Autumn has arrived which along with lovely coloured leaves and crisp blue skies comes Adobe MAX 2021 where huge announcements about Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom and other apps/software are introduced. 

This year, there’s a major feature release of Photoshop on the desktop and iPad. Plus, Adobe has introduced a web-based Photoshop that features a small set of Photoshop editing tools and you can also share your workflow with others. 

Adobe has also updated Photoshop Express – an all-in-one mobile photo editing app that introduced tools specifically for face and selfie retouching earlier this year. 

Lightroom hasn’t been ignored, either, with updates for Lightroom and Lightroom Classic that bring better masking, presets, improved framing tools and the ability to share your photos with others so they can edit them. 

Quite a bit has been introduced or updated so let’s take a look at each product separately. We’ll also be reviewing the new releases so keep an eye out for our opinions over in reviews. 

Photoshop Desktop 

Photoshop Export

The Object Selection Tool has been significantly improved. Now, just hover over the object you want to select in the image and one-click will select it. Plus, there’s a new one-click ‘mask all objects in a layer’ option that will easily generate masks for all the objects detected within your layer with just a single click.

Adobe’s non-destructive filters list has got longer with more options to help you speed up your workflow. Simply select a filter you want to use then use sliders to adjust how it looks. They might not always produce the final result you need but they will save you time and you can use all the tools in Photoshop to make your final adjustments. 

The three new filters – Landscape Mixer, Color Transfer and Harmonization – introduced to the Neural Filter workspace are in Beta so you can share your feedback with Adobe to improve how they work going forward.

  • Landscape Mixer combines two landscape images together so you can change the colours of leaves on trees or create a winter scene from a sunny summer’s day. Combine multiple scenes into an entirely new one by mixing the structure and style of the images together.
  • Color Transfer will quickly transfer the colours of one image to another, using the original as a colour palette reference. 
  • Harmonization matches the colour and tone of an element on one layer to another layer by using some clever AI that intelligently adjusts the hue and luminosity for the look you want.

Along with new filters, existing ones are getting an update, too, with the Depth Blur option getting a new machine learning model that applies a more natural blurred background and keeps the subject more in focus. There’s also an option to add grain to the blur. 

The Superzoom filter now applies to the whole image, not just the zoomed area in the preview window and the Style Transfer tool now applies a more painterly, artistic effect. Those who work in black and white quite a bit can also now use the Colorize filter to bring your black and white images to life with more vibrant, natural colours.

Gradients have been improved so they look clearer, brighter and have a more natural blend and appear more like the gradients you see in the physical world (like a sunset or sunrise sky). 

Three Gradient options are available now: Classic, Perceptual and Linear. 

  • Classic mode: This setting preserves the same way Photoshop has displayed gradients in the years past.
  • Perceptual mode: This setting will display gradients the most closely to how humans perceive light to blend together in the physical world. This new mode is the new default in Photoshop on desktop and iPad.
  • Linear mode: This setting is often used in other applications, including Illustrator, and will also display gradients closer to how natural light appears. Colour Geeks know that in certain spaces Linear mode provides more varying results.

Other improvements include support for Apple’s Pro Display XDR, a new way to quickly share your work for review with client/colleagues for feedback via the commenting panel (also available in the iPad version), improved ‘Export As’ function, more plug-ins and a faster oil paint filter. 

One of the main features Photoshop for iPad users have been asking for is RAW support and today, Adobe has added this to Photoshop on iPad. Now you can import and adjust your raw photos from iPhone 12 & 13 Pro (ProRAW) or your digital cameras. Edit your images with adjustments and settings that leverage the power of Adobe Camera Raw.

Adobe Photoshop & Lightroom Get Major Updates, Plus Photoshop In Your Web Browser Has Been Introduced: Photoshop On The IPad Dodge And Burn

You can also convert layers into Smart Objects so that transformations and filters stay non-destructive and the Dodge and Burn tools from the desktop version of Photoshop are now available to those working in Photoshop on their iPads. 

Photoshop On The Web

Photoshop On The Web Editing

Adobe is extending the power of Photoshop to the web as a beta (running in Chrome and Edge browsers). In this beta, you and your collaborators can open and view your work in the browser, provide feedback, and make basic edits without having to download or launch Photoshop. Some of the basic edits available include simple layers, selection tools and masking. 

Lightroom & Lightroom Classic Updates

Lightroom Precise Selection And Masking Scaled

The Selective Adjustment tools have been entirely re-worked so they are now accessible with one click on the newly named masking button. You can also make more complex and accurate selections with multiple masks, including utilizing colour and luminance masks. Plus, thanks to AI, you can now easily identify and select subject and sky (Select Subject & Select Sky) then apply specific edits to them with one tap. 

To further speed up workflow, you can choose presets created by the Lightroom community or use premium presets introduced by Adobe. This new set of Premium Presets includes eight new categories: Black & White, Food, Landscape, Urban Architecture, Lifestyle, Retro, Travel II, and Cinematic II.

Adobe Photoshop & Lightroom Get Major Updates, Plus Photoshop In Your Web Browser Has Been Introduced: Lightroom Recommended Presets |

Lightroom Recommended Presets

As well as using presets from the Lightroom community, you can share your edits with them or let others edit your images and you can also access the Lightroom Academy – a new way to learn Lightroom. 

The final new feature we want to highlight for Lightroom users is the ability for you to choose new crop overlays for different aspect ratios to improve your photo’s composition. 

Photoshop Express

For quick edits, you might want to take a look at the Photoshop Express App where new features include a Smart Cut Tool which automatically detects the edges of different objects that are part of your original image. You can select two or more objects to cut and place in your new image. If needed, there is an optional brush to make additional refinements in a few taps on your phone.

In addition to skin smoothing, content-aware healing, face aware liquify and other tools, Adobe is developing a Makeup toolkit, also accessible in Photoshop Express, with the first editing option: Lips arriving with this latest announcement. With this tool, you can change the colour of someone’s lips in an image. There is a refinement tool with control points to ensure a perfect fit. If you change your selection after refinement, the new option will be mapped to your precise selection.

Pricing & Availability 

Adobe products are still available as Creative Cloud plans with various prices available. Updates will be arriving for current Adobe users this week. For more information, visit the Adobe website. 

We’ll also be reviewing the new Adobe Photoshop and LIghtroom releases/updates so keep an eye out for our own opinions on the popular software over in reviews. 

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