Ever since Adobe announced the changes to the Creative Cloud, the Internet has been ablaze with people threatening to jump ship to Gimp, and abandon Adobe completely. While some users have good reason to complain, many may be blowing steam for no good reason. This article is mainly going to be directed at the hobbyists who are disappointed that they “can’t” upgrade to Photoshop CC.
While I definitely support Adobe, I also try to look out for those who watch my content. As I’ve mentioned in my “Thoughts on the Creative Cloud” article, I like the Creative Cloud model, but it certainly isn’t perfect. Many of my viewers will survive just fine with their current version of Photoshop.
Do you really need it?
I think the question you need to be asking yourself, is “Do I really need to upgrade?”. I guarantee that the majority of you will answer “no”. If you edit photos as a hobby, or create the occasional web graphic, there’s probably no need to upgrade at all. The version of Photoshop that you’re currently running, whether it’s CS6, CS5, or even Elements, may be more than you’ll ever need
What’s New in Photoshop CC
To help you figure this out, let’s take a look at some of the bigger features in Photoshop CC.
As I demoed in my Shake Reduction video, this feature is nice…in very specific situations. It’s used to reduce camera shake in your images, which doesn’t occur very often these days. I had to really hunt through my images to find decent candidates.
When this feature may work for you: If you’re a forensics detective, or frequently take pictures while under the influence, you may benefit from this feature. Otherwise, you probably won’t find yourself using this new filter very often.
Camera Raw Filter
This is a nice addition to Photoshop for those who work a lot with raw images. If you’ve opened your raw image without converting it to a Smart Object, the new Camera Raw filter will allow you to hop back into Camera Raw to continue your edit. This filter will also work on standard, non-raw layers, as well!
Do you NEED it? It depends! While it’s a nice addition, there are other ways of accessing Camera Raw. When your initial edit within Camera Raw is complete, holding down Shift will allow you to open that image as a Smart Object. This will give you the ability to dive back into Camera Raw at any point. Sure, you won’t be able to easily use Camera Raw’s adjustments on your other layers, but how often do you really need to?
Editable Rounded Rectangles
Alright, this is something you may be looking forward to. It’s one of the smaller new features, but it can certainly save you a lot of time! Being able to quickly and painlessly change the radius of your rectangles corners is something that I’m definitely looking forward to.
NEED it? If you do a lot of work with vector shapes, this will definitely be a time saver. However, if you rarely find yourself creating rectangles, creating a new rounded rectangle with the updated radius doesn’t take that long!
Upright within Camera Raw
Upright, which you first saw in the Lightroom 5 beta, allows users to straighten out their photos with a click of the mouse. No guessing involved! In addition to leveling out the photo, Upright can also fix any perspective issues that the photo may have.
Necessary? Again, this depends on what you do. If you have, or are planning on purchasing Lightroom 5, you’ll already have this feature. If not, take a look at the photos you edit. For simple leveling, Photoshop already has a handy “Straighten” feature within the Crop Tool.
Radial Filter within Camera Raw
One of the other new features within Camera Raw, is the new Radial Filter. Again, this is also available in Lightroom 5. This feature allows you to create customizable vignettes around your images, or selective adjustments in a radial format.
Are there alternatives? Sure! There are plenty of ways to create vignettes on your images, without the use of the Radial Filter. As for radial adjustments, these can be done using the Elliptical Marquee Tool, or by utilizing Layer Masks. Plus, if your adjustment doesn’t need to be radial, the Adjustment Brush is still available.
Creative Cloud Syncing
If you use Photoshop on multiple computers, you’ll love the fact that you can now sync many of your settings to keep your workflow up to date. preferences, actions, brushes, swatches, styles, gradients, shapes, patterns, contours, and tool presets can all be synced via the Creative Cloud.
When would I need this? Again, if you run Photoshop on multiple computers, or if you’re worried about your hard drive crashing, this is a great addition. Otherwise, it may not be worth the upgrade.
Camera Raw Support
One area that many photographers may be concerned about, is future camera support within Camera Raw. Thankfully, Adobe has confirmed that, even if you choose not to just on the Creative Cloud, you’ll continue to receive updates to support new cameras. Even if you’re running Photoshop CS2, or Lightroom 1.0, camera support will still be available via Adobe DNG.
Of course, as mentioned in Adobe’s article, you won’t get new Camera Raw features such as Upright or the Radial Filter, but at least you’ll be able to access your shiny new camera’s raw files. (As with any new camera, support isn’t available immediately. Camera manufacturers and Adobe work together to try to provide support as soon as possible).
The bottom line is this. After looking over these new features, and the few that I didn’t mention, if you don’t think you’ll be needing them, then there’s no need to upgrade. If Photoshop CS6 is providing everything you need, save your money and buy a $19 latte.
Despite what people may be saying, Adobe isn’t forcing anyone to upgrade from their current versions. Yes, new features will only be available to those paying monthly for their software, but again, those new features may be completely useless to you. Why spend your money on features you’ll never use?
However, if/when you do need the features coming with Photoshop CC, then the option to upgrade is always available to you. Sure, there are still some things that you may not like about the Creative Cloud model, but Adobe is listening. Feel free to voice your opinion…just not at me. I have no say over what Adobe ultimately does.
Note on future training: While future tutorials, starting June 17th, will be demoed using Photoshop CC, 95% of what I teach will be achievable using Photoshop CS6. Those who don’t upgrade will still be able to enjoy and benefit from my training.