Adobe Photoshop CC Gets Curvature Pen, Brush Upgrades, and More

Adobe has just announced its October 2017 update of Photoshop CC, which comes with a number of new features and improvements to the photo editing program. Big ones in this release include a brand new Curvature Pen Tool and improved brush preset management.

Here’s a rundown of what’s new.

A New Curvature Pen Tool

The new Curvature Pen Tool, which we shared a sneak peek of last month, is a new way to create curved paths quickly, intuitively, and precisely. It lets you push and pull segments of the path instead of using Bezier handles.

“Learning how to draw a curve doesn’t have to be so hard,” Adobe says. “We are releasing a new curvature drawing tool that is much more similar to Illustrator’s. If you have already invested the time to learn the current Photoshop pen tool, it’s still there for you, too. If you’re just getting started drawing curved lines, I suggest you start with the new one we are shipping today.”

Brushes Get a Major Upgrade

Brushes are getting some major improvements. First off, the brush organization has been reworked, something Adobe says has been the “#1 request of all time.” You can now drag and drop to reorder, create folders and sub-folders, scale the brush stroke preview, toggle new view modes, and save brush presets (with opacity, flow, blend mode, and color specified).

You’ll also find that brushes are more responsive now with a faster reaction time, especially if you’re using large brushes on large documents.

Finally, brush strokes are getting smoothed out thanks to a new algorithm. It’ll automatically compensate for jitters while you’re trying to follow a straight line while using a brush, eraser, pencil, and mixer brush. You can adjust the degree of smoothing in the option that’s available in the Tool Options bar alongside Flow and Opacity.

Lightroom CC Integration

Photoshop will now show your Lightroom cloud catalog on the start screen and through search, allowing you to more easily access photos you’ve synced to the cloud through Lightroom CC.

“This first version of Lightroom Photos in Photoshop will help you save time sending images from place to place, particularly when working with those you’ve captured via the mobile version of Lightroom,” Adobe says.

360 Panorama Editing

Photoshop CC now lets you open, edit, and export 360-degree panoramas. Crucial metadata will remain intact in the files through Photoshop editing, allowing the images to continue to be compatible with third-party panorama viewers. You’ll be able to pan around and zoom around in a spherical workspace.

Range Masking in Adobe Camera Raw

Adobe Camera Raw is getting Range Masks that allow you to make precise local adjustments with a high level of control. Here’s a demo showing how you can quickly create a mask based on color and luminance:

HEIF Image Compatibility

Apple introduced the HEIF image format in iOS 11 and the latest iPhones, and now Photoshop will be able to edit those files, which are more lightweight than JPEGs without an obvious loss in quality. You’ll also be able to take advantage of the depth map data from the latest iPhones for a depth of field effect inside Photoshop.

Guidance for Beginners

A new Learn Panel for beginners provides basic tutorials inside Photoshop itself to help you get started with different features.

There are also new rich tooltips that offer a more graphical style of helping you with tools. The 20 most popular tools also have animated GIFs that demonstrate the tool in action.

Other Features and Improvements

Other new features include more painting upgrades (performance and symmetry painting), select and mask updates (faster Quick Mask and improved refine edge tool accuracy), new Adobe Stock integration, improved font management, a redesigned Preserve Details, copy and pasting of layers (within a document and between documents) and more. You can find the complete list on this What’s New page.

You can get all of these new features for yourself by downloading the Photoshop CC update through Adobe Creative Cloud.

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These are the Best Wildlife Photos of 2017

The prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is now in its 53rd year, and this year’s edition saw nearly 50,000 entries from 92 different countries.

You’ve already seen a snapshot of some of the finalists, but last night the winners were announced at an awards ceremony in the Natural History Museum in London, UK.

There are 13 categories in the competition, with 2 overall prizes: Wildlife Photographer of the Year, and Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year. Without further ado, here are the awarded images this year:

Wildlife Photographer of the Year Winner

wildlife photographer of the year 2017 winners
Brent Stirton / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

The winning image, taken by South African photographer Brent Stirton, is sure to shock more than a few people, but it’s an image that will hopefully make a real difference to the plight of the black rhino. An animal which is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List, the black rhino needs all the public attention it can get.

Taken as part of an undercover investigation into the illegal trade in rhino horn, Brent’s winning image tells the evocative story of one of the trade’s latest victims – a black rhino bull from South Africa’s Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park. The poachers responsible are thought to have come from a local community, working to order. After entering the reserve illegally, they ambushed the rhino at a waterhole, shooting it dead before fleeing from its mutilated body.

“To make such a tragic scene almost majestic in its sculptural power deserves the highest award. There is rawness, but there is also great poignancy and therefore dignity in the fallen giant,” said competition judge, Roz Kidman Cox. “It’s also symbolic of one of the most wasteful, cruel and unnecessary environmental crimes, one that needs to provoke the greatest public outcry.”

“Brent’s image highlights the urgent need for humanity to protect our planet and the species we share it with,” said the director of the Natural History Museum, Sir Michael Dixon.

Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year Winner

wildlife photographer of the year 2017 winner
Daniel Nelson / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Animal Portraits

wildlife photographer of the year winners 2017
Peter Delaney / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Peter Delaney, Ireland/South Africa

Behaviour: Invertebrates

winners wildlife photographer of the year 2017
Justin Gilligan / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Justin Gilligan, Australia

Behaviour: Birds

Wildlife Photographer of the Year winners 2017
Gerry Pearce / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Behaviour: Amphibians and Reptiles

Wildlife Photographer of the Year winners 2017
Brian Skerry / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Brian Skerry

Behaviour: Mammals

 Wildlife Photographer of the Year winners 2017
Tony Wu / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Tony Wu, USA

Earth’s Environments

 Wildlife Photographer of the Year winners 2017
Laurent Ballesta / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Laurent Ballesta, France

Animals in Their Environment

wildlife photographer of the year winners 2017
Marcio Cabral / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Marcio Cabral, Brazil

Black and White

Wildlife Photographer of the Year winners 2017
Eilo Elvinger / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Eilo Elvinger, Luxembourg

Plants and Fungi

Wildlife Photographer of the Year winners 2017
Dorin Bofan / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Dorin Bofan, Romania


Wildlife Photographer of the Year winners 2017
Anthony Berberian / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Anthony Berberian, France

Wildlife Photojournalist: Single Image

2017 wildlife photographer of the year winners
Aaron Gekoski / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Aaron ‘Bertie’ Gekoski, UK/USA

11-14 Years

Ashleigh Scully / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Ashleigh Scully, USA

10 Years and Under

wildlife photographer of the year 2017 winners
Ekaterina Bee / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Ekaterina Bee, Italy

The exhibition will open on October 20th, 2017, at the Natural History Museum in London, UK, and will run until May 28th, 2018. You can get tickets on the NHM website.

The next competition opens for entries on Monday 23rd October 2017 — more information is available on the competition website. Wildlife Photographer of the Year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, London, UK.

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Bye Bye Lightroom, Hello Lightroom CC and Faster Lightroom Classic

Lightroom is no more. Adobe today announced a new cloud-based Lightroom called Lightroom CC. The current desktop-based app you know as Lightroom is being rebranded as Lightroom Classic CC. Lightroom Classic will be desktop-oriented, while Lightroom CC will be cloud and mobile focused.

Lightroom CC in the Cloud

Adobe is pushing its app ecosystem further into the cloud to allow for editing, organizing, storing, and sharing photos from any device, anywhere.

“Launched over a decade ago, Lightroom became the industry’s leading desktop application for editing and organizing photography,” Adobe says. “Now in an increasingly mobile-centric world, and with major improvements in smartphone cameras, Lightroom is transforming digital photography again.”

Lightroom CC features the same power as Photoshop and Lightroom but a new streamlined user interface that allows for powerful editing of full-resolution photos on desktop, mobile, and the Web. Changes made through Lightroom CC on one device are automatically synced to all devices.

Photo organization in Lightroom CC is aided by intelligent features, such as the automatic tagging of your photos with searchable keywords using Adobe Sensei machine learning technology.

Cloud storage of your photos (including RAW files) is also scalable to meet a range of photographers’ needs. Once your photos are in the Lightroom CC cloud, sharing photos and custom galleries can easily be shared with a link.

Lightroom CC for mobile is getting a number of new features on iOS (built-in AI search, keywords, hierarchical albums, an improved iPad layout, and iOS 11 files) and on Android (tablet support, local adjustments brush, built-in AI search, keywords, and hierarchical albums).

Lightroom CC for Web is getting public gallery pages and deeper integration with Adobe Portfolio.

Lightroom Classic Now Faster and More Poweful

But if you’re loyal to Lightroom Classic CC, Adobe hasn’t forgotten about you. The app formerly known as Lightroom is getting an enhanced Embedded Preview workflow (scroll through large sets of photos to select a subset of images) and new edit tools (Color Range and Luminance Masking for precise edits).

What’s more, Lightroom Classic is getting a major speed boost. Adobe admitted earlier this year that Lightroom has performance issues, and now it’s launching a major update to fix that.

“While the palette of Lightroom features grew, our performance detracted from these gains,”Adobe says. “So we took stock of where you were feeling the most performance anxieties, and dedicated this launch primarily to addressing these issues.”

Lightroom Classic is being updated with improved speed in major areas, including launch time, preview generation, import selection, switching between Library and Develop, navigating between photos in Develop, responsive brushing, and more.

“We have also added new tools to make precise color and tone-based selections for Local Adjustments,” Adobe says. “You can now use the adjustment brush, radial, or graduated filters to define a rough mask, then refine the selection via the new Range Masking options found at the bottom of each Local Adjustment panel.”

No More Standalone Lightroom

Adobe is also announcing that Lightroom 6 will be the last standalone version of Lightroom that you can purchase once and use forever. There won’t be any Lightroom 7, and if you’d like to use the latest and greatest Lightroom updates and features, you’ll need to start paying regular subscriptions (just like with Photoshop CC). Lightroom 6 will no longer be updated after 2017, so you’ll find that newer cameras of the future will not be supported.

Pricing and Availability

Adobe Lightroom CC and Classic CC are now available through 3 different photo-oriented subscription plans. The Creative Cloud Photography Plan includes both of them, Photoshop, and 20GB of storage for $10 a month. If you only need Lightroom CC and storage, you can subscribe to Lightroom CC and 1TB of storage for the same $10 a month. For all photo apps and 1TB of storage, you’ll need to pay $20 a month.

You can also subscribe to all Adobe apps for $50 a month. If you don’t need desktop at all, you can subscribe to Lightroom Mobile with 100GB for $5 a month.

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Google Photos Can Now Spot Your Pet Among Other Furry Creatures

Google Photos is now able to identify and recognize your furry feline or canine companions, pulling together albums specifically featuring them.

You can give each of your pets names, allowing you to search for “Katy Pawry” or “Snarls Barkley” instead of “cat” or “dog.”

You can also search using the cat or dog emoji, or even by pet breed.

However, a Google spokesperson admitted to Buzzfeed News that the tech was in its early days. “This is just the start, and [if] you have a number of pets that are the same breed (such as a few yellow Labs), you might need to help the app by removing photos of a misgrouped pet, so the app can tell Lassie from Fido.”

Earlier this year Google introduced a feature that would make a movie about your pets, but now you can easily select the best shots, from your new dedicated album, for a film like this:

The change comes along with a number of new AI updates for Google Photos.

(via Google via Engadget)

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Sigma Extends Camera Gear Warranty to Cover Hurricane Victims

Sigma has announced that it will extend the warranty on its camera gear to products that have been damaged or destroyed by the hurricanes that have recently devastated regions of the United States.

If your equipment is under warranty and was damaged due to Hurricane Harvey, Irma or Maria, Sigma will provide free repairs or discounted replacements.

Fstoppers reports that Sigma extended the offer to photographers in a written statement:

Sigma hereby extends the warranty coverage of Sigma products still under warranty for damages incurred as a result of Hurricane Harvey, Irma and Maria. If your equipment is under warranty, Sigma will provide either (a) complimentary service to get your equipment running, or (b) a trade-in option. Just ship your damaged equipment to Sigma, and we will ship the equipment back to you without charge. All terms of your Sigma warranty coverage still apply, so when sending in your Sigma product, please be sure to include a copy of the original sales receipt as proof of purchase date. If you do not have appropriate documentation as a result of the Hurricanes, please contact us. Eligibility for this offer is subject to Sigma’s sole discretion. This offer is open through December 31, 2017 (we must receive your damaged equipment by that date).”

So photographers who wish to take advantage of this offer will need to send their damaged equipment to Sigma by the end of 2017 along with the original receipt from the purpose. Photographers who no longer have their receipts may still also be able to get assistance on a case-by-case basis by contacting Sigma.

If your gear was damaged beyond repair, Sigma will offer you a replacement at a “special price,” Fstoppers reports. “The terms of the discounts may vary and will be handled on a case-by-case basis.”

Manufacturers warranties generally do not cover “Acts of God” (i.e. natural disasters), so it’s an unusual and generous move on Sigma’s part to take on some losses to help get photographers affected by recent hurricanes back on their feet.

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Chris Smith, the Photographer of the US Health Secretary

Here’s a short video released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last month on the work of photographer Chris Smith, who has served as the Secretary’s photographer in the department for 27 years now.

Smith shares about both his journey in photography and some insights into what it’s like to photograph in the upper levels of US government.

Photographer Chris Smith.

Here are some photos Smith has captured over the years:

Smith says in the video that Tom Price is the 7th secretary he has covered during his time in the HHS. Just three days after the video was released, however, Price resigned as secretary amidst growing criticism about his travel habits.

Image credits: Photographs by Chris Smith and courtesy the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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The Rhino ROV is a Motorized Slider for Your Smartphone and Camera

Rhino has just launched a new Kickstarter campaign to fund the launch of its new ROV motorized camera slider for smartphones and various types of cameras.

The slider has a 24 battery life, allowing for such things as shooting night-time starscapes. Its “low profile” iPhone mount means you can shoot at low angles, and the all-terrain legs fold for a compact design when traveling.

There’s also a cold shoe mount on top of the iPhone mount so you can easily attach accessories (like a shotgun microphone).

There are two sizes of the slider available, one with an 8″ travel distance and a second with a 16″ distance.

There is another version of the slider, the ROV Pro, which also has a professional 1/4-20 ball head and is capable of shooting DSLR time-lapses. It also has a premium gunmetal finish.

Able to take a payload of up to 5lbs, the device has a maximum speed of travel is 1″ per second, with a minimum of 0.05″ per second, and has a maximum angle of 30 degrees.

Using a “Coreless DC technology” motor, commonly found in medical and aerospace applications, the movement is fast, quiet, and uses very little power.

Here’s a look at what it can do, along with a short introduction:

The slider is compatible with Rhino’s Storyteller app, allowing you to change direction, movement speed, and other settings easily.

Rhino is looking to raise $50,000 to make this slider a reality, and the company has already successfully funded a number of crowdfunding campaigns.

The ROV slider is available with a contribution of $230 on Kickstarter, and the ROV Pro is a reward for contributions of $300. If the project successfully funds and delivers, you should get your slide around April 2018.

(via Kickstarter via The Verge)

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