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New Magic Editing Tools in Photoshop CC

Adobe recently released an update to its flagship Photoshop CC image editing software. Included were a handful of neat new tools that work like magic. Here’s a rundown of what’s new, what makes them special and how they work.

Face Aware Liquify

The Liquify filter has long been one of the most powerful body-shaping tools available in Photoshop. It could already easily make amazing changes to body and facial contours, but now the tool automatically recognizes the individual elements that make up a face. That means it knows that you’re trying to apply a fix to eyes, for instance, rather than just to a general portion of the image. Now opening eyes, shrinking noses and thinning jowls can be performed quicker and more efficiently. It’s almost like the “smart” filter understands what you’re trying to do. To use it, open the Liquify filter as normal, and then click on the triangle next to Face-Aware Liquify. This will present a list of facial features—Eyes, Nose, Mouth and Face Shape—and corresponding adjustments that can be made simply by clicking and dragging a slider, or working directly on the image preview. Experiment with the changes you’d like to make, and then click OK to render the changes.

Liquify Face options
Face Aware Liquify options

Content Aware Crop

In general, how you crop an image is limited only by how wide you shot. Challenges arise, of course, if you need to rotate the image somewhat during cropping, or if you want to position the center of interest precisely in a particular aspect ratio, but the original image simply isn’t big enough. In cases like these, the old way of cropping meant that you’d have blank spaces where the new crop went off the canvas of the original image file. But now with Content Aware Crop, you simply crop to the proportion and rotation that you’d like, and Photoshop will fill in the gaps at the edges and interpolate any missing pixels. For instance, it will extend a green grass lawn, or a bright blue sky, when the crop requires extending beyond the original image frame. In the example here, I cropped and rotated a portrait and Photoshop automatically filled in the background in the top left corner, and even accurately created a missing portion of arm in the bottom right corner. It’s a one-step approach to freeing your cropping from the constraints of the original image file. Simply choose the Crop tool and ensure the Content Aware checkbox in the Options bar is checked. Then crop and rotate as normal, and when you hit Enter watch as the blank spaces are automatically filled in.

Content Aware Crop
Content Aware Crop

Match Font

For folks who use Photoshop as a design tool, the Match Font feature is bound to make life easier. Not sure what font was used in another piece? Or maybe you flattened the previous version of your design, so you can’t access the original layered file and its type layers. Either way, Match Font will examine an image file and identify the font that was used. If it’s not a font that’s in your system already, it will provide a close substitute. It can also check Adobe’s Typekit to install the appropriate font, and even uninstall it once you’re done working with it. A definite timesaver! To use Match Font, start with the rectangular marquee tool to select the area of the frame containing the font you’d like to identify. Then in the Type dropdown menu, select Match Font. Photoshop will then provide a list of matching fonts you already have on your computer. It will also show fonts available for download based on your CC subscription level. You can then click the cloud icon to download the font straight from Typekit. Impressive!

001c - content_aware_crop

Dedicated Select and Mask Taskspace

Since selections and masking are such fundamental reasons why Photoshop is so powerful, the newest version of the application provides a dedicated selection and masking workspace that strips away all of the unrelated features and tools that don’t pertain to selections and masking, leaving only the select group of powerful selection and masking tools. To use it, activate any selection tool and look for the Select and Mask button on the options bar, or choose Select and Mask from the Select dropdown menu. The new taskspace then opens up. You’ve then got all your selection tools available on the left side of the screen—Magic Wand, Lasso, Quick Select, et al—and a bunch of great options from the Refine Edge tool, as well as customizable view modes to let you see your selection in a number of different ways. Everything you could ever want to do to a selection, you can now do in the simplified Select and Mask Taskspace.

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