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The best new features in Adobe Photoshop CC

Adobe announced a number of updates to Photoshop CC today as part of its major 2015 Creative Cloud update.

With a focus on performance and workflow, and a few exciting new features – as well as Photoshop's first-ever 'technology preview' – it seems that Adobe is seeking to wrestle back market share from rival applications like Affinity Designer.

The integration of Adobe Stock is particularly beneficial to any creatives who use, or create, stock imagery. It'll be interesting to see how rival providers compete.

So what do you need to know about the new tools and features in the 2015 version of Adobe Photoshop CC? Here are eight highlights…

01. Support for artboards

One of the biggest changes is that Photoshop CC finally features support for artboards. The Artboards tool works similarly to Adobe Illustrator, letting designers who work on mobile and web apps create multiple artboards for different layouts in a single document.

It's easy to copy and share content between artboards, and you can quickly export each artboard, or all of them.

02. Photoshop Design Space (Preview)

A preview of a new technology, Photoshop Design Space, includes a design mode aimed at web and UI designers that streamlines workflow for app design.

Built using HTML5/CC/JS, the sleek new workspace is optimised for common web, UI and app design tasks, removing all unnecessary tools – 3D, for instance – and minimalising clicks, mouse movements and clutter. It's easy to move back into Photoshop CC for advanced image-editing, while your Design Space files remain protected.

This is the first time Photoshop has released a feature at the beginning of the development process. Shipped as a 'technology preview', Design Space needs to be 'turned on' by users. If you fancy a play, Adobe would like your feedback – here are the instructions for turning it on.

03. Access to 40 million stock images

Adobe's new stock content service, Adobe Stock, has been integrated into Linked Assets and Creative Cloud Libraries, giving you access to 40 million stock images.

Simply place an Adobe Stock watermarked FPO image into your Photoshop document to see how it looks before you purchase it. When you're ready to buy the image, Ctrl/right-click on the image thumbnail in your Library and choose License this image.

After you've signed up for a payment plan and purchased the image, the watermark is removed and the file updates to a high-res version, replacing the FPO in your document.

04. Linked Assets in CC Libraries

Linked Assets in CC Libraries means that when you – or a colleague – make a change to a graphic or layer, the asset will be updated across any Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign documents where it's used.

Creative Cloud Libraries is powered by Adobe Creative Sync, which intelligently syncs files, photos, fonts, vector graphics, brushes, colours, settings, metadata and more, making creative assets instantly available, in the right format, across desktop, web and mobile apps.

05. Revamped image export process

Asset Export has been streamlined to let you quickly and easily export designs to PNG, JPEG and SVG, with a one-click Quick Export option.

06. New Dehaze tool

Introducing Dehaze: a tool in both Photoshop CC and Lightroom CC that removes haze or fog from a photograph with a single click.

Based on a physical model that tries to "estimate the amount of light transmission and how it varies across the picture" – says Photoshop's Pam Clark – Dehaze can dramatically improve image details and colour saturation without having to resort to masking.

07. Device Preview

Adobe Preview CC is a native iOS companion app that gives fast, accurate and in-context previews of mobile app and mobile web designs from Photoshop on an iOS device in real time.

You can set up the connection between Photoshop and Preview either through USB or an automatic wireless connection when on the same Wi-Fi network.

08. Turbocharged Patch tool and Spot-Healing brush

Boosted by Mercury Graphics Engine enhancements, the Healing brush, Spot Healing Brush and Patch tools are up to 120 times faster than in CS6. Performance tuning has resulted in a real-time Healing Brush, which means you can now see results on-the-fly.

Head over to the Adobe blog to find out more...

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Julia Sagar

Julia is editor-in-chief, retail at Future Ltd, where she works in e-commerce across a number of consumer lifestyle brands. A former editor of design website Creative Bloq, she’s also worked on a variety of print titles, and was part of the team that launched consumer tech website TechRadar. She's been writing about art, design and technology for over 15 years.