Photoshop Creative Cloud ’14 Reviewed – with a bonus tip for Photo/Video artists!

by blogshaxe

 

In my last post, I ran through the fresh announcements from Adobe about the new 2014 Creative Cloud (CC) release. In this one, I plan to show you the details on what exactly those changes mean to a photographer .

 

 

Photoshop CC 2014

Feature 1: Path Blur

Adding realistic motion blur while accounting for camera-shake/panning would have needed the liquify tool and a lot of selective directional blurring in the past. Given that we spent most of our time trying to avoid it ( the camera shake reduction feature was even added earlier with the Photoshop CC release), it would seem strange that Adobe is now encouraging its presence in our photos. Well, for art’s sake, I’m glad they did.

Most photographers would surely praise the intelligent use of motion blur while panning the lens on a moving subject. This introduces drama through motion and also separates the subject from its background. Here’s how we can apply it to frozen-frame type shots.

We start with a shot of a goat that made a jump across some water (cute, isn’t he?) The narrow depth of field doesn’t separate him enough from his background and there are no visual cues on where he’s moving. (logically, we know it’s forward, but we don’t get that information from the photo)

From the filters panel, we select blur -> Path Blur and create a bezier curve that would have mimicked the camera lens trying to track the goat’s jump.

The results are instant. This is what a panned slow shutter-speed shot would look like.

Now we need an in-focus goat.

This also brings us to the next feature.

Feature 2: Focus Area

Making great selections has been high on the list of improvements to Photoshop over the years. This new feature seems to have a lot of future potential, but even now it’s quite a useful tool to have. Start by going to Select – > Focus Area

That’s a not a great selection, but the illustration is from the default setting. Play around with the parameter slider and the Refine Edge tool to select the part that’s in focus. By combining the two images from the last two features, we have a very believable shot!

Feature 3: Spin Blur

Sometimes when introducing motion blur to an image, components of your subject may also be spinning along with their forward motion. Wheels are common example.

Take this high shutter-speed shot of a motorbike. Just like with the goat example from before, if we simply moved the bike forwards, it wouldn’t account for additional the blur that the wheels should have had.

This is now easily done with the new Spin Blur filter. Simply apply it to the wheels and, importantly, mask out the portions that should NOT be spinning, like forks, mud guards etc.

 

Add some path blur to the bottom layer and viola! Pretty accurate, eh?!

Feature 4: Improved content aware Patch Tool

Content aware patch is an amazing tool and I use it a lot. Here’s a good example of where it can be used. The clouds on the top-left edge seem distracting on an other wise blue sky.

Sometimes, especially around the edges of the photo, it leaves an ugly smudgy patch.

This issue has been resolved with the 2014 release of Photoshop CC. Simply add a color value to the settings dialogue and watch your worries go away.

This brings us to the end of my review of the Best Features of Photoshop CC 2014. There are many more great updates that may be of use to you if you’re doing more layouts than photo editing. Do look up the addition of Smart Guides and a real time font sampling. There’s also an addition of Typekit which should resolve any missing font errors. Designers can also enjoy the new “Package” export option which packs all your smart objects referenced in a PSD to a neat independent folder.

Until the next time, keep creating!

Oh wait! The promised bonus tip!

BONUS TIP – Apply your Photoshop actions to your video timeline

For many photographers out there, shooting video is already part of the mix of work. Adobe seems to bridge the photo and video worlds so well with their workspaces and common tools. This new feature from Photoshop CC 2014 is a great example of that.

I cherish my library of Actions. I’ve been collecting, building them for years and many of them are integral to my photo-workflow. I’ve tried using After Effects to replicate some of the looks but it’s never the same, and it’s always harder.

Presenting “LUT export”.

Let’s start with an image. I opened up a photo from a recent trip of mine in PS CC ’14.

Quite a view isn’t it? Now say you have a favourite Action (let’s call it Milky Berry from the (free) Cafeshop Action Set)

 

 

 

 

 

You hit play and the action does its thing leaving you with a set of curves, levels, solid layers etc. But most importantly, you have a “look” that you really like.

 

You can now export this look to a Adobe Premiere Project in a simple manner. First, before flattening your layers, (ensure that no flattening has happened during the course of the action too) export the current look into a Color Look Up Table (Or LUT)

 

Open up Adobe Premier 2014 and in your project, you can either choose to apply the look to a clip in the sequence or to an Adjustment Layer. I’ve done the latter as you can see in the example below. Choose Lumetri Looks under the effects panel.

 

 

 

After picking a look from the presets, you can apply the LUT you created from Photoshop by clicking on button highlighted below.

The same look is now applied to your video. click here to check the video out!


 
 
 

 
  
 
While film colorists have been able to expertly do the same for years, you can appreciate the control and confidence this process gives you. You used to be able to color treat your images like a boss. Now enjoy that control over your footage too.