Following their MAX conference in October, Adobe released the latest version of Photoshop CC. It offers a variety of new features for designers, digital photographers and illustrators, and our design team were eager to get their hands on the newest iteration of the app and put it to the test.
With Adobe touting the effectiveness of the Curvature Pen, Stroke Smoothing and Variable Font functionalities, I sat down with Xenia – our Senior Designer – to hear her thoughts on the enhancements, how she’s been using them and how they’ve affected her creative workflow.
Curvature Pen tool
“The Curvature Pen tool is really useful, and it’s taken the hassle out of drawing curved shapes and straight line segments. I like that it lets me plot basic points in a rough shape initially, then move and adjust each point when needed – and double clicking provides an angular point rather than a curved point which is helpful, too.
Overall, I’d say it’s much easier to use, intuitive and accurate compared to the regular Pen tool, and its helped streamline my Photoshop workflow by cutting out the time consuming, unnecessary tasks that used to make drawing simple shapes kind of awkward. Plus, the tool makes it quicker to create paths without losing accuracy, which is ideal for when I’m cutting out certain elements of photographs.”
Stroke Smoothing (Pulled String Mode)
“I’ve enjoyed using the new Stroke Smoothing functions in Photoshop, particularly Pulled String Mode. My favourite thing about it is that it’s given me more control over the brush tool, which feels much smoother and creates less jagged edges – it’s a way better experience. As you use it, you can see the brush rotate and twist carefully, making the brush strokes much more accurate and precise, and cursor movements inside the ‘smoothing radius’ don’t leave a mark on your design. This has allowed me to create softer curves and rounded elements. It’s nice because it means I can put more time and care into my work, and helps me get things right on the first try without having to redo things.”
“They’re okay, but not as useful as I expected them to be. Variable Fonts let you customise certain attributes of fonts with sliders, such as weight, width and slant, although some Variable Fonts only let you adjust one or two attributes rather than the whole lot. And while this has still been helpful, not every font is as ‘variable’ as I had expected, meaning you’re limited to Adobe’s predefined list of Variable Fonts.
The list appears to be quite large, but is actually just made up of slightly different variations of the same few fonts. If I’ve needed to use a Variable Font, I’ve just found myself looking for one in the list that most closely resembles the font I initially wanted. Don’t get me wrong, I like that you’re able to quickly toggle different options with fonts, and it’s helpful for when I’ve been experimenting with quick layouts and I’ve wanted to see how a font may impact the overall design, but I think it could use some work. With a bit more development, it could be a really handy feature and I’m excited to see what Adobe do with it going forward.”
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