Adobe CC’s new massive update was released a little under two weeks ago, bringing some new features to both Lightroom and Photoshop. I imagine, like me, most of you have downloaded the updates and continued working, not really having much time to look into what’s new. If you’re still time poor and would love someone to run through it all for you, tell you what’s good and what’s worthless, then take a look at this video from Ted Forbes over at The Art Of Photography. He discusses the major improvements, giving us his somewhat sarcastic view of the good and the bad. Check out the video below:

Adobe Creative Cloud 2015 Updates (Photography Edition)

The New Dehaze Slider

Thus far, for my personal taste and style of photography, the Dehaze filter is not something which excites me too much. I can see how it may be useful for cityscapes or landscapes where you don’t want haze and only have one day to shoot, but for my purposes (nature, portraits) it doesn’t add much. In my nature photography, I actively seek haze and fog as I love the extra dimension it adds; it has a wonderful transformative quality.

Now that all sounds pretty negative, and I tend to be a little pessimistic with these kinds of sliders; they just seem like editing shortcuts which actually limit your control in favor of speed. That being said, it’s always nice to be given an extra setting to mess around with. Usually those far more creative than myself come up with fantastic ways to use it. Which leads me nicely onto this video by Sept Nimittaganon.

Sept thought that Dehaze worked well with photos, so decided to give it a go with video. The video shows haze being gradually added or removed through a selection of timelapses. Again, I’m not totally sold on this, but as Sept says, this is only an initial test, and I can clearly see the creative possibilities once this technique can be refined.

Some Quick Tests Of The Dehaze Slider

Here are a few shots of my own where I gradually increased the Dehaze slider to see what the effect would be. A few things to note:

  1.  As you increase the effect (decrease Haze), the shadows are significantly darkened
  2. Saturation also increases
  3. An exposure bump is often necessary the more you apply the effect
  4. Don’t even bother with noisy images. The effect introduces quite a lot of noise anyway, resulting in unusable images.

Here’s my original edited image.
applying-the-dehaze-filter

Dehaze slider at 20
is-the-dehaze-filter-any-good

Dehaze slider at 40
removing-haze-from-images

Dehaze slider at 60
using-the-dehaze-filter

And just for fun, Dehaze slider at 100 – a bit of a mess!
untitled-5

As I increased the effect, I made adjustments to Saturation, Vibrance, and Shadows to compensate. If you note the differences between the tree in the background and the ones in the distance, you can clearly see the effect at work. Obviously taking it all the way to 100 is horrendous but it’s certainly useable at lower settings.

[REWIND: FREE PRESET PACK TO BRING DEHAZE TO YOUR NON-CC LIGHTROOM]

Speed Improvements In Photoshop

PS Healing brush
[Screenshot from Ted Forbes’ Video]
The updates that I’m most impressed by are the speed improvements we’ll see in Photoshop due to the addition of the Mercury Graphics Engine. Specifically, the healing brush should now render in real-time, and both the spot healing brush and Patch tool will be up to 120x faster! Now that is pretty amazing! Clearly worthy of a few sentences ending in exclamation marks! Why? If you don’t spend extended periods of time doing in-depth retouching, it won’t mean much to you, but if you do, then you will understand that any time saved is a godsend. For those that make a living professionally retouching images, this speed improvement could have a huge impact.

I was recently designing a flyer and decided to use the image you see below. When I first edited this, the thought of cleaning up the Wendy house was not particularly appealing. Given that it was now going on a flyer and with the new improvements, I thought it was worth a go. It wasn’t being printed really large, so I did a very quick job, but I was amazed at the speed and accuracy of these tools. Check out the before and after below. I am almost looking forward to the next time I have to spend a couple of hours editing a portrait.

Before:

speed-increases-to-photoshop-healing-brushes

After:

speed-increase-to-photoshop-in-creative-cloud-update

Have you tried out some of the new features? What do you all think? Let me know in the comments below.