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Photoshop CC 2014

Adobe says that over 2 million people have signed up to the Creative Cloud since it started around two years ago and that makes it their most successful release ever.

It has certainly made Photoshop more affordable for more photographers with a $9.99 per month offer that includes Photoshop, Lightroom and a selection of productivity apps.

Photoshop isn't just used by photographers, so some of the improvements found in Photoshop CC 2014 provide enhanced text and layout tools. However, there have been some visual editing inclusions as well, including two new additions to the Blur Gallery.

With Path Blur and Spin Blur you can simulate realistic blurs or even add creative motion blurs that aren't possible to capture with a camera. Path Blur lets you add blur along any straight or curved path - think of running feet or the hem of a dancer's skirt - to create the illusion of motion. Spin Blur creates circular and elliptical blurs that make tyres, turntables, or other objects look like they're spinning.

A new feature that will be worth exploring is the Focus Mask. Creating pixel accurate masks can be very time consuming and the Holy Grail is a fully automatic system that simply isolates your subject perfectly. The Focus Mask creates selections in an entirely new way, by determining which parts of an image are in focus and selecting them. It's a powerful, automated way to create the initial selection for masking and compositing, assuming your subject is isolated against an out-of-focus background. So, while not a complete solution, it is yet another useful tool and it works in combination with the existing Refine Edge dialog.

Smart Objects are now even smarter, so that you can drop a photographic layer into a composite stack and then, if the original photograph is changed, the photographic layer will automatically be changed in the composite as well. This will have great appeal to designers, but may be of limited application for photography retouchers.

Of more interest for retouchers are improvements to the Content-Aware technology. The process is much the same, but there is a new Colour Adaptation checkbox which may give you a superior result if the vanilla version doesn't quite work. Apparently the guru behind the algorithms has been working overtime to refine the Content-Aware technology which, while far from perfect, does to a remarkable job in many situations.

Now that CC is a subscription model, there is a promise and an expectation of upgrades and improvements on a regular basis. Adobe adds to the list in this release expanded 3D printing capabilities, Adobe Generator enhancements, Adobe Camera Raw 8 enhancements, improved Windows 8.1 Stylus support, expanded Mercury Graphics Engine support, faster intelligent up sampling and workflow enhancements. Certainly Ps CC2014 seemed to open more quickly than before.

The good news is that installing Photoshop CC2014 is quick and easy and it will migrate most of your settings from CC, but you will be required to manually reinstall your plug-ins. However, the plug-ins themselves may need to be upgraded for CC2014.

Finally, you'll notice the splash screen (see above) changes from time to time when you load the software with photos being drawn from Adobe's Behance, so something new to inspire you visually!

Peter Eastway Uses

Peter Uses

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