Previously Adobe Photoshop has been boxed, retail, software. I personally own a copy of CS5, and before that had a student edition of CS2. As of this year, Photoshop is now only available as a subscription service called “Creative Cloud”, or CC for short. If you already have an old version of Photoshop, you might be wondering whether or not CC is for you. This week and next week I’ll take a look as some useful new CC features, and give my thoughts on the subscription issue.
I had the chance to chat with Chris Oatley on a recent Artcast. It's certainly worth a listen if you haven’t heard it yet. Since then I've been contacted by the nice people at Adobe and given a year of CC to experiment with. I’m happy to report that some of the largest complaints I raised on Oatley’s Artcast have been eliminated by CC. Specifically reordering custom brushes and changing the brush tip angle.
Reordering Custom Brushes
In the past managing your custom brushes has been a huge pain. It’s still a medium sized pain, though one major improvement has been made: drag-and-drop reordering in the preset manager. Now it’s possible to manipulate the order of your brushes - whether you want to add a new brush near the top of your list, or group your existing brushes into categories. It may not sound like a big deal, but it’s absolutely had an impact on my workflow.
Brush Tip angle
One more feature that improves my day-to-day experience is the Brush Tip Angle. Traditionally, to change the angle of a flat brush tip you would need to open the brush properties panel. In the “Tip Shape” tab, you could rotate the brush tip profile. It was a huge pain. In CC, this control has been shrunken down and crammed into the right click brush palette. Now when you right click, the brush profile is directly next to your cursor position! For those of us that use flat brushes, or brushes which need to be rotated… this is a huge improvement.
User Interface Themes
Though not strictly a CC addition, CS6 brought an extremely useful cosmetic change: interface themes. Now you’re given the option to select one of 4 options, ranging from light gray to nearly black. Beyond the simple fun of customization, this can play a large role on your perception of color and value. This old Ctrl+Paint video explains a bit about ‘color relativity’, and is worth a watch. In short, your perception of brightness / darkness can be thrown off by the color of the image’s frame. If I’m working with a dark image, I’ll switch to a dark UI. A light image is easier to work with using the lighter UI. Having 4 to choose from means that I can quickly decide which makes the most sense for my current image, and switch without any trouble.
These features are nice, but are they worth an upgrade? In next week’s post I’ll give you my current opinion on the issue of subscribing. Having only played with the new version for a month, this may not be my final decision - but I’m getting a pretty good sense of it. Stay tuned. If you have any experience with adobe CC, let’s hear about it in the comments!