Adobe’s 2016 Creative Cloud update fills gaps and brings a smile to your face

Adobe must have hoped to free its creative software suite of the shackles of the annual update by moving to a subscription model, but it still has some appetite for a yearly announcement. Some years the bundle of new features unveiled in June each year amounts to a major update; some years they don’t. This year, Adobe Creative Cloud 2016 (or 2015.5 as it’s being officially called) is more of a consolidation than a huge step forward.

As such, big new features are slim on the ground. Photoshop’s Content-Aware crop is the most significant, but even this is an extension to an existing tool. Content-Aware crop uses the Content-Aware fill algorithm to seamlessly fill in those gaps that appear in the corners of an image when you need to straighten an image, so you don’t need to crop in even further.

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You could probably achieve the same effect by manually selecting and using the Content-Aware fill tool, but this is a quicker, more efficient method that will save time for those who do a lot of cropping and straightening.

The second new tool is Face Liquify, essentially a more advanced version of a feature first introduced in the Photoshop Fix mobile app. Put simply, this automatically recognises faces and allows you to manipulate facial expressions, including altering the shape of your subject’s faces, changing frowns to smiles and so forth. For wedding and school photographers who regularly shoot large groups of people, I can see this being an absolute godsend.

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Match Font scans text within an image and will suggest a similar one from its database, and lastly, Select and Mask improves the tools available for selecting and cutting out complex shapes such as fur and hair, allowing users to simply paint over these areas.

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A host of little refinements

Elsewhere within the Creative Cloud suite, Adobe has chosen to refine rather than overhaul. Images brought in from Adobe Stock can now be licensed directly within projects with a right-click. Photographers and illustrators can now contribute to Stock from within the application itself, with tags applied automatically based on the type of content.

And while there are no major feature upgrades for the rest of the Creative Cloud apps, there’s a host of small tweaks and improvements. The ability to license Stock images is extended across the portfolio, for example. There’s a new Read-only Library function, which makes it easier to prevent collaborators inadvertently altering important assets that need to remain consistent.

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Adobe’s Animate CC improves the ease of lip syncing, the granularity of PSD file imports, and motion triggers can now be used to move parts of a character’s body, while Illustrator gets improved export options and Premiere Pro gains VR video-editing capabilities.

The latest Creative Cloud update will be available to subscribers from today.

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