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Saturday, September 26, 2020

Photoshop adds an extremely helpful AI subject selection tool

Adobe is updating Photoshop CC today with a handful of new features, the highlight of which is an exceptionally handy new subject selection tool. The new tool, which now takes the top spot under the Magic Wand tool, lets you drag a box around an object, and Photoshop will automatically create a selection around the borders of the object it thinks you’re highlighting. That could be as simple as a box or as complicated as a fluffy dog.

If you’ve ever spent time carefully mousing around the edges of an object or person you need to edit in a photo, you’ll know why this new tool will be such a huge help. It can be a time-consuming process, especially if you need to get a clean selection. Things like hair can be particularly hard. We’ll have to see just how good Photoshop’s AI is at getting that right, but anything close would still be a very helpful start. Adobe says it’s improved edge selection from the prior version of this feature (which was tucked away in a menu and could only select what it believed to be the subject of an image, not any object of your choosing).

Another small but helpful update in this Photoshop release: the home screen is getting faster. For whatever reason, Adobe rebuilt this screen a couple releases ago, and it’s been frustratingly slow since then just to start a new project. Adobe says it’s now “re-architected” that screen for speed and that the “New” dialog “launches almost instantaneously” — which is how it always should have been.

Adobe has also completely redesigned the gradients and presets interface. The whole thing is just a whole lot more intelligible, and it includes dozens of new preset gradients that look like they’ll be far more useful than the bizarre Clip Art-looking ones that used to be included. The app also supports live previews of presents, which let you quickly apply a number of color adjustments to a photo.

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There are some other smaller changes in today’s update (like the ability to customize content-aware fill somewhat), but the really big news on the Photoshop front today is that Photoshop for iPad is finally available. The tablet app is far from feature complete — and it’s not clear that it’s ever supposed to be — but it includes many of the core features on which users rely.

The iPad app also introduces cloud PSD files, which sync between the tablet and desktop, and this updated version of Photoshop includes support for those, too. That also means you can sync a PSD file between multiple desktops that are hooked into the same Creative Cloud account, which should make working across multiple devices a lot simpler.


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