by Dr. Robert Berdan
December 29, 2016 (Updated Jan 17)
Photoshop CC 2017 new opening screen
Photoshop CC 2017 (cc stands for creative cloud) was released in December of 2016. If you are subscriber you simply update the software with the Adobe cloud tool and you will have its' new features. Photoshop and other Adobe software is being updated about every 3-6 months. Often the changes are small and incremental and in this case 2017CC doesn't do much more for photographers then the previous version, but in this article I will describe some of the new features to look for. At the bottom of the article I have linked to videos and articles that deal with these new features in more depth. Photoshop is the main tool I use in Photography though I am not a fan of renting software - I prefer to own. Renting has one advantage if you rent and buy a new camera and use RAW files chances are you will need a new version of Photoshop to open these new RAW files. I hope one day that camera manufacturers will standardize and use one RAW file format so there won't be a need for regular RAW converter updates.
What's New in Photoshop CC2017
1. Camera RAW 9.8 has been added.
As new cameras are manufactured RAW files are still proprietary. Ten years ago Canon and Nikon argued the RAW file format was changing rapidly so they did not want to standardized RAW file formats. Today different manufacturers use their own RAW formats and these formats are even different within a manufactures line of gear e.g. different models of Nikon Cameras use different RAW files. Adobe suggested camera manufactures use a standard .DNG or digital negative format but only a few camera manufactures began to use it. I think Adobe then saw that the changing RAW formats was one way to force users to upgrade to newer versions of their software when ever a photographer purchased a new camera. Now Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom is only available by subscription so it doesn't matter as the updates are free. I am still not keen on "renting" software forever. I still use Photoshop 6 often on my Windows Vista computer as Photoshop CC requires a newer operating systems. The cost to rent Photoshop and Light room for two computers is $12.95 per month at this time.
2. New Search Feature in Photoshop CC 2017
Select Edit > Search or Click on the Magnifying lens icon or press Ctrl + F (Cmd + F) Keys.
You can search for help, tutorials and stock images. It's an OK feature but nothing really valuable.
3. Support for SVG (scalable vector fonts) and Emoticons.
SVG fonts provide multiple colours and gradients in a single glyph (character). To use SVG fonts you create the text, Set the font to SVG font (marked with a green icon and icon in the font list) Adobe provides you with two SVG fonts with the new update - emoticons and Trajan SVG font. One of these is Emoji fonts which are faces, flags, animals etc (also called emoticons) used in some email and Twitter communication. You can also combine some of these characters to create new symbols e.g. U + S = American flag in a circle - see below.
Multicoloured Trajan SVG Font Sample
Look for the SVG font Logo or symbol in the Text drop down menu - unfortunately they only provide 2 free SVG fonts at this time. To learn more about SVG fonts - visit this web site.
Screen view showing SVG font and Emojis or Emoticons now available in Photoshop CC2017
4. Face Array Liquify
The new liquify features are designed to make it easier to modify faces. You can distort eyes symmetrically or asymmetrically. There are also sliders for the nose, mouth, and face shape.
To use this feature open a picture of a face, select Filter > Liquify and make sure the face icon is selected on the left of the panel. Then you can use the right side of the screen to adjust eyes, mouth, nose etc. In the picture above I adjusted my left eye so it was larger. This tool can be fun and it can be used to fix some portraits or make comical pictures. While it is nice to see these features I am not sure how much use they will get.
5. Properties panel has been improved.
Adobe centralized functionality in the Properties Panel and added Document attributes, Pixel Layer Properties. If a pixel layer is selected, you can now change the width and height directly from the properties panel. You can now change the font, search for fonts, or find similar fonts. You can also adjust the style, point size, alignment, and color, directly from the properties panel.
New properties panel with additional features.
6. Accelerated Oil Paint filter especially for computers with the new AMD graphics processors.
To use the Oil Paint filter select Filter > Stylize > Oil Paint filter and select features to create the type of paint strokes you desire.
Above screen shots showing the use of the Oil Paint filter. It's fun to use though I wish Adobe would add a water colour filter with similar properties. It is possible to simulate water colour paintings in Photoshop but they are time consuming to create at present.
7. Content Aware Crop
Photoshop has been changing the way you crop and straighten horizons that are not level in photos for some time now. You can even level a horizon inside of Camera RAW. The older procedures still work, but this new method saves time and involves selecting the image with the crop tool, placing your pointer outside one corner and rotating the image until the horizon is level and then clicking ENTER. After this one usually has to crop the extra space around the image - but not any more with Content Aware crop. You select this feature at the top of the tool bar after you select the crop tool, rotate the image and hit ENTER - photoshop fills the extra space using content aware fill so there is no need to crop. Nice and its quicker.
Screen shot showing an image after rotating and the check box for Content Aware - after hitting Enter you will have a full croped image, horizontal horizon and no white space in need of cropping. Want to try it visit this web site get a sample file and follow the directions.
8. Improved Shake Reduction filter
When I first saw the shake reduction filter I was very impressed with the demo and waited for its appearance which I showed up in Photohops CC. The filter is supposed to trace movement in a photo during exposure and then back track and reduce the blur. Blur or softness can also be due to animal movement or using slower shutter speeds. My first tests of this filter left me disappointed. But It now seems they have improved the filter but if expect it to unblurr really bad images you are out of luck. It does work for an image that is a little bit soft due to movement. To apply this filter you Select > Filter > Sharpen > Shake Reduction. The filter is slow and can take a minute or longer, but when I compared it to other methods of sharpening a "soft" image it was better. For a full tutorial of this feature see Adobe's web site. See my sample photos of swift fox below.
Above left, the picture of the fox is soft because he moved while opening his mouth and I probably should have set a faster shutter speed. In the middle I am able to improve the image by using Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask which is part of my normal workflow. It improves the image but the Shake Reduction filter in Photoshop 2017cc does an even better job. This filter won't perform miracles, but it's nice to have for those photos that aren't as sharp as they should be.
9. Enhanced Creative Cloud Libraries.
These image libraries are not free, but they provide you with stock photos and graphics if you need or want them.
I believe that after learning how to use a camera, Photoshop is the next most useful tool a photographer can learn. The program can seem daunting at first. However, if you take a course it will get you up to speed quickly. I offer one day workshops for both newbies and more experienced users if interested please see my workshops page. I also offer Photoshop I and Photoshop II recipe books available on my ebooks section.
Previous versions of Photoshop CC added content aware fill and content aware-move and the ability to remove Haze which I feel are useful tools for photographers. In this version the only feature I find really useful is the ability to modify faces more easily with the Liquify tool. Below are some things I would like to see added to Photoshop in the future.
What's missing in Photoshop?
1. Photoshop can't stitch fish-eye images to create a spherical panorama - I need PTGui for this.
2. Photoshop has a limited number of HDR presets so while it is possible to create HDR images a dedicated software program like Photomatrix Pro is still useful.
3. Exporting video for the web requires another software converter like Easy HTML 5 video for creating HTML5 web video.
I am sometimes asked why should I use Photoshop if I am happy with Lightroom?
Lightroom is a fine program that was built on Adobe Photoshop Camera RAW. Years ago it was less then half the price of Photoshop so the cost was a significant benefit. Today you get both programs for one price from Adobe. Lightroom is primarily a digital asset management tool and its slow in my opinion, but it does make it easy for folks to edit their images, add keywords etc. Why go to photoshop then? First you get photoshop with it for no extra cost. There are more tutorials on Photoshop online then any other program I know. There are more books, resources and courses available. But most of all - Photoshop can do many more things then Lightroom. The ability to use layers to blend images, add a signature, apply filters, enlarge the image, work with smart objects. Content aware fill and move is not inside Lightroom. Using masks to blend images or create special effects is also not available. Focus stacking to create a greater depth of field is not available in Lightroom or the ability to edit video. There are hundreds of artistic filters in Photoshop that will blurr, or modify your image. Photoshop is more complex and there is more to learn for sure, but it's not hard to learn if you have someone show you or if you are self learner and like to watch online videos and I recommend you buy the Adobe Classroom in a book series which is used to teach in many colleges. If you don't need more - then Lightroom is fine, but if you want the best most powerful image editing program in the world there is nothing more fleixible then Photoshop. Even older versions of this program are still good to learn.
What's not to like in Photoshop CC2017
As the software grows, so does it's memory requirements. On a PC with 8 GB of RAM I find it locks up or freezes frequently. Also you need Windows 7 or higher or Max OS X. I would recommend at least 16 GB for RAM and a fairly fast processor if you plan to run Photoshop CC 2017. Adobe Bridge is slower then ever and Adobe removed the PDF export feature in Photoshop CC 2015 to lightroom. For this reason I still like to use Photoshop CS6 to make PDF slide shows. The ability to make PDF presentations has been added back under File >Automate > PDF presentation but it should have never been removed from Bridge in my opinion. I would like to see Adobe offer the option to purchase software and include a reasonable rate to update the software in the future. If it becomes necessary to rent the majority of software in the future I am going to start looking for and reviewing some good shareware or freeware programs like Open Office and GIMP. Next month I will review some image manegment programs to replace Google's Picasa RB.
See my article on what's New in Photoshop CC2016 if you are new to Photoshop.
Links to Additional Resources and Videos on Photoshop CC 2017
Adobe's summary of Photoshop CC 2017 new features
What's New in Photoshop CC 2017 - Youtube video
Photoshop 2017cc - full tutorial Youtube Video
Photoshop CC - fantasy look effect
Photoshop Adds Support for OpenType-SVG Fonts
Robert Berdan is a professional nature photographer living in Calgary, AB specializing in nature, wildlife and science photography. Robert offers photo guiding and private instruction in all aspects of nature photography and Adobe Photoshop training.
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