there are new view modes so you can get a better preview of how your selection is coming along. New Refine Radius and Erase Refinements tools allow you to refine your selection by brushing over details. New output options let you choose how the mask will be used next in your workflow; you can choose to output the mask as a selection, layer mask, new document, and so on. The color decontamination option automatically removes any unwanted color fringe from the edges of your selection.
As usual, Camera Raw gets an update alongside Photoshop. Adobe Camera Raw 6 now supports raw files from 275 camera models, as well as non-destructive editing for JPEG and TIFF files. Camera Raw 6 provides new algorithms for improving noise removal in your photos which results in less loss of color and detail.
On the creative side, Camera Raw provides new controls for adding film grain and post-crop vignettes to your photos. Grain adjustments allow you to match grain levels across source files when combining images or make your digital photos appear more film-like. The new vignette options give you more controls and presets, and you can save your own custom vignette styles.
The sharpening options in Camera raw have also been upgraded.
Photoshop's Lens Correction feature allows you to correct several common lens-related problems--geometric distortion, chromatic aberration, and vignette. Now Photoshop's Lens Correction provides automatic correction, along with manual adjustments. Automatic corrections are based on a database of camera and lens profiles which are matched to the EXIF data stored with the digital photos.
Adobe also provides a Lens Profile Creator as a free download. The Lens Profile Creator allows users to create custom camera and lend profiles to be used with the automatic lens correction. If a profile does not exist for your camera or lens, you can search an online database for it, or create your own. And if the image is missing the necessary metadata but you know the camera model, a lens profile can be added manually.
The Lens Correction feature has also been moved directly under the filter menu, so it's easier to access now. Other improvements in the Lens Correction tool include:
- Grid is turned off by default.
- Grid settings are retained.
- Default grid size changed from 16 to 64 pixels.
- Decimal point adjustment for chromatic aberration.
- Green/Magenta slider for chromatic aberration.
- Background color edge setting is replaced with black color entry and a white color options was added.
- Resetting only changes calibration settings and not the grid.
- Batch renaming with search and replace.
- Text or image watermarking when exporting PDF files,
- An Improved path bar for quicker navigation.
- Batch conversion to JPEG.
- Drag & drop into InDesign, Flash, Illustrator and Photoshop.
In this development cycle, Adobe introduced something they called "Just Do It (JDI) Days" where a week of development time was spent focusing on small improvements driven by user requests rather than large features and sweeping changes. This resulted in three dozen user-inspired improvements--most of these are small changes that provide a significant productivity boost, or eliminating annoyances and pet peeves.
Some of these JDI enhancements include:
- Crop overlay options for a grid or rule of thirds.
- Dynamic resizing for brushes.
- A color sample ring for the eyedropper.
- The Shadow/Highlights default was reduced from 50% to 35%.
- The sharpening brush tool has been improved to protect details while sharpening.
- 16-bit documents are automatically converted to 8-bit when saving as JPEG files.
- Reverse clone source.
- A script to delete all empty layers.
- A straighten button on the ruler tool options bar.
- Option to close all open images without saving.
- Save option to always use the last-used folder.
- Drag & drop onto a Photoshop document to create a new layer.
- Zoom in and out with "scrubby" zoom tool.
- Use keystrokes to set values in adjustment panel.
- Define the default values for layer styles.
- New presets for brushes, styles, actions, tools, shapes, gradients, etc.
- Ability to change the opacity for multiple selected layers.
- Create a mask from transparent areas of a layer.
- Create layer groups more than five layers deep.
- Paste Outside and Paste Inside commands.
- Workspace switcher for quicker navigation between different setups.
- Live Workspaces so changes you make in a workspace are automatically saved.
Also, Photoshop is now a 64-bit application for both the Windows and Macintosh platforms (the 32-bit version is also included). This allows users to utilize greater amounts of RAM and can have a significant impact on performance when working with large files.
All of the features mention so far are features in both Photoshop Standard and Extended editions.
Photoshop CS5 Extended brings new 3D-related features including a 3D extrusion tool called Adobe Repoussé, named after an ancient metalworking technique. Adobe Repoussé converts 2D artwork into 3D objects with customizable properties such as depth, scale, bend, shear, inflate, twist, and bevel.
Photoshop CS5 Extended also includes a library of 3D materials and presets for stylizing 3D objects with textures, lighting, and shadows. Additional 3D content can be downloaded. The new Adobe Ray Tracer engine renders your 3D scenes.