The top 5 new features in Photoshop CC 2014

What's changed in the latest landmark release of Photoshop?

In 2013, Adobe moved from its traditional software sales model, the Creative Suite, to its Creative Cloud subscription model. That meant that, rather than waiting a whole year for a new version, subscribers could get new features on a continuous rolling basis.

However, Adobe has released a slew of new features all at once. A total of 14 applications have received upgrades, under the heading 'Creative Cloud 2014'. So the new version of Photoshop is called Photoshop CC 2014, the new Illustrator is called Illustrator CC 2014, and so on.

Adobe is also fortifying its mobile offering, with brand new apps, and expanding its reach into hardware to boot. You can find out about all the changes Adobe's announced today here, but in this article we'll look specifically at the new features in Photoshop CC 2014...

01. Typekit integration

You can now sync Typekit fonts directly from Photoshop

Previous releases of the Creative Cloud allowed you to sync InDesign CC and Illustrator CC with Typekit. Now, finally, you can sync fonts directly from Photoshop, too. You can search, preview, and select the fonts you want to use in your document and sync them instantly.

To do so:

  1. Select the Horizontal Type tool (T) in the Tools panel.
  2. Open the Font menu in the options bar, and click the green Typekit button on the right side of the menu to open the Typekit website. The Typekit website opens in your web browser, displaying previews of fonts. You can preview the fonts using your own text to get a better sense of whether a font will work in your document.
  3. Type something in the sample text field. The font previews will change to reflect your sample text. At the bottom of each font preview are icons that indicate whether it’s appropriate for web or desktop use.

There are hundreds of fonts available, and you can filter them by classification (serif or sans serif, for example, or web vs desktop). You can also search by name.

If you're sent a document that uses a font you don't have installed, a single click automatically searches for the font in Typekit and installs it on your machine, making it available to Photoshop as well as other applications on your computer.

02. Improved Smart Guides

It's now easier to line up objects at equal distances from each other

Smart Guides have long been a popular and useful feature in Photoshop. They make it easy to see the distance and alignment between two objects, and snap' in place when distances between sets of objects match.

In Photoshop CC 2014, Smart Guides are turned on by default, and they work in a more intelligent way. This means it's now much easier to create equally spaced objects, which will be a particular boost for anyone creating website mockups in Photoshop, for example.

03. New Blur effects

Two new effects let you add motion blur to your photos

Two new additions to the Blur Gallery make it easier to simulate realistic motion blurs to your images without needing to capture the effect in the camera.

  • Path Blur enables you to add blur along any straight or curved path to create the illusion of motion: it would be useful for an image of running feet, for example.
  • Spin Blur creates circular and elliptical blurs that make things look like they're spinning - such as tyres on a car or a spinning top.

04. Focus Mask

Masking and compositing can be some of the fiddliest tasks you ever do in Photoshop. The new Focus Mask feature in Photoshop CC 2014 automates the process of creating the initial selection. Quite simply, it determines which parts of an image are in focus and automatically selects them. Depending on the kind of image you're working on, this could prove a real time-saver.

05. Improved Layer comps

The Layer Comps panel has had a makeover

Layer Comps have been significantly improved in Photoshop CC 2014. The panel has been redesigned to show which attributes each layer comp controls, and you can sync changes to multiple Layer Comps. Additionally, when a Smart Object contains layer comps, you can choose which layer comp is displayed.

Other improvements in the Photoshop CC release include:

  • The ability to link Smart Objects and share them across multiple documents
  • Faster performance thanks to an enhanced Mercury Graphics Engine
  • The ability to pinch and zoom images, create smoother strokes, and deliver a more responsive experience on Windows 8 Touch devices, such as the Surface Pro 3
  • Improvements to Content-Aware technology
  • Expanded 3D printing capabilities
  • Adobe Generator enhancements
  • Adobe Camera Raw 8 enhancements
  • Improved Windows 8.1 Stylus support

Head here to read our round-up of today's Creative Cloud 2014 releases.


Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specialising in design and technology. He was previously associate editor at Creative Bloq and deputy editor at net magazine, the world’s best-selling magazine for web designers. Over two decades in journalism he’s worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, Heat, Company and Bella. Follow him on Twitter @tom_may.