Photoshop

Photoshop CS7: the features we want to see

With Photoshop CS6 now well and truly in the hands of designers, what's in store for Photoshop CS7? Rob Carney canvasses some expert opinions...

Photoshop CS6 has some amazing features, but what could be next? With CS5.5, Adobe announced that it would be releasing new .5 versions of Creative Suite every year. That means one thing - the next version of Photoshop, CS6.5 (but possibly Photoshop CS7, given the new Creative Cloud offering) is well underway.

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With Adobe CS6 the company added some great new features, including a redesigned UI; the ability to search layers by effect, name and more; a Blur gallery enabling you to edit blurs directly on screen; video editing, 3D and much more. But what features will be added in Photoshop CS7? We've taken a look at the current feature set and how this could be expanded upon, as well as got the views of designers to find out what users of the software would like in the next release.

Content-Aware Move tool

 content aware move tool
We'd like to see the Content-Aware Move tool ported across to lighting in shadows

In Photoshop CS6, Adobe introduced a new Content-Aware Move tool - enabling you to easily shift the position of objects in an image, with the software filling in the background intelligently.

Asphensia, an Oxford-based illustrator, wanted to see this ported across to lighting and shadows - so essentially you could move an object and replace/fill the area it leaves with exactly the same lighting and shadows. It's almost there in Photoshop CS6, but could be a really neat added tweak to the feature-set in Photoshop CS7 (adding more options to control the Content-Aware Move tool would be great).

CSS support a la Fireworks

Mike Lane is a senior UX designer, with 15 years of experience in web and graphic design, and he's keen to see the next version of Photoshop CS7 get more CSS support.

"There are some great third-party tools out there that do some of these
things, but I'd personally like to see more integrated tools for generating CSS from your designs and effects right within Photoshop CS7," Lane tells us. "Somewhat along the lines of the CSS panel in Fireworks CS6. Fireworks is a fine product, but I spend the majority of my time in PS and would very much like to have it right there."

Better Brush Editor in Photoshop CS7

Whilst Photoshop CS6 introduced some excellent new brushes - most notably the erodible brushes that simulate lead in a pencil or pastels on the page - in Photoshop CS7 this could be taken further. One suggestion by artist Ciaran Lucas is a more scalable Brush Editor.

The Brushes panel has remained much the same for a few releases now and it would be interesting to see a more developed panel, with perhaps a new way of creating and editing brushes. Something as extensive as Corel Painter's Brush Creator would be excellent - and something digital artists would love.

 Brushes panel
We'd like to see some updates to the Brushes panel

In fact, why not bring a complete natural media brush set (okay, there is some functionality at the moment - we know that) to Photoshop CS7? Dutch illustrator and animator Sylvia van Schie also picked up on this - wanting a brush set that emulates ink on a watered sheet.

You can do this in Painter, so we don't see any reason why Adobe couldn't include it in the next release of Photoshop.

Vector paint bucket

Another suggestion from Ciaran Lucas was a vector paint bucket - rather like Illustrator CS6's Live Paint tool.

This would be brilliant for quickly creating complex vector shapes in Photoshop, as you could make selections from your images and quickly fill them with vectors rather than relying on turning selections to paths or using the Pen/Custom Shape tool.

We can imagine vector and pixels working even more smoothly together with the addition of a tool such as this.

Font identifier for Photoshop CS7

Jon Burgerman, renowned illustrator and artist, wanted to see a font identifier built in to Photoshop CS7. We presume this would be something like What The Font's web and iPhone app.

 What the Font
A font identifier could be built into Photoshop CS7, along the lines of the What the Font app

That would be pretty cool - being able to open any image and determine the fonts used. Fantastic for finding out what others have used in their designs. Burgerman also suggests a 'button for when you've run out of ideas' but we doubt even Adobe can manage that one.

Typekit integration

Since Adobe bought Typekit, designers have been waiting to see where the company takes this hugely popular web font service. Graphic designer and art Director Tom Muller is one such designer.

"I'd love to see a proper integration of web type rendering in Photoshop CS7," Muller explains. "Since Typekit is now part of Adobe I'm sure (I hope!) they're working on ways to integrate web fonts into their app suite so designers can work in an environment that truly matches the end product."

Instagram-style filters

Computer Arts cover artist Neil Stevens, aka Crayonfire, suggested a whole set of Instagram-style filters for quickly adding a vintage look to your photos.

We'd love to see this - whereas you can replicate the effects used in Instagram, there's no real quick way of doing it without using a third-party plug-in. It would be a very popular addition to the tool.

Further improvements

Other tweaks we'd like to see in Photoshop CS7 are:

  • Better tools for making selections - rather like Vertus' Fluid Mask (wouldn't it be great if Adobe acquired Vertus and integrated this as standard?)
  • Better quick image-enhancement tools; and being able to edit layer effects in a more intuitive and quicker way.
 Vertus' Fluid Mask
Selection tools similar to those seen in Vertus' Fluid Mask wouldn't go amiss

And what about more document presets for different digital devices (a given, really) and being able to adjust all filters on-screen like in the new Blur gallery? The latter would be a complete re-write of the Filter Gallery, but could be revolutionary in how designers and artists use Photoshop filters.

You could also selectively paint on levels adjustments, H&S and any other colour or image tweak you like - without having to worry about quick masks/layer masks.

Oh, and one other thing - what about a sculpting brush tool like those found in brush. Wouldn't that round off Photoshop's new 3D functionality rather nicely?

What would you like to see in Photoshop CS7? Let us know in the comments below.

Now check out our massive list of 101 Photoshop tutorials!

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