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Photoshop gets user-friendly update

The Lightroom updates.

Adobe has announced major updates for its Creative Cloud photo editing apps, with ‘breakthroughs’ in Photoshop AI applications making it far more user friendly, and Lightroom Classic handed new colour grading adjustments.

Photoshop 2021

Photoshop is ‘now the world’s most advanced AI application for creatives’, according to Adobe. This has been achieved by five new features added to the Sensei AI and machine learning – Neural Filters, Sky Replacement, a new Discover panel, and two new Refine Edge Selections improvements. The new features primarily make editing much easier, with one-click solutions along with basic sliders for work that would previously require more time and effort.

Here’s Adobe’s explanation of Neural Filters, edited for clarity:

Neural Filters is a new workspace inside Photoshop that introduces non-destructive filters. We have reduced complex workflows into one click or a couple of sliders using machine learning. There is a rapidly growing and improving library of artistic and restorative filters, find a “best” idea for inspiration, and refine your image with the familiar tools you know in Photoshop. The filters in this workspace will speed parts of your workflow, but they might not produce the result you need every time. You can try more creative (and labour-intensive) ideas than ever in the time you booked for your project, and you have all the power of Photoshop when you take your Neural Filters result back to the canvas for final touches.

The first ‘Featured’ filters are Skin Smoothing and Style Transfer, with six others in Beta development also available. ‘Beta filters might work really well on certain types of images, but not as well on others yet. This is only the beginning and these filters will improve with input.’

Sky Replacement is self explanatory. Photographers can pick a new sky from a database, or add their own. The Sensei-powered system handles the masking and blending to harmonise the foreground with the sky. There are 25 sky presets.


The two new Refine Edge Selection features, Refine Hair and Object Aware Refine Mode, appear in the Select and Mask workspace. The Refine Hair button ‘automagically’ (see what they did there?) refines a selected area of a subject’s hair, while Object Aware button selects fine elements of an image.

There are a number of other new features, notably live streaming and preset search. Click here for more.

Lightroom Classic 10.0

A new Color Grading tool will replace Split Toning, and it provides control for midtones, highlights and shadows. Basically, users will now use a colour wheel.

‘Color Grading… does everything Split Toning did, plus much more. Your existing images with Split Toning settings will look exactly the same as they did before, your old Split Toning presets will also still look the same when you apply them, and you can still get the same results if you had a familiar starting point when doing Split Toning manually. ‘

‘If you’ve never used Split Toning or Color Grading, here’s the idea: you can apply a colour tint to your image based on the brightness of the pixels: Lighter pixels can be tinted differently from darker ones. With Color Grading, you can also control your midtones.’

Perhaps the most welcome addition to Lightroom will be a speed boost when using brushes and gradients. Just enable GPU acceleration.

That’s about it. Click here to read the full list of updates.

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